The country that is almost a continent
Major country in Latin America, Brazil is almost a ‘continent’ in itself, full of strong contrasts: it is in fact at the same time very rich, thanks to its mineral resources and the fertility of many of its lands, and very poor due to poverty. of a large part of its population. The large dimension marks all the phenomena that interest him, whether physical, social or economic.
From the Equator to the Tropic
Brazil is the largest and most populous state in South America, it borders almost all the other states of the continent and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean for about 7,500 km. Due to the enormous size of its territory, morphology, hydrography, climate, vegetation and fauna are greatly diversified. The Amazonian lowland region is very extensive, in the northern part of Brazil, crossed by the Amazon River with its numerous tributaries. Also to the north is the ‘shield’ of Guyana, a plateau of ancient formation. In the central and southern part there are very vast plateaus, which rise in the serras towards the south, near the coast (Pico de Bandeira, 2,897 m). For Brazil 2013, please check physicscat.com.
Thanks also to the climate, often humid and rainy, water represents an important resource. Safeguarding the environment with its immense wealth is one of Brazil’s main problems. The Amazon basin, for example, is covered by the rainforest, with its extraordinary variety of trees, which are however systematically felled.
An eternal hope for progress
The population, which is multi-ethnic, is also diverse. From the 16th century onwards the Portuguese settled almost exclusively on the coasts, founding the major cities and bringing their language and the Catholic religion. From them originated a large part of the white population, which constitutes more than half of the residents; many of them also descend from emigrants from Italy and other European countries. The remaining 40% of the population is made up of mestizos (i.e. those born from the crossing of a parent of white race with a parent of other races, such as, for example, the Indios or African Americans), while the original residents of Brazil are reduced to no more than 50,000 people. The black population, which is descended from African slaves, represents 6%. Ethnic multiplicity is an important characteristic of the Brazilian population, which knows a wide racial tolerance, but the population of European origin is the one that enjoys the best conditions of life: in fact, the inequalities between a small class of owners and entrepreneurs are still enormous. and the great masses of poor peasants and urban underclass.
An unbalanced distribution. The population increase is very remarkable (in 1950 the Brazilians were just over 50 million residents), with an unbalanced territorial distribution: the interior is almost depopulated while very high densities are reached along the coastal strip, especially in some large ones. metropolitan areas. There has recently been a huge increase in the urban population, which exceeded 80% of the total, causing further very serious imbalances. The largest city, with nearly 19 million residents including the suburbs, is Sao Paulo, which is also the country’s largest industrial and commercial center. Also on the southern coast is the splendid city of Rio de Janeiro, with more than 11 million residents. The capital, Brasilia, is instead located in
Natural resources are extremely varied: the climate allows for the production of coffee, sugar cane, cocoa and tropical fruit, but also cereals and cotton; the mineral resources – oil, bauxite, manganese, iron, gold, diamonds – are massive and are also worked by local industries: steel, metallurgical, chemical and mechanical. Many industries are linked to multinational companies with little interest in a more balanced overall development of the country, but in recent decades the national economy has made a lot of progress.