Brazil is South America’s most influential country, a rising economic power and one of the world’s biggest democracies.
Over the past few years it has made major strides in its efforts to raise millions out of poverty, although the gap between rich and poor remains wide.
The exploitation of the Amazon rainforest, much of which is in Brazil, has been a major international worry, since the wilderness is a vital regulator of the climate.
A former Portuguese colony, Brazil has a highly diverse population, including indigenous Americans and the descendants of African slaves and European settlers
- Federative Republic of Brazil
- Capital: Brasilia
- Population 198.3 million
- Area 8.55m sq km (3.3m sq miles)
- Major language Portuguese
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 71 years (men), 77 years (women)
- Currency real