Ordem e Progresso – Order and Progress
Officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: República Federativa do Brasil), in original Portuguese records the official name of the land was “Land of the Holy Cross” (Terra da Santa Cruz). Some early sailors also called it the “Land of Parrots” (Terra di Papaga). However, European sailors and merchants commonly called it “Land of Brazil” (Terra do Brasil) because of the brazilwood trade. “Land of Brazil” eventually replaced the official name.
Whatever name it goes by, Brazil is the largest country in both South America and the Latin America region. It is the largest Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) country in the world, and the only one in the Americas.
As an indication of its size, Brazil borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile. The Atlantic Ocean is on the east with a coastline of 7,491 km (4,655 mi). To the north is Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and the French overseas region of French Guiana. Colombia is to the northwest with Bolivia and Peru to the west. Argentina and Paraguay are on the southwest with Uruguay to the south.
There are also numerous archipelagos that form part of Brazilian territory, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz.
The word “Brazil” comes from brazilwood, a tree that once grew plentifully along the Brazilian coast. In Portuguese, brazilwood is called pau-brasil, with the word brasil commonly given the etymology “red like an ember”, formed from Latin brasa (“ember”) and the suffix -il (from -iculum or -ilium).
Brazil is a federation composed of 26 States and one Federal district (which contains the capital city, Brasília), plus Municipalities.
States have autonomous administrations, collect their own taxes and receive a share of taxes collected by the Federal government. Each has a governor and a unicameral legislative body elected directly by their voters. They also have independent Courts of Law for common justice. Despite this, states have much less autonomy to create their own laws than in the United States. For example, criminal and civil laws can only be voted by the federal bicameral Congress and are uniform throughout the country.
Municipalities also have autonomous administrations, collect their own taxes and receive a share of taxes collected by the Union and state government. Each has a mayor and an elected legislative body, but no separate Court of Law. Indeed, a Court of Law organized by the state can encompass many municipalities in a single justice administrative division called comarca (county).
The States in Brasil are:
Mato Grosso do Sul
Rio de Janeiro
Rio Grande do Norte
Rio Grande do Sul
Other places and informational links for Brazil:
Although Brazil comprises a wide range of weather conditions and climate across a large area and varied topography, most of the country is tropical.
Along with a varied climate, Brazil’s large territory comprises several ecosystems. The Amazon Rainforest, recognized as having the greatest biological diversity in the world, with the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado, sustaining the greatest biodiversity. In the south, the Araucaria pine forest grows under temperate conditions. The rich wildlife of Brazil reflects the variety of natural habitats.
Tourism is an important economic activity in various regions of the country. It should be noted that the official language of Brazil is Portuguese which almost all of the population speaks and is virtually the only language used in newspapers, radio, television, and for business and administrative purposes.
Brazilian roads are the primary carriers of freight and passenger traffic. Railroads are also in operation with links to some of the bordering countries.
Brazil has a reciprocal visa policy with all countries, meaning that whenever prices and restrictions are applied to Brazilian visiting a country, Brazil adopts the same measures for that country’s visitors.