Brazil: Geography and Culture Geography Brazil with a background of Portuguese colonialism back in 1500 is the largest nation in Latin America, nearly half (47%) of the South American continent, comprises slightly under half of the land mass in South America continent and share border with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador. Brazil size is almost the size of United States excluding Alaska. Brazil has 13 cities with over one million residents.
The main capital is Brasilia, Brazil has 13 cities with over one million residents. Three important cities in Brazil including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador. Brazil is a diverse country with ethnic groups including: 54% European, 39% mixed European-African, 6% Africa, 1% other. The physical environment in each region determined the types of crops grown or the resources extracted and this, in turn, influenced the populations that settled there and the social and economic systems that developed.
Brazil’s economic history, in fact, has been marked by a succession of cycles, each one based on the exploitation of a single export commodity: timber (brazilwood) in the first years of colonization; sugarcane in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; precious metals (gold) and gems (diamonds) in the eighteenth century; and finally, coffee in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Northeast Region has about 53. 6 million people, which represents 28% of the total number in the whole country.
Most of the population lives in the urban area, althourgh, about 15 million people lives in the sertao. Its famous in Brazil by its hot wheather, beautiful beaches, rich culture, the sertao and to be the birthplace of the country. The biggest cities are Salvador, Fortaleza and Recife, which are the regional metropolitan areas of the Nordeste, all with a population above a million inhabitants. The Central-West Region is composed of the states of Goias, Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul; along with Distrito Federal (Federal District), where
Brazil’s national capital, Brasilia, is situated. This Region is right in the heart of Brazil, representing 18. 86% of the national territory. The Southeast Region of Brazil is composed by the states of Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. It is the richest region of the country, responsible for approximately 60% of the Brazilian GDP. The Southern Region of Brazil is one of the five administrative regions of Brazil. It includes the states of Parana, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul and covers 576,300. km ? , being the smallest portion of the country. It is a great tourist, economic and cultural pole. It borders Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay as well as the Center-West Region, the Southeast Region and the Atlantic Ocean. The region received large numbers of people European immigrants during the 19th century, who have had a large influence on its demography and culture. The main ethnic groups of Southern Brazil are Brazilians of Italian, Portuguese and German descent.
Today Brazil is justifiably famous for the Amazon River; Carnival in Rio; the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema; its many champion soccer teams, and of course, for the amazing collection of organized diversity that makes it one of the most significant and important countries on the face of the planet. Brazil Culture The population of Brazil was about 194 million, the sixth largest in the world after China, India, the United States, Indonesia, and the Russian Federation. Despite its large population, Brazil’s demographic density is relatively low.
Although there has been significant population movement into the interior in recent decades, about 80 percent of all Brazilians still live within two hundred miles of the Atlantic coast. Unlike many other Latin American countries where there is a distinct Indian population, Brazilians have intermarried to the point that it sometimes seems that almost everyone has a combination of o European, African and indigenous ancestry. Many original Portuguese settlers married native women, which created a new race, called ‘mestizos’.
Mulattoes’ are descendants of the Portuguese and African slaves. Despite the mixing of ethnicities, there is a class system in Brazil. Class is determined by economic status and skin colour. Few Brazilians could be described as racist, although social discrimination based on skin colour is a daily occurrence. People with darker brown skin are economically and socially disadvantaged. Many senior and middle ranking Brazilian business executives speak excellent English and in fact, many of them may have studied abroad in the USA or Europe.
However, English is not spoken when dealing with people outside the major commercial centres, an ability to speak Brazilian Portuguese is extremely useful. The official language of Brazil is Portuguese; however, there are more than 180 native languages spoken in the country. It is also important to note that Brazil is the only country in South America whose dominant language and culture comes from Portugal. Aside from a small number of recently contacted indigenous peoples, all Brazilians speak Portuguese. Brazilian Portuguese differs somewhat in grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation from the language of Portugal.
Brazilian Portuguese contains a large number of indigenous terms, particularly words for native plants, animals, and place-names are not found in continental Portuguese. While regional accents exist in Brazil, they are not very pronounced and native Portuguese speakers from one region have no difficulty understanding those from other regions. The vast majority of Brazilians are monolingual in Portuguese, although many middle-class and elite Brazilians study English and to a lesser extent Spanish, French, and German.
Brazilians are very proud of their linguistic heritage and resent that many foreigners, particularly North Americans, think Brazilians speak Spanish. However, anybody wishing to do business with Brazil and the Brazilians should be aware of the various cultural and structural barriers, which might confront them. Probably the most pervasive barrier encountered by the unwary traveller would be the ‘Custo Basil’ or the ‘Brazil Cost’. This term refers to the very real extra costs of doing business in Brazil — corruption, governmental inefficiency, legal and bureaucratic complications, excessive taxation, poor infrastructure, inflation etc.
Although this ‘costa’ is difficult to define and has lessened in recent years, it remains real and the cause of great frustration for international business people. Due to this ‘Custo Brasil’, it is important to work closely with local lawyers and accountants. Many people have found the services of local intermediaries (despachante) extremely useful in overcoming many of the unfathomable local complexities. The official religion in Brazil is Roman Catholic; there are more Catholics in Brazil than in any other country in the world. As with any other country in the world, Brazil is a melting pot of different religions.
In fact, due to the diversity of its cultures and its heritage, this country boasts an array of religious ideals and affiliations. Interestingly, recent censuses have revealed that around 90% of the Brazilian population subscribe to some religious ideal, making it more religiously inclined than any other South American country. Only around 1% of its population do not believe in a God, or a supreme being in some form or another. Catholicism was introduced to Brazil when the European settlers arrived with the aim of ‘civilising’ the local native people.
They built churches and brought religious leaders into the country to teach young and old alike the doctrines of Catholicism. During the 19th century, Catholicism was made the official religion of Brazil. This meant that Catholic priests were paid a salary by the government, including them in the political affairs of the country. As such, Catholicism became an integral part of the management and administration of Brazil and its people. Many of the Brazilian festivals are based on the Catholic religion.
Other religions (non-Christian origin) includes Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Jehovah’s Witnessm Shinto, Rastafarian, Candomble, Umbanda and 1% of its population do not believe in God or supreme being in some form or another. Why Brazil? With a population of 194 million, Brazil represents the fifth largest market opportunity in the world after China, India, Indonesia and United States of America. It is also the fifth largest country in the world by geographic size. Not only that, Brazil is a land of rich in natural resources such as iron ore, bauxite, manganese, nickel, uranium, gold, gemstones, oil and timber.
Combine these facts with the stabilising economic and political landscape, this is why Brazil attracts a higher percentage of total global foreign direct investment every year. So, as with many countries, the opportunities are there and they are real but, it is essential to understand the local business landscape if want to do business in Brazil. Regardless in what sector banking, computing or pharmaceuticals, local knowledge is important. Today, Brazil has one of the largest economies in the Americas and is the largest in South America. References: 1. http://geography. bout. com/od/specificplacesofinterest/a/geographyofbraz. htm 2. http://www. justbrazil. com/site/index. php? option=com_content&view=article&id=94&Itemid=119 3. http://geography. about. com/od/brazilmaps/a/brazilfacts. htm 4. http://www. brazil. org. za/brazil-culture. html 5. http://www. everyculture. com/Bo-Co/Brazil. html#b 6. http://www. mapsofworld. com/south-america/culture/brazil. html 7. http://www. worldbusinessculture. com/Brazilian-Business-Communication-Style. html 8. http://www. brazil. org. za/religion. html
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