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Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: República Federativa do Brasil), is the largest and most populous country in South America, and the fifth largest in the world in both area and population. Its territory covers 8,514,876.599 km² between central South America and the Atlantic Ocean and it is the easternmost country of the Americas. It borders Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and the département of French Guiana to the north, Uruguay to the south, Argentina and Paraguay to the southwest, Bolivia and Peru to the west, and Colombia to the northwest. The only South American countries not bordered by Brazil are Ecuador and Chile.

The Brazilian coastline covers 7,367km (4,655 mi) along the Atlantic ocean. Numerous archipelagos are part of the Brazilian territory, such as Penedos de São Pedro e São Paulo, Fernando de Noronha, Trindade e Martim Vaz and Atol das Rocas. Tropical climate is predominant. In the south of the country, subtropical climate prevails. Brazil is traversed by the Equator and Tropic of Capricorn lines. It is home to varied fauna and flora and extensive natural resources.

The Brazilian population tends to concentrate along the coastline in large urban centers. While Brazil has one of the largest populations in the world, population density is low and the inner continental land has large demographical empty spaces. It is a multiracial country composed of European, Amerindian, African and Asian elements, more often combined in the same individual than separated into different communities. The official language is Portuguese, and it is the only Portuguese-speaking country in all the Americas. Catholicism is the predominant religion, though Protestant communities have experienced significant growth in the last decades. Brazil has the largest Roman Catholic population in the world.

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Portuguese Empire
Credit: The Ogre
The Portuguese Empire was the earliest and longest lived of the modern European colonial empires, spanning almost six centuries, from the capture of Ceuta in 1415 to the handover of Macau in 1999. Portuguese explorers began exploring the coast of Africa in 1419, leveraging the latest developments in navigation, cartography and maritime technology such as the caravel, in order that they might find a sea route to the source of the lucrative spice trade. In 1488, Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and in 1498, Vasco da Gama reached India. In 1500, by an accidental landfall on the South American coast for some, by the crown's secret design for others, Pedro Álvares Cabral would find and lead to the establishment of the colony of Brazil.

Over the following decades, Portuguese sailors continued to explore the coasts and islands of East Asia, establishing forts and trading posts as they went. By 1571, a string of outposts connected Lisbon to Nagasaki: the empire had become truly global, and in the process brought great wealth to Portugal. Between 1580 and 1640 Portugal became the junior partner to Spain in the Iberian Union of the two countries' crowns. Though the empires continued to be administered separately, Portuguese colonies became the subject of attacks by three rival European powers hostile to Spain and envious of Iberian successes overseas: The Netherlands (which was engaged in a war of independence against Spain), England and France.

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Zumbi
Credit: Agência Brasil

Zumbi also known as Zumbi dos Palmares (1655 - November 20, 1695, pronounced: 'zoombee') was the last of the leaders of the Quilombo dos Palmares, in the present-day state of Alagoas, Brazil.

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Brazil has rediscovered itself, and this rediscovery is being expressed in its people's enthusiasm and their desire to mobilize to face the huge problems that lie ahead of us.

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Daniela Mercury
Credit: Agencia Brasil
Daniela Mercury (Portuguese pronunciation: [dɐ̃niˈɛlɐ ˈmɛʁkuɾi]; born on July 28, 1965 in Salvador, Bahia) is a Latin Grammy Award-winning Brazilian axé, samba-reggae and MPB singer, songwriter and record producer. Since her breakthrough, Mercury has become one of the best known Brazilian female singers, selling over 8 million albums in her home country and almost 12 million albums worldwide.

Her mother is Liliana Mercuri, a social worker of Italian ancestry, and her father is Antônio Fernando de Abreu Ferreira de Almeida, a Portuguese industrial mechanic. Mercury spent her childhood in a house in the Brotas neighborhood with her four siblings: Tom, Cristiana, Vânia (who would also become a singer) and Marcos. When Mercury was eight years old she started to take dance lessons (classic ballet, African dances and jazz). At thirteen, she decided to become a singer (apparently influenced by the work of Elis Regina) and at sixteen, she started to sing in trio elétricos. Two years later, she entered the Federal University of Bahia's School of Dance.

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Lear's Macaw
Credit: Edward Lear

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Juscelino Kubitschek bridge
Credit: Sting

The Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge also known as the President JK Bridge or just the JK Bridge, crosses Lake Paranoá in Brasília, D.F. It is named for Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira, former president of Brazil, who in the late 1950s decided to build Brasília as the new capital of the country. It was designed by architect Alexandre Chan and structural engineer Mário Vila Verde.

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