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(brəzĭl`), Port. Brasil, officially Federative Republic of Brazil, republic (2005 est. pop. 186,113,000), 3,286,470 sq mi (8,511,965 sq km), E South America. By far the largest of the Latin American countries, Brazil occupies nearly half the continent of South America, stretching from the Guiana Highlands in the north, where it borders Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, to the plains of Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina in the south. In the west it spreads to the equatorial rain forest, bordering on Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia; in the east it juts far out into the Atlantic toward Africa. BrasíliaBrasília
, capital city and federal district of Brazil (2,264 sq mi/5,864 sq km; 1996 pop. 1,817,001), an enclave in the southwest of Goiás state. Inaugurated in 1960, it is situated in the highlands of central Brazil, and its ultramodern public buildings (designed
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 is the capital; the largest cities are São PauloSão Paulo
, state (1996 pop. 34,055,715), 95,713 sq mi (247,897 sq km), SE Brazil. It is Brazil's most populous and economically important state. The capital is the city of

São Paulo, (1996 pop. 9,816,776), on the Tietê River.
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 and Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro
[Port.,=river of January], city (1990 pop. 5,533,011; 1995 metropolitan area est. pop. 10,181,000), capital of Rio de Janeiro state, SE Brazil, on Guanabara Bay of the Atlantic Ocean.
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Brazil's vast territory covers a great variety of land and climate, for although Brazil is mainly in the tropics (it is crossed by the equator in the north and by the Tropic of Capricorn in the south), the southern part of the great central upland is cool and yields the produce of temperate lands. Most of Brazil's large cities are on the Atlantic coast or the banks of the great rivers.

The rain forests of the AmazonAmazon,
Port. Amazonas , world's second longest river, c.3,900 mi (6,280 km) long, formed by the junction in N Peru's Andes Mts. of two major headstreams, the Ucayali and the shorter Marañón.
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 River basin occupy all the north and north central portions of Brazil. With the opening of the interior in the 1970s and 80s, these rain forests were heavily cut and burned for industrial purposes, farming, and grazing land. Beginning in the late 1980s, popular international movements, along with changes in government policy, began to reduce the rate of deforestation, but by the mid-1990s extensive burning was again occurring. New policies appeared to slow deforestation in the early 21st cent., but it reemerged as a significant problem in late 2007.

The Amazon region includes the states of AmazonasAmazonas
, state (1996 pop. 2,390,102), 604,032 sq mi (1,564,445 sq km), NW Brazil. The capital is Manaus.
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, ParáPará
, state (1996 pop. 5,552,783), 474,896 sq mi (1,229,981 sq km), N Brazil, in the lower Amazon River basin bordering on the Guianas and the Atlantic Ocean. Belém is the capital.
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, AcreAcre
, state (1990 est. pop. 1,125,100), 58,915 sq mi (152,590 sq km), W Brazil, on the borders of Peru and Bolivia. Rio Branco is the capital.
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, AmapáAmapá
, state (1991 pop. 373,994), 53,013 sq mi (137,304 sq km), extreme N Brazil, bounded on the N by French Guiana and the Atlantic Ocean. Macapá is the capital. Fishing is an important activity in Amapá; nuts and timber are produced.
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, RoraimaRoraima
, state (1996 pop. 247,724), 88,843 sq mi (230,103 sq km), NW Brazil, on the border of Venezuela and Guyana. Boa Vista is the capital. Located almost entirely in the Guiana Highlands, the region is drained by the Rio Branco.
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, and RondôniaRondônia
, state (1996 pop. 1,132,692), 93,839 sq mi (243,043 sq km), NW Brazil, on the border with Bolivia. Pôrto Velho is the capital. Rain forests still cover much of the state, although by the 1980s deforestation had begun to emerge as a serious environmental
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; its chief city is ManausManaus
, city (1996 pop. 1,158,265), capital of Amazonas state, NW Brazil, on the Rio Negro. It is the chief commercial and cultural center of the upper Amazon region and an important river port, with floating docks that can accommodate oceangoing vessels, including cruise ships.
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. Although it is not as developed as other parts of Brazil, the Amazon region produces timber, rubber, and other forest products such as Brazil nuts and pharmaceutical plants. Gold mining, ecotourism, and fishing are also important. At the mouth of the Amazon is the city of BelémBelém
or Pará
, city (1996 pop. 1,142,258), capital of Pará state, N Brazil, on the Pará River. Belém, the chief port of the vast Amazon River basin, handles the Amazonian produce (chiefly Brazil nuts, aluminum, cassava, and pepper)
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, chief port of N Brazil.

Southeast of the Amazon mouth is the great seaward outthrust of Brazil, the region known as the Northeast. The states of MaranhãoMaranhão
, state (1996 pop. 5,218,442), 126,897 sq mi (328,663 sq km), NE Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is São Luís (also known as Maranhão).
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 and PiauíPiauí
, state (1991 pop. 2,582,137), 96,886 sq mi (250,935 sq km), NE Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean. Teresina is the capital.
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 form a transitional zone noted for its many babassu and carnauba palms. The Northeast proper—including the states of CearáCeará
, state (1996 pop. 6,803,567), 57,149 sq mi (148,015 sq km), c.377,460 sq mi (145,700 sq km), NE Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean. Fortaleza (sometimes called Ceará) is the capital.
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, Rio Grande do NorteRio Grande do Norte
, state (1996 pop. 2,415,567), 20,469 sq mi (53,015 sq km), NE Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean. Natal is the capital.
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, ParaíbaParaíba
, state (1991 pop. 3,201,114), 21,765 sq mi (56,371 sq km), NE Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is João Pessoa. The state extends inland from the Atlantic to the semiarid plateau of the interior (the sertão).
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, PernambucoPernambuco
, state (1991 pop. 7,127,855), 37,946 sq mi (98,280 sq km), NE Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is Recife (also called Pernambuco).
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, AlagoasAlagoas
[Port.,=lagoons], state (1990 pop. 2,522,150), 10,707 sq mi (27,331 sq km), NE Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean. Maceió is the capital.
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, SergipeSergipe
, state (1996 pop. 1,617,368), 8,321 sq mi (21,551 sq km), NE Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean. Aracaju is the capital.
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, and the northern part of BahiaBahia
, state (1991 pop. 11,867,991), 216,612 sq mi (559,921 sq km), E Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean. Salvador (also called Bahia) is the capital.
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—was the center of the great sugar culture that for centuries dominated Brazil. The Northeast has also contributed much to the literature and culture of Brazil. In these states the general pattern is a narrow coastal plain (formerly supporting the sugarcane plantations and now given over to diversified subtropical crops) and a semiarid interior, or sertãosertão
[Port.,=backlands], semiarid hinterland of NE Brazil; c.250,000 sq mi (647,500 sq km). Its characteristic landscape is the caatinga, or thorny scrub forest. The chief occupation of the region is stock raising.
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, subject to recurrent droughts. This region has been the object of vigorous reclamation efforts by the government.

The "bulge" of Brazil reaches its turning point at the Cape of São Roque. To the northeast lie the islands of Fernando de NoronhaFernando de Noronha
, group of 21 islands, c.10 sq mi (26 sq km), in the Atlantic Ocean, c.225 mi (360 km) off the northeast coast of Brazil. A federal territory of Brazil from 1942 to 1988, when it was reannexed to the state of Pernambuco, it is administered as a state district
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, and to the south is the port of NatalNatal
, city (1991 pop. 606,887), capital of Rio Grande do Norte state, NE Brazil, just above the mouth of the Potengi River. A modern city that has retained its colonial flavor and is beautifully situated among white palm-studded beaches, Natal attracts many tourists.
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. South of the "corner" of Brazil, the characteristic pattern of S Brazilian geography becomes notable: the narrow and interrupted coastal lowlands are bordered on the west by an escarpment, which in some places reaches the sea. Above the escarpment is the great Brazilian plateau, which tapers off in the southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, where it is succeeded by the plains of the Río de la Plata country. The escarpment itself appears from the sea as a mountain range, generally called the Serra do Mar [coast range], and the plateau is interrupted by mountainous regions, such as that in Bahia, which separates E Bahia from the valley of the São Francisco River.

The chief cities of the Northeast are the ports of RecifeRecife
[Port.,=reef], city (1991 pop. 1,298,229), capital of Pernambuco state, NE Brazil, a port on the Atlantic Ocean. It is also called Pernambuco by foreigners. The chief urban center of NE Brazil, it lies partly on the mainland and partly on an island.
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 in Pernambuco and SalvadorSalvador
or Bahia
, formerly São Salvador
, city (1991 pop. 2,075,273), capital of Bahia state, E Brazil, a port on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the commercial center of a fertile crescent (the Recôncavo
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 in Bahia. There are a number of excellent harbors farther south: VitóriaVitória
, city (1996 pop. 263,708), capital of Espírito Santo state, E Brazil, on an island in Espírito Santo Bay of the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of Brazil's chief ore ports and is linked by rail with rich iron deposits at Itabira, in Minas Gerais state.
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 in Espírito Santo; Rio de Janeiro, the former capital, one of the most beautiful and most capacious harbors in the world; SantosSantos
, city (1996 pop. 412,288), São Paulo state, SE Brazil, on the island of São Vicente in the Atlantic just off the mainland. It is 40 mi (64 km) SE of the city of São Paulo, with which it is linked by rail and by the Via Anchieta highway.
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, the port of São Paulo and the one of the greatest coffee ports in the world; and Pôrto AlegrePôrto Alegre
, city (1991 pop. 1,263,403), capital of Rio Grande do Sul state, SE Brazil, on the Guaíba River. One of the chief industrial and commercial centers of Brazil, it is also a major river port, exporting the products of the rich agricultural and pastoral
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 in Rio Grande do Sul.

In the east and southeast is the heavily populated region of Brazil—the states that in the 19th and 20th cent. received the bulk of European immigrants and took hegemony away from the old Northeast. The state of Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro
[Port.,=river of January], city (1990 pop. 5,533,011; 1995 metropolitan area est. pop. 10,181,000), capital of Rio de Janeiro state, SE Brazil, on Guanabara Bay of the Atlantic Ocean.
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, with the great steel center of Volta RedondaVolta Redonda
, city (1996 pop. 228,939), Rio de Janeiro state, E Brazil, on the Paraíba River. Its proximity to sources of hydroelectricity and basic raw materials and to the industrial centers of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo favored its selection as the site of a
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, is heavily industrialized. Neighboring São PauloSão Paulo
, state (1996 pop. 34,055,715), 95,713 sq mi (247,897 sq km), SE Brazil. It is Brazil's most populous and economically important state. The capital is the city of

São Paulo, (1996 pop. 9,816,776), on the Tietê River.
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 state has even more industry, as well as extensive agriculture. The city of São Paulo, on the plateau, has continued the vigorous and aggressive development that marked the region in the 17th and 18th cent., when the paulistas went out in the famed bandeiras (raids), searching for slaves and gold and opening the rugged interior. They were largely responsible for the development of the gold and diamond mines of Minas GeraisMinas Gerais
[Port.,=various mines], state (1996 pop. 16,660,691), 226,707 sq mi (587,171 sq km), E Brazil. The capital is Belo Horizonte. Minas Gerais continues to produce more than half of Brazil's mineral wealth. Gold was discovered at the end of the 17th cent.
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 state, the second most populous state in Brazil, and for the building of its old mining center of Vila Rica (Ouro PrêtoOuro Prêto
[Port.,=black gold], city (1996 pop. 61,606), Minas Gerais state, E Brazil. Founded as Vila Rica in the gold rush near the end of the 17th cent., it became a prosperous 18th-century mining town, a cultural center, and the chief seat of the abortive move for
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), succeeded by Belo HorizonteBelo Horizonte
[Port.,=beautiful horizon], city (1996 pop. 2,091,770), capital of Minas Gerais state, E Brazil. The distribution and processing center of a rich agricultural and mining region, Belo Horizonte is the nucleus of a burgeoning industrial complex; its chief industries
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 as capital. Minas has some of the finest iron reserves in the world, as well as other mineral wealth, and has become industrialized.

Settlement also spread from São Paulo southward, particularly in the 19th and early 20th cent. when coffee from São Paulo's terra roxa [purple soil] had become the basis of Brazilian wealth, and coffee growing spread to ParanáParaná
, state (1996 pop. 8,985,981), 77,048 sq mi (199,554 sq km), S Brazil, on the borders of Paraguay and Argentina and the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is Curitiba. After coffee, the principal crops are tea, peanuts, and cotton.
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. That state, in the west, runs out to the "corner" where Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay meet at the natural marvel of the Iguaçu Falls on the Paraná River. The huge Itaipú Dam, built from the early 1970s through the mid-1990s by Paraguay and Brazil, provides power for most of southern Brazil. The more southern states of Santa CatarinaSanta Catarina
, state (1996 pop. 4,865,090), 37,060 sq mi (95,985 sq km), S Brazil. The capital is Florianópolis.
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 and Rio Grande do SulRio Grande do Sul
, state (1996 pop. 9,445,000), 108,951 sq mi (282,183 sq km), S Brazil, bordering on Argentina and Uruguay and on the Atlantic Ocean. Pôrto Alegre is the capital.
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, developed to a large extent by German and Slavic immigrants, are primarily cattle-raising areas with increasing industrial importance. Frontier development is continuing in central Brazil. The state of Mato GrossoMato Grosso
[Port.,=thick forest], state (1996 pop. 2,227,983), 348,038 sq mi (901,420 sq km), central and W Brazil. The capital is Cuiabá.
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 is still largely devoted to stock raising. The transcontinental railroad from Bolivia spans the southern part of the state. The federal district of Brasília was carved out of the neighboring plateau state of GoiásGoiás
, state (1996 pop. 4,501,538), 211,941 sq mi (548,927 sq km), central Brazil. Goiânia is the capital. The economy of Goiás is largely agricultural. Its population has increased dramatically since 1950. Tin, gold, diamonds, and quartz are found nearby.
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, to the east, and the national capital was transferred to the planned city of Brasília in 1960.


Brazil has the largest population in South America and is the fifth most populous country in the world. The people are diverse in origin, and Brazil often boasts that the new "race" of Brazilians is a successful amalgam of African, European, and indigenous strains, a claim that is truer in the social than the political or economic realm. Not quite half the population is of European descent, while more than 40% are of mixed African and European ancestry. Portuguese is the official language and nearly universal; English is widely taught as a second language. Most of the estimated 350,000 to 550,000 indigenous peoples (chiefly of Tupí or GuaraníGuaraní
, indigenous group living in the eastern lowland area of South America, related to the Tupí of the Rio São Francisco and the Tupinambá on the Atlantic coast.
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 linguistic stock) are found in the rain forests of the Amazon River basin; 12% of Brazil's land has been set aside as indigenous areas. About 75% of the population is at least nominally Roman Catholic; there is a growing Protestant minority.


Brazil has one of the world's largest economies, with well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors. Vast disparities remain, however, in the country's distribution of land and wealth. Roughly one fifth of the workforce is involved in agriculture. The major commercial crops are coffee (Brazil is the world's largest producer and exporter), citrus fruit (especially juice oranges, of which Brazil also is the world's largest producer), soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, cotton, tobacco, and bananas. Cattle, pigs, and sheep are the most numerous livestock, and Brazil is a major beef and poultry exporter. Timber is also important, although much is illegally harvested.

Brazil has vast mineral wealth, including iron ore (it is the world's largest producer), tin, quartz, chrome ore, manganese, industrial diamonds, gem stones, gold, nickel, bauxite, uranium, and platinum. Offshore petroleum and natural gas deposits discovered in the early 21st cent. could also make the nation a significant oil and gas producer, but development has been slow and below expectations. There is extensive food processing, and the leading manufacturing industries produce textiles, shoes, chemicals, steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, and machinery. Most of Brazil's electricity comes from water power, and it possesses extensive untapped hydroelectric potential, particularly in the Amazon basin.

In addition to coffee, Brazil's exports include transportation equipment, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, motor vehicles, concentrated orange juice, beef, and tropical hardwoods. Machinery, electrical and transportation equipment, chemical products, oil, and electronics are major imports. Most trade is with China, the United States, Argentina, and Germany. Brazil is a member of MercosurMercosur
or Mercosul,
officially the Common Market of the South, Latin American trade organization established in 1991 to increase economic cooperation among the countries of E South America.
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Brazil is governed under the 1988 constitution as amended. The president, who is elected by popular vote for a four-year term (and may serve two terms), is both head of state and head of government. There is a bicameral legislature consisting of an upper Federal Senate and a lower Chamber of Deputies. The 81 senators are elected for eight years and the 513 deputies are elected for four years. The president may unilaterally intervene in state affairs. Administratively, the country is divided into 26 states and one federal district (Brasília); each state has its own governor and legislature. The main political parties are the Brazilian Democratic Movement party, the Liberal Front party (now known as the Democrats party), the Democratic Labor party, the Brazilian Social Democracy party, and the Workers party.


Early History

There is evidence suggesting possible human habitation in Brazil more than 30,000 years ago, and scholars have found artifacts, including cave paintings, that all agree date back at least 11,000 years. By the time Europeans arrived there was a relatively small indigenous population, but the archaeological record indicates that densely populated settlements had previously existed in some areas; smallpox and other European diseases are believed to have decimated these settlements prior to extensive European exploration. The indigenous peoples that survived can be classified into two main groups, a partially sedentary population that spoke the Tupian language and had similar cultural patterns, and those that moved from place to place in the vast land. It is estimated that approximately a million indigenous people were scattered throughout the territory.

Whether or not Brazil was known to Portuguese navigators in the 15th cent. is still an unsolved problem, but the coast was visited by the Spanish mariner Vicente Yáñez Pinzón (see under Pinzón, Martín AlonsoPinzón, Martín Alonso
d.1493, Spanish navigator. The commander of the Pinta on Columbus's first voyage to the New World in 1492, he was already an experienced seaman and an influential citizen of Palos de la Frontera.
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) before the Portuguese under Pedro Alvares CabralCabral, Pedro Alvares
, c.1467–c.1520, Portuguese navigator. A friend of Vasco da Gama, in 1500 he was sent out by Manuel I as head of a fleet destined for India. Bartolomeu Dias was one of his officers.
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 in 1500 claimed the land, which came within the Portuguese sphere as defined in the Treaty of TordesillasTordesillas, Treaty of
, 1494, agreement signed at Tordesillas, Spain, by which Spain and Portugal divided the non-Christian world into two zones of influence. In principle the treaty followed the papal bull issued in 1493 by Pope Alexander VI, which fixed the demarcation line
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 (1494). Little was done to support the claim, but the name Brazil is thought to derive from the Portuguese word for the red color of brazilwood [brasa=glowing coal], which the early visitors gathered. The indigenous people taught the explorers about the cultivation of corn, the construction of hammocks, and the use of dugout canoes. The first permanent settlement was not made until 1532, and that was at São VicenteSão Vicente
, city (1996 pop. 279,620), São Paulo state, SE Brazil, off the mainland on an island in the Atlantic. It was the first permanent Portuguese settlement (1532) in Brazil and during the 16th and parts of the 17th cent.
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 in São Paulo. Development of the Northeast was begun about the same time under Martím Afonso de SousaSousa, Martim Afonso de
, 1500?–1564, Portuguese colonial administrator. A military man, he was commissioned in 1530 to drive the French corsairs from the Brazilian coasts and to establish colonies.
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 as first royal governor. Salvador was founded in 1539, and 12 captaincies were established, stretching inland from the Brazilian coast.

Portuguese claims, somewhat lackadaisically administered, did not go unchallenged. French Huguenots established themselves (1555) on an island in Rio de Janeiro harbor and were routed in 1567 by a force under Mem de Sá, Mem de
, d. 1572, Portuguese colonial official, governor-general of Brazil (1557?–1572). He drove (1567) the French colony from Guanabara Bay and founded the city of Rio de Janeiro at its site.
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, who then founded the city of Rio de Janeiro. The Dutch made their first attack on Salvador (Bahia) in 1624, and in 1633 the vigorous Dutch West India Company was able to capture and hold not only Salvador and Recife but the whole of the Northeast; the region was ably ruled by John Maurice of NassauJohn Maurice of Nassau,
1604–79, Dutch general and colonial administrator, a prince of the house of Nassau-Siegen; grandnephew of William the Silent. The Dutch West India Company appointed him (1636) governor-general of its newly acquired possessions in Brazil.
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. No aid was forthcoming from Portugal, which had been united with Spain in 1580 and did not regain its independence until 1640. It was a naval expedition from Rio itself that drove out the Dutch in 1654. The success of the colonists helped to build their self-confidence.

Farther south, the bandeirantes from São Paulo had been trekking westward since the beginning of the 17th cent., thrusting far into Spanish territory and extending the western boundaries of Brazil, which were not delimited until the negotiations of the Brazilian diplomat Rio BrancoRio Branco, José Maria da Silva Paranhos, barão do
, 1845–1912, Brazilian statesman and diplomat. He was consul in Liverpool from 1876 to 1893, when he was appointed to plead Brazil's case in the border dispute with Argentina arbitrated by President Grover
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 in the late 19th and early 20th cent. The Portuguese also had ambitions to control the Banda Oriental (present Uruguay) and in the 18th cent. came into conflict with the Spanish there; the matter was not completely settled even by the independence of Uruguay in 1828.

The sugar culture came to full flower in the Northeast, where the plantations were furnishing most of the sugar demanded by Europe. Unsuccessful at exploiting the natives for the backbreaking labor of the cane fields and sugar refineries, European colonists imported Africans in large numbers as slaves. Dependence on a one-crop economy was lessened by the development of the mines in the interior, particularly those of Minas Gerais, where gold was discovered late in the 17th cent. Mining towns sprang up, and Ouro Prêto became in the 18th cent. a major intellectual and artistic center, boasting such artists as the sculptor AleijadinhoAleijadinho
[Port.,=little cripple], 1730–1814, Brazilian sculptor. His real name was Antônio Francisco Lisboa. Although he was maimed in hands and feet, he is known for the brilliance of his church sculpture.
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. The center of development began to swing south, and Rio de Janeiro, increasingly important as an export center, supplanted Salvador as the capital of Brazil in 1763.

Ripples from intellectual stirrings in Europe that preceded the French Revolution and the successful American Revolution brought on an abortive plot for independence among a small group of intellectuals in Minas; the plot was discovered and the leader, TiradentesTiradentes
, 1748–92, Brazilian patriot. His real name was José Joaquim da Silva Xavier. He gained his nickname, which means "tooth-puller," working as a healer in his youth. He later became an army officer.
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, was put to death. When Napoleon's forces invaded Portugal, the king of Portugal, John VIJohn VI,
1769–1826, king of Portugal (1816–26), son of Maria I and Peter III. When his mother became insane, John assumed the reins of government (1792), although he did not formally become regent until 1799.
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, fled (1807) to Brazil, and on his arrival (1808) in Rio de Janeiro that city became the capital of the Portuguese Empire. The ports of the colony were freed of mercantilist restrictions, and Brazil became a kingdom, of equal status with Portugal. In 1821 the king returned to Portugal, leaving his son behind as regent of Brazil. New policies by Portugal toward Brazil, tightening colonial restrictions, stirred up wide unrest.

Independence and the Birth of Modern Brazil

The young prince eventually acceded to popular sentiment, and advised by the Brazilian José BonifácioBonifácio, José
, 1763–1838, Brazilian statesman and scientist. He studied in Europe and gained international fame as a geologist before returning (1819) to Brazil.
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, on Sept. 7, 1822, on the banks of the Ipiranga River, allegedly uttered the fateful cry of independence. He became Pedro IPedro I
(Dom Pedro de Alcântara) , 1798–1834, first emperor of Brazil (1822–31); son of John VI of Portugal. Dom Pedro was a child when the Portuguese royal family, fleeing from Napoleon's conquering French army, left Portugal for Brazil.
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, emperor of Brazil. Pedro's rule, however, gradually kindled increasing discontent in Brazil, and in 1831 he had to abdicate in favor of his son, Pedro IIPedro II
(Dom Pedro II de Alcântara), 1825–91, emperor of Brazil (1831–89). At the age of five, he succeeded under a regency when his father, Pedro I, abdicated. He was declared of age in 1840.
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The reign of this popular emperor saw the foundation of modern Brazil. Ambitions directed toward the south were responsible for involving the country in the war (1851–52) against the Argentine dictator, Juan Manuel de Rosas, and again in the War of the Triple Alliance (1865–70) against Paraguay. Brazil drew little benefit from either; far more important were the rise of postwar discontent in the military and beginnings of the large-scale European immigration that was to make SE Brazil the economic heart of the nation. Railroads and roads were constructed, and today the region has an excellent transportation system.

The plantation culture of the Northeast was already crumbling by the 1870s, and the growth of the movement to abolish slavery, spurred by such men as Antônio de Castro Alves and Joaquim NabucoNabuco, Joaquim
, 1849–1910, Brazilian writer, abolitionist, and diplomat. A parliamentary deputy in imperial times, he was perhaps the strongest single force in bringing about the abolition of slavery (1888).
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, threatened it even more. The slave trade had been abolished in 1850, and a law for gradual emancipation was passed in 1871. In 1888 while Pedro II was in Europe and his daughter IsabelIsabel,
1846–1921, princess imperial of Brazil; eldest daughter of Pedro II. She acted as regent in her father's absence. Her marriage to the comte d'Eu added to her own unpopularity and probably contributed to the growing republican sentiment of her time.
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 was governing Brazil, slavery was completely abolished. The planters thereupon withdrew their support of the empire, enabling republican forces, aided by a military at odds with the emperor, to triumph.

In 1889 the republic was established by a bloodless revolution, with Marshal Manuel Deodoro da FonsecaFonseca, Manuel Deodoro da
, 1827–92, first president of Brazil (1891). A leader of the discontented militarists who helped overturn the empire (Nov., 1889), he headed the provisional government that established the republic.
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 as its first president. The rivalry of the states and the power of the army in government, especially under Fonseca's unpopular Jacobinist successor, Marshal Floriando PeixotoPeixoto, Floriano
, 1842–95, Brazilian marshal and statesman, president of Brazil (1891–94). He took part in the establishment of the republic and was chosen vice president under Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca.
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, caused the political situation to remain uneasy. The expanding market for Brazilian coffee and more particularly the wild-rubber boom brought considerable wealth as the 19th cent. ended.

Brazil in the Twentieth Century

The creation of rubber plantations in Southeast Asia brought the wild-rubber boom to a halt and hurt the economy of the Amazon region after 1912. Brazil sided with the Allies in World War I, declaring war in Oct., 1917, and shared in the peace settlement, but later (1926) it withdrew from the League of Nations. Measures to reverse the country's growing economic dependence on coffee were taken by Getúlio VargasVargas, Getúlio Dornelles
, 1883–1954, Brazilian statesman, twice president (1930–45, 1951–54). The popular governor of Rio Grande do Sul (1928–30), he ran for the presidency in 1930, was defeated, charged fraud, and led a successful revolt.
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, who came into power through a coup in 1930. By changing the constitution and establishing a type of corporative state he centralized government (the Estado Nôvo—new state) and began the forced development of basic industries and diversification of agriculture. His mild dictatorial rule, although it aroused opposition, reflected a new consciousness of nationality, which was expressed in the paintings of Cândido PortinariPortinari, Cândido
, 1903–62, Brazilian painter. He studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro. In 1928 a European fellowship enabled him to visit France, Italy, Spain, and England.
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 and the music of Heitor Villa-LobosVilla-Lobos, Heitor
, 1887–1959, Brazilian composer, educated in Brazil but self-taught in composition. He developed an interest in Brazilian folk music, which became the strongest influence on his works.
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World War II brought a new boom (chiefly in rubber and minerals) to Brazil, which joined the Allies in 1942, after coming close to backing Germany, and began taking a larger part in inter-American affairs. In 1945 the army forced Vargas to resign, and Gen. Eurico Gaspar Dutra was elected president. Brazil's economic growth was plagued by inflation, and this issue enabled Vargas to be elected in 1950. His second administration was marred by economic problems and political infighting, and in 1954 he committed suicide. Juscelino KubitschekKubitschek, Juscelino
, 1902–76, president of Brazil (1956–61). A surgeon and political centrist who served as mayor of Belohorizonte and governor of Minas Gerais, he was elected president in 1955.
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 was elected president in 1955. Under Kubitschek the building of Brasília and an ambitious program of highway and dam construction were undertaken. The inflation problem persisted.

On Apr. 21, 1960, Brasília became Brazil's official capital, signaling a new commitment to develop the interior of the country. In 1960 Jânio da Silva QuadrosQuadros, Jânio da Silva
, 1917–92, president of Brazil (Jan.–Aug., 1961). A schoolteacher and lawyer, he served as mayor of the city of (1953–54) and as governor of the state of São Paulo (1955–59).
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 was elected by the greatest popular margin in Brazilian history, but his autocratic, unpredictable manner aroused great opposition and undermined his attempts at reform. He resigned within seven months. Vice President João GoulartGoulart, João
, 1918–76, president of Brazil (1961–64). A rancher and attorney, he served as minister of labor, industry, and commerce (1953–54) and as vice president (1956–61).
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 was his successor. Goulart's leftist administration was weakened by political strife and seemingly insurmountable economic chaos, and in 1964 he was deposed by a military insurrection. Congress elected Gen. Castelo BrancoCastelo Branco, Humberto
, 1900–1967, president of Brazil (1964–67). An army officer, he served as chief of staff of the Brazilian army before participating in the coup that ousted President João Goulart in Apr., 1964.
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 to fill out his term. Goulart's supporters and other leftists were removed from power and influence throughout Brazil and, in 1965, the president's extraordinary powers were extended and all political parties were dissolved.

A new constitution was adopted in 1967, and Marshall Costa e SilvaCosta e Silva, Artur da
, 1902–69, president of Brazil (1967–69). An army general, he participated in the 1964 coup that deposed President João Goulart.
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 succeeded Castelo Branco. In 1968, Costa e Silva recessed Congress and assumed one-man rule. In 1969, Gen. Emílio Garrastazú Médici succeeded Costa e Silva. Terrorism of the right and left became a feature of Brazilian life. The military police responded to guerrilla attacks with widespread torture and the formation of death squads to eradicate dissidents. This violence abated somewhat in the mid-1970s. Gen. Ernesto Geisel succeeded Médici as president in 1974. By this time, Brazil had become the world's largest debtor.

In 1977 Geisel dismissed Congress and instituted a series of constitutional and electoral reforms, and in 1978 he repealed all emergency legislation. His successor, Gen. João Baptista de Oliveira FigueiredoFigueiredo, João Baptista de Oliveira
, 1918–99, Brazilian general and politician, president of Brazil (1979–85). He was named (1974) to head the national intelligence service and in 1979 was chosen to succeed Ernesto Geisel as president.
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, presided over a period (1979–85) of tremendous industrial development and increasing movement toward democracy. Despite these improvements, economic and social problems continued and the military maintained control of the government. Civilian government was restored in 1985 under José SarneySarney de Araújo Costa, José,
1930–, Brazilian politician, president of Brazil (1985–90), b. José Ribamar Ferreira de Araújo Costa.
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, and illiterate citizens were given the right to vote. Sarney's reforms were initially successful, but increasing inflation brought antigovernment protests.

In 1988 a new constitution came into force, reducing the workweek and providing for freedom of assembly and the right to strike, and in 1990 President Fernando Collor de MelloCollor de Mello, Fernando
, 1949–, president of Brazil (1990–92). In 1990, he became the youngest president of Brazil following the first public election in 29 years.
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 was elected by popular vote. As a result of increasing international pressure, Collor sponsored programs to decrease the rate of deforestation in Amazon rain forests and to protect the autonomy of the indigenous Yanomami. In 1992, amid charges of wide-scale corruption within his government, Collor became the first elected president to be impeached by the Brazilian congress; he resigned as his trial began, and was succeeded by his vice president, Itamar Augusto FrancoFranco, Itamar Augusto,
1930–2011, Brazilian political leader. He began his political career as mayor (1966–74) of his hometown, Juiz de Fora, and was subsequently (1974, 1982) elected to the Brazilian senate. In 1998 he became governor of Minas Gerais.
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. In 1994 the supreme court cleared Collor of corruption charges, but he was barred from public office until 2001.

Fernando Henrique CardosoCardoso, Fernando Henrique
, 1931–, Brazilian sociologist and politician, president of Brazil (1995–2002), b. Rio de Janeiro. Originally a sociology professor and opponent of Brazil's military dictators, he lived in exile from 1964 to 1968.
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 was elected president in Oct., 1994, and took office in Jan., 1995. The Cardoso government reduced state controls on the economy and privatized government-owned businesses in telecommunications, oil, mining, and electricity. With the help of a new stable currency, Cardoso was able to bring inflation under control; he also signed decrees expropriating new lands from private estates for redistribution to the landless poor.

Reelected in 1998, Cardoso was faced with an economic crisis as budget deficits and a decline in foreign exchange reserves led to currency devaluations and increased interest rates. Late in 1998, he appealed to the International Monetary Fund, which assembled a $42 billion aid package for the country. Brazil then began implementing a program of stringent economic policies that restored investor confidence by mid-1999 and led to economic growth. In May, 2000, Cardoso signed a fiscal responsibility law that limited spending by the states; the legislation was a result of fiscal crises in several Brazilian states.

A series of corruption scandals that undermined the governing coalition in early 2001 was followed by an energy crisis that led the government to order widespread cuts in electrical consumption from May until Mar., 2002; the crisis resulted from a drought that reduced the water available to produce hydropower and a decade-long increase in the demand for electricity. Popular dissatisfaction with economic austerities helped fuel the election of Lula da Silvada Silva, Luiz Inácio
, 1945–, Brazilian labor leader and politician, known as Lula, b. Vargem Grande (now Caetés), Pernambuco. Born into a poor family, da Silva worked as a child to help support the household.
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, of the opposition Workers' party (PT), to the presidency in 2002. Da Silva's subsequent inauguration also marked the increasing stability of Brazilian democracy; it was the first transfer of power between elected presidents since 1961. The new president did not deviate greatly from his predecessor's economic program, however, which alienated many supporters on the left.

Da Silva's government was hurt by a campaign finance scandal in early 2004 and by an increase in unemployment, and suffered losses in popular and congressional support, although economic growth in 2004 was strong and unemployment subsequently decreased. In June, 2005, the president was further hurt PT officials were accused of buying the votes of some of its congressional coalition members. The charges, made by the leader of a party in coalition with the president, led to the resignation of the president's chief of staff (who was expelled from the congress late in the year) and of the Workers' party leader and treasurer and forced the president to reshuffle his cabinet to shore up coalition support for his government. A separate bribery scandal led to the resignation of the speaker of the House in September, and in Mar., 2006, the finance minister resigned when he also was ensnared in a bribery scandal. Although the president weathered the scandals, they led to the sidetracking of social-reform legislation he had proposed. Meanwhile, Amazonas state was hit by a severe drought in 2005 when the dry season saw much less rainfall than usual.

A weeklong outbreak of rampant gang violence and, in turn, police vengeance against the gangs erupted in mid-May, 2006, in São Paulo state when a gang sought revenge for a government attempt to break the influence of its imprisoned leaders and members. The violence exposed a variety of ills in Brazil criminal justice system, including corruption in the prisons and lawlessness among the police. São Paulo experienced outbreaks of criminal gang violence in July and August as well, and Rio de Janeiro experienced a series of gang attacks in late December.

The 2006 presidential election, in October, was inconclusive after the first round. Da Silva won a plurality, but failed to win the required majority; his campaign was hurt by the corruption scandals that affected the PT and a late-breaking dirty-tricks scandal involving his campaign organization. The runner-up, Geraldo Alckmin, the former governor of São Paulo state, saw his campaign hurt by the recent violence in the state. In the runoff at the end of the month, da Silva won handily, securing 60% of the vote. Corruption scandals continued to make news in 2007. The most prominent new cases occurred in May, when the energy minister resigned after corruption allegations against him became public and a major Brazilian newsmagazine reported that the Senate president had taken payoffs; toward the end of the year the Senate president resigned, though he remained a senator. In August, the supreme court voted to charge da Silva's former chief of staff and the former Workers' party treasurer with corruption; they and a number of others were convicted in 2012. In Jan., 2008, Brazil became a net creditor nation, in large part due to debt-reduction measures undertaken by da Silva's government. Allegations that Brazil's intelligence agency had wiretapped Brazilian officials and politicians led the president to suspend the agency chief and other officials in Sept., 2008.

In 2009 a scandal involving former president Sarney threatened da Silva's favored successor, his chief of staff Dilma Rousseff; she was accused of attempting to influence the investigation into Sarney's conduct. Rousseff weathered the charge, and went on to become PT's presidential candidate in 2010. Benefiting from da Silva's popularity (due in large part to Brazil's economic growth and government social programs), she won the presidency in October after a runoff election. She became the first woman to be elected president of Brazil. Also in 2010, a concerted government effort began to control drug-gang-related crime in Rio de Janeiro and break gang power in the slums there.

In Jan., 2011, SE Brazil, especially Rio de Janeiro state, experienced floods and devastating mudslides as a result of heavy rains; more than a thousand people died or were missing as a result of the disaster. Rousseff's chief of staff, Antonio Palocci, resigned in June, 2011, over alleged corruption; a newspaper had reported that his net worth had increased twentyfold in the past four years due to consultancy income. During 2011 corruption allegations also led five government ministers to step down as Rousseff showed less tolerance for entrenched corrupt practices than previous presidents.

Brazil's economic growth slowed beginning in 2011. In June, 2013, the sluggish economy contributed to nationwide protests lasting several weeks that were sparked by an increase in the cost of public transportation; rising consumer prices generally, congressional corruption, poor public services, and the high cost of holding the 2014 World Cup also stoked the angry demonstrations. Brazil's Congress subsequently passed a number of bills focused on issues that had led to the protests. Despite an economic slowdown and a loss of popularity, Rousseff was reelected in 2014, again after a runoff (and by a narrower margin), as the social programs sponsored by the PT won strong support from the poor. Beginning in late 2014 and continuing into 2015, the country confronted a new major corruption scandal centered on Petrobras, the national oil company, and involving construction companies and political parties; among those who came under investigation were high-ranking officials in Rousseff's administration and party as well as politicians from other parties. The scandal led at times to large antigovernment demonstrations during 2015, and the drop in the president's public standing led opposition parties to attempt to impeach her.


See G. Freyre, Order and Progress; Brazil from Monarchy to Republic (tr. 1970); F. de Azevedo, Brazilian Culture (tr. 1950, repr. 1971); E. B. Burns, A History of Brazil (2d ed. 1980); P. McDonough, Power and Ideology in Brazil (1981); T. C. Bruneau, The Church in Brazil: The Politics of Religion (1982); P. S. Falk and D. V. Fleischer, Brazil's Economic and Political Future (1988); R. P. Guirmaraes, Politics and Environment in Brazil (1991); R. Roett, The New Brazil (2010); L. Rohter, Brazil on the Rise (2010); R. Roett, The New Brazil (2011).



(Brasil), Federal Republic of Brazil (República Federativa do Brasil).

Brazil is a state in South America, occupying the eastern and central part of the continent. Its greatest extent from north to south is 4,320 km; from east to west, 4,328 km. It borders on French Guiana, Surinam (Netherlands), Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay. The length of its land borders is about 16,000 km. Brazil is bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, in which it possesses a few islands (the most important is Fernando de Noronha). The length of its coastline is 7,400 km, its area (including islands) is 8,512,000 sq km, and its population is 95.3 million (1970 estimate). Its capital is Brasilia.

Brazil is divided into 22 states, four territories, and one federal (capital) district (see Table 1).

Brazil is a federal republic. The existing constitution was adopted on Oct. 17, 1969 (the third; after the events of 1964). The constitution sharply limits political rights and freedoms, the competence of elected bodies of power, and the autonomy of states and municipalities; it provides for rigid judicial and administrative control over the activity of political parties. The constitution contains special regulations with respect to so-called national security. (It provides for capital punishment for “subversive activity.”) The National Security Council .created in accordance with the constitution of 1967, is regarded as “the supreme body, directed by the president, for the development and implementation of national security policy”; the actions of the president and members of the government are not subject to judicial review.

The president is the head of state and government and the commander in chief of the armed forces. He is elected for five years by an absolute majority (roll-call voting) of both houses of the parliament—the National Congress—from the candidates presented by the directorates of the political parties

Table 1. States and territories
 Area (sq km)Population (thousands; 1970 est.)Administrative center
Federal District (Distrito Federal)5,814441Brasilia
Acre152,589215Rio Branco
Espirito Santo45,5972,100Vitória
Guanabara1,3564,394Rio de Janeiro
Maranhão328,6633,776São Luis
Mato Grosso1,231,5491,518Cuiabá
Minas Gerais587,17212,348Belo Horizonte
Paraiba56,3722,322João Pessoa
Rio de Janeiro42,9124,856Niterói
Rio Grande do Norte53,0151,333Natal
Rio Grande do Sul282,1846,900Pôrto Alegre
Santa Catarina95,9852,877Florianópolis
São Paulo247,89817,766São Paulo
Fernando de Noronha263
Rondônia243,044129Pôrto Velho
Roraima230,10446Boa Vista

a day before the election. The powers of the president are very broad—he directs the government, appoints and replaces ministers and other high officials, and has the right of legislative initiative, veto, the promulgation of edicts (laws), the proclamation of a state of siege, and so on.

The supreme organ of legislative power is the parliament (National Congress), which consists of two houses—the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. (The term of office of deputies is four years; of senators, eight years.) The constitution provides for the transfer of certain of congress’ powers to the head of state under the system of delegated legislation. The constitution proclaims universal suffrage, and the right to vote is granted to all citizens at least 18 years of age; however, literacy qualifications that eliminate a large portion of the population from participation in the elections have been established.

The system of governmental bodies of the states in many respects copies the federal system. Each state has its own constitution and a representative organ—the legislative assembly (as a rule, unicameral). The state is headed by an elected governor, who is in charge of the finances of the state, appoints and replaces department heads, and commands the police. Prefects and members of the municipal councils are elected by direct vote.

The judicial system of Brazil includes federal courts (the Supreme Federal Court, federal appellate courts, military tribunals, courts for electoral affairs, and labor courts) and state courts. The federal attorney’s office is a part of the judicial system; the participation of its representatives at all stages of the judicial process is compulsory.


The northern part of Brazil is located essentially in equatorial latitudes and is made up of low-lying or slightly elevated plains with a dense cover of evergreen forests. The center and south are located in subequatorial and tropical latitudes; middle-altitude relief of the Brazilian Highlands and various types of permanently and seasonally moist forests and savannas predominate. The extreme southeast extends into the subtropics.

Coasts In the north the coast is low-lying and finely dissected, with inlets—the mouths of the Amazon, Turiacu, Mearim, and Itapecurú rivers. In the northeast the coasts are leveled, with marine terraces and the deep Todos os Santos Bay; the coasts are fringed with coral reefs in many places. In the east the coast is rocky and erosional, with ingressive inlets, including Guanabara at Rio de Janeiro. In the extreme southeast the coast is low-lying and lagoonal, with the large lagoon-lake Patos.

Terrain The Amazon Basin (Amazonia) is located in the north of the country—a deep tectonic downwarp filled with sedimentary rock. In the north, the depression gradually changes into the hilly socle plains of the southern part of the Guiana Highlands (elevation 150–700 m, individual mesa peaks up to 1,200 m), which are fringed along the state’s border by the steep cliffs of the Serra Imeri, Serra Parima, and Serra Pacaraima (Mount Roraima, 2,772 m). Almost all of the rest of the country is occupied by the Brazilian Highlands, which rise gently to the south and southeast and plunge steeply toward the narrow rim of the coastal Atlantic depression. Fringe fault-block mountain massifs (Serra do Mar, Serra da Mantiqueira, and others) reach altitudes of 2,890 m (Mount Bandeira). To the west of the Atlantic massifs and the residual ridge (baddeleyite)—the Serra do Espinhaço—a belt of stratified and monoclinal-stratified plains (the Paraná lava plateau and others) stretches out on the site of tectonic troughs. In the center and in the north, socle plateaus and plains alternating with mesas (chapadas) predominate. The accumulative depression of the upper reaches of the Paraguay River—the Pantanal—lies within Brazil in the west.

Geological structure and mineral resources The territory of Brazil is located within the Precambrian South American (Brazilian) Platform, whose substructure is formed by an extremely thick complex of rocks, diverse in their composition and degree of metamorphism (gneisses, amphibolites, green shales, marbles, and quartzites), permeated by granitoid and other intrusive rocks. Precambrian rocks crop out to the floor surface within the areas of vast uplifts: in the north, the Guiana shield; in the west, the Guaporé rise; and in the east, the Sao Francisco rise. The cores of these uplifts are composed of aggregates of rocks of the early Precambrian period. Around their peripheries stretches a belt of folded late Precambrian rocks of the mio and eugeosynclinal type—formations of the Baikal period. In addition to the rises there are vast tectonic basins (syneclises); within their boundaries, the Precambrian crystalline substructure is submerged to great depth and covered over by thick strata of porous Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic sedimentary rocks. The Amazon, Parnaiba, and Paraná are such syneclises. A system of young peripheral troughs stretches along the eastern and northeastern coast; they are filled with strata of sedimentary Mesozoic and vulcanogenic-sedimentary Cenozoic rocks of thicknesses of 2,000–4,000 m (Sāo Luís, Bahia, and others).

Late Precambrian, gently folded formations, developed in large troughs (conglomerates, vulcanites, coarse sandstones, and sometimes weakly metamorphized limestones), and unfolded layers of Silurian to Cenozoic rock stand out in the composition of the cover of the platform. Marine deposits were the most developed in the Devonian period. In the Carboniferous and Jurassic periods, regression was observed, with the establishment of continental conditions. The Jurassic-early Cretaceous stage was marked by intensive volcanism and intrusive activity—from the thick covers of basalts of Paraná (trap rocks) to sills and dikes. A new stage of sinking and marine transgressions came in the Cretaceous era; the formation of continental series proceeded in the Cenozoic.

Deposits of poly metals, gold, iron ore (the state of Minas Gerais and others), rare metals, and manganese ores are associated with the substructure of the platform; in the weathering crust there are deposits of bauxites. In the sedimentary cover there are beds of oil (syneclises and coastal basins—the Amazon, Sāo Luís, and Bahia), coal, salt, and many other minerals.

Climate Brazil is characterized by a hot climate. The average monthly temperature varies between 16° and 29° C; only in the high eastern tracts is the average July (winter) temperature between 12° and 14° C; frosts are possible. However, the precipitation regime and the types of climate are varied. In western Amazonia there is an equatorial, humid climate (annual precipitation, 2,000–3,000 mm; ranges of average monthly temperatures, 2°–3° C); in eastern Amazonia and adjacent gentle slopes of the Guiana and Brazilian highlands the climate is subequatorial, with a dry period of up to 3–4 months (annual precipitation, 1,500–2,000 mm; on the coast, about 3,000 mm). In the center of the Brazilian Highlands and the Pantanal there is a subequatorial, summer-moist climate (annual precipitation, 1,400–2,000 mm) with large temperature ranges (particularly extreme temperatures—up to 45°–50° C). In the northeastern highlands, the quantity of precipitation decreases to 500 mm and less per year, and rains fall extremely irregularly over the years; this is a region of frequent and protracted droughts. In the eastern outskirts, the climate is tropical tradewind, hot and humid, with a short dry season and pronounced altitude zonality in the mountains. In the southern highlands the climate is perpetually humid; it is tropical on the Paraná plateau and subtropical in elevated eastern regions south of 24° S lat.

Rivers and lakes The river network is extremely dense. All of Amazonia and the southern Guiana and northern Brazilian highlands are irrigated by the system of the Amazon River. The south Brazilian plateau is irrigated by the Uruguay and Paraná rivers; the west, by the Paraguay River (a tributary of the Paraná); the east is part of the basin of the Sāo Francisco River; and the northeastern and eastern outskirts of the highlands are irrigated by short rivers that empty directly into the Atlantic Ocean (the largest is the Parnaíba River). Only the Amazon (including its western tributaries and the lower reaches of eastern tributaries) is deep and navigable throughout the year. All the rivers of the Brazilian Highlands (except the rivers of the extreme south) have sharp variations in their rates of flow, with turbulent floods (usually in the summer); they have an abundance of rapids and waterfalls (including Iguaçu on the tributary of the Paraná of the same name, Urubupunga and Sete Quedas on the Paraná, and Paulo Afonso on the São Francisco) and have large reserves of hydroelectric power; however, they are navigable only over short stretches, except for the Parnaíba and Sāo Francisco.

Soils and vegetation Forests on red lateritic (ferralitic) soils predominate in Brazil. Brazil is first in the world in its reserves of hard timber. Dense, humid equatorial evergreen forests—tropical forests, or selvas—with valuable species of trees (over 4,000 species) occupy western Amazonia; podzolized lateritic soils are developed under them. Primarily as a result of the existence of a dry season, deciduous-evergreen forests are prevalent and the process of podzolization is expressed more weakly and variably in the east of the depression and on the low slopes of the Guiana and Brazilian highlands that frame it. Similar types of soils and vegetation, but displaying altitude zonality, are characteristic of the eastern, windward, and high slopes and massifs of the Brazilian Highlands; their western slopes are primarily covered with seasonally moist forests. The central part of the highlands is occupied by savanna (campos) on red lateritic soils; in places, there is a dense crust (canga). Scrub and small-tree savannas (campos cerrados) are the most common; along the rivers, there are gallery forests, in which the Brazilian wax palm (carnauba) is particularly valuable. In the dry northeast of the highlands there is semidesert sparse forest (caatinga), made up of xerophytic and succulent trees and shrubs on red-chestnut and red-brown soils. In the uniformly moist south, evergreen leafy and mixed forests made up of coniferous Brazilian araucaria with evergreen leafy underbrush (including “Paraguayan tea”—yerba maté) on krasnozems appear again, occupying elevated plateaus south of 24° S lat.; treeless grassy savannas (campos limpos) are prevalent in declines on porous sedimentary rocks with reddish-black soils. A considerable area is swampland in the Pantanal depression.

Fauna With respect to zoogeography, the territory of Brazil belongs to the Brazilian subregion of the Neotropic region. The anteater, armadillo, mazama deer, coatí, maned wolf, various rodents, the ostrich nandu and numerous other birds, reptiles, and insects are characteristic of the central sections of the Brazilian Highlands. Animals have been extensively destroyed in the east and south of the highlands; in the north, the fauna is similar to that of the Amazon Basin.

Natural regions The South Guiana slope consists of socle plains with mesas covered by tropical rain forests, perpetually humid in the west and with an admixture of deciduous trees and patches of savanna in the east. Amazonia is the region of the Amazon Basin. The Brazilian Highlands are made up of several subregions: (1) the northern (predominantly crystalline) outskirts with a short dry period and deciduous-evergreen forests; (2) the elevated socle highlands and sandstone chapadas of the center with seasonally moist subequatorial climate and scrub savannas, campos cerrados, and stratified plains of the Parnaíba basin with palm forests; (3) the sharply arid northeast, with semidesert caatinga landscapes; (4) the mountainous windward tracts of the east and narrow attached portions of the Atlantic depression with a moist tropical climate, extensively destroyed forests, and pronounced altitude zonality; (5) the stratified plains of upper Paraná with subequatorial savanna on the right bank and tropical forest on the left bank; (6) the subtropical, perpetually humid Paraná plateau, with araucaria forests and campos limpos; and (7) the Pantanal—a part of the internal plains of the continent, the swampy depression of the upper Paraguay.

E. N. LUKASHOVA (physical geography) and A. A. BOGDANOV (geological structure)

The bulk of the population of Brazil (over 95 percent according to 1970 estimate) is made up of Brazilians. Several million immigrants from countries of Europe and Asia (Portuguese, Italians, Galicians, Spaniards, Germans, Ukrainians, Japanese, Lebanese, Syrians, and so on) also live in the country, forming national minorities. The native Indian population was largely destroyed in the period of colonization; some were subjected to assimilation. The surviving Indian tribes (belonging to the Tupi-Guaraní, Arawak, Carib, Gê, and many other language groups) are settled mainly in remote regions in the basin of the Amazon River. The state and everyday language of virtually the entire population is Portuguese (with borrowings from Indian and African languages). The dominant religion is Catholicism; there are some Protestants. African cults also survive. The official calendar is Gregorian.

Immigration achieved its largest dimensions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the period from 1850 to 1965, about 5 million people came to Brazil. From 1964 to 1968, the number of immigrants came to only 10,000–12,000 per year. The rapid increase in the size of the population (by the census of 1872, there were 9.9 million people in Brazil; by the census of 1960, there were 71 million) has proceeded primarily on the basis of natural growth, which is approximately 3 percent per year—one of the highest figures in the world.

In 1970 the economically active population was estimated at 29.5 million (31 percent of the entire population); and by the census of 1960, 22.7 million (32 percent of the entire population; 17.1 million [33 percent] in 1950). See Table 2 for the distribution of the economically active population by branches of the economy.

Table 2. Structure of the economically active population
Branches of the economy195019601970
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting57.951.746.8
Industry and construction15.915.115.3
Transportation and communications5.64.84.2

The industrial and transportation proletariat exceeds 2.5 million people (1966, estimate); there are over 1 million permanent hired workers in agriculture.

The population distribution is extremely uneven. The 16 coastal states, which occupy about one-third of the area of Brazil, contain 92 percent of the population; about one-half of the total population is concentrated in the comparatively narrow zone of the Atlantic coast, which makes up less than 9 percent of the country’s territory. Over 40 percent of the territory (the states of Amazonas, Mato Grosso, and others) has a population density of less than 1 person per sq km. Brazil still continues to be a country with a predominantly rural population. However, the process of urbanization is constantly accelerating: the city population amounted to 30.1 percent in 1940, 36.4 percent in 1950, 45.1 percent in 1960, and 46 percent in 1965. By the census of 1960, there were 372 cities with populations over 10,000, including 31 cities with populations over 100,000 (in 1950 there were 11 such cities). The most important cities (1968 estimate) are Sāo Paulo (5,685,000), Rio de Janeiro (4,207,000). Belo Horizonte (1,167,000), Recife (1,100,000), Pôrto Alegre (933,000), Salvador (892,000), Fortaleza (846,000), Curitiba (617,000), Belém (571,000), Nova Iguaçu (478,000), Brasilía (390,000), Campos (389,000), Goiânia (341,000), Santos (332,000), Niterói (304,000), Manaus (254,000), and Natal (240,000).


Brazil to the early 16th century The appearance of man on the territory of Brazil dates to the Neolithic era. Until the early 16th century, the territory of Brazil was settled by Indian tribes: the Tupi-Guaraní, Tupinambas, Botocudas, Tamoios, Coroados, and others. They were all at the stage of tribal organization and lived in small communes. The tribal aristocracy had just begun to take shape; most of the tribes were nomadic. The Tupi-Guaraní led a settled life. Priests and leaders who had some personal property, including domestic slaves, were prominent in their communes.

Under the yoke of Portugal (1500–1822) In 1500 the Portuguese navigator Pedro Cabral landed on the shores of Brazil, declaring the land he had discovered as the possession of Portugal. The Portuguese exported the valuable red pau-brasil wood (from which comes the name of the country) from Brazil. In the 1530’s, the coastal territory of Brazil was divided into 13 captaincies whose land was obtained from the king as benefices by the donat´rios—members of the Portuguese feudal nobility. In 1549 a governor-generalship was established in Brazil, with its capital at Salvador (Bahia). That same year, the Jesuits appeared in the colony. They established settlements of Indians (missions), which constituted a branch of the vast feudal organization of the Jesuit order, with elements of slavery and patriarchaltribal relations. The conquest of the territory of Brazil proceeded in the context of Portugal’s intense struggle with its rivals, primarily France and Holland. In 1630 the Dutch managed to conquer the territory of the captaincy of Pernambuco, but in 1654 they were driven out of Brazil. Large landlord holdings (sesmarias) involving the use of feudal and slave forms of exploitation of Indians and Negroes (the first parties of Negroes were brought to Brazil in the 1530’s) began to take shape in the colonized territory in the 16th century.

The production in the colony of goods imported from the homeland (wheat, vegetable oil, wine, and so on) was forbidden. Only cotton, rice, and corn were cultivated; however, the main crop was sugarcane. Sugarcane plantations required a great quantity of labor. The import of slaves from Africa increased from the end of the 17th century, especially when deposits of gold and diamonds were discovered. The harsh exploitation of slaves on the plantations brought about a high mortality rate. Indians and Negroes presented stubborn resistance to the oppressors. In 1630 fugitive slaves created their own state—the republic of Palmares—in one of the remote regions of the captaincy of Pernambuco; it existed until 1697. In the second half of the 17th century, Portugal continued the centralization of the colonial administration and the implementation of prohibitive trade policies. The powers of the bodies of local self-government were restricted, and trade with the colony was transferred to a small number of companies, among which the Portuguese General Company for Brazilian Trade, founded in 1649, played the main role. Beginning in 1658, the taxes extracted in the colony were sharply increased. In 1665 a monopoly on salt was introduced. The first actions by the Brazilian colonists against the Portuguese authorities took place in the late 17th and early 18th centuries (1684,1720). In order to restrain the growth of discontent, the Portuguese government permitted the establishment of manufactories and drove out the Jesuits (1759). However, as early as the late 18th century Portugal prohibited the establishment of manufactories, the construction of ships, and the printing of books.

The extraction of gold and diamonds acquired great importance during this period, turning Brazil into Portugal’s richest colony. The so-called gold fever stimulated the founding of new cities and the building of roads. Rio de Janeiro became the main point tying Brazil to the outside world. In 1763 the capital was moved from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro. At the turn of the 19th century, contradictions between Brazil and the mother country, which was retarding the economic, political, and cultural development of Brazil by every available means, became aggravated. The development of the liberation movement in Brazil was furthered by the ideas of the Great French Revolution. In 1789 a conspiracy headed by Tiradentes was uncovered in the province of Minas Gerais. The conspirators had made it their goal to establish an independent republic and gradually abolish slavery. In 1797 uprisings against Portugal broke out in the province of Bahia; soldiers and the lower elements of the cities, including mulattoes and Negroes, took part. In 1807, as a result of the occupation of Portugal by Napoleon’s troops, the Portuguese royal court fled to Rio de Janeiro. The court’s stay brought in its wake a whole series of innovations: the captaincies began to be called provinces; the ports of Brazil were opened for trade with other countries; the publication of newspapers and journals began; and the Brazilian Bank, a national library, and a museum were founded. The royal court was entirely dependent on the protection of Great Britain. By the treaty of 1810, Great Britain obtained huge advantages in the trade with Brazil. The sojourn in Brazil of the royal court, the Portuguese Army, and English advisers and the expenditures associated with this stay increased tax oppression and brought the further development of discontent with Portuguese rule among the toiling masses of Brazil. In 1815, Brazil received the status of a kingdom, becoming a constituent part of the “United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and Algarve.” Brazil formally ceased to be a colony; however, the Portuguese authorities continued to hold sway as before. The movement against the domination of the colonialists did not weaken. In 1817 an uprising broke out in the province of Pernambuco and then spread to Ceará, Paraíba, Maranhão, and Alagoas. The rebels proclaimed the province of Pernambuco a republic, formed a provisional government, and called upon the entire Brazilian people to put an end to Portuguese domination and to establish an independent Brazilian republic. The revolutionary government lasted 72 days.

The bourgeois revolution of 1820 in Portugal led to a new upsurge in the movement for the independence of Brazil. Dom João VI was forced to abandon Brazil (1821), leaving his son Dom Pedro I as regent of Brazil. The liberation movement, under the slogan “Liberty or Death!”, spread throughout Brazil. On Sept. 7, 1822, Dom Pedro I declared Brazil an independent empire. This day became a national holiday.

After the attainment of political independence; before the proclamation of a republic (1822–89) In March 1824 the country’s first constitution came into force. By this constitution, Brazil was declared a constitutional monarchy. Portugal was forced to acknowledge the independence of Brazil (1825). The 300-year colonial period came to an end; however, the monarchy survived in Brazil. Under the Brazilian emperors Pedro I (1822–31) and his son Pedro II (1831–89), the country fell into economic dependence on Great Britain. In the peculiar combination of slave, feudal, and incipient capitalist relations of production in the first half of the 19th century, slave-owning relations predominated, especially in the main branches of Brazil’s economy: the production of coffee and sugar and the mining industry. The political development of Brazil was marked by the stubborn struggle of the masses against the monarchical regime and reactionary forces and for a federal democratic republic and the abolition of slavery. Between 1824 and 1830 there were continuous uprisings of Negro slaves in the province of Bahia. In June 1831 a popular republican uprising erupted in the province of Rio de Janeiro. From 1833 to 1849 a wave of armed popular uprisings demanding the establishment of a democratic republic swept over most of the provinces. The largest were the movements of the farrapos (the ragged) in the province of Rio Grande do Sul (1835–45) and the praieiros (residents of the coast) in the province of Pernambuco (1848–49).

In the second half of the 19th century, with the abolition of the slave trade, slave labor was gradually replaced by that of free people. The new productive relations led to the more marked development of industry and agriculture. The process of the formation of capitalist relations accelerated as European immigration increased, starting in the 1850’s and becoming particularly large in scope during the 1880’s and 1890’s. The formation of the Brazilian nation was proceeding.

From 1865 to 1870, Brazil, in alliance with Argentina and Uruguay, waged a war for the partition of Paraguay. The abolitionist movement gained force during the war. In 1888, the so-called Golden Law abolishing slavery was promulgated. The antimonarchist republican movement, led by the Republican Party (founded 1869), developed parallel with the abolitionist movement. There were popular antimonarchist demonstrations in the country. On Nov. 15, 1889, the emperor Pedro II was overthrown, and Brazil was proclaimed a federal republic. The constituent assembly convened in February 1891 adopted a constitution analogous to that of the USA. The provinces were turned into states. Rio de Janeiro, the capital, was set apart as a federal district.

The Federal Republic of Brazil in the late 19th and early 20th centuries With the proclamation of the republic, political power in the country remained in the hands of the landlords and big bourgeoisie, who were connected to foreign—primarily English—capital. Defending the interests of the ruling classes, the government dealt harshly with the democratic movement. A peasant land movement unfolded in the Canudos region in the state of Bahia during 1896–97. It was suppressed by government troops; however, the struggle of the peasants for land continued. Capitalist development in Brazil accelerated significantly after the abolition of slavery. The rapid increase of enterprises in the cities brought about an increase in the number of workers. The first trade unions and workers’ organizations began to develop at the turn of the 20th century. At a workers’ congress held in Rio de Janeiro in 1892, an attempt was made to establish a workers’ party. That same year, the Socialist Center was established in the city of Santos. The May 1 demonstrations of 1895 in the cities of Santos and Sāo Paulo were carried out under its leadership. By 1896 there were several Marxist circles in the country. The socialist newspaper O Socialista began to be published in Sāo Paulo. From 1905 to 1907 there were workers’ demonstrations and strikes in Rio de Janeiro, Sāo Paulo, and Santos, and in 1906 a workers’ congress was held in Rio de Janeiro.

The foreign capital that had penetrated the Brazilian economy sent it in a direction advantageous to its own interests. English and American monopolies seized fertile lands. Coffee, cotton, and sugar were foremost in the Brazilian economy. In 1910, Brazil became a member of the Pan-American Union. From this point, American capital increasingly put down roots in the economy of Brazil, becoming the chief rival of English capital after World War I (1914–18). Brazil participated in the war on the side of the Entente from 1917.

Since 1918 Under the influence of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, an upsurge began in the workers’ movement in Brazil. Working people openly expressed their sympathy to the ideas of the Russian revolution in mass demonstrations and meetings. The establishment of Marxist groups (socialist and communist circles and leagues) began in large cities. In March 1922 the Brazilian Communist Party was established. In July 1922 there was an uprising of the capital garrison in the Copacabana fortress. In July 1924 the garrison of São Paulo rose in rebellion. The urban masses supported the rebels. The insurgents seized the city and held it for three weeks. Uprisings influenced by the events in São Paulo erupted in many states of Brazil. L. C. Prestes, who headed an uprising in the south of Brazil, led a continuously fighting column of insurgents to the north of the country (October 1924-February 1927). The governments of A. Bernardes (1922–26) and W. Luís Pereira (1926–30) suppressed the uprisings.

The economic crisis of 1929–33 struck Brazil with great force. During the years of the crisis, 2.4 million tons of coffee were destroyed, since prices on the world market for all the main export commodities of Brazil (coffee, cocoa, cotton, and products of livestock raising) had fallen sharply. The working class suffered from unemployment. The crisis demonstrated the extreme backwardness of Brazil’s social structure and its dependence on foreign capital. On the eve of the presidential elections of 1930, two hostile political groupings took shape: the Conservative Concentration, which represented the interests of landlord circles and relied on the support of English imperialism; and the Liberal Alliance, which represented the bourgeoisie and bourgeoisifying landlords connected with the imperialists of the USA. As a result of an armed struggle for power, a partisan of the Liberal Alliance, G. Vargas, was victorious in November 1930 and formed a provisional government. In actuality, a dictatorship by Vargas was established: depending on circumstances, he modified his methods of ruling in the interests of the bourgeoisie and the landlords. The economy of Brazil was intensively penetrated by the monopolies of Germany and Italy. German monopolies acquired controlling interests in a number of large manufacturing enterprises, as well as iron mines and vast land areas in the Riachão area (in the northeast). The German Bank for South America established 300 of its branches in Brazil. The economic expansion of German imperialism contributed to the strengthening of fascist elements in the country’s political life. The fascist Integralist Action party (founded in 1933) operated actively in Brazil. The working class and popular masses resolutely resisted the onslaught of fascism. In March 1935, antifascist forces joined together in the National Liberation Alliance (NLA), which set as its tasks the struggle against fascism and imperialism and for the implementation of agrarian reform. The activity of the NLA was banned in July by the government. In November 1935 there were blood-drenched armed uprisings in Rio de Janeiro, Niterói, Recife, and Natal under the leadership of the NLA. Brazil was declared in a state of siege, and tens of thousands of revolutionaries were arrested, including L. C. Prestes and other leaders of the Communist Party. The organization of corporative trade unions dependent on the government proceeded intensely. In 1936, Vargas published decrees on minimum wages, the nationalization of the transportation company Lloyd Brasileiro (which belonged to English capital), the provision of pensions for industrial workers, and, in 1938, the nationalization of oil sources and increases in the wages of several categories of workers. These measures were produced both by the struggle of working people for their rights and interests and by the development of capitalism in Brazil. As a spokesman for the interests of the bourgeoisie, Vargas understood the necessity for the country’s economic development of increasing the role of the state.

In November 1937, Vargas dissolved the congress and promulgated a constitution proclaiming Brazil a “new state.” In December all political parties were disbanded. Vargas developed social demagoguery, depicting himself as the founder of a “new state of justice.”

During World War II (1939–45) the penetration of Brazil by the imperialist forces of the USA increased. An agreement that provided for the dispatch of a military mission of the USA to Brazil was signed in January 1941. In January 1942, Brazil broke off diplomatic relations with Germany and Italy, and in August 1942 it declared war on them. (It declared war on Japan on June 6, 1945.) The smashing of the fascist powers served as a powerful impetus to the development of the democratic movement in Brazil. In early 1945, under pressure from the popular masses, the Vargas government declared an amnesty for political prisoners, permitted political parties—including the Brazilian Communist Party—to become active, and established diplomatic relations with the USSR (Apr. 2, 1945). That same year, a number of political parties were formed: the Social Democratic Party, which reflected the interests of large latifundists; the National Democratic Union, which united broad circles of the national bourgeoisie under the direction of leaders of the so-called Western, anticommunist orientation; and the Brazilian Labor Party, which represented the middle and petite bourgeoisie and a considerable number of workers.

Frightened by the growth of the democratic movement, the most reactionary circles of Brazil, which were closely tied to the USA, decided to overthrow the Vargas government. On October 29, Generals G. Monteiro and E. G. Dutra organized a military coup. Parliamentary and presidential elections were held in December, and the Communists—who had put up their own candidates for national elections for the first time—achieved considerable success. The government was headed by General E. G. Dutra (1946–51). A new constitution was adopted in 1946, reflecting certain democratic attainments by the working people and the people’s right to the mineral wealth of Brazil. However, by May 1947 the reaction had already moved to the offensive. The government banned the activity of the Brazilian Communist Party, the Union of Communist Youth (founded in 1943), and the trade-union Confederation of Workers (founded in 1946). In October 1947, Brazil broke off diplomatic relations with the USSR, and in May 1949 the Movement of the Supporters of Peace was banned in the country. Dutra’s government followed completely the policies of militarization and “cold war.” The direct capital investments of the USA in Brazil grew from $323 million in 1946 to $803 million in 1951. Capitulation to the imperialism of the USA and the regime of repression produced dissatisfaction among the people. As a result of the nationalist movement that unfolded, the Vargas government came to power once again (1951–54). As early as 1952, as a result of the bad state of Brazil’s finances, Vargas obtained a loan of $300 million from the USA and opened the way for private American capital investments. At the same time, in 1953 the Vargas government created the Petrobras state oil company, establishing a state monopoly (with the participation of Brazilian private capital) on the prospecting, drilling, and refining of Brazilian oil; and in April 1954 it introduced a bill in congress creating the Electrobras state company. The workers’ movement gained force in Brazil. In 1953 , 800,000 workers participated in the strike movement. (In the previous five years, an average of 200,000–300,000 people had participated.) More than 1.3 million workers belonged to trade unions. In May 1954, Vargas, under pressure from the masses, doubled (in comparison with 1951) the minimum wages of industrial and office workers. The reactionary circle of latifundists, major capitalists, and the military believed that Vargas’ policies stimulated the development of mass popular actions and posed a threat to the existing system. In August a conference of air force generals adopted a resolution demanding the retirement of Vargas as the “only means” to resolve the “national crisis.” Vargas ended his life by suicide. The military clique and the forces of reaction attempted to establish a dictatorial regime in Brazil. The people wrecked their plans by mass actions. The government of J. Kubitschek de Oliveira (1956–60) came to power; it represented both patriotic-minded figures and reactionary politicians tied to foreign—primarily American—capital. The reactionaries were frequently successful in exerting decisive influence on the government’s policy. In 1957, Kubitschek’s government signed an agreement transferring the island of Fernando de Noronha for a five-year period as an American military base.

In the 1950’s an automobile industry was established in Brazil, and the drilling and refining of oil, the smelting of ferrous metals, production of cement, and output of electrical power grew. From an agrarian country Brazil was turning into an agrarian-industrial country with large industrial centers: Sāo Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, and others. The opening of the new capital, Brasilia (Apr. 21, 1960), signaled the economic strengthening of the Brazilian bourgeoisie. However, many important branches of the Brazilian economy remained in the hands of foreign capital, primarily that of the USA. In agriculture, latifundia and backward relations survived.

In the 1960 elections, J. Quadros was elected to the post of president with the support of the bourgeoisie, the latifundists, the Catholic Church, some Social Democrats, and the Brazilian Labor Party. The Quadros government charted a course for a more independent foreign policy and took steps toward the establishment of diplomatic and trade relations with the USSR and other socialist countries and toward the strengthening of the country’s financial situation. This produced discontent among reactionary circles tied to the American monopolies, and under their pressure Quadros was forced to retire in August 1961. Nationalist forces, opposing the strivings of reactionary elements to establish a dictatorship in the country, secured vice-president J. Goulart’s accession to the post of president. Goulart’s government (1961–64) came to power in September 1961. It reestablished diplomatic relations with the USSR. In October and November 1961 the National Liberation Front was established, unifying national patriotic forces of the country. In its work, Goulart’s government essentially based itself on the national bourgeoisie and nationalist forces. It put forth a program of agrarian, financial, banking, educational, and other reforms. Between December 1963 and March 1964, Goulart’s government adopted decrees limiting the export of profits on invested foreign capital (not above 10 percent), establishing a state monopoly on the import of oil and petroleum products, nationalizing oil refineries, nationalizing uncultivated lands within a 10-km strip along state railroads, highways, and waterworks, cancelling concessions for mining (unless the companies were exploiting the mines), and granting Brazilians exclusive rights to prospect for and exploit minerals. In the area of foreign policy, Goulart’s government supported universal and complete disarmament and peaceful coexistence of states with different socioeconomic structures.

The proimperialist bourgeoisie, linked to the monopolies of the USA, the latifundists, a certain part of the army (first and foremost the reactionary generals and higher officers), and also the reactionary hierarchy of the Catholic Church, offered sharp opposition to the measures of Goulart’s government. Exploiting ferment in the army, the reaction moved to open actions. On Mar. 31,1964, a military antigovernment mutiny began in the state of Minas Gerais. A coup d’etat resulted in the ascension to power of the military-political group led by General H. Castelo Branco, representing the interests of major latifundists and financial-industrial circles connected to the American monopolies. On April 9 a decree granting the military leaders of the mutiny the authority to deprive citizens of political rights was published under the title of the Institutional Act. On the basis of this act, 300 political figures—including former presidents J. Goulart, J. Quadros, and Kubitschek, and also the general secretary of the Brazilian Communist Party, L. C. Prestes—were deprived of political rights for a period of ten years. On April 11, Castelo Branco—one of the leaders of the coup—was elected president. By the resolutions of the military authorities and the decrees of the president, the constitution of 1946 was in effect eliminated, political parties were disbanded, a purge of the National Congress, state apparatus, army, and schools was carried out, and control was established over trade unions. Branco’s government (1964–67) disbanded political parties and in 1966 decreed the establishment of two political groups: the National Union of Renovation and the Brazilian Democratic Movement (which represented the legal opposition). To the advantage of American interests, the government repealed the law restricting the export of profits of foreign enterprises from the country, broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba, and took part in the American intervention in the Dominican Republic. Branco’s government repeatedly expressed solidarity with the ruling circles of the USA, which had unleashed military actions against Vietnam in 1964; it offered material support to the Saigon regime in South Vietnam.

In March 1967, General A. da Costa e Silva became president of the country. The new government (1967–69) represented essentially the same military-political and social forces as the preceding military government. The domestic political course essentially remained unchanged. In 1967 and 1968 the student movement and the workers’ struggle against the military regime and its policy of freezing wages became active. A portion of the Catholic clergy also opposed the government. The so-called Broad Front of Legal Opposition also appeared as a political enemy of the government, and in April 1968 the government banned its activity. Contradictions in the government, as well as within its main support, the armed forces, sharpened. In December 1968 the parliament was dispersed and power passed to the president. At the start of 1969, several more decrees expanding the powers of the president were published; however, this did not lead to a normalization of the political situation in the country. As a result of Costa e Silva’s illness, power passed in August 1969 to a triumvirate made up of the military ministers; in effect, this was a military coup. In October, General E. Garrastazu Médici was elected president. His accession to power brought about no perceptible changes in domestic policy. In the area of foreign policy, the government supported the development of relations with the leading capitalist countries of Europe, with Japan and, primarily, with the USA. At the same time, it expanded trade and economic ties with the USSR and other socialist countries. Ascribing particular significance to strengthening its position in Latin America, the government of Brazil attempts to play the role of a leader of countries on the American continent.


Documentos históricos, vols. 1–109. [Rio de Janeiro], 1928–55.
Anais da Biblioteca nacional, vols. 1–75. Rio de Janeiro, 1876–1957.


Ocherki istorii Brazilii. Moscow, 1962.
Braziliia: Ekonomika. Politika. Kul’tura. Moscow, 1963.
Glinkin, A. N. Noveishaia istoriia Brazilii (1939–1959 gg.). Moscow, 1961.
Koval’, B. I. Istoriia brazil’skogo proletariata (1857–1967). Moscow, 1968.
Sivolobov, A. M. Agrarnye otnosheniia ν sovremennoi Brazilii. Moscow, 1959.
Rocha Pombo, J. F. Istoriia Brazilii. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Portuguese.)
Faco, R. Braziliia XX stoletiia. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Portuguese.)
Marshall, A. Brazil. [London, 1966.]
Pereira, A. Formaçāo do PCB. [Rio de Janeiro, 1962.]
Dias, E. História das lutas sociais no Brasil. Sāo Paulo, 1962.
Calmon, P. História do Brasil: Século XVI-século XX, vols. 1–7. Rio de Janeiro, 1959.
Rodrigues, J. H. Teoria da história do Brasil (Introduçāo metodológica), 2nd ed., vols. 1–2. Sāo Paulo [1957].
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Dantas, S. Política externa independente. Rio de Janeiro [1962].
V. I. ERMOLAEV (to 1960) and B. I. BARMIN (since 1961)

The National Union of Renovation (Aliança Renovadora Nacional), founded in 1966, unifies progovernment political groupings in the National Congress and the state legislative assemblies; these groups consist primarily of members of the former National Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party. The Brazilian Democratic Movement (Movimento Democrático Brasiliero), founded in 1966, represents the legal opposition and essentially unites representatives of the former Brazilian Labor Party. The Brazilian Communist Party (Partido Comunista Brasileiro), founded in 1922, is underground.

In 1968 the trade unions of Brazil had more than 2.9 million members, including more than 192,000 in trade unions of entrepreneurs. The largest professional associations are the National Confederation of Industrial Workers (founded in the 1940’s; more than 1 million members); the National Confederation of Trade Workers (founded in 1947; more than 360,000 members); the National Confederation of Land Transportation Workers (founded in 1953; 153,000 members); the National Confederation of Credit Institution Workers (founded in 1959; more than 100,000 members); and the National Confederation of Agricultural Workers (founded in 1963; about 1 million members). The professional associations of Brazil are for the most part affiliated with the branch of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions on the American Continent (ORIT). Trade unions in Brazil are under the control of the state. B. I. BARMIN

General characteristics Brazil is one of the countries with the greatest economic potential in Latin America. The following figures serve to characterize the level of economic development of Brazil: in 1965, Brazil accounted for 4.13 percent of the population of the capitalist world, and its share of the industrial output was 0.83 percent. Its economic backwardness is explained both by the protracted colonial domination of feudal Portugal, which retarded the country’s socioeconomic progress; and by the subsequent invasion of foreign capital, which deformed the process of capitalist development.

The penetration of foreign capital became particularly intense with the onset of the era of imperialism; the struggle for domination of Brazil’s economy unfolded essentially between the monopolies of Great Britain, the USA, and Germany. English capital predominated right up to World War II (1939–45). (In 1939, England’s share was 55 percent of all foreign investments in Brazil; the American share was 29 percent.) During the 1940’s and 1950’s, Great Britain’s capital investments decreased by a factor of more than 4, primarily because of the transfer of railroads belonging to English companies to Brazil in order to liquidate debts; meanwhile, the capital investments of the USA grew considerably. During the 1960’s, the monopolies first of the Federal Republic of Germany and then of Japan expanded their positions.

According to official data, direct American private capital investments in Brazil had reached $ 1.5 billion at the end of 1968 and amounted to more than half of registered foreign capital. Brazilian economists estimate that unregistered foreign capital investments in enterprises considered to be national considerably exceed officially registered investments. Foreign capital is concentrated mainly in the manufacturing industry and trade. Brazil’s financial dependence is quite considerable—as of Dec. 31, 1968, its foreign debt amounted to $3.917 billion.

The increasing export of profits and interest by foreign monopolies produced a low and relatively diminishing share of capital investments, inadequate rates of economic development (particularly in comparison with the growth of the population), and, consequently, the continuation of economic backwardness. The concentration of local capital proceeds under conditions of subordination to foreign capital. As a rule, the large capitalist groups of Brazil (Matarazzo, Ermírio de Moraes, Clabin, and others) are diversified family concerns linked to foreign capital.

The industrialization that unfolded after World War II demanded large-scale state investments in the branches of the economy whose development either encountered lack of interest or resistance on the part of foreign capital, or could not be guaranteed by the Brazilian private sector. Thus, a state sector of the economy arose, concentrating control of railroads, communications, a portion of maritime transport, extraction and a considerable portion of the refining of oil, a portion of electric power production, the mining of iron ore, coal, and so on, and a considerable portion of ferrous metallurgy. In 1968 the state’s investment in the economy amounted to more than one-third of all capital investments.

The structure of Brazil’s economy underwent fundamental changes as a result of postwar development: by the end of the 1960’s, industry’s share in the gross national product somewhat exceeded that of agriculture. (In 1939 agriculture provided twice as much output as industry.) However, agriculture has remained the main occupation of the population (47 percent of the gainfully employed population according to 1968 estimates); it provides about 80 percent of the export income.

Industry Until World War II, Brazil had a backward industry in which the production of means of production was virtually nonexistent; about two-thirds of the output came from the textile-clothing and food and condiment industries. During the postwar years state investment in the basic branches and infrastructure, added to the economic policy of stimulating the substitution of local products for imports, brought about an acceleration in the process of industrialization. Foreign capital began to penetrate the manufacturing industry rapidly in order to conquer the Brazilian market from within. The production of objects of long-term consumption—automobiles, refrigerators, televisions and radios, and so on—began in the mid-1950’s. Machine-tool construction, machine-building for power production, and shipbuilding were becoming established in the 1960’s.

The level of concentration of production in industry is extremely high. According to the census of 1960, enterprises with 250 and more workers accounted for about 1 percent of the total of 110,000 industrial enterprises (with 1,426,000 workers), but more than 40 percent of all workers were concentrated in these enterprises; the largest enterprises (1.8 percent of all industrial enterprises) provided 62.1 percent of the conventional gross industrial product. At the same time, there are many small and tiny enterprises of the domestic and semidomestic variety.

The territorial concentration of industry is very great and continues to grow. The state of Sāo Paulo (2.9 percent of the territory of Brazil; 18.3 percent of its population) accounts for about 55 percent of all industrial production (1965 estimate; 38 percent in 1940); along with the states of Guanabara, Rio de Janeiro, and Minas Gerais its share is almost 80 percent.

The mining industry provides about 2.3 percent of industrial production (1965). The extraction of iron and manganese ores is the most important. Reserves of iron ore (Brazil is one of the leaders in the capitalist world) with an iron content of 60 percent and more are estimated at 16 billion tons; reserves with iron concentrations of 30–60 percent are estimated at 36 billion tons. Iron ores are worked, for the most part, by the state company Vale do Rio Doce in the state of Minas Gerais; the Itabira deposits provide about three-fourths of the total output of high-quality hematites. In 1968, 15 million tons of iron ore were exported (2.7 million tons in 1956). Prospected reserves of manganese ores with a manganese content of 40–50 percent amount to about 60 million tons; exploitation is mainly in the area of Amapá and in the states of Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso. Two-thirds of the total output (1966) is provided for export by the Serra do Navio (Amapá) mines, which are controlled by American capital. Brazil has large reserves (by various estimates, up to 200 million tons) of bauxites (Posos de Caldas, Ouro Prêto, and other deposits in southern Minas Gerais), tungsten (in the state of Rio Grande do Norte), and lead ores (in the Rondônia area in the state of Goiás), and also of copper, zinc, tin, and nickel ores, but extraction is on a small scale, almost exclusively for the internal market. Brazil’s role is an important one as a supplier for the world market (primarily the USA) of minerals of high strategic importance (although their extraction is small in terms of value): ores of niobium, beryllium (one of the leading capitalist countries with respect to the extraction and export of both), tantalum, zirconium, crystalline quartz, and mica. The mining of radioactive minerals containing uranium (Posos de Caldas in the state of Minas Gerais, Olinda in the state of Pernambuco) and thorium (Aracha in the state of Minas Gerais) and monazite sands (on the Atlantic coast in the state of Espírito Santo) is increasing. The mining of gold and diamonds is the oldest branch of the mining industry in Brazil.

The extraction of coal and oil does not meet the country’s needs. The total coal reserves in the states of Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, and Paraná, where mining takes place, are estimated at up to 6 billion tons. The large deposits of lignites that have been discovered (in the state of Paraná, the interfluvial area of the Araguaia and Tocantins rivers, and the upper reaches of the Amazon) are not being exploited. Exploitable stores of oil are concentrated in the Recóncavo district (the state of Bahia) and at the mouth of the Sao Francisco River (the states of Sergipe and Alagoas). Between the time of the organization of the Petrobras state oil company (1953) and 1968, the extraction of oil increased by a factor of several score; nonetheless, only 40 percent of the country’s needs are covered. The dynamics of the extraction of minerals are indicated in Table 3.

Table 3. Extraction of major minerals
Type ot production1953 (tons)1960 (tons)1968 (tons)
1 Million cu m
2By content of metal
4Thousand carats
Natural gas1535983
Iron ore3,617,0009,345,00025,123,000
Manganese ore196,000999,0002,097,000
Tungsten (W03)940847548
Lead ore22,90010,00016,100
Beryllium (concentrate)1,96031,700740
Diamonds (export)452,0006,000

Power engineering, although it has been developed considerably, is still at a low level. The per capita consumption of all forms of power is far lower than the world average. In 1964 liquid fuel accounted for 43 percent in Brazil’s energy balance; wood and other forms of vegetable fuel, 27 percent; hydroelectric energy, 26 percent; and coal and other sources, 4 percent. The installed capacity of electric power plants grew from 3.4 million kilowatts (kW) in 1957 to 10.2 million kW in 1969, of which about 73 percent came from hydroelectric power plants. Brazil is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of the magnitude of its investigated hydroelectric power resources. (According to a 1968 estimate, the hydroelectric energy potential is 72.2 million kW.) The largest hydroelectric power plants in Latin America have been built in Brazil (capacity in millions of kW at the end of 1969): Cubatāo on the Tietê River (1.2); Furnas (0.9), Peixoto (0.5), and Estreito (0.5) on the Rio Grande; Tres Marias (0.4) and Paulo Afonso (0.6) on the Sao Francisco River; and Nilo Pesanha on the Lagis River (0.5). Hydroelectric power plants at Jupi (1.4) and Ilha Solteira (3.2) on the Paraná River (at the Urubupunga waterfall) and Marimbondo (0.8) and Jaguara (0.7) on the Rio Grande were among those under construction in 1970. About 40 percent of the electric power is produced by American and Canadian capital; the rest is produced by mixed companies involving the participation of state, foreign, and private Brazilian capital.

In 1970 an international consortium began construction of the first atomic power plant in the Angra dos Reis region (in the state of Rio de Janeiro); its capacity is 0.5 million kW.

During the postwar period, the structure of the manufacturing industry changed considerably (see Table 4). According to official data (1968), foreign capital has absolute predominance in the most dynamic branches: metalworking, heavy and light machine building, automobile and tractor industry, shipbuilding, electrical engineering and electronics, chemicals (particularly petrochemicals), and pharmaceuticals, and the rubber, cement, and glass industries.

The state has a vital role in ferrous metallurgy. It controls a plant in Volta Redonda (state of Rio de Janeiro; annual capacity 1.4 million tons), a plant in Piassagüera (state of Sāo Paulo, 0.5 million tons), and a plant for special steels in Itabira (state of Minas Gerais, 0.1 million tons). Foreign capital is represented by two plants of the Belgo Mineira company (state of Minas Gerais, total capacity 250,000 tons; the Belgian-French-Luxembourg group ARBED), the Mannesmann plant (Federal Republic of Germany) in Belo Horizonte (350,000 tons and the largest tube mill in Brazil), and a plant in Ipatinga (state of Minas Gerais, 500,000 tons; controlled by Japanese capital with state participation). Almost all ferrous metallurgy is in the southeast of the country. Up to 40 percent of the iron is smelted over charcoal. The production of ferrous metals meets 90 percent of Brazil’s needs. Its needs for heavy nonferrous metals are met almost exclusively by imports. During the 1960’s, the production of aluminum was of considerable importance (up to 60 percent of requirements); it is controlled by American and Canadian capital and proceeds in plants near Sorocaba (state of Sāo Paulo) and Ouro Prêto (state of Minas Gerais). The largest plant (annual capacity, 50,000 tons) is being built (1970) with American capital (the Aluminum Company of America and the Hanna Mining Company) in Posos de Caldas.

In the area of machine building and metalworking, transportation machine building (above all, automobile construction) is most important. Nearly two-thirds of the production of automobiles is concentrated under the control of West German capital (the Volkswagen and MercedesBenz companies); the remaining portion belongs to American, Japanese, Italian, and Swedish capital. Foreign capital also dominates in the production of rolling stock and locomotives for railroads (plants in the states of Minas Gerais and Sāo Paulo). Shipbuilding is carried on at three large shipyards capable of producing vessels of displacement up to 65,000 tons deadweight (annual production capacity, up to 220,000 tons

Table 4. Structure of the manufacturing industry
Branch ot industryNumber ot employees (percent)Conventional gross product (percent)
1Official estimate
Machine building and metalworking3.39.917.35.012.318.0
Chemical, chemical-pharmaceutical, and oil refining5.
Production of building materials6.
Woodworking and furniture7.
Food and condiments22.017.215.635.929.918.1

deadweight a year) and at several small shipyards. All the large shipyards are in Guanabara Bay; they are controlled by Japanese, Dutch, and West German capital. Nine foreign firms engage in the production of tractors (since 1960; output 12,000 in 1968). The electrical engineering industry produces household machines and appliances, radios and televisions, electric motors, and air conditioners. The production of heavy electric equipment began in 1964 (generators, transformers, industrial motors) at the plants of the American company General Electric in Campinas (state of Sāo Paulo) and the WestGerman company Siemens in Rio de Janeiro. The electrical-engineering industry—particularly electronics—is highly dependent on the import of parts and materials, and it is completely controlled by foreign capital.

Construction of the first aircraft plant in Brazil began in 1969 in Sao José dos Campos (near Sāo Paulo) by a company in which state and Italian capital participated. The plant is intended to produce (as of 1972) jet training planes, fighters, and agricultural planes.

The chemical industry produces caustic soda, acids, dyes, nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers, synthetic fibers, and plastics, medicines, and explosives. Brazil’s first synthetic rubber plant based on spirits (annual capacity, 27,500 tons) came into service in 1965 in the state of Pernambuco. Oil refining was developed considerably in Rio de Janeiro and Cubata#x014D; (state of Sāo Paulo); the largest plants belong to the state.

The cement industry (which almost completely meets the country’s needs), rubber (production of automobile tires and inner tubes; concentrated in the state of Sāo Paulo), paper and pulp (states of Sāo Paulo and Paraná), and other industries are also being developed. The traditional branches of Brazilian industry—textile and the food and condiments industry—in which private national capital predominates, continue to occupy an important place in terms of value of industrial produce and numbers of workers. The cotton industry provides up to two-thirds of the textile output, including a considerable part for export. The production of artificial-fiber textiles and knitwear is developing. The wool industry is relatively poorly developed. About one-half of the output of the textile industry is provided by enterprises in the city of Sāo Paulo, and one-fourth by the city of Rio de Janeiro and the state of Minas Gerais. Several branches of the food and condiments industry also produce for export; among them are the sugar (production has reached 4.5 million tons a year, including about 1 million tons for export), meat, oil-extraction, and tobacco industries. (See Table 5 for the output of industrial products.)

Table 5. Production of major types of industrial output
 1953 (tons)1960 (tons)19691 (tons)
2Billion kW-hr
Electric power210.322.945.7
Cotton textiles61,273,000,00041,252,000,0005

Agriculture Agriculture is characterized by the dominance of large landlord and capitalist (including foreign) landhold-ings and by the backwardness of agrarian relations. (See Table 6 for the structure of land ownership.)

On the basis of the methods by which a farm is run, the 1967 cadastre classified 21.7 percent of all farms as traditional latifundia and only 2.4 percent as capitalist farms. Over one-third of the “farms” were worked—by tenants, metayers, and so on—on lands belonging to another. Over 80 percent of those employed in agriculture had no land whatsoever. Vestiges of precapitalist forms of agrarian relations survive, particularly in the northeast—working-off, rent in kind, and debt servitude. In the states of the southeast, in

Table 6. Structure of land ownership (1967 cadastre)
Area of plots (ha)Number ot farms (thousand)(%)Total area (million ha)(%)
Less than 10 ha1,324.
10,000 and up2.00.156.815.7

which agriculture is most closely tied to the domestic and foreign markets, capitalist relations are more developed; however, métayage also flourishes here. Independent farming predominates only in the northern part of the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

The dominance of latifundia leads to extremely extensive exploitation of a vast portion of the land supply. Cultivated lands occupy only 3.5 percent of the area of the country. Only 11.5 percent of the total cultivated area is occupied by farms of over 1,000 ha each (48.9 percent of the total farm area). Agricultural technology is very backward: according to the census of 1960, manual labor alone is employed on 76.6 percent of the farms; agricultural machines are utilized on only 1.4 percent of all farms. Productivity is extremely low (corn, 13 centners per ha; coffee, 3.8 centners per ha). A considerable quantity of foodstuffs is imported, including up to 80 percent of the wheat consumed.

Horticulture accounts for about two-thirds of the value of agricultural produce; the chief specialization is the raising of tropical crops for the foreign market. The five main export crops alone—coffee, cacao, cotton, sugarcane, and rice—account for almost 45 percent of the sown area and, in terms of value, as much as 60 percent of farming produce. The major plantation crop is coffee, of which Brazil is the leading producer in the world, although its share is gradually decreasing (80 percent at the start of the 20th century, 60 percent before World War II, 43 percent in 1965–67) despite a considerable absolute growth in Brazil’s output (from 1 million tons in 1948–50 to 1.4–1.8 million in 1965–67). The main producing regions (95 percent of the output) are northern Paraná, northwestern Sāo Paulo, southern Minas Gerais, and the state of Espirito Santo. Brazil is third in the world in terms of cacao (about 10 percent of the world harvest; it trails Ghana and Nigeria); almost all the plantations are located in the Ilhéus region (state of Bahia). Cotton and sugarcane—the oldest plantation crops of Brazil—are both grown in the old region of cultivation (the northeast) and in the relatively new region (the southeast), where plantations began to develop rapidly after the crisis of 1929–33; the southeast provides as much as 60 percent of the harvest of cotton and sugarcane (1969). Rice is a new export crop; it is planted mainly in the states of Rio Grande do Sul (it provides all the exports), Goiás, Minas Gerais, Sāo Paulo, and Maranhão. Sisal (agave fiber; second in the world after Tanzania) is produced almost exclusively for export; agave plantations (345,000 ha, 328,000 tons of sisal in 1968) are concentrated in the states of Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, and Bahia. The cultivation of oranges, bananas, pineapples, and several tropical fruits has export value. Brazil is the leading capitalist country in terms of its banana harvest and is second (after the USA) in its orange harvest. Tobacco-growing and viticulture are developed in the south. The main food crops, which occupy about one-half of the entire sown area, are corn, brown beans, and manioc; they are planted everywhere. Among cereals, wheat (primarily in the state of Rio Grande do Sul), barley, and oats are

Table 7. Area and yield of main agricultural crops
 Area (thousand ha)Yield (thousand tons)
1Harvesting area2Yearly average for 1948-523Yield of cotton fiber4Oranges and tangerines51968  
Cotton2,6892,9303,9023952, 353635643
Orangas771121731,3162, 41,91842,6944

also sown. (See Table 7 for data on areas and harvests of agricultural crops.)

Livestock raising accounts for about one-third of the value of agricultural produce. It is primarily oriented to meat and is developed, for the most part, on the basis of natural pastures in the steppes of the southern part of the state of Rio Grande do Sul and the savannas and campos of the central part of the Brazilian Highlands, and also on fattening farms in the south and southeast. The livestock population (millions of head, 1968) is as follows: cattle, 92.3 (third in the capitalist world); swine, 65.6 (first place); sheep, 24.6; goats, 14.7; and horses, 9.2. A portion of the products of livestock raising (meat, wool, hides, and skins) is exported, chiefly from the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Fishing does not play an important role; the catch of spiny lobsters in the northeast is of some value for export.

The country’s vast forest resources have been scantily exploited. Of greatest importance are the harvesting of rubber (30,000–35,000 tons annually), Brazil nuts, and carnauba wax in the forests of the Amazon; the harvesting of the fruits of the oil palm (babassu nuts) and olive tree (oiticica) in the northeast; the harvesting of “Paraguayan tea” (yerba maté); and the stocking of construction lumber (primarily araucaria) in the southern Brazilian Highlands. In 1968, 163 million cu m of round timber was logged. A considerable portion of the produce of forestry goes for export.

Transportation Most of the territory of Brazil is without land roads. The pattern of domestic freight turnover in 1967 was as follows (in percent): automobile transportation, 74; maritime and river transportation, 14; and railroad transportation, 12. There are 1,050,000 km of officially registered automobile roads (1969), including 43,000 km of paved road (20,000 km of this is federal road). During the 1960’s, large automobile roads were built: Rio de Janeiro-Salvador, Rio de Janeiro-Brasilia, and Vitória-Belo Horizonte-Uberaba (paved), and Brasília-Belém, Brasilia-Acre state, and Belém-Sāo Luís (dirt roads). There are 3.3 million automobiles, including about 0.8 million trucks (1969). The total length of railroads is about 32,000 km, of which 2,400 km is electrified (1968). The railroads are not linked in a single system; there are four different gauges, and the equipment is obsolete. Pipeline transport does not play an essential role. The largest oil pipeline is Rio de Janeiro-Belo Horizonte; its annual capacity is about 3 million tons. The length of rivers that are navigable year-round exceeds 31,000 km; however, river transport is primarily of local value, since the most convenient water routes (the Amazon and its tributaries; the Sāo Francisco, Paraná, and the Paraguay) are located far from the main economic centers. Transport along the Atlantic coast is of much greater value: in 1968, 172 vessels of 100 tons and higher, with a total deadweight tonnage of 722,000 (54 percent of which belongs to the state), were engaged in coastal transport. Seventy-eight percent of the long-distance fleet (75 vessels with a deadweight tonnage of 940,000, early 1969) belonged to the state. The largest seaports (freight turnover in millions of tons, 1969; totaling 90 percent of the freight turnover) are Rio de Janeiro (21.9), Santos (14.9), Tubarāo (17.5), Vitória (3.7)—the last two are for the export of iron ore—Pôrto Alegre (4.1), Niterói (3.0), Recife (2.5), Rio Grande (2.4), Paranaguá (2.2, export of coffee), Aracajú (1.4), Belém (1.0), Fortaleza (1.0), Imbituba (1.0), Manaus (0.9; on the Amazon at the mouth of the Rio Negro, accessible for sea vessels), and Salvador (0.7). Air transport plays an extremely important role in domestic passenger conveyance. In 1968 the 19 largest airports in Brazil transported 2.6 million passengers.

Foreign trade Foreign trade is especially important for the country. Brazil stimulates the export of its products, and the proceeds from exports go to pay for imports, to cover transfers abroad of the profits of foreign monopolies which operate in Brazil, and also to pay off debts. The volume of Brazil’s exports usually reaches 10–12 percent of the national income of the country.

The large foreign enterprises operating in Brazil have displayed their interest in penetrating the neighboring countries through the so-called Latin American common market. However, the relative significance of industrial articles and semifinished goods in exports is growing slowly: in 1969 it amounted to only 12.7 percent, the rest coming from vegetable and mineral goods and the produce of livestock raising, including (in percent): coffee beans, 34.4 (from 1958 to 1964, more than 50); cotton, 8.6; iron ore, 6.6; cacao beans and cocoa butter, 6; raw sugar, 5.1; lumber, 4.2; and meat, wool, skins, and hides, 3.9. Among imports, machines, equipment, and means of transportation (34.3 percent); chemical products (15.0); foodstuffs (13.0); and fuel and lubricating oil (11.3) predominated. In 1968 the USA accounted for about 33 percent (by value) of exports and imports, and the Federal Republic of Germany 7.8 and 11.1 percent respectively; Brazil’s merchandise turnover with Italy, Great Britain, and France taken together only slightly exceeds its merchandise turnover with the Federal Republic of Germany. The relative significance of the Latin American countries in Brazil’s trade has grown to 10.3 percent in the area of exports and 13.7 percent in imports. The share of the USSR and the other socialist countries that maintain trade relations with Brazil were 7.1 percent of exports and 4.5 percent of imports. In December 1969 the government of Brazil signed a new agreement with the USSR for deliveries of machinery and equipment from the USSR for up to $ 100 million. For its part, the USSR expressed readiness to purchase the traditional Brazilian export commodities.

The monetary unit is the cruzeiro. Extreme inflation forced the government of Brazil to introduce a new cruzeiro (equal to 1,000 old cruzeiros) as of Feb. 13, 1967. The new exchange rate of 2.7 new cruzeiros to the dollar (USA) was established. However, the exchange rate for the new cruzeiro also proved unstable, and as a result of several devaluations, the rate in July 1970 was 4.5 cruzeiros to the dollar.

Economic and geographic regions. The economic and geographic regions of Brazil are as follows: the northeast (the states of Maranháo, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe, and Bahia and the territory of Fernando de Noronha); the southeast (the states of Sāo Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Guanabara, Minas Gerais, and Espirito Santo); the south (the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Paraná); the west central (the states of Goiás and Mato Grosso); and the north (the states of Pará, Amazonas, and Acre and the territories of Amapá, Roraima, and Rondônia). The main indicators for these regions are shown in Table 8.

The most economically developed regions are the northeast, southeast, and south.

The northeast is the most backward of the three main economic regions of Brazil. It is the region of initial colonization and of the old plantation economy, where precapitalist forms of exploitation survived. In this region, the largest latifundia are combined with land ownership and tenure on the smallest scale; the relative significance of rent in kind is the highest and the level of agricultural technology is the lowest in the country. More than 60 percent of the population is made up of Brazilians of African origin (in the Recóncavo district, over 65 percent—the highest percentage in Brazil). The northeast is the main supplier of cheap labor for other regions of Brazil. (In the period from 1960 to 1965 the states of this region—except for Maranhāo—provided up to 80 percent of all the migrants of Brazil.) A large portion of the population and the major cities of the region are concentrated in the eastern coastal belt. Less than one-fourth of the sown area is under commodity crops. In the humid coastal basins, the cultivation of sugarcane is prevalent (about one-third of Brazil’s harvest); in the south of the state of Bahia, cocoa (up to 95 percent of Brazil’s production) predominates. On the drier northeastern slopes of the Brazilian Highlands (the so-called agreste zone), the main commodity crop is cotton (more than one-third of the cotton harvest of Brazil, including the most valuable, long-fibered variety). In the arid interior regions (sertaō) there is extensive livestock raising for meat; among commodity crops, agave is being introduced. Wild fruits are gathered and rice is grown in the central northeast (the states of Maranhão and Piauí—a transitional zone from the arid northeast to the humid, tropical Amazonia). Oil and phosphorites are extracted in the coastal region, and there is extraction of small amounts of ores (primarily on the Borborema Plateau, to the north of the Sao Francisco River)—chromium, lead, tungsten, and beryllium, and also magnesites and asbestos. The northeast provides more than 85 percent of the output of common salt (from seawater). There is a textile and food condiments industry (more than three-fourths of the value of the region’s industrial produce). The latter is represented by sugar, spirits, vegetable oil, tobacco, and other branches. There are oil-refining (Mataripe, near Salvador), cement, and chemical enterprises. The most important economic centers are Recife, Salvador, and Fortaleza.

The southeast is economically the most developed region of Brazil. Its nucleus is the state of Sāo Paulo. It is the only large region whose economic structure is dominated by industry serving the domestic market. Eighty to 95 percent of Brazil’s output of gold and diamonds is concentrated in the state of Minas Gerais, as is almost all of the iron ore, bauxites, and graphite; radioactive minerals and manganese, beryllium, nickel, and other ores are extracted. The southeast produces about 80 percent of Brazil’s total electric power. Primary ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy (the states of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro) is the leading branch of the region’s manufacturing industry in terms of number of workers and value of produce. The region has an electrical-engineering

Table 8. Main indicators by economic and geographic regions
(1960; by percent)
 NortheastSoutheastSouthWest centralNorth
Note: Number of cities with population over 50,000 (1960): northeast, 16; southeast, 42; south, 10; west central, 3; north, 2
Area of agricultural land25.225.615.424.49.4
Area of cultivated land27.644.
Value of agricultural produce22.
Conventional net value of produce of industry7.778.

and shipbuilding industry (Rio de Janeiro) and a plant for railroad equipment (Belo Horizonte). The manufacturing industries are essentially concentrated in the Sāo Paulo area. According to 1965 data, the state of Sāo Paulo accounted for 82 percent of the value of the products of Brazil’s machine building, 87 percent of the value of electrical-engineering, and 89 percent of transport (including 95 percent of automobile-industry) products. Satellite cities with new industries have arisen around Sāo Paulo, the largest center for the cotton and food industries: Sāo Caetano do Sul (glass, ceramics, and silk), Santo Andrçíé (metallurgy, plastics, and tires), Sao Bernardo do Campo (automobiles, tractors, and electrical engineering), Mauá (petrochemistry and building materials), Cubataō (oil refining and fertilizers), and Sorocaba (synthetic fibers and textiles, aluminum); a number of industrial centers (Jundiaí, Campinas, and Taubaté) produce primarily durable goods.

The region’s agriculture is oriented toward export and determines the entire country’s foreign trade specialization. Agrarian relations are marked by the combination of large-scale land ownership, métayage, and working-off, with capitalist renting and the largest proportion of hired laborers in Brazil (particularly in the state of Sāo Paulo). More than 70 percent of the sown area is occupied by commodity crops, the most important of which is coffee (95 percent of Brazil’s harvest, including the northern part of the state of Paraná). Because of the exhaustion of the red earths (terra rosa) in the state of Sāo Paulo, the center of coffee production moved to the northern part of the state of Paraná. In the southeastern states, less fertile soils have begun to be more widely utilized for other crops: cotton, sugarcane, and rice in western Sāo Paulo and southern Minas Gerais (50–70 percent of Brazil’s production), tropical fruits (the coastal depressions), and citrus fruits (the valley of the Paraíba River, eastern Sāo Paulo). A considerable area is occupied by distant seeded pastures, where the cattle that come primarily from the west central region are fattened. The southeast accounts for 55 percent of the total length of railroads, 57 percent of trucks, and 65 percent of passenger vehicles.

The south is an agrarian region of late (since the end of the 19th century) European immigration. Agriculture dominates its economy; its manufacturing industry is closely tied to the processing of local agricultural raw materials. The south can be divided into three subregions in terms of the nature of agrarian relations and land use. The first of these is the extreme south (the so-called campina gaucho—southern Rio Grande do Sul)—a region of great latifundia that specialize in extensive livestock raising. More than one-eighth of the cattle population and more than one-half of the sheep are concentrated there. A considerable proportion of the meat, skins, and hides and almost all the wool (about 97 percent of Brazilian production in 1968) are exported. Farming does not play a large role; it is carried on primarily by tenants, and the main crop is wheat. The second subregion is the southern part of the Brazilian Highlands (northern Rio Grande do Sul and the state of Santa Catarina), which has a predominance of independent farms that operate almost exclusively for the domestic market, above all for Sāo Paulo. Rice is grown on the Atlantic coast and on the floodplains of the highland rivers (about 62 percent of the irrigated land of Brazil and about one-fourth of the rice harvest); corn (more than one-third of Brazil’s harvest), wheat, barley, and oats are grown on the slopes of hills. To the north of Porto Alegre there is tobacco-growing and viticulture (more than one-half of the harvest of each crop in Brazil). In the regions of German immigration, the cultivation of potatoes (about two-thirds of the Brazilian crop) serves as the base for intensive swine-raising (one-third of the livestock population and about 50 percent of Brazil’s pork production); vegetables are grown (almost two-thirds of the onion crop), and there is dairy livestock raising. The third subregion is the wooded plateau along the Paraná River—a subregion of large landholdings that are utilized primarily for pastured livestock raising. The population’s main occupation is the gathering of yerba maté, other forest trades, and logging. Coal (the mines of the state of Santa Catarina provide two-thirds of Brazil’s output; the rest comes from the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Paraná) and a small amount of copper ore (Rio Grande do Sul) are mined. Manufacturing industry is concentrated in the Pôrto Alegre agglomeration, Curitiba, and small centers for the processing of local raw materials. Of national importance are the food industry (above all, meat—an area dominated by American monopolies), leather and shoes (about 40 percent of Brazil’s output; the largest factories are in Nôvo Hamburgo), woodworking (two-thirds of Brazil’s production; the centers are Curitiba, Guarapuava, Lajes, and Ponta Grossa) and paper and pulp (the largest newsprint combine in Brazil is in Monte Alegre in the state of Paraná). Oil refining, metallurgy, and the chemical and textile industries are of local importance.

The west central region is the area of the most active contemporary colonization. During the 1950’s, colonization was stimulated by the construction of the new capital, Brasilia, and also by the “migration” of coffee plantations from the state of Sāo Paulo to the right bank of the Parnaíba. The basis of the economy is extensive livestock raising for meat; in 1968 there were about 18 million head of cattle and about 8 million pigs. Only 2.3 percent of the total area of farms is used for plant growing. There is farming on the right bank of the Parnaíba, in the Goiánia-Anápolis-Ceres triangle in the state of Goiás, and in the Dorados region in southern Mato Grosso. About two-thirds of the sown area is under rice (one-fourth of the Brazilian crop). Other important commodity crops are coffee, cotton, and sugarcane. Forestry and hunting—in northwestern Mato Grosso and northern Goiás—are of some importance. The large deposits of iron and manganese ores are exploited to a negligible extent. The manufacturing industry is in an embryonic state. The major cities are Brasilia, Goiânia, Anápolis, Campo Grande (the center of the cattle trade), Cuiabá, and Corumbá.

The north (Amazonia) is the largest region in terms of territory and the smallest by population (primarily located on the shores of the rivers) and economic value. Timber—the region’s main resource—is exploited haphazardly and to a negligible extent. Rubber is harvested from the wild rubber tree and other rubber-bearing plants; oil (para) nuts and aromatic and medicinal plants are collected. Fishing and hunting play essential roles. During the 1950’s and 1960’s as new lands were assimilated, the economic importance of forest trades declined, and the role of agriculture—which is developing primarily at the mouth of the Amazon—has been growing. To the south and east of Belém, where about 70 percent of the sown area of Amazonia is concentrated, the main commodity crops are pepper (for export) and rice, which is grown by Japanese settlers. On the middle course of the Amazon there are jute plantations, which supply the raw materials for the production of sacks in Sāo Paulo. Extensive livestock raising—on the flooded meadows of the island of Marajó and the territory of Amapá, and also in the lhanos of the Roraima territory—is of local significance. There is large-scale mining of manganic ores for export (Amapá). The industrial exploitation of deposits of tin ore (Roraima) was begun in 1962. Belém (the economic center of the region) and the port city of Manaus (second in importance) serve primarily as commercial transshipment bases.


Gozhev, A. D. luzhnaia Amerika. Moscow, 1948.
James, P. Latinskaia Amerika. Moscow, 1949. (Translated from English.)
Lukashova, E. N. luzhnaia Amerika. Moscow, 1958.
Braziliia: Ekonomika. Politika. Kul’tura. Moscow, 1963.
Paisagens do Brasil. Rio de Janeiro, 1968.
Geografía do Brasil, vols. 1–4. Rio de Janeiro, 1959–68.
A Economia Brasileira e suas perspectivas, vols. 1–8. Rio de Janeiro, 1964–69.
Anuário estatistico do Brasil, year 27. Rio de Janeiro, 1966.

The armed forces of Brazil consist of land forces (army), an air force, and a navy. The commander in chief of the armed forces is the president. Leadership of the branches of the armed service is exercised by the ministries of the army, air force, and navy respectively. The armed forces are staffed on the basis of a universal military service law. Their total number (1970) is about 210,000; in addition, there are about 120,000 military police. The land forces (about 140,000 men) consist of seven infantry divisions, one tank division, one paratroop division, four cavalry (mechanized) divisions, and several individual infantry battalions.

The air force (about 30,000 men) is subdivided into air groups and squadrons: bombing and patrol (five), fighter (five), and transport (ten). There are auxiliary air subdivisions. In all, the air force includes about 650 planes and helicopters, of which up to 15 are bombers and 80 are fighters and reconnaissance planes.

The navy includes a fleet, naval aircraft, and marines. The navy has more than 90 ships, including one aircraft carrier, two cruisers, 12 destroyers, 18 patrol ships, and four submarines. The naval air force includes 20 antisubmarine planes and helicopters. The navy has a total of about 40,000 men, of which 10,000 are marines. The main naval bases are Rio de Janeiro, Belém, Natal, Recife, and Salvador.

Medicine and public health In 1964 the birthrate was 43 per 1,000 of population, and the general mortality rate was 13; infant mortality was 170 per 1,000 live births, and the average life span was 40–45 years. Infectious diseases predominate. Quarantine diseases—smallpox (3,102 cases in 1966) and yellow fever—have been recorded. Ancylostomiasis, malaria, and leprosy are prevalent everywhere; endemic goiter occurs in the northeast and southeast, in the west central region, and in the north; intestinal schistosomiasis occurs in the northeast and southeast; Chagas’ disease in the northeast, southeast, and south and in the west central region; and trachoma in the north, northeast, and southeast. Diseases produced by insufficient nourishment are an important public-health problem; a considerable portion of the population is starving, and children receive only half of the necessary proteins. In certain states, the population virtually does not use milk and meat.

Yaws and yellow fever, tropical virus fevers, and malaria are prevalent in the north. In the northeast, 10–20 percent of the population is afflicted with strongylosis, and up to 90 percent with ascariasis. Areas of yaws have been exposed. Mortality from tetanus is high. There are pockets of wuchereriasis (up to 10 percent are afflicted). In the state of Ceará there are numerous cases of visceral leishmaniasis. Malaria is epidemic in nature on the Atlantic coast; ancylo-tomiasis afflicts 80–95 percent of the population. Intestinal diseases produce a high level of infant mortality. Infection by skin leishmaniasis is highest in the state of Sāo Paulo. Histoplasmosis is prevalent. Yellow fever is widespread in the west central region. South American glenosporosis is endemic. Endemic goiter afflicts 53.8 percent of the population. “Bromelitic” malaria and echinococcosis are characteristic of the south. Cancer is more prevalent than in other regions.

Medical service for the population is under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Health and to some extent the Ministry of Labor (the social insurance system). Medical aid is essentially provided by private medical practitioners. In 1966 there were about 40,000 doctors working in Brazil (1 doctor for every 2,200 residents), 6,700 nurses, and 55,700 nurse’s aides. In 1964 the supply of hospital beds was 3.1 per 1,000 of population; 40 percent of these belonged to the state.

Doctors are trained in 38 university medical faculties.


Referalivnyi zhurnal “Meditsinskaia geografiia,” 1965, no. 12, p. 62.
Boletin de la Oficina sanitaria panamericana, 1967, vol. 63, no. 1.
World Medical Journal, 1965, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 104–108.
Veterinary services The pathology of agricultural animals is marked by a predominance of infectious and parasitic diseases. Anthrax and black quarter, which inflict considerable damage on livestock, occur throughout much of Brazil. Rabies is prevalent (over 500 outbreaks in 1965–66); the main carriers are blood-sucking bats. Among transmitted diseases, babesiasis (28 outbreaks in 1965–66) and anaplasmosis (86 outbreaks in 1965–66) predominated; they are carried by ticks. Trypanosomiasis of horses, asses, and mules occurs in the southern part of the Brazilian Highlands. Leucosis of cattle is recorded in the states of Sāo Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and Rio Grande do Sul. Leptospirosis of agricultural animals occurs in many regions. Foot-and-mouth disease and Indian-type vesicular stomatitis have taken root in the southeastern part of the country (1966). Swine fever is reported everywhere, as are helminthoses and skin diseases (dermatomycosis, mange). In the southern states, up to 93 percent of swine, 22.3 percent of cattle, and 38.6 percent of sheep are afflicted with echinococcosis. Echinococcosis, fascioliasis, dicrocoeliosis, paramphistomiasis, and taeniasis are reported among most varieties of agricultural animals.
There are over 3,600 veterinarians in Brazil (1970). Highly skilled specialists are trained in university veterinary faculties. Many agricultural and medical scientific research institutions are involved in solving scientific problems of veterinary medicine; the main scientific research center is the Institute of Animal Pathology. The Pan-American Center for the Study of Foot-and-Mouth Disease is located in Brazil. The service for the sanitary protection for animals does not meet the needs of livestock raising.

The first schools on the territory of Brazil were opened by Jesuits in the middle of the 16th century. After the Jesuits were driven from Brazil, their schools were closed and the authorities began to open civil schools. A law organizing state primary schools was promulgated in 1827. The organization and administration of elementary education is under municipal jurisdiction; secondary and higher education has been placed under the control of the federal government. In addition to state schools, there are private—for the most part, religious—schools. The constitution of 1946 proclaimed free compulsory elementary education; however, in practice this law is not carried out. (In 1964 only about 66 percent of children of required age entered school.)

The initial link in the system of education of Brazil is made up of preschool institutions—maternal schools (for children 3 to 5) and kindergartens (for children 5 to 7). In 1967 these institutions educated about 166,000 children. Urban primary schools have two cycles—four years and one year (supplementary course). In rural localities, elementary schools are three years. In the 1966 academic year, 10,695,000 students were enrolled in primary schools. Secondary schools with seven-year programs of study are divided into two levels—the four-year preparatory schools and the three-year colleges. The colleges have two divisions, classical and technical. On the whole, children from the well-to-do strata of the population study in secondary schools, which had an enrollment of 1,805,000 students in the 1966 academic year.

Two-year trade schools operate on the basis of the four-year primary schools; there are six- and seven-year vocational schools (commercial, industrial, and agricultural) with two cycles—four and two to three years of instruction—based on the five-year primary schools. In the 1966 academic year there were over 412,000 students in vocational schools.

Teachers for primary schools are trained in seven-year normal schools, which operate on the basis of the five-year elementary school. In the 1966 academic year there were over 265,000 people studying in normal schools. For the most part, individuals who have graduated from a university work as teachers in the secondary schools.

There are 45 universities, three institutions of higher technical learning, and two higher musical colleges in Brazil. More than half of the higher educational institutions are private. The largest universities are the Brazilian University in Rio de Janeiro (founded in 1920) and the University of Sāo Paulo (founded in 1934). In 1961 a university was founded in Brasilia, the new capital. In 1968, 258,000 students were studying in higher educational institutions.

The largest libraries are the National Library (founded in 1810; about 2 million units of storage), the Portuguese Royal Reading Hall (1837; 1,200,000 volumes), and the library of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1906; over 240,000 volumes), all in Rio de Janeiro; and the Municipal Library in Sāo Paulo (1925; 400,000 volumes). The main museums are the National Museum (founded in 1818), the National Historical Museum (1922), and the National Museum of Fine Arts (1938) in Rio de Janeiro; and the Museum of Modern Art (1946) and the Ethnographic Museum (1934) in Sāo Paulo.


Natural and technical sciences Until the 18th century, research on the natural resources of Brazil was carried out by foreign scholars. The first work, a description of the flora of Brazil, was published in 1648 by the Dutch botanist W. Piso and the German researcher J. Narcgrave. The first Brazilian scholars made their appearance in the 18th century. They had been educated in Portugal and were primarily engaged in the study of medicine, botany, and geography. In the second half of the 18th century, research was carried out by the geographer F. Lacerda e Almeida and the botanists M. de Arruda Câmara and L. do Sacramento. The foreign researchers of Brazil during this period included the voyagers and geographers Condamin, A. Humboldt, and A. Bonpland.

The revival of scientific activity began after the proclamation of independence (1822). In the early 19th century, Rio de Janeiro was the site of the establishment of the National Botanical Garden, the National Observatory (1827), the National Academy of Medicine (1829), and the Institute of History and Geography (1838). Foreign scholars outfitted expeditions to study the flora, fauna, and minerals of Brazil (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, J. Gardner, A. Wallace, A. d’Orbigny, P. Lund, L. Agassiz, and others). The Russian Academic expedition of 1821–28, led by G. I. Langsdorf, a member of the Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg, was of great value.

The development of the productive forces in Brazil in the second half of the 19th century reinforced the need for national research personnel, especially in such branches as the production of coffee, cacao, and cotton and in the mining industry. In 1887 an agricultural experimental station was established in the city of Campinas; an agricultural institute later arose on its base. As a result of the spread of plague in the region of the city of Santos, the Butantan Institute was established (1901) in Sāo Paulo. It achieved world renown for its work in the area of tropical medicine; serums to counteract snake poision and virus diseases were developed in the institute. The O. Cruz Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, which subsequently became a center for the production of vaccines, was established in Rio de Janiero in 1900. In 1917 the Engineering Institute was established in Sāo Paulo.

Until World War I, scientific work in Brazil was conducted primarily in the area of biological and agricultural sciences. Brazilian scholars of the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries included the botanists F. Freire Alemão, J. Barbosa Rodrigues, J. Monteiro Caminhoá, A. da Silveira, and F. Hoehne—the authors of the fundamental work Flora of Brazil in 40 volumes (beginning in 1880); the zoologist A. Correa de Lacerda and C. Moreira; the biologist O. Cruz; and the physician and naturalist General C. M. da Silva Rondon. Scholars naturalized in Brazil worked in the area of the physical and mathematical sciences: the French scholar E. Liais (geodesy and astronomy); his successor, the Belgian astronomer L. Cruls; and the physicist and astronomer E. Morize, who was one of the founders of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. Brazilian mathematicians included J. Gomes de Sousa (mathematical analysis) and O. de Alencar, an algebraist (who was also involved in applications of mathematics to physics and electrical engineering).

A Brazilian scholarly society was established. In 1916 it became the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. It includes five divisions: mathematical, physical, chemical, geological, and biological sciences. Since 1929 it has published the scientific journal Anais. The Brazilian Academy of Sciences has no scientific research institutes. Its basic task is to aid the development of science in the country. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, much research was concentrated in the institutes. The growing importance of science in the economy and defense of the country after World War II confronted the government of Brazil in the 1950’s with the task of intensively developing the natural and technical sciences and training scientific personnel. In 1951 a law was adopted establishing the National Council on Research, which was accountable to the president. The National Atomic Energy Commission and the National Commission on Outer Space, the Brazilian Center for Physical Studies, the National Technological Institute, the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mathematics, the Institute for the Study of the Amazon, and the Brazilian Institute of Bibliography and Documentation are under its supervision. Research in new directions has been organized: mathematics is studied at the institutes of mathematics of the universities of Rio de Janeiro (founded in 1952), Ceará (1957), and Recife (1952); nuclear physics, primarily in the institute of atomic energy (with an atomic reactor) at the University of Sāo Paulo (founded in 1956), but there are also research atomic reactors at the universities of Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro. A center for the study and use of radioactive isotopes in medicine has been established at the University of Sāo Paulo. Work on theoretical and applied physics is being conducted in institutes of physics at the universities of Rio Grande do Sul and Rio de Janeiro.

Scientific research in chemistry is conducted mainly at the universities of the states of Bahia and Rio de Janeiro; in the field of medicine it is conducted in specialized institutes. In 1954 the National Cancer Service was organized; in 1955, an institute of microbiology at the University of Rio de Janeiro; and in 1958, an institute of tropical medicine. The work of medical scientific institutions is coordinated by the National Academy of Medical Sciences, which does not have its own institutes. The Pasteur Institutes and institutes of social and occupational medicine (in Sāo Paulo) are also operating.

Research on cytology and—since the 1950’s—genetics is conducted at the faculty of general biology of the University of Sāo Paulo.

Much geological study of the country is carried out by the administration of the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the institutes of geology at the universities of Recife (founded in 1958), Paraná, (1959), and Bahia (in the city of Salvador, 1958); work on geography has been conducted at the center for geographical research in Rio de Janeiro (1951) and the Brazilian Geographic Society. There are oceanographic institutes at the universities of Sāo Paulo and Recife. In the area of applied sciences, research is carried on at an institute of technological studies in Sāo Paulo, an institute of industrial technology in Belo Horizonte, the Brazilian Oil Institute, an institute of hydraulics at the University of Rio de Janeiro, a naval institute, and other institutions.

Among the Brazilian scholars of the 20th century who have made important contributions to science are the mathematicians M. Amorosa Costa and T. Ramos, the biologists R. Nina Rodrigues and E. Ribas, the physiologist A. Osório de Almeida, the botanists A. Neiva and R. Pinto, the ornithologist O. de Oliveira Pinto, the ichthyologist A. Miranda Ribeiro, and the hygienist J. de Castro.

However, the volume of scientific work conducted is inadequate. There are about 3,000 scientific workers (including scientists and engineers engaged in scientific-organizational work and university professors who are not engaged in research in Brazil; approximately one-half of these specialize in the biological sciences. In 1968 a three-year plan for the scientific and technical development of the country came into operation: it provides for sharply increased allocations for scientific research work.


Social sciencesPHILOSOPHY. Brazilian philosophy took shape and developed under the influence of European (primarily Portuguese) philosophic thought. The Portuguese, who had discovered (1500) and colonized Brazil, established—along with their social customs—the feudal absolutist ideology and scholastic philosophy that were dominant in the parent state. During the colonial period, philosophy in Brazil emerged as a constituent part of religious ideology. A number of church figures—among them A. Vieira, M. do Destêrro, D. G. Carneiro, M. de Encarnação Pina, N. M. Pereira, and G. de Madre de Deus—were involved in the study of philosophical (primarily ethical) problems. The expulsion of the Jesuits from Brazil (1759) created favorable conditions for the spread of the materialist and enlightenment ideas of European thinkers—J. Locke, E. B. de Condillac, Voltaire, D. Diderot, J.-J. Rousseau, and others. In 1827 the first secular higher educational institutions (the law faculties in Sāo Paulo and Olinda) were established in Brazil; they played a large role in the propagation of progressive ideas of Western European philosophy.

The monarchical period of Brazil’s history (1822–89) was marked by a renaissance of scholastic philosophy. Among its representatives were F. de Mont’Alverne, M. de Morais Valle, E. Ferreira França, D. J. Gonçalves de Magalhães, and J. Soriano de Sousa. Positivism was disseminated in the second half of the 19th century and played a certain positive role in the struggle against scholasticism and spiritualism (L. P. Barreto, M. Lemos, T. Mendes, and others). Toward the end of the 19th century, progressive thinkers (T. Barreto and others) became interested in the theory of evolution of C. Darwin and the scientific-natural materialism of E. Haeckel. A whole galaxy of thinkers formed under the influence of T. Barreto (the so-called Recife school): S. Romero, D. G. Cabral, T. L. de Castro, F. Cardoso, J. P. de Graça Aranha, C. Bevilaqua, and others, who defended materialist ideas in different areas of knowledge. Parallel with the materialist tradition, idealist philosophy continued to develop in Brazil. Interest in it increased as a result of the spread of the works of the French philosopher H. Bergson and the American philosopher W. James. Their influence was reflected in the works of F. Brito. Propaganda for socialist and Marxist ideas began in Brazil in the late 19th century (E. da Cunha and A. E. de Lima Barreto).

The first decades of the 20th century were marked by an intensification of the struggle between idealist orientations and the materialist tradition. Until World War II (1939–45), neo-Thomism (L. Franca, A. A. Lima, A. Correia, L. van Acher, A. V. Velloso, H. Barbuy, and others), as well as instrumentalism, neo-Kantianism, neopositivism, and in-tuitionism, was particularly widespread in the idealist camp. During the postwar years these currents were joined by existentialism (V. F. da Silva), phenomenology (L. W. Vita), and the philosophy of culture (M. Reale). These orientations were criticized from the standpoint of neopositivism (Djacir Meneses) and semantics (E. Cannabrava). The philosophers J. Cruz Costa and L. Pinto Ferreira and the sociologists L. A. Costa Pinto and Clovis Melo are among the prominent contemporary progressive bourgeois figures. The development of Marxist philosophy in Brazil was aided by the creation of the Brazilian Communist Party (1922), which presented a critique of idealism and a defense of dialectical materialism (L. C. Prestes, A. Pereira, A. Schmidt, and others). A number of philosophical centers were created in the 1930’s and 1940’s: the Brazilian Institute of Philosophy (1949) and the philosophy faculties of a number of universities. The journal Revista brasileira de filosofia has been published since 1951.

HISTORY. The development of the study of history in Brazil began during the 1830’s. Until the 1870’s the monarchical orientation dominated in the historiography of Brazil (J. I. de Abreu e Lima, J. da Silva Lisboa, F. A. de Varnhagen, and others). The historians of this current focused their attention on an apology for the Portuguese monarch and the colonial regime. The historical school of abolitionists arose in the last third of the 19th century (A. Perdigāo Malheiro, S. Romero, and J. Nabuco). Romero was most radical in his historical views; he argued for the abolition of slavery and the liquidation of the latifundia. At the turn of the 20th century, various schools and currents took shape in the historiography of Brazil. O. Lima—the founder of the conservative empirical orientation—and his followers (O. Tarquínio de Sousa, A. Arinos de Melo Franco, and others) justified the existence of any bourgeois-landlord regimes as “a consequence of the natural development of the historical process.” Rocha Pombo, the father of the liberal positivist orientation, believed that the climate and soils of Brazil had given rise to the plantation economy and slavery. He concentrated his attention on civil political history, providing much material on the history of popular movements. Pombo’s successors in contemporary historiography (A. de Almeida, J. O. Rodrigues, and others) acknowledge the class struggle but regard it merely as one of the factors in the evolution of bourgeois society and do not see its profound social content. The positive side of their work is the defense of the principles of anticolonialism, national sovereignty, peaceful coexistence, and cultural communication among nations. Exponents of the reactionary biological school (J. Capistrana de Abreo, A. de Taunay, S. Buarque de Hlanda, and P. Calmón) are joined by their hatred for the revolutionary movement and their slander of the workers’ and Communist movement. During the 1940’s and 1950’s the bourgeois nationalist orientation, with its various nuances (L. Collor, H. Baldessarini, S. Dantas, S. Magalhāes, and D. Ribeiro), was developed in Brazilian historiography. It is characterized by anti-imperialism (albeit inconsistent), defense of the economic interests of Brazil, recognition of the role of the popular masses in the historical process, and at the same time, covert anticommunism. The prominent historian and thinker E. de Cunha initiated the radical democratic orientation. In his works and in those of his successors (E. de Morais, E. Carneiro, A. Quintas, and E. Pontes) the role of the popular masses in history is appraised highly; da Cunha and his followers considered the revolutionary struggle of the working class and the peasantry to be the motive force of history. At the same time, their works are characterized by underestimation of economic factors in the development of society and exaggeration of the roles of education and the geographic milieu.

Marxist historiography in Brazil, which arose in the 1930’s, was developed after World War II (1939–45). Scenes of the workers’ movement of the 20th century, the social movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the economic history of Brazil were reflected in the works of such progressive historians as C. Prado Júnior, R. Faco, N. Werneck Sodré, E. Dias, F. Segismundo, A. Pereira, and O. Brandāo.

The main centers of historical research and concentration of historical documents are the Brazilian Institute of History and Geography (founded 1838), which publishes Revista They are all located in Rio de Janiero.


ECONOMICS. Brazilian economic thought arose in the second half of the 18th century; it is strongly influenced by European classical and vulgar bourgeois political economy. One of the leading economic schools of Brazil is the liberal school, which is based on the idea of providing maximum freedom to private enterprise (E. Gudin, O. Goveda de Bulhões. G. de Paiva, A. Baleeiro, B. Pinto, and A. Kafka). The exponents of this orientation oppose the development of state capitalism and favor the encouragement of private capital by every possible means, regardless of its national origin. Arguing on the basis of the theory of comparative costs, they propose to extend developing countries’ specializations in the production of agricultural and raw goods. After World War II (1939–45), in contrast to the liberal school, desenvolvimentismo (from the Portuguese desenvolvimento, development)—a tendency that had arisen as early as the 1930’s—took final shape (R. Simonsen, J. P. de Almeida, S. Magalháes, C. Furtado, E. R. Lima, I. Rangel, and others). The desenvolvimentists focused their attention on the development of productive forces, believing that this was sufficient for the attainment of Brazil’s economic independence. In contrast to the representatives of the liberal school, they attributed great importance to the role of the state, to the accelerated growth of the state sector, which according to them was to secure the development of heavy industry and the infrastructure and thereby facilitate the achievement of economic independence by the country. These propositions extended to all developing countries. In the early 1960’s, with the strengthening of the nationalist movement, the school of “basic reforms” arose in Brazil—a tendency that diverged still further from the traditional orientation of bourgeois political economy. The representatives of this current (O. Duarte Pereira and the former left-wing desenvolvimentists S. Magalhāes, and C. Furtado) favored restriction of the privileges granted to foreign capital, curtailment of the personal consumption of the ruling hierarchy, an increase in the consumption of the working people, and the implementation of agrarian reforms. They recognized that the growth of production forces was in itself insufficient to accelerate the country’s development. The representatives of Marxist economic thought in Brazil (N. Werneck Sodré, A. Pasos Guimaráes, R. Faco, and others), which was disseminated from the late 19th century, concentrated their attention on the analysis of the economic position of the developing countries and started on the way to overcoming their economic backwardness.

The main economic research centers in Brazil (and their periodical publications) are the Brazilian Institute of Economics, which publishes the monthly Conjuntura econêmica (since 1947) and Revista brasileira de econêmia (since 1947; published every three months); the National Federation of Industry, which publishes the monthly Desenvolvimento e conjuntura (since 1957); and the private bureau of economic research, Banas, which publishes the weekly Banas informa and a series of specialized yearbooks.



Istoriia filosofii, vol. 2. Moscow, 1957. Pages 551–69.
Cruz Costa, J. Obzor istorii filosofii Brazilii. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Portuguese.)
Istoriografiia novogo vremeni stran Evropy i Ameriki. Moscow, 1967. Pages 611–16.
Borisov, V. I. “Ekonomicheskie i politicheskie problemy ν istoriografii i publitsistike Brazilii (1960–1966 gg.).” Novaia i noveishaia istoriia, 1968, no. 2.
Glinkin, A. N. “Brazil’skaia sotsial’no-politicheskaia literatura o sovremennykh problemakh.” In the collection Braziliia: Ekonomika. Politika. Kul’tura. Moscow, 1963.
Leite-Lopes, J. “Nauka, ekonomicheskoe razvitie i tretii mir.” Mir nauki, 1968, no. 3, pp. 24–31.
Azevedo, F. de. A cultura brasileira. Rio de Janeiro, 1943.
Francovich, G. Filósofos brasileiros. São Paulo, 1947.
Robledo, A. G. La filosofía en el Brasil. Mexico City, 1946.
Jaguaribe, H. A filosofía no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro, 1957.

The first newspaper in Brazil was published in 1809. In 1970 there were about 250 daily newspapers being published in the country. The largest are O Globo (founded 1925; circulation, over 100,000), Jornal do Brasil (1891; circulation, 85,000), Correio da Manhā (1901; circulation, about 70,000–100,000) and Diario de Noticias (1930; circulation, 70,000) in Rio de Janeiro, and Estado de Sāo Paulo (1875; circulation, 150,000–180,000) and Diario de Sāo Paulo (1929; circulation, 85,000) in Sāo Paulo.

The newspaper and magazine association Diarios Associados, founded in 1921, is the largest in Brazil. It publishes 32 newspapers and 18 magazines and includes the Literature Publishing House, as well as 22 radio stations and 15 television studios. The official national information agency is Agencia Nacional, which was founded in 1946 and is located in Rio de Janeiro.

The beginnings of radio and television broadcasting in Brazil date to 1921 and 1952 respectively. In 1970 there were over 950 radio stations, the largest of which were O Globo, Jornal do Brasil, Mauá, Nacional, and Tupi in Rio de Janeiro, and Cultura, Difusora, Radio de Sāo Paulo, and Panamericana in Sāo Paulo. Broadcasting is in Portuguese. In 1970, Brazil had more than 40 television stations. The largest radio and television associations are the National Council on Telecommunications, the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Stations, and the Association of Newspapers and Radio Stations. Radio and television broadcasting are mostly by private stations.


The literature of the Brazilian people developed in Portuguese. The first literary monuments were created in the colonial period (16th and 17th centuries): treatises and letters by the Jesuit missionary José de Anchieta (1534–97), chronicles, and travel descriptions. Three poetic elements (Portuguese, Negro, and Indian) merged in the sung legendary folklore. Until the middle of the 18th century, Brazilian poetry remained within the channel of the Portuguese baroque: Prosopopéa (1601) by Bento Teixeira (born 1561; year of death unknown) and Music of Parnassus (1705) by M. Botelho de Oliveira (1636–1711). The satirical verses of G. de Matos (1633–96) gave a memorable description of the sharpness of social contradictions in colonial society. The poetry of the end of the 18th century united classicist aspirations and the influence of the Enlightenment and the aesthetics of Arcadia (the Italian literary academy). The ideas of the Enlightenment assumed a specific character in Brazil—the idea of the natural man was embodied in the form of the Indians. The formation of a national literature can be felt in the epic poems Uruguay (1769) by J. B. da Gama (1741–95) and Caramurú (1781) by J. de Santa Rita Durāo (1722–84): the heroization of the national past and the sympathy for the native inhabitants. The ideals of simplicity, unaffectedness, and the cult of nature were carried out in pastoral lyrics, which frequently retained the color of folk songs: Glaura (1798) by M. da Silva Alvarenga (1749–1814), Lereno’s Violin (parts 1–2,1798–1826) by D. Caldas Barbosa (17387–1800), and many poems by T. A. Gonzaga (1744–1810). The poets of the “Minas school”—Gonzaga, C. M. da Costa (1729–89), and I. J. de Alvarenga Peixoto (1744–93)—were connected to the anti-Portuguese Inconfidencia conspiracy led by Tiradentes. In 1789 they were subjected to harsh repression. Enlightened realism is expressed in the poem Villa Rica (1773) by da Costa and in a number of Gonzaga’s poems, as well as in his satire Chilean Letters (1788–89).

The achievement of national independence (1822) accelerated the development of culture. Romanticism was dominant in Brazil from the 1830’s to the 1870’s. Its main features were originality of themes and language and poeticization of nature and national history. So-called Indianism was a significant current within romanticism. It presented the Indian as hero and used Indian folklore and ethnographic information: American Poems (1846, 1848, 1851) by A. Gon-çalves Dias (1823–64) and novels by J. M. de Alencar (1829–77) and B. Guimaráes (1825–84). At the end of the romantic period, Indianism was replaced by “sertaõism”—the poeticization of the patriarchal structure of rural life: novels by Franklin Tavora (1842–88) and A. d’Escragnolle Taunay (1843–99). The poets of the 1850’s and 1860’s felt acutely the backwardness and provinciality of the bourgeois society that was taking shape in Brazil. Themes of melancholy and loneliness predominate in the lyrics of M. A. Alvares de Azevedo (1831–52), C. J. de Abreu (1837–60), and L. N. Fagundes Varela (1841–75). The social upsurge associated with the struggle for the abolition of slavery brought to light the poetry of A. Castro Alves (1847–71), filled with civic inspiration and permeated by republican and abolitionist ideas. The type of romanticism that portrayed morals and manners was represented by the novels of J. M. de Macedo (1820–82), the comedies of L. C. Martins Pena (1815–48), and the novel Memoirs of a Police Sergeant (1854–55) by M. A. de Almeida (1830–61), which was linked to the tradition of the European picaresque novel.

During the 1870’s and 1880’s, the domination of Catholic orthodoxy in Brazilian thought weakened because of the activity of the Recife school of philosophers, who propagandized the ideas of C. Darwin, H. Spencer, and German materialism. This school included S. Romero (1851–1914), the author of the basic work History of Brazilian Literature (1888) and compiler of Brazilian folklore. A naturalist school grew up under the influence of E. Zola: H. Inglés de Sosa (1853–1918), J. S. Ribeiro (1845–90), and A. Caminha (1867–97). The best social novels of Aluízio de Azevedo (1857–1913), the head of this school, went beyond the limits of the naturalist norms and contributed to the formation of the realistic method. The influence of impressionism was evident in the novel O Ateneu (1888) by R. Pompéia (1863–95).

J. M. Machado de Assís (1839—1908) was an outstanding master of critical realism. He was the first president of the Brazilian Academy of Literature, which was founded in 1896. He introduced psychologism to Brazilian literature. The path of realism subsequently passed to the artistic assimilation of the life of the peasant masses. The stories of the “regionalists” appeared at the turn of the 20th century. They depicted the natural setting of the various regions of the country and also the mores of their inhabitants: the short stories On the Sertaõ (1898) by A. Arinos de Melo Franco (1868–1916) and Legends of the Gauchos (1912) by J. Simões Lopes Neto. Rebellion in the Backlands (1902) by E. da Cunha (1866–1909)—a documentary scientific and literary work on the life and struggle for land of the peasants—had a great influence on literature. The main theme of Brazilian literature after Rebellion in the Backlands was the tragic struggle of the peasants against the elements: the collection Green Hell (1908) by A. Rangel (1871–1945) and the stories by C. de Vasconcelos (1881–1923) and A. Maia (1878–1944). The stories of J. B. Monteiro Lobato (1883–1948) were aimed against the romanticization of rural life. The work of A. E. de Lima Barreto (1881–1922) formed a new stage in realism, uniting psychologism with grotesque satire. The poetry of the late 19th century was under strong French influence. The Parnassian school, whose representatives included O. Bilac (1865–1918), A. de Oliveira (1859–1927), and R. Corréia (1859–1911), was replaced by the symbolist school: J. de Cruz e Sousa (1861–98), A. de Guimarāes (1870–1921), and A. dos Anjos (1884–1914). In prose, symbolism found expression in the novels of J. P. de Graça Aranha (1868–1931). In 1922 the Week of Modern Art in Sāo Paulo opened the offensive of the avant-gardists against academic poetry. In the work of M. de Andrade (1893–1945) and J. O. de Andrade (1890–1954), along with fruitful searching for new means of poetic expressiveness, there was an increase in formalist experimentation. Attempting to find a national style, many modernists turned to folklore: M. Bandeira (born 1886) and R. Bopp (born 1898). J. de Lima (1895–1953) created brilliant poetry with a folklore basis.

The antifeudal, anti-imperialist struggle, which intensified in the 1930’s, embraced broad circles of the intelligentsia. In prose, a realist school stood out: it studied the acute problems of national life and, above all, the problem of the northeast—one of the country’s backward regions. The “novel of the northeast” was the peak of Brazilian realism: G. Ramos (1892–1953), K. Lins do Rêgo (1901–57), J. Amado (born 1912), and R. de Queiros (born 1910). During the years after World War II, masters of Brazilian prose continued to appear—J. Amado and E. Veríssimo (born 1905). The regionalist tradition was extended and deepened in the work of C. Guimarāes Rosa (1908–68; Paths by the Great Sertāo, 1956). The main representative of socialist realism in Brazilian literature was Amado; others who attempted to write in this channel were M. A. Barroso, A. Paim, and D. Jurandyr (born 1909). Social novels were created by S. Martins (The New Road, 1954), A. Callado (born 1917; The Ascension of Salviano, 1954, Quarup, 1967), M. Palmerio (born 1916), and M. Lopes. V. de Morais (born 1913), C. Drummond de Andrade (born 1902), and J. Cabral de Melo Neto (born 1920) were prominent among poets. The short-story writers Marquis Rebelo (born 1907), A. de Alcántara Machado (1901–35), and A. Machado (born 1895) were engrossed in the life and psychology of the “little man.” Modern Brazilian dramaturgy is particularly rich: if convention, allegory, and elements of Freudian psychoanalysis occupied an important place in the works of the old generation of playwrights—Nelson Rodriges (born 1912), G. Figueiredo (born 1915), P. Bloch (born 1914), and J. Camargo (born 1898)—then the young playwrights A. Dias Gomes, A. Suasuna (born 1927), and A. Boal (born 1931) turn to the folkloric theater of the marketplace. There is no single writers’ organization in the country; there are only an association of writers of the city of Sāo Paulo and an association of playwrights.


Brazil’skie rasskazy. [Foreword by I. Terterian.] Moscow, 1959.
Pod nebom luzhnogo kresta: Brazil’ skaia novella XIX-XX vekov. [Foreword by I. Terterian.] Moscow, 1968.


Brandao, O. “Braziliia: Literatura.” In Strany Latinskoi Ameriki. Moscow, 1949.
Terterian, I. A. Brazil’ skii roman XX veka. Moscow, 1965.
Terterian, I. A. “Brazil’skaia literatura ν SSSR.” In Braziliia: Ekonomika. Politika. Kul’tura. Moscow, 1963.
Terterian, I. A. “Obrazy fol’klora ν sovremennom realizme Brazilii i modernizm.” In Sovremennye problemy realizma i modernizm. Moscow, 1965.
Khudozhestvennaia literatura Latinskoi Ameriki ν russkoi pechati: 1765–1959. [Compiled by L. Shur.] Moscow, 1960.
Shur, A. A. Khudozhestvennaia literatura Latinskoi Ameriki ν russkoi pechati, 1960–1964. Moscow, 1966.
A literatura no Brasil, vols. 1–3. Compiled by A. Coutinho. Rio de Janeiro, 1955–59.
Soares Amora, A. História da literatura brasileira, 4th ed.Sāo Paulo, 1963.
Sodré, N. W. História da literatura brasileira, 4th ed. Rio de Janeiro [1964].
Carpeaux, O. M. Pequena bibliografia crítica da literatura brasileira, 3rd ed. [Rio de Janeiro, 1964.]
Topete, J. M. A Working Bibliography of Brazilian Literature. Gainesville, 1957.

Stone sculpture, ceramics with geometric designs, and rock drawings from the ancient Indian cultures of Brazil have survived primarily in the region of the Amazon. With the coming of the Portuguese to the coast, cities built without strict designs arose (Salvador, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro). Fortified rural estates—;facendas—included a landlord’s house (on a high pedestal, with colonnades and staircases), a church, and sheds for the slaves. In the 18th century, a distinctive Brazilian baroque architecture took shape in the cities of Ouro Prêto, Congonhas do Campo, and Sāo Joāo del Rei (the region in which gold and diamonds were mined and which was an important center for the national liberation movement—now the state of Minas Gerais): churches distinguished by the special plasticity of their dimensions, the wealth of color, and the splendor of stucco and carved decor (architects M. F. de Lisboa, his son nicknamed Aleijadinho, and others) were built. The churches of the coastal cities had comparatively severe facades, but their interiors were sometimes covered with solid painting and gilded carving. There was development of decorative painting and sculpture (the sharply characterized statues and groups of Aleijadinho, who reflected national liberation aspirations) and stone and wood carving. Two- and three-story city houses (made of adobe, wood, and stone) were frequently faced with painted tiles or were painted.

In the early 19th century—particularly after the proclamation of independence (1822)—secular principles gained strength in Brazilian culture. Under French influence the principles of classicism (O. Grandjean de Montigny), combined with the baroque traditions that were retained primarily in individual houses, were confirmed in architecture. Painting (historical, battle, portrait, and landscape) also took shape under the influence of French classicism and romanticism (N. A. Taunay and his son F. E. Taunay). In the second half of the 19th and the early 20th centuries, cities with magnificent buildings in the spirit of European eclecticism—and later in the “modern” style as well—grew up. In painting, national modes became established (the historical painters V. Meirelis de Lima and P. Americo de Figueiredo y Melo), as, later on, did the moving realistic perception of national life (the genre painter J. F. de Almeido Júnior and the portraitist E. Visconti).

In the 20th century the “neocolonial style,” which was based on the imitation of national tradition, was the first attempt to find an independent path in architecture. Private residences of strict laconic form began to appear in Sāo Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. A distinctive Brazilian school of modern architecture began to take shape in the late 1930’s (the building of the Ministry of Education and Public Health in Rio de Janeiro, 1937–43; architects L. Costa, O. Niemeyer, A. E. Reidy, and others). The provision of cross ventilation became one of the principles of design, and the shape of the facade began to be determined by sun-shielding structures of the jalousie and lattice type. In the buildings on Lake Pampulha near Belo Horizonte (1942–43, architect O. Niemeyer) there appeared the expressive plasticity and picturesque curved forms —characteristic of the new architecture of Brazil —which often followed the terrain of the locale (a house in the Pedregulho quarter of Rio de Janeiro, 1950–52; architect A. E. Reidy). Along with the reconstruction of old cities, new cities were constructed: Belo Horizonte, Goiânia, and the new capital, original in conception, Brasilia (architects L. Costa, O. Neimeyer, and others), with its contrasts of markedly regular residential buildings and public buildings of unusually plastic form. The principles of rational design of buildings, zoned construction, and standardization were used; monolithic reinforced concrete, aluminum, roof covers of various shapes, and—influenced by the hot climate—skeleton and movable walls, balconies and loggias, and protective and decorative coverings (mosaic, tiles, and glass slabs) were used extensively. Contemporary forms are frequently combined with elements of traditional and folk architecture. Unique buildings and wealthy private residences are connected to multicolored gardens (architect R. Burle-Marx) and are decorated with sculpture and monumental painting. But side by side with the showy, sometimes deliberately odd new buildings (including tall ones), sections of slums rise up in the cities (the favela in Rio de Janeiro and cortiços in Sāo Paulo). The housing crisis is intensifying as a result of negligible mass construction for the workers.

Modern art took shape in Brazil during the 1920’s. (One of its sources was the movement of the Week of Modern Art in Sāo Paulo in 1922.) In this art, searching in the spirit of socialist realism was intertwined with subjectivist experiments. In painting, along with the majestic popular images of C. Portinari and E. de Cavalcanti and the popular character and vivid decorativeness of the paintings of Tarsila do Amaral and the self-taught woman artist Djanira, there was development in expressionism (L. Segall), abstractionism, and the latest modernist currents. The democratic graphics of Brazil were marked by inspired expressiveness (O. Goeldi, C. Scliar, and R. Katz). Sculpture (B. Giorgi, V. Brecheret) was characterized by vacillation between live national images and abstract fantasies. In the area of decorative art, ceramics and painting of fabrics stand out.

The forms of folk art in Brazil are varied—Negro (statuettes, multicolored clothing, and household utensils in the traditions of African art) and particularly Indian (the figured ceramics of the Caraja Indians, the wooden statuettes of the Cadioveos, the polychromatic painting of the huts of the Tucanos, the zoomorphic benches of the Caribs, patterned weaving, articles made of feathers, plaiting of palm leaves, and many other articles). There are widely distributed varieties of popular dwellings (including Indian residences)— dugouts, huts (dwellings on stilts in wet areas), and sheds made of palm leaves.


Vystavka sovremennoi grafiki Brazilii: Katalog. Moscow, 1958.
Stolitsy stran mira. [Moscow, 1966].
Polevoi, V. M. Iskusstvo stran Latinskoi Ameriti. Moscow, 1967. (Bibliography.)
Reis, J. M. dos [Jr.]. Historia da pintura no Brasil. Sāo Paulo, 1944.
Goodwin, P. L. Brazil Builds . .. , 3rd ed. New York, 1946.
Costa, L. Arquitetura brasileira. Rio de Janeiro, 1952.
The Arts in Brazil. Milan, 1956.
Charles, G. L’art baroque au Brésil. Paris, 1956.
Mindlin, H. E. Modern Architecture in Brazil. New York, 1956.

Brazilian music is an original mixture of elements of European (mainly Portuguese), African, and Indian music. In the first half of the 16th century, after the conquest of Brazil by the Portuguese, the musical art of the indigenous population—the Indians—began to be displaced by Portuguese music. The folklore of the Negro slaves brought to Brazil from Africa merged with the music of the Portuguese who had settled the country. The links with Negro music are attested to by the syncopated rhythms, the existence of many percussion instruments of Negro origin and also such song and dance forms as the “lundo” and the samba.

Folk dances and songs are popular in Brazil. They are heard in daily life, in traditional performances, and especially during the annual carnivals, in which a large portion of the population of Brazil takes part. One of the first great Brazilian composers was J. M. Nunes Garcia. His student, F. M. da Silva, was the author of the national anthem (1831). Among the composers of the second half of the 19th century were A. C. Gomes, the creator of national operas; A. Nepomuceno, one of the founders of the national music school (the first in symphonic music to turn to folklore); A. Levy; and F. Braga.

During the 20th century the national tendency in Brazilian music has increased; composers are making wider use of musical folklore. Simultaneously, the influence of new currents in European music has appeared. The greatest contribution to the development of Brazilian national music was made by H. Villa-Lobos, the outstanding composer, conductor, folklorist, and figure in the world of music. Among the composers who uphold the national tendency in Brazilian music are L. Fernandes, F. Mignone, M. C. Guarnieri, and the conductor and composer J. Siqueira. The pianists J. Klein and A. Estrela, the violinist O. Borgerth, and the folk singer V. Orica are among the popular performers. Brazil’s musical life is concentrated mainly in the two cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sāo Paulo. In 1813 the Sāo João Theater was opened in Rio de Janeiro, and Italian troupes performed there. During the 1830’s the theater acquired its own orchestra and choir, and Brazilian singers began to participate in performances. In 1857 the National Opera Theater was formed in Rio de Janeiro. Since the 1950’s annual national tours have been made to demonstrate national operatic art.

Brazil’s symphonic orchestras include the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra of Rio de Janeiro, the National Symphony Orchestra (the first and only orchestra financed by the state), the orchestras of municipal theaters of Rio de Janeiro and Sāo Paulo, student orchestras, and so on. There are two choirs in Rio de Janeiro, a choral ensemble in Porto Alegre, and the Renaissance Madrigal Ensemble in Belo Horizonte. Music schools and educational institutions include the National School of Music of the University of Brazil (since 1937; the National Conservatory of Music, founded in 1841, was transformed in 1890 into the National Institute of Music, which in 1931 became part of the university), the Academy of Music (founded in 1945), the National Conservatory of Choral Singing in Rio de Janeiro (founded in 1942), and also the music schools of Sāo Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Salvador, Recife, and others. The musicologists R. Almeida, H. Corrêa de Azevedo, O. Alvarenga, and others work in Brazil. The Union of Musicians (a voluntary association of professional musicians) and the society of Brazilian Musical Youth were created in the 1950’s. In 1960 the Order of Brazilian Musicians was formed, uniting all musicians.


Estrela, A. “Brazi’ skaia muzyka.” In the collection Braziliia: Ekonomika. Politika. Kul’tura. Moscow, 1963. Pages 351–85.
Siqueira, J. “Simfonicheskaia muzyka Brazilii.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1956, no. 3.
Almeida, R. História de la música brasileira, 2nd ed. Rio de Janeiro, 1942.
Boletín latino-americano de música, vol. VI. Rio de Janeiro, 1946.
Corrêa de Azevedo, L. H. Bibliografia musical brasileira. Rio de Janeiro, 1952.

The first theatrical performances (the dramatization of works of Portuguese literature and auto) were organized by missionaries for the conversion of Indians to Christianity. Elements of dramatic action were retained in the ritual games of the Afro-Brazilian cult, the so-called macumbas. The first theater in the country was built in Rio de Janeiro in the 16th century. In the 18th century attempts were made to create permanent theaters. Plays by M. Botelho de Oliveira, A. J. da Silva, I. J. de Alvarenga Peixoto, and C. M. da Costa—representatives of Brazilian classicism, which was linked with the movement for national independence—were performed. The creation of a national theater after the declaration of independence (1822) took place under the aegis of romanticism: the playwrights D. J. Gonçalves de Magalhāes, A. Gonçalves Dias, A. de Castro Alves, and others. The greatest playwright of the 19th century, L. C. Martins Pena, was the author of comedies of manners of a critical bent. The work of the playwrights J. M. de Alencar, J. M. de Macedo, J. J. França Júnior, and A. Azevedo expressed new tendencies reflecting the contemporary social life of the country; J. M. Machado de Assís created realistic comedies. The prominent actors of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century included J. Caetano dos Santos, A. Pinto, and A. F. de Souza Martins. After World War I (1914–18) a more intensive development of the national theater began, and by the beginning of the 1920’s several permanent theater troupes were organized and were performing the works of national authors along with foreign plays in translation. The best-known were the troupes directed by the prominent Brazilian actors I. Fausta, P. Ferreira, J. Costa, L. Fróis, P. C. Magno, and A. Moreira. An upsurge in national theatrical culture was especially characteristic of the 1940’s and 1950’s. An important role in the renewal of the Brazilian theater was played by the work of the Comediante theater (founded in 1938) under the leadership of the producer Z. Ziembinski, the troupes of A. Morineau, A. Celi, and J. Ratto, and the student theater of Pernambuco. Coarse comedy (the so-called chanqada), which occupied the dominant place in the repertories of theater groups, was replaced by plays which reflected socially significant phenomena of life—the plays of J. Camargo, O. Viana, N. Rodrigues, G. Figueiredo, and others. The following theaters were formed in Rio de Janeiro and Sāo Paulo: the Brazilian Comedy Theater, troupes under the direction of the famous actors Dulcina-Odilon, A. Garrido, T. Carrero, P. Otran, C. Becker, S. Cardoso, and others; numerous so-called pocket theaters (small halls with 100–300 seats, adapted for staging plays) sprang up.

The theater troupes of the 1960’s include the Brazilian Comedy Theater, the Arena Theater, the Workshop Theater (Teatro Oficina), the University Theater of the Catholic University, the Opiniāo, the Movement of Popular Art, and the Experimental Negro Theater. They staged the plays of Brazilian playwrights A. Suasuna, J. Guarnieri, A. Dias Gomes, A. Boal, J. Andrade, A. Callado, and O. Viana, and foreign theater in translation—the works of Shakespeare, Moliere, A. P. Chekhov, and M. Gorky, as well as M. Frisch, A. Miller, E. Albee, and A. Wesker. Theater schools include the Conservatory of Dramatic Art and the Martins Pena Dramatic School in Rio de Janeiro, the School of Dramatic Art in Sāo Paulo, and the schools in Bahia and Pôrto Alegre.


Dias Gomes. “Sovremennyi teatr.” In the collection Braziliia: Ekonomika. Politika. Kul’tura. Moscow, 1963.
Sousa, J. Galante de. O Teatro no Brasil, vols. 1–2. Rio de Janeiro, 1960.
Almeida Prado, D. Apresentção do teatro brasileiro moderno. São Paulo, 1956.

The release of nationally produced films in Brazil began in 1903. Film industries arose in Campinas and Recife in the 1920’s. In general, Brazilian versions of foreign films were issued. Toward the end of the silent film era, in spite of the production of individual successful films—Joāo of the Forest (1923; director A. Alves); The Limit (1930; director M. Peixoto)—Brazilian cinematography remained on a low level.

The first sound films, mainly musical comedies, featured famous singers and made wide use of folk music melodies (the samba and so on); the plots of these films dealt with the carnivals which were staged each year in Brazil. The Atlántica (Rio de Janeiro) and Vera Cruz (Sāo Paulo) film studios were founded in 1941 and 1949 respectively. The director A. Cavalcante worked at the latter studio from 1950 to 1953. Under his direction several films of progressive content—for example, O Cangaceri (1953, director L. Barreto) and The Young Lady (1953, directors T. Paine and O. Sampaio)—were released. During the 1950’s and 1960’s directors whose work had developed under the influence of Italian neorealism entered filmmaking (A. Viany, R. Santos, and others). The New Cinema Group, (one of its founders was the scriptwriter R. Schindler) which united progressive Brazilian cinematographers, was created in 1962. Among the most important works of Brazilian cinema are the films Rio, Santos; Barravento (1962) and The Earth in a Trance (1966), directed by G. Rocha; and The Vow (1962), directed by A. Duarte. Among the actors featured in Brazilian films are 40° (1955) and Dry Lives (1964), directed by N. Pereira dos S. Prata (Othello), D. Filho, J. Valadāo, L. Vilar, L. Maranvāo, and N. Benguel.


Viany, A. “Kino i ego problemy.” In the collection Braziliia: Ekonomika. Politika. Kul’tura. Moscow, 1963.
Viany, A. Introduçāo ao cinema brasileiro. [Rio de Janeiro, 1959.]
Gonzaga, A., and P. E. Salles Gomes. 70 anos de cinema brasileiro. [Rio de Janeiro, 1966.]


Official name: Federative Republic of Brazil

Capital city: Brasilia

 Internet country code: .br

Flag description: Green with a large yellow diamond in the center bearing a blue celestial globe with 27 white five-pointed stars (one for each state and the Federal District) arranged in the same pattern as the night sky over Brazil; the globe has a white equatorial band with the motto ordem e progresso (Order and Progress)

National anthem: “Himno Nacianal Brasileiro,” lyrics by Joaquim Osório Duque Estrada, music by Francisco Manuel da Silva

National bird: Sabiá or Thrush (Turdus rufiventris)

National flower: Ipê-amarelo - (Tecoma chrysostricha)

Geographical description: Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean

Total area: 3,290,000 sq. mi. (8,511,965 sq. km.)

Climate: Mostly tropical, but temperate in south

Nationality: noun: Brazilian(s); adjective: Brazilian

Population: 190,010,647 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: White European (including Portuguese, Italian, German, Spanish ancestry) 53.7%, mulatto (mixed white European and black African) 38.5%, black African 6.2%, other (including Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 0.9%, unspecified 0.7%

Languages spoken: Portuguese, Spanish, English, French

Religions: Roman Catholic 73.6%, Protestant 15.4%, Spiri­tualist 1.3%, Bantu/Vodun 0.3%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.2%, none 7.4%

Legal Holidays:

All Souls' DayNov 2
Christmas DayDec 25
Good FridayApr 22, 2011; Apr 6, 2012; Mar 29, 2013; Apr 18, 2014; Apr 3, 2015; Mar 25, 2016; Apr 14, 2017; Mar 30, 2018; Apr 19, 2019; Apr 10, 2020; Apr 2, 2021; Apr 15, 2022; Apr 7, 2023
Independence DaySep 7
Labor DayMay 1
New Year's DayJan 1
Our Lady of Aparacida DayOct 12
Proclamation of the RepublicNov 15
St. George's DayApr 23
Tiradentes DayApr 21


, brasil
1. the red wood obtained from various tropical leguminous trees of the genus Caesalpinia, such as C. echinata of America: used for cabinetwork
2. short for brazil nut


a republic in South America, comprising about half the area and half the population of South America: colonized by the Portuguese from 1500 onwards; became independent in 1822 and a republic in 1889; consists chiefly of the tropical Amazon basin in the north, semiarid scrub in the northeast, and a vast central tableland; an important producer of coffee and minerals, esp iron ore. Official language: Portuguese. Religion: Roman Catholic majority. Currency: real. Capital: Brasília. Pop.: 180 655 000 (2004 est.). Area: 8 511 957 sq. km (3 286 470 sq. miles)


An operating system from Acorn Computers used on an ARM card which could be fitted to an IBM PC. There was also an ARM second processor for the BBC Microcomputer which used Brazil. Never used on the Archimedes(?).