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Flag of Brazil - Wikipedia


República Federativa do Brasil

Population: 217,000,000

Area (sq km): 8,515,770

Capital City: Brasilia

National Holiday: 1822-09-22

Brazil, or officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in South America, and the only South American country that speaks Portuguese. It is located on the Northeast of the continent. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the East; Uruguay to the South; Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia to the Southwest; Peru and Colombia to the West; and Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and France (French Guiana) to the North.

The capital of Brazil is Brasília, but its most populous city is São Paulo. The majority of the population lives along the Atlantic coast, especially around the cities of Brasília, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro.

Evidence has been discovered that shows people living in what is now Brazil as far back as 11,000 years ago. Since being colonized by the Portuguese in 1500, the population of the indigenous people fell from around 7 million to around 550 thousand. A contributing factor to the reduction in native populations were the bandeirantes - explorers and settlers that expanded the Portuguese reach in what is now Brazil. The bandeirantes were also famous for hunting indigenous people for slave labour.

Brazil declared independence from Portugal on 7 September 1822, which is its national Independence Day, though Portugal didn't recognize the independence until 1925.

The green of the Brazilian flag represents the forests of the country. The yellow is for the mineral wealth, and the diamond is supposed to be a representation of the shape of Brazil. The blue circle and stars depict the sky over Rio de Janeiro on 15 November 1885, when the Republic of Brazil was declared. There is one star for each state in the country. The text across the centre, "ORDEM E PROGRESSO" is Portuguese for "order and progress".

Brazil gets its name from the brazilwood tree, which were common along the coast of the country, and were exported to Europe because they were used to make red dyes. In Portuguese, the wood was given the name pau-brasil, which roughly translates to 'ember-red wood'. The area was commonly called 'Terra do Brasil' by merchants and sailors. Eventually the name stuck, and was the official name chosen when Brazil was declared a republic.

While not as fossil rich as neighbouring Argentina due to its large tropical forests, Brazil does have some mountainous regions in the Southeast that have provided a good number of fossils over the years.

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