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Back in the early 1960’s, Joao Goulart and his brother-in law were governing Brazil. They began to mobilize and arm labor unions to force a political showdown. The military saw this as an attempt to create a militia within the labor unions which would end up replacing the Brazilian military. The military overthrows Goulart and creates a new ruling political structure. After creating a new government, the politicians strongly encouraged foreign investment to promote economic growth. In 1985, Jose Sarney, who was vice-president, became president when the elected president died before inauguration. Sarney instituted a spending program which led to hyperinflation. In 1990, there was another election where Fernando Collor of the newly formed National Reconstruction Party won by a narrow margin over leftist Socialist Workers’ Party candidate Lula da Silva. Collor was later charged with corruption and faced impeachment. Fernando Cardosa was elected in 1994 and was re-elected in 1998. In 2002, Lui Inacio lula da Silva was elected President of Brazil. He was responsible for the return of Brazil to civilian rule. Because of its size and diversity, Brazil is one of the nation’s most deserving of the name “land of contrasts.” The country is often divided into five regions: North, Northeast, CentralWest, Southeast and South. These divisions are used for administrative purposes. The Northeast has the greatest proportion of people of African descent; the South and Southeast are home to the bulk of Brazilians of European and Japanese ancestry, while indigenous peoples live largely in the North and Central-West. Regional migration and extensive racial inter-breeding has made Brazil one of the most racially diverse nations on earth.

There is a distinct division between the wealthy and poor. Because of this distinction, Brazil is sometimes referred to as the “two Brazils”. The wealthy are in the south, which are compared to Belgium and the poor North to India. The huge metropolis in southeastern Brazil blame their city’s poverty and high crime rate on migrants from the North. There are a lot of prejudices in Brazil. The inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo often malign people from smaller towns in the Brazilian interior, calling them uneducated hicks and hillbillies. The middle-class and wealthy Brazilians never travel to tourist destinations within their own country. They travel to Miami, Orlando or New York. Brazil is the world’s fifth largest country. The majority of people are Catholic and all speak Portuguese. The physical environment and climate vary greatly from the tropical North to the temperate South. The landscape is dominated by a central highland region know as the Brazilian Highlands, and by the vast Amazon Basin which occupies over one-third of the country. The central plateau juts into the sea in a few areas along Brazil’s 4,500 mile long coast, but it more often runs parallel to the ocean, creating a fertile, lowland area. Brazil is a land rich in natural resources; mostly iron ore, bauxite, manganese, nickel, uranium, gold, gemstones, oil, and timber. The physical environment in each region is determined by the types of crops grown or the resources being extracted and this in turn influences the populations that settle there and the social and economic systems that developed. Brazil’s northeast coast with its rich soils became the most prosperous region early on as vast sugar plantations. African slaves were imported to provide labor for these plantations. This is why the northeast is the region with the strongest African influence. The

South with a climate unsuited to either coffee or sugar, became the destination of many German and Italian immigrants who raised cattle and grew a variety of crops. Brazil is probably best known as the land of the Amazon. It is the world’s largest river in area drained and volume of water and second only to the Nile in length. The Amazon forest contains the world’s largest single reserve of biological organisms. 80 percent of all Brazilians still live within two hundred miles of the Atlantic coast. The Brazilian population has three major components. The Brazilian Indians inhabited Brazil when the Portuguese first arrived. They were thought to becoming extinct, however, their numbers are now increasing. The Brazilians celebrate the sport of soccer and the pre-Lenten celebration of carnival. The carnival is a four-day extravaganza marked by parades of costumed dancers and musicians. There is street dancing and musical contests. Carnival is symbolic of the national ethos because it plays to many of the dualities in Brazilian life: wealth and poverty, African and European, female and male. Thru the use of the costume, anyone can become anybody at carnival time. Class based on wealth is put aside during Carnival time. Brazilians are passionate about soccer and are rated among the best players of the sport in the world. Every four years when the world’s best teams vie for the world Cup championship, Brazil virtually shuts down as the nation’s total attention turns to the action on the playing field. When Brazil wins the World Cup – they really celebrate. Brazilian flags are flying and everyone wears green and yellow, their national colors. Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and is the most ‘westernized” in its culture. The foods they eat mostly are:

Rejadinho – brown beans Arroz e Feijao – rice and beans Virado a Paulista – sautéed collard greens, rice, bean paste, manioc flour and pork chops Pizza Pasta Sushi One interesting thing I learned when researching Brazil was learning about the vast number of immigrants they have. I think I thought everyone immigrated to America. I did not realize that a lot of people also immigrated to other countries.

Works Cited


My project was about traveling through Brazil and describing what I did and what I saw. I learned a lot about the country of Brazil and how beautiful it is. The advice I would give to students next year doing this project is to start early. I think this is a very time consuming project. I am the most proud of being able to complete this assignment.

Jason Ely

Modern Odyssey  

Modern Odyssey

Modern Odyssey  

Modern Odyssey