Fun Facts about Brasil

If you spell it with an "s", it's in Portuguese.  If you spell it with a "z", it's in English. Portugal claimed the land in 1500 by Pedro Álvares Cabral. It's the largest country in South America and the only one that speaks Portuguese. Brazil declared independence from Portugal in 1822.

The name "Brazil" comes from a tree, the brazilwood tree, that once grew in abundance on the Brazilian coast.  In Portuguese, the name of the tree "pau-brasil" means "red like an ember" which fit because a deep red dye can be obtained from the tree.

Brasil ranks fifth in the world in both size and population.  Brazil is big, over 3 million square miles big!  It crosses three time zones and touches every other country in South America except Chile and Ecuador.  The population is over 200 million people (about half of all South America's people) and there are thirteen cities with over a million residents.  Rio has around six million people and Sao Paulo nearly doubles that.  And, if you need to get somewhere fast, there are about 4000 airports in the country.

The capital city used to be Rio de Janeiro.  But, in 1960, it was changed to Brasilia. It took 41 months to build the new capital city.

The second longest river in the world, the Amazon River, flows through Brasil. About 60% of the Amazon Rainforest is in Brasil.

Brasilians love their football (soccer).  They have won the World Cup five times and perhaps their most famous player ever is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele.

Brasil supplies about one third of the world's coffee.  But, it is also the world's largest producer of sugar, sugarcane, tropical fruits, and orange juice concentrate.

The green on the flag represents the rainforests of Brasil while the yellow diamond signifies the mineral wealth.  The stars on the flag depict the sky over Rio de Janeiro on November 15, 1889, when Brasil declared itself a republic.

Most Brasilians are descendants of Amerindians, Europeans, and Africans.  It is estimated that 3.5 million African slave survived the trip across the ocean to work in Brasilian sugar cane fields between 1500 and 1800.