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Facts about Brazil

Beaches, rain forests, and parrots: scenes from Brazil.
Beaches, rain forests, and parrots: scenes from Brazil.
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Now that World Cup 2014 is in full swing, there has been a lot of media coverage from Brazil. The largest country in South American—and the only one to speak Portuguese instead of Spanish—Brazil has a long and rich history. Brazil is both a land of natural beauty and man-made wonders. It has a population that is divided between the wealthy and the poor but, with every passing year, the Brazilian economy builds up and, with it, comes a middle class. Although most people know where and what Brazil is, not many individuals know any in-depth information about the nation. Below are a few interesting facts about Brazil, the host of the 2014 World Cup:

The Brazilian flag is extremely colorful.
The Brazilian flag is extremely colorful.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

• Brazil’s flag is green, blue and yellow. These colors also appear on the country’s national football (”soccer” to Americans) uniform.

• Although Brazil is in South America, the national language is Portuguese, not Spanish. This is because Brazil was settled by the Portuguese in the 1500s.

• Although Rio de Janerio is Brazil’s most famous city, the actual capitol is called Brasilia.

• Brazil is famous for the Amazon River and surrounding rainforest. Brazil is a popular location among eco-tourists who journey there to see exotic creatures (such as macaw parrots) in their native habitat!

• Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world encompassing 3,287,597 square miles.

• Brazil has an estimated population of 201,032,714.

• Brazil’s national sport is soccer (or “football”) which is dubbed “the beautiful game” by the people of Brazil. The Brazilian national team has won the World Cup five times—more than any other nation. Brazil is also the only team to have played in all 19 World Cup Tournaments and they have hosted the World Cup twice.

• Although 90% of the population can read, about 10% are still illiterate.

• Brazil is an overwhelmingly Christian country. Over 60% of its residents are Roman Catholic and over 20% are Protestant.

• Although Brazil has had a long history of problems with crime—especially in the city “favelas” (which is the Portuguese term for ghetto) in recent years the country has become more wealthy and safer. Hence, tourism has increased, the economy is stabilizing and many Brazilian residents are enjoying a higher quality of life than ever before.