Accra, April 11, GNA - Brazil became an independent nation in 1822 after about three centuries of Portuguese rule.
It is described as South America's biggest and most influential country, taking up almost half the continent.
Brazil is also considered one of the world's economic giants and is revered for its football prowess, coffee production and lively music such as samba and bossa nova.
It includes much of the world's biggest rain forest around the Amazon, whose exploitation has become a major environmental worry. Brazil continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labour pool, it is today South America's leading economic power and a regional leader.
Located in Eastern Southern America with Columbia, Argentina, Guyana, Bolivia, Surinam and others as neighbours, the country covers a total area of 8.55 million square kilometres. Brasilia is the capital. Its natural resources are mainly bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower and timber.
The climate is mostly tropical, but temperate in south. Though Portuguese is the official language, the 180.6 million people also speak Spanish, English and French.
Their main religion is Christianity.
Brazil's main exports are manufactured goods, iron ore, coffee, oranges and other agricultural produce.
The World Bank in 2003 put the country's GNI per capita at $2,710. The Monetary unit is 'real'. One real is equivalent to 100 centavos. The ethnic groups in Brazil include 55 per cent whites, who are mainly Portuguese, Germans, Italians, Spanish and Polish. Half-castes of white and black heritage constitute 38 per cent while blacks form six per cent. Japanese and Arabs make up the rest of the population.
Luiz Inacio Lula Silva of the Labour Party was elected President on October 27 2002.