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Brazil-Early Colonization

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On April 22, 1500, the thirteen-ship fleet under Pedro Álvares Cabral anchored off the mouth of the Rio Buranhém (sweet bark in Tupí) on the Bahian coast. The chronicler of the discovery, Pêro Vaz de Caminha, wrote that immediately they saw men walking on the beach, and by the time a longboat reached the shore twenty or so had assembled. Entirely naked and dark skinned, they laid down their bows and arrows as a sign of peace, while responding to offers of Portuguese hats by giving over a parrot-feathered headdress and a long string of white seed pearls. Thus did the cultural exchange begin that would evolve over the next five centuries into the distinctive Brazilian culture.

In the nine days that the Portuguese stayed at the anchorage they called Porto Seguro, the natives were fascinated by the Catholic Mass, the iron tools, and alcoholic drink. Their seeming receptivity and lack of religious symbols that the Portuguese could understand caused Caminha to predict that these people quickly would turn Christian.

The natives helped fill a ship with fine-grained timber, dyewood, and presumably some of the buranhém wood or bark that gave the river its name. Cabral sent the ship back to Lisbon with Caminha's oft-quoted letter to the king, the first report on Brazil to reach Europe. As the rest of the fleet set sail from what Cabral called the Island of Vera Cruz for the Cape of Good Hope, two male convicts were left on the shore. Rather than execute such degredados (outcasts; see Glossary), the Portuguese were instinctively creating an advance guard that would learn the local language and via intermarriage would give them in another generation the means to penetrate both the indigenous societies and the Brazilian land mass.

After so many years of remarkable contacts with newly discovered lands, the Portuguese were a bit blasé about the news of this land of parrots, naked people, and brazilwood. At that time, peppers, spices, and silks were worth more than such exotica, and those products came from India and lands farther east.

With the exception of the New Christian (Jewish converts) investors, Brazil received little attention from Lisbon for three decades. The investors scouted and defended the coast and shared with the crown their monopoly contracts to harvest the brazilwood. The Portuguese monarchs followed the practice of holding legal title to lands and to certain commodities but issuing to others licenses to profit from these lands and commodities at their own expense, or with the backing of other investors. The custom was akin to the Castilian practice of adelantado (awarding of conquistador status--see Glossary) that developed during the reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors, whereby the crown commissioned an agent to conquer a certain area at his own expense in return for rights to land, booty, and labor. The combination of royal licenses and private initiative that worked so well for Portugal along the African coast and in India was reshaped for Brazil.

But soon other Europeans were challenging Portugal's claims to exclusivity. Spanish captains edged their ships down the coast and up the Río de la Plata. From 1504 onward, French vessels from Brittany, Flanders, and Normandy were active in the dyewood trade. The reddish-purple dyes made from the wood brought good prices from tapestry and textile makers, and the French court ignored Portuguese protests. The Portuguese sent out naval expeditions to destroy French vessels and outposts, but by 1530 it was clear that mounting an effective coast guard along thousands of kilometers with countless coves, anchorages, and bays would be impossible; Portugal either had to take active possession or lose out to more interested rivals. Portugal took two steps, one immediate and the other long term. It dispatched a strong fleet under the command of Martim Afonso de Sousa, who was instructed to clear the coast of interlopers and to establish a permanent settlement. The result was Brazil's first European town, São Vicente, established in 1532.

The crown also may have wanted to follow up on the adventure in 1524 of Aleixo Garcia, a Portuguese shipwrecked on the southern coast who led about 2,000 Guaraní on a raid against Inca border towns in what is now Bolivia. Sousa sent a government-sponsored expedition (entrada ) back over Garcia's route, only to meet death at the hands of the Carijó tribe of Indians. Such feeble results did little to attract investors, so the crown turned to the hereditary donatory captaincy system that had succeeded on the islands of Madeira and the Azores. Under this system, each donee was responsible for colonizing his own captaincy at his own expense. To help the lord proprietor attract settlers, he was given permission to issue land grants (sesmarias ). This step was significant because it twisted a medieval Portuguese practice that placed conquered lands in the hands of peasants into one that gave some families holdings larger than Portugal's provinces. This practice in part led to the establishment of latifundia (see Glossary) in Brazil.

Nonetheless, the nobles were not interested in risking their lives or fortunes in a land of "naked savages," and most of those who received the grants were too ill-prepared, ill-financed, and ill-connected to succeed. The northern four captaincies never went beyond the planning stage, and the rest flourished or failed depending on the management skills and competence of the donatário in dealing with the native Brazilians. Sousa, who obtained the grant to São Vicente, prospered because he took advantage of João Ramalho, a castaway who had married the daughter of the chief of the Goiana Tupiniquin. Because of Ramalho, who lived until 1580, the Portuguese were able to obtain Indian labor, foodstuffs, and women. With his help, it was possible to establish a town at the village of Piratininga, which in time would grow into the metropolis of São Paulo. He was the key player in the Portuguese alliance with the Tupiniquin, who protected the colony from other Indians and who formed the basis for the future military power of the bandeirantes . The lack of European women facilitated assimilation and acculturation with the Indians. With the steady miscegenation, a substantial population of Tupí-speaking mestizos (mestiços or mamelucos --see Glossary) came into being.

Also important for São Vicente's success was Sousa's ability to attract investors for sugar mills, including an investor from Antwerp, which became the center of the European sugar market. Although Pernambuco in later years surpassed São Vicente in sugar production, its early success fixed Portuguese control on what centuries later would be the agricultural and industrial core of Brazil.

Similarly, the affluence of Pernambuco Province centering on Olinda resulted from successful interaction with the natives, the ability to draw investment capital (often from Italian merchants), and capable settlers. The donatário , Duarte Coelho Pereira, had married into the well-connected Albuquerque family, which helped him attract colonists and financial support to set up sugar mills. But he was especially fortunate because his brother-in-law, Jerônimo de Albuquerque, had married the daughter of chief Arcoverde (Green Bow) of the Tobajara, thereby sealing an alliance that gave the Portuguese supplies of food and workers. The alliance also gave Coelho Pereira the military superiority to eventually defeat the French and their Indian allies. As the brazilwood stands were cut down, they were replaced with sugarcane plantations, which by 1585 were served by more than sixty mills or engenhos . The captaincy was so successful that there was reputedly more luxury in Pernambuco than in Lisbon. This strong beginning would make it the northern focal point of Portuguese America.

Porto Seguro failed to prosper as a captaincy. The constant fighting with the local Aimoré people may have been related to the presence of many married Portuguese couples and, consequently, little intermarriage with the natives. Likewise, Bahia failed at this stage because its donatário lacked managerial skills. Many of the Portuguese there were veterans of India, where abuse of the natives was routine. The Tupinambá finally tired of the mistreatment, and many of the Portuguese at Bahia, including the donatário , were captured and ceremonially killed and eaten. Ilhéus, Espírito Santo, São Tomé, Santo Amaro, and Santa Anna also failed because of poor management and hostile relations with the natives. The coast was now exposed to French incursions.

Such an outcome was not what the crown had in mind, and it decided wisely to listen to warnings. Rather than replace inept donatários with others, the king established direct royal control, except over Pernambuco and São Vicente. The crown may have acted at this juncture for several reasons: the Spanish discovery of the famed silver mountain at Potosí (1545), the decline of the Asian spice trade, and the crown's practice of reclaiming royal control after some years of leasing its rights. The enhancement of royal power was part of the general Iberian pattern of establishing royal control over the sprawling colonial ventures. In a larger sense, renewed royal control appears to have been linked to a new conservatism in Catholic Europe. The Council of Trent (1545-63) defined church dogma and practice, religious tolerance faded, and the Inquisition was emplaced in Portugal in 1547.

The king named Tomé de Sousa the first governor general of Brazil (1549-53). He ordered Sousa to create a capital city, Salvador, on the Bahia de Todos os Santos (Bay of All Saints) and to spread the royal mantle over the captaincies, defending the weaker ones and reestablishing the failed ones. Because Indian attacks were blamed for the failures, Sousa's orders amounted to a declaration of war on the indigenous peoples of Brazil. If they could be defeated, the French would have no allies and so would be less of a threat. In addition, Sousa was to increase royal revenues. The twin objectives of control and revenue were characteristic of royal policy for the rest of the colonial era.

Bahia, as the city and province would be known, was selected for its central location and its fine bay, and because the crown had purchased it from the heirs of the donatário . Sousa built fortifications, a town, and sugar mills. His knottiest task was forming a policy on the Indians, whose status remained unclear. Although he had treasury and coast guard officials with him, their roles were oriented toward Portuguese colonists and European interlopers.

As early as 1511, the crown had placed the Indians under its "protection," and it ordered Sousa to treat them well, as long as they were peaceful, so that they could be converted. Conversion was essential because Portugal's legal claims to Brazil were based on papal bulls requiring Christianization of the Indians. However, those who resisted conversion were likened to Muslims and could be enslaved. In fact, as historian Sergio Buarque de Holanda showed, by identifying Brazil as a destination of the wandering Apostle St. Thomas the Portuguese settlers were able to argue that all natives had their chance to convert and had rejected it, so they could be conquered and taken captive legitimately. Thus, a distinction was made between peaceful, pliable natives who as wards deserved crown protection and those resisters who wanted to keep their independence and on whom "just war" could be made and slavery imposed.

The dual mission of the governors was contradictory; how could they stimulate the economy using slave labor while converting the natives? To carry out the pacification and conversion of the natives, the crown chose the new Jesuit order of the Society of Jesus, which was international in membership and military in structure and which had the task of defending and spreading the Catholic Counter-Reformation. The Jesuits had a major impact on Brazil, despite their small numbers--128 by 1598. The Indians responded to the Jesuits with initial acceptance, then regression, evasion, and enmity. The objective of the Jesuits was to Europeanize the Indians by resettling them in Indian villages (aldeias) . In a recurring pattern, the first aldeia near Bahia (1552) soon disintegrated as the Indians who survived the European-born diseases faded into the interior beyond the Jesuits' reach.

Europeanization was overcome by a sort of Brazilianization, as the Jesuits blended Indian songs, dances, and language into the liturgy and as the colonists adopted native foods, women, language, and customs. However, the first bishop of Brazil (1551), Dom Pêro Fernandes Sardinha, objected to the Jesuit accommodation with indigenous culture. He threw the weight of his authority behind subjugation and enslavement. At issue was the nature of the future of Brazilian society. The bishop, who had served in Goa and ironically had taught Ignatius Loyola, the Jesuit founder, insisted that Europeanization must precede baptism. He believed Brazil, like India, should have a dual society made up of heathen natives ruled by a small number of Portuguese.

The conflict between the Jesuits and the bishop had far-reaching significance for Brazil's future. To get away from his direct grasp, the Jesuits shifted their attention to the south, where they formed, in 1554, the aldeia of São Paulo de Piratininga on the plateau at the headwaters of the Rio Tietê high above São Vicente. Father José de Anchieta's mission village later became known as the city of São Paulo. The crown seemingly favored the Jesuit approach because it recalled Bishop Sardinha. En route back, Sardinha was shipwrecked and then killed and reportedly eaten by Caeté people.

In 1557 the crown sent out a new bishop and a new governor to consolidate royal control and to bring organization to the far-flung settlements on the verge of collapse. The new crown representatives supported Jesuit methods and returned the Jesuits to Bahia. By protecting the Indians who lived in aldeias from enslavement, the crown representatives made the Jesuit towns more attractive. The pool of slaves available to the colonists dwindled, causing such protests that Mem de Sá (governor, 1558-72) approved a "just war" against the Caeté to punish them for killing Brazil's first bishop. However, the "just war" soon got out of hand as the closer and undefended aldeias were raided for slaves. The conflict damaged native trust in the missions, and the epidemics of influenza, smallpox, and measles in 1562 and 1563 decimated the Indian population and increased colonist competition for laborers. The famine that followed the waves of disease prompted starving Indians to sell themselves or their relatives in order to survive.

This situation led to a policy under which the Indians were considered free but could be enslaved in a sanctioned "just war," or for cannibalism, or if rescued from being eaten or enslaved by other natives. Government-sponsored expeditions (entradas ) into the interior, sometimes ironically called rescues (resgates ), became slave hunts under the guise of "just war." The Paulista expeditions (bandeiras ), one of the major themes of Brazilian history in the 1600s and 1700s, would develop out of this practice. The eventual exploitation of the interior and the development of gold and gem mining in Minas Gerais, Goiás, and Mato Grosso have roots in the voracious appetite of coastal plantations for slave labor.

As Indian resistance, social disintegration, and flight into the interior increased in the last quarter of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese began to import more African slaves. In 1570 there were 2,000 to 3,000 such slaves in Brazil; by 1587 there were 14,000. Considering that the European population in 1570 was 20,760 and in 1585 was 29,400, the growth of African slaves from 14 percent of the number of whites to 47 percent is striking. Much of the commentary on native slavery holds that the Indians were unfit physically to be slaves, when actually it was their strong resistance to slavery and the colonial competition for their labor that led to the African slave trade. Also, the focus of many historians on Bahia and Pernambuco has left readers with the impression that Indian slavery gave way to African slavery throughout Brazil by 1600. This was not the case. Indians continued to be enslaved in Pará, which caused the depopulation of much of Amazônia by the mid-eighteenth century.

Data as of April 1997

BackgroundFollowing more than three centuries under Portuguese rule, Brazil peacefully gained its independence in 1822, maintaining a monarchical system of government until the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the subsequent proclamation of a republic by the military in 1889. Brazilian coffee exporters politically dominated the country until populist leader Getulio VARGAS rose to power in 1930. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil underwent more than half a century of populist and military government until 1985, when the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers. Brazil continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is today South America's leading economic power and a regional leader. Highly unequal income distribution and crime remain pressing problems.
LocationEastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean
Area(sq km)total: 8,514,877 sq km
land: 8,459,417 sq km
water: 55,460 sq km
note: includes Arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha, Atol das Rocas, Ilha da Trindade, Ilhas Martin Vaz, and Penedos de Sao Pedro e Sao Paulo
Geographic coordinates10 00 S, 55 00 W
Land boundaries(km)total: 16,885 km
border countries: Argentina 1,261 km, Bolivia 3,423 km, Colombia 1,644 km, French Guiana 730 km, Guyana 1,606 km, Paraguay 1,365 km, Peru 2,995 km, Suriname 593 km, Uruguay 1,068 km, Venezuela 2,200 km

Coastline(km)7,491 km

Climatemostly tropical, but temperate in south

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico da Neblina 3,014 m
Natural resourcesbauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timber
Land use(%)arable land: 6.93%
permanent crops: 0.89%
other: 92.18% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)29,200 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)8,233 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 59.3 cu km/yr (20%/18%/62%)
per capita: 318 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazardsrecurring droughts in northeast; floods and occasional frost in south
Environment - current issuesdeforestation in Amazon Basin destroys the habitat and endangers a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area; there is a lucrative illegal wildlife trade; air and water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities; land degradation and water pollution caused by improper mining activities; wetland degradation; severe oil spills
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notelargest country in South America; shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador
note: Brazil conducted a census in August 2000, which reported a population of 169,872,855; that figure was about 3.8% lower than projections by the US Census Bureau, and is close to the implied underenumeration of 4.6% for the 1991 census (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 26.7% (male 27,092,880/female 26,062,244)
15-64 years: 66.8% (male 65,804,108/female 67,047,725)
65 years and over: 6.4% (male 5,374,230/female 7,358,082) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 28.6 years
male: 27.8 years
female: 29.3 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)1.199% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)18.43 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)6.35 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-0.09 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 86% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.8% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 22.58 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 26.16 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 71.99 years
male: 68.43 years
female: 75.73 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)2.21 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Brazilian(s)
adjective: Brazilian
Ethnic groups(%)white 53.7%, mulatto (mixed white and black) 38.5%, black 6.2%, other (includes Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 0.9%, unspecified 0.7% (2000 census)

Religions(%)Roman Catholic (nominal) 73.6%, Protestant 15.4%, Spiritualist 1.3%, Bantu/voodoo 0.3%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.2%, none 7.4% (2000 census)
Languages(%)Portuguese (official and most widely spoken language); note - less common languages include Spanish (border areas and schools), German, Italian, Japanese, English, and a large number of minor Amerindian languages

Country nameconventional long form: Federative Republic of Brazil
conventional short form: Brazil
local long form: Republica Federativa do Brasil
local short form: Brasil
Government typefederal republic
Capitalname: Brasilia
geographic coordinates: 15 47 S, 47 55 W
time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins third Sunday in October; ends third Sunday in February
note: Brazil is divided into four time zones, including one for the Fernando de Noronha Islands
Administrative divisions26 states (estados, singular - estado) and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Acre, Alagoas, Amapa, Amazonas, Bahia, Ceara, Distrito Federal*, Espirito Santo, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Para, Paraiba, Parana, Pernambuco, Piaui, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondonia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo, Sergipe, Tocantins

Legal systembased on Roman codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffragevoluntary between 16 and 18 years of age and over 70; compulsory over 18 and under 70 years of age; note - military conscripts do not vote
Executive branchchief of state: President Luiz Inacio LULA da Silva (since 1 January 2003); Vice President Jose ALENCAR Gomes da Silva (since 1 January 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Luiz Inacio LULA da Silva (since 1 January 2003); Vice President Jose ALENCAR Gomes da Silva (since 1 January 2003)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single four-year term; election last held 1 October 2006 with runoff 29 October 2006 (next to be held 3 October 2010 and, if necessary, 31 October 2010)
election results: Luiz Inacio LULA da Silva (PT) reelected president - 60.83%, Geraldo ALCKMIN (PSDB) 39.17%

Legislative branchbicameral National Congress or Congresso Nacional consists of the Federal Senate or Senado Federal (81 seats; 3 members from each state and federal district elected according to the principle of majority to serve eight-year terms; one-third and two-thirds elected every four years, alternately) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara dos Deputados (513 seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: Federal Senate - last held 1 October 2006 for one-third of the Senate (next to be held in October 2010 for two-thirds of the Senate); Chamber of Deputies - last held 1 October 2006 (next to be held in October 2010)
election results: Federal Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PFL 6, PSDB 5, PMDB 4, PTB 3, PT 2, PDT 1, PSB 1, PL 1, PPS 1, PRTB 1, PP 1, PCdoB 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PMDB 89, PT 83, PFL 65, PSDB 65, PP 42, PSB 27, PDT 24, PL 23, PTB 22, PPS 21, PCdoB 13, PV 13, PSC 9, other 17; note - as of 1 January 2009, the composition of the entire legislature is as follows: Federal Senate - seats by party - PMDB 21, DEM (formerly PFL) 12, PSDB 13, PT 12, PTB 7, PDT 5, PR 4, PSB 2, PCdoB 1, PRB 1, PP 1, PSC 1, PSOL 1; Chamber of Deputies - seats by party - PMDB 95, PT 79, PSDB 59, DEM (formerly PFL) 53, PR 44, PP 40, PSB 29, PDT 25, PTB 19, PPS 14, PV 14, PCdoB 13, PSC 11, PMN 5, PRB 4, PHS 3, PSOL 3, PTC 1, PTdoB 1

Judicial branchSupreme Federal Tribunal or STF (11 ministers are appointed for life by the president and confirmed by the Senate); Higher Tribunal of Justice; Regional Federal Tribunals (judges are appointed for life); note - though appointed "for life," judges, like all federal employees, have a mandatory retirement age of 70

Political pressure groups and leadersLandless Workers' Movement or MST
other: labor unions and federations; large farmers' associations; religious groups including evangelical Christian churches and the Catholic Church
International organization participationAfDB (nonregional member), BIS, CAN (associate), CPLP, FAO, G-15, G-20, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA, LAS (observer), Mercosur, MIGA, MINURCAT, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Paris Club (associate), PCA, RG, SICA (observer), UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNITAR, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag descriptiongreen 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)

Economy - overviewCharacterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and Brazil is expanding its presence in world markets. From 2003 to 2007, Brazil ran record trade surpluses and recorded its first current account surpluses since 1992. Productivity gains coupled with high commodity prices contributed to the surge in exports. Brazil improved its debt profile in 2006 by shifting its debt burden toward real denominated and domestically held instruments. LULA da Silva restated his commitment to fiscal responsibility by maintaining the country's primary surplus during the 2006 election. Following his second inauguration in October of that year, LULA da Silva announced a package of further economic reforms to reduce taxes and increase investment in infrastructure. Brazil's debt achieved investment grade status early in 2008, but the government's attempt to achieve strong growth while reducing the debt burden created inflationary pressures. For most of 2008, the Central Bank embarked on a restrictive monetary policy to stem these pressures. Since the onset of the global financial crisis in September, Brazil's currency and its stock market - Bovespa - have significantly lost value, -41% for Bovespa for the year ending 30 December 2008. Brazil incurred another current account deficit in 2008, as world demand and prices for commodities dropped in the second-half of the year.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$1.998 trillion (2008 est.)
$1.901 trillion (2007 est.)
$1.798 trillion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$1.573 trillion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)5.1% (2008 est.)
5.7% (2007 est.)
4% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$10,200 (2008 est.)
$9,800 (2007 est.)
$9,400 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 6.7%
industry: 28%
services: 65.3% (2008 est.)
Labor force93.65 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 20%
industry: 14%
services: 66% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate(%)7.9% (2008 est.)
9.3% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line(%)31% (2005)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 43% (2007)
Distribution of family income - Gini index56.7 (2005)
60.7 (1998)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)19% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: NA
expenditures: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)5.7% (2008 est.)
3.6% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$95.03 billion (31 December 2008)
$131.1 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money$724.5 billion (31 December 2008)
$792.8 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit$1.249 trillion (31 December 2008)
$1.377 trillion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$589.4 billion (31 December 2008)
$1.37 trillion (31 December 2007)
$711.1 billion (31 December 2006)
Economic aid - recipient$191.9 million (2005)

Public debt(% of GDP)38.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
52% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - productscoffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus; beef
Industriestextiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, iron ore, tin, steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, other machinery and equipment

Industrial production growth rate(%)4.3% (2008 est.)

Current account balance-$28.19 billion (2008 est.)
$1.551 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$197.9 billion (2008 est.)
$160.6 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)transport equipment, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, coffee, autos
Exports - partners(%)US 14.4%, China 12.4%, Argentina 8.4%, Netherlands 5%, Germany 4.5% (2008)
Imports$173.1 billion (2008 est.)
$120.6 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)machinery, electrical and transport equipment, chemical products, oil, automotive parts, electronics
Imports - partners(%)US 14.9%, China 11.6%, Argentina 7.9%, Germany 7% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$193.8 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$180.3 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$262.9 billion (31 December 2008)
$240.5 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$294 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$248.9 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$127.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$107.1 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Exchange ratesreals (BRL) per US dollar - 1.8644 (2008 est.), 1.85 (2007 est.), 2.1761 (2006), 2.4344 (2005), 2.9251 (2004)

Currency (code)real (BRL)

Telephones - main lines in use41.141 million (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular150.641 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: good working system; fixed-line connections have remained relatively stable in recent years and stand at about 20 per 100 persons; less expensive mobile cellular technology is a major driver in expanding telephone service to the low-income segment of the population with mobile-cellular telephone density reaching 80 per 100 persons
domestic: extensive microwave radio relay system and a domestic satellite system with 64 earth stations; mobile-cellular usage has more than tripled in the past 5 years
international: country code - 55; landing point for a number of submarine cables, including Atlantis 2, that provide direct links to South and Central America, the Caribbean, the US, Africa, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region east), connected by microwave relay system to Mercosur Brazilsat B3 satellite earth station (2008)
Internet country code.br
Internet users64.948 million (2008)
Airports4,000 (2009)
Pipelines(km)condensate/gas 62 km; gas 9,892 km; liquid petroleum gas 353 km; oil 4,517 km; refined products 4,465 km (2008)
Roadways(km)total: 1,751,868 km
paved: 96,353 km
unpaved: 1,655,515 km (2004)

Ports and terminalsGuaiba, Ilha Grande, Paranagua, Rio Grande, Santos, Sao Sebastiao, Tubarao
Military branchesBrazilian Army (Exercito Brasileiro, EB), Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil (MB), includes Naval Air and Marine Corps (Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais)), Brazilian Air Force (Forca Aerea Brasileira, FAB) (2009)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)21-45 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 9 to 12 months; 17-45 years of age for voluntary service; an increasing percentage of the ranks are "long-service" volunteer professionals; women were allowed to serve in the armed forces beginning in early 1980s when the Brazilian Army became the first army in South America to accept women into career ranks; women serve in Navy and Air Force only in Women's Reserve Corps (2001)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 52,523,552
females age 16-49: 52,628,945 (2009 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 38,043,555
females age 16-49: 44,267,520 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 1,690,031
female: 1,630,851 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)2.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
Disputes - internationalunruly region at convergence of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay borders is locus of money laundering, smuggling, arms and illegal narcotics trafficking, and fundraising for extremist organizations; uncontested boundary dispute with Uruguay over Isla Brasilera at the confluence of the Quarai/Cuareim and Invernada rivers, that form a tripoint with Argentina; the Itaipu Dam reservoir covers over a once contested section of Brazil-Paraguay boundary west of Guaira Falls on the Rio Parana; an accord placed the long-disputed Isla Suarez/Ilha de Guajara-Mirim, a fluvial island on the Rio Mamore, under Bolivian administration in 1958, but sovereignty remains in dispute

Electricity - production(kWh)438.8 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 8.3%
hydro: 82.7%
nuclear: 4.4%
other: 4.6% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)404.3 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)2.034 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)42.06 billion kWh; note - supplied by Paraguay (2008 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)2.422 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)2.52 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)570,100 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)632,900 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)12.62 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)12.62 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)23.65 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)365 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.6% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS730,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths15,000 (2007 est.)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 88.6%
male: 88.4%
female: 88.8% (2004 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 15 years (2005)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)4% of GDP (2004)

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