Facts: Brazil

Europeans first discovered Brazil in the early 16th century, nevertheless, the country’s history began thousands of years earlier.

Brazil occupies half of South America’s landmass and it is believed that there are more uncontacted people in Brazil’s portion of the Amazon than anywhere else on the planet.

  • Brazil’s border touches all countries on the South American continent except Chile and Ecuador.
  • Brazil’s name comes from the pau-brasil, Portuguese for Brazil tree, the country’s national tree and a natural resource that played an important role in the economic development of the nation.
  • Brazilians are generally descended from three ethnic groups: Amerindians, Africans and Europeans.
  • Brazil is the fifth-largest country in the world by land area and sixth-largest by population. The country’s population is 211 million.
  • Relatively recently discovered evidence suggests human settlement in Brazil began more than 30,000 years ago.
  • Football – soccer – is by far the most popular sport in Brazil, and the men’s national team has won a record five World Cup championships.
  • The largest amount of money stolen from a bank by robbers occurred on Aug. 6-7, 2005, in Fortaleza, Brazil, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. A gang of up to 10 people dug a 256-foot long tunnel to seize five containers of currency estimated at nearly $70 million.
  • Brazil is home to seven natural and 14 cultural UNESCO World Heritage-designated sites.
  • Brazil was the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery, in 1888.
  • Rio de Janeiro hosts the world’s largest carnival, annually held in the first week of March. The 2018 carnival reportedly drew 6 million participants.