Brazil Essay

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Brazil’s Economy THE REGIONAL CONTEXT Brazil is the largest country, both in size and population, in South America, sharing it’s boarders with nearly every other South American country except Ecuador and Chile, and is boarded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean. The Portuguese were the first European settlers to arrive in 1500 finding native Indians numbering around seven million. Today, fewer than 200,000 of Brazil's indigenous people survive, most of who inhabit the jungle areas. During the next few hundred years, the Portuguese bought many slaves to Brazil to mine for gold, settle farms and grow coffee and sugar. To a degree unequalled in most of the American colonies, the Portuguese settlers frequently intermarried with both the Indians and the African slaves, and there were also mixed marriages between the Africans and Indians. As a result, Brazil's population is multi and inter-cultural to a degree that is unseen elsewhere. Most Brazilians possess some combination of European, African, Amerindian, Asian, and Middle Eastern lineage and this multiplicity of cultural legacies is a notable feature of current Brazilian culture. With a population of over 193 million people, the primary language is Portuguese and the main religion is Roman Catholicism. Brazil has the sixth largest population in the world which has doubled in the past 30 years. Because of its size, there are only 15 people per sq. km, concentrated mainly along the coast and in the major cities, where two-thirds of the people now live; over 19 million in greater Sao Paulo and 10 million in greater Rio. From a colourful past and challenging history, Brazil has now grown to become the sixth largest economy in the world. It has a large and strong agricultural and mining sector, a growing manufacturing sector, and extensive natural resources including large oil fields recently discovered offshore.

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