Brazil – important key data
Land Area: 8,514,877 km² (land: 8,459,417 km², water: 55,460 km²)
Population: 203.4 million (July 2011 estimate, CIA)
Population density: 24 residents per km²
Population growth: 1.134% per year (2011, CIA)
Capital: Brasília (6.06 million residents, 2006)
Highest point: Pico da Neblina, 3,014 m
Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean, 0 m
Form of government: Brazil has been a federal republic since 1988. The constitution also dates from 1988; the last change was made in 1997. The bicameral federal parliament: consists of the House of Representatives with 513 members and the Senate with 81 members. The head of state of Brazil is directly elected every 4 years; re-election is only possible once. All 26 Brazilian states elect their own state parliaments and governors. Brazil has been independent from Portugal since September 7, 1822.
Administrative structure: 26 estados (Acre, Alagoas, Amapa, Amazonas, Bahia, Ceara, 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 and Tocantins) and a Federal District.
Head of State and Prime Minister: President Dilma Rousseff, since January 1, 2011
Language: The official language in Brazil is Portuguese. English or Spanish is only spoken sporadically. In southern parts of the country you can also meet German, French and Italian-speaking Brazilians, especially in Santa Catarina, Paraná or Rio Grande do Sul. In addition, around 180 Indian languages are spoken in the country.
Religion: About 80% of the population are Roman Catholic and 10% Protestant. There are also smaller minorities from other Christian communities, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Baha’i, natural religions and Afro-Brazilian cults.
Local time: due to the large geographic extent, there are several time zones in Brazil:
Brazil time (capital region and southern region (eg Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Santa Catarina): GMT -4 hours Daylight Saving Time GMT -5 hours Daylight Saving Time on Sunday after the 15th of October to Sunday after the 15th of February.
The time difference to Central Europe is -5 hours in winter (in Central Europe) and in summer (in Central Europe). In March the time difference to Central Europe is -4 hours.Central
and eastern regions (Bahia, Sergipe, Para, Rondonia, Tocantins, Pernambuco): CET – 4 h. There is no summer or winter time changeover.
The time difference to Central Europe is -4 h in winter (in Central Europe) and -5 h in summer (in Central Europe).
Western Brazil (Mato Grosso and Mato grosso do Sul):CET -5 h. In summer time CET -6 h. Daylight saving time is in effect from the Sunday after October 15th to the Sunday after February 15th. The time difference to Central Europe is -6 hours in winter (in Central Europe) and in summer (in Central Europe). In March the time difference to Central Europe is 5 hours.
Acre time (Acre as well as the southwest of the state of Amazonas): CET – 6 h. No summer or winter time changeover.
The time difference to Central Europe is -6 h in winter (in Central Europe) and -7 h in summer (in Central Europe).
Telephone code: +55
Mains voltage: in Manaus and Salvador (Bahia): 127 V / 60 Hz; in Recife and Brasília: 220 V, 60 Hz; in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro 110/220 V, 60 Hz. Everywhere in Brazil two-pole plugs.
According to 800zipcodes, Brazil occupies almost half of the area of South America and is the fifth largest country in the world. Apart from Chile and Ecuador, Brazil shares borders with all South American countries.
In the north, Brazil is mainly characterized by the large rainforests in the Amazon lowlands and in the south by mountains, plateaus and hills. Agriculture is particularly important in the savannahs of the Midwest. Most of the megacities are located near the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, the majority of Brazilians live here. The states of Minas Gerais (in the south), São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Paraná are particularly densely populated.
The country consists of about 60% plateau and about 40% flat land.
The state of Mato Grosso, Brazil’s vast plateau, is located between the flow of the Amazon and the rivers in southern Brazil. Lower mountains form a barrier on the coast to the Atlantic Ocean, which is broken by many lagoons.
The highest elevation in Brazil (and also the highest elevation in South America outside the Andes) is the Pico da Neblina at 3,014 m (altitude: CIA). It is located in the national park of the same name near the border with Venezuela and Guyana.
The 2,891 m high Pico da Bandeira (2,891 m) is located in the more densely populated southeast of Brazil. It is often referred to as the best mountable mountain in the country. The best-known elevation in Brazil is probably the Corcovado (Brasil). Although its height is only 710 m, the summit with the 30 m high statue of the Redeemer offers a spectacular view over Rio de Janeiro.
The Amazon, the world’s largest river with a length of 6,448 km, is Brazil’s dominant body of water. The most important tributaries are the Rio Negro, Rio Purús and the Rio Tapajós.
On the eastern border with Argentina, the Iguaçu River flows through the national park of the same name. This is where the natural spectacle of the Iguaçu Falls, which are three times larger than Niagara Falls, is offered. The Paraná River (length 3,998 km) plays an important economic role in Brazil, primarily due to the world’s second largest hydroelectric power plant (Itaipú).
The largest lagoon in the country with 10,000 km² (and the second largest in South America) is the Lagoa dos Patos near Porto Alegre. The second largest lagoon in the country, Lagoa Mirim in the south of Rio Grande, is less than half the size.
Several Atlantic islands belong to Brazil. About 800 km off the Landes coast, on the mid-Atlantic ridge, is the Sankt-Peter-und-Sankt-Pauls-Felsen, built with only one lighthouse. The former prison colony of Fernando de Noronha is also nearby. The volcanic islands of Trindade and Martim Vaz belong to the Brazilian state. Due to the unique diversity of plants and animals, the several kilometer large atoll das Rocas was included in the world natural heritage.
The largest island in Brazil is a river island: the island of Marajó in the Amazon. The 48,000 km² island is the world’s largest river island and is larger than, for example, Switzerland. Due to regular floods in the rainy season, the island is only partially populated. The second largest river island in the Amazon with 20,000 km², the Bananal Island, is larger than, for example, Jamaica.