- 1. What is the government system in Brazil?
The Federative Republic of Brazil comprises the Federal Government (Union), 26 states, subdivided in 5,565 municipalities, and the Federal District. The powers of the Union are divided into its Executive, Legislative and Judiciary branches.
The Executive Branch is represented by the President of the Republic, state governors, and municipal mayors, elected by popular votes for four-year mandates, with one re-election possible.
The President is the head of the Federal Executive Branch, and is assisted by Ministers of State.
The ministries prepare norms, supervise and assess the federal programs, and create and enforce the policies for the sectors they represent. In addition, they are in charge of setting strategies, guidelines, and priorities in the application of public resources.
The Ministries are:
- Ministry of Agrarian Development (www.mda.gov.br)
- Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (www.agricultura.gov.br)
- Ministry of Communications (www.mc.gov.br)
- Ministry of Culture (www.cultura.gov.br)
- Ministry of Defense (www.defesa.gov.br)
- Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (www.desenvolvimento.gov.br)
- Ministry of Education (www.mec.gov.br)
- Ministry of External Relations (www.mre.gov.br)
- Ministry of Finance (www.fazenda.gov.br)
- Ministry of Health (www.saude.gov.br)
- Ministry of Justice (www.justica.gov.br)
- Ministry of Labor and Employment (www.mte.gov.br)
- Ministry of Mines and Energy (www.mme.gov.br)
- Ministry of National Integration (www.integracao.gov.br)
- Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management (www.planejamento.gov.br)
- Ministry of Science and Technology (www.mct.gov.br)
- Ministry of Social Development and Hunger Mitigation (www.desenvolvimentosocial.gov.br)
- Ministry of Social Security (www.mpas.gov.br)
- Ministry of Sports (www.esporte.gov.br)
- Ministry of the Cities (www.cidades.gov.br)
- Ministry of the Environment (www.mma.gov.br)
- Ministry of Tourism (www.turismo.gov.br)
- Ministry of Transportation (www.transportes.gov.br)
The Legislative Branch is comprised by senators, federal deputies, state deputies, and city councilors, elected by popular vote. Their competency is to develop laws in the municipal sphere (City Councils), state sphere (Legislative Assemblies) and federal sphere (National Congress, comprising the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate).
The Judiciary is represented by the Federal Supreme Court (STF), which oversees the obedience and the respect to the country’s Constitution, the Federal Appeals Court (STJ), the Federal Regional Courts, the Upper Labor Court (TST), the Upper Electoral Court (TSE) and the Military Courts, as well as their counterparts at the state level: Courts of Justice (TJ), Regional Electoral Courts (TRE) and Regional Labor Courts (TRT).
- 2. What is Brazil’s administrative division?
The country is divided into 26 states and the Federal District. The states are: Acre, Alagoas, Amapá, Amazonas, Bahia, Ceará, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraíba, Paraná, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondônia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, São Paulo, Sergipe and Tocantins. The states are subdivided in 5,565 municipalities.
- 3. What does the Brazilian flag look like?
The Brazilian flag was designed in 1889 by Raimundo Teixeira Mendes and Miguel Lemos, with drawing by Décio Vilares. Inspired in the former flag of the Brazilian Empire, it was painted by French painter Jean Baptiste Debret, with the sky-blue circle and the positivist motto "Ordem e Progresso" (Order and Progress) replacing the Imperial Crown, as per suggestion by Benjamim Constant to Raimundo T. Mendes. The phrase was taken from the maximum formula of Positivism: "Love as a principle, order as a basis, and progress as aim". In the circle, the sky as seen from Rio de Janeiro is represented, with the Southern Cross, at 8:30 AM, November 15, 1889, the Republic Proclamation Day. The stars are those that were bright in the Brazilian sky in that historic morning.
- 4. What is the Brazilian currency?
The Brazilian currency is Real, subdivided in 100 centavos.
Coins: R$ 0.01, R$ 0.05, R$ 0.10, R$ 0.25, R$ 0.50 and R$ 1
Bills: R$ 1, R$ 2, R$ 5, R$ 10, R$ 20, R$ 50 and R$ 100
- 5. What is the official language of Brazil?
Portuguese is the official language.
Portuguese is the eighth most spoken language in the world and the third among the western languages, after only English and Spanish. It is the official language of another seven countries: Portugal, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, Mozambique and East Timor.
- 6. What is the area of Brazil?
Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world – with a total area of 8,514,204.90 sq km, representing 20.8% of the Americas, and 47.7% of South America – after Russia, Canada, China and the United States. The Equator crosses the country in the north, through the states of Amazonas, Roraima, Pará and Amapá.
- 7. Which countries does Brazil border?
Argentina (1,261 km border), Bolivia (3,423 km), Colombia (1,644 km), French Guiana (730.4 km), Guiana (1,606 km), Paraguay (1,365 km), Peru (2,995 km), Suriname (593 km), Uruguay (1.068 km) and Venezuela (2,200 km).
- 8. What is the capital and when was it built?
Brasilia is the capital of Brazil. The city was inaugurated on April 21, 1960, in the Federal District (Center-Western Region of the country). On December 7, 1987, Brasilia was listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
- 9. What are the state capitals and their distances to Brasilia?
City State (abbreviation) Distance (km) Southeastern Region Belo Horizonte Minas Gerais (MG) 716 Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro (RJ) 1,148 São Paulo São Paulo (SP) 1,015 Vitória Espírito Santo (ES) 1,238 Southern Region Curitiba Paraná (PR) 1,336 Florianópolis Santa Catarina (SC) 1,673 Porto Alegre Rio Grande do Sul (RS) 2,077 Northeastern Region Aracajú Sergipe (SE) 1,737 Fortaleza Ceará (CE) 2,285 João Pessoa Paraíba (PB) 2,330 Maceió Alagoas (AL) 2,013 Natal Rio Grande do Norte (RN) 2,507 Recife Pernambuco (PE) 2,220 Salvador Bahia (BA) 1,531 São Luís Maranhão (MA) 2,151 Teresina Piauí (PI) 1,789 Northern Region Belém Pará (PA) 2,120 Boa Vista Roraima (RR) 4,275 Macapá Amapá (AP) 2,465 Manaus Amazonas (AM) 3,490 Palmas Tocantins (TO) 973 Porto Velho Rondônia (RO) 2,589 Rio Branco Acre (AC) 3,123 Center-Western Campo Grande Mato Grosso do Sul (MS) 1,134 Cuiabá Mato Grosso (MT) 1,133 Goiânia Goiás (GO) 209
- 10. How many time zones are there in Brazil?
On June 24, 2008 (Law no. 11662), Brazil reduced from four to three time zones, all of them to the west of Greenwich (GMT). The first time zone includes Brazilian oceanic islands (GMT minus two hours). The second time zone – GMT minus three hours – is the Brazilian official time, and includes the Federal District, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Tocantins and all states on the Atlantic Ocean. The third time zone – GMT minus four hours – includes the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Roraima, Rondônia, Amazonas and Acre.
Since 1985, Brazil has been adopting daylight saving time in which the time in some states is set an hour earlier in a given period between October and February. It is usually observed in the regions Southeast, Center-West and South.
The introduction of daylight saving time has as main objective a reduced demand from the Brazilian electricity system in peak hours. The seasonal increase in consumption at this time is due, above all, to the temperature rise with the arrival of summer. The measure has brought more safety and operational reliability to the system at the most critical hours, thus minimizing the need for new seasonal investment in specific areas.
- 11. How is the weather in Brazil?
Given its continental size and varied topography, Brazil has very different weather conditions. In general, we can highlight three types of climate in the country: Equatorial, Tropical and Subtropical.
The Equatorial climate is characterized by high temperatures and humidity during the entire year, but with more intense rains in the summer months. The Equatorial climate includes all states of the Northern region and part of Mato Grosso and Maranhão – therefore the region known as Brazilian Legal Amazon. The annual volume of rainfall can easily exceed 3,000 mm and maximum temperatures exceed 30°C.
The Tropical climate includes regions Center-West, Southeast, Northeast, and the State of Tocantins, with specific characteristics depending on the region. In the Center-West, Southeast, Tocantins and part of the states of Bahia and Piauí, rainfall is concentrated in spring and summer months (annual volume of around 1,500 mm), with milder temperatures in upland areas and mountain ranges during the winter.
The Tropical climate in Brazil features two major subdivisions: Wet Coastal climate and Semiarid Tropical climate. The former extends from the northern coast of São Paulo to Rio Grande do Norte, with relative humidity around 70%, average temperature of about 24°C, with an average annual rainfall above 2,000 mm. The rainy season in this coastal strip occurs during the spring and summer in the Southeastern coast, and during the winter in the east coast of the Northeast. The Semiarid Tropical climate stretches from the far north of Minas Gerais through the countryside of almost every state in the Northeast, characterized by low rainfall (ranging between 700 and 850 mm per year), concentrated mainly in the summer and autumn, and by average annual temperatures around 25°C.
Finally, the Subtropical climate, the coldest climate in Brazil, covers the three Southern region states and southeast of São Paulo. It is characterized mainly by wide temperature ranges, with below zero temperatures in some mountain ranges during the winter, and maximum temperatures above 35°C in the summer. Rainfalls are more regular throughout the year, but suffer strong influence of the passage and intensity of frontal systems coming from the south. The average annual volume of rainfall is about 1,700 mm.
* Spring: September 22 – December 21;
* Summer: December 22 – March 21;
* Autumn: March 22 – June 21;
* Winter: June 22 – September 21.
- 12. What does the Brazilian system of rivers look like?
The Brazilian river system is divided in 12 regions: Amazon, Tocantins-Araguaia, Western Northeast Atlantic, Eastern Northeast Atlantic, Parnaíba, São Francisco, East Atlantic, Southeast Atlantic, South Atlantic, Uruguay, Paraná, and Paraguay.
Brazil has about 12% of the entire surface freshwater on the planet. When including the trans-boundary waters that the country receives from its neighbors – as it is the case of the Amazon Basin, which is shared with Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela and Bolivia – this proportion can reach 18%. The country also has about 70% of one of the largest reservoirs of underground freshwater in the world, the Guarani Aquifer.
Due to the large size of the country and its climatic diversity, water is not evenly distributed throughout Brazil. The contrasting situations that are found in the 12 Brazilian river regions can be seen when we compare the population/water availability ratio, for instance, in the Amazon basin and Paraná. While the former is abundant in water – about 74% of the country’s surface water resources, the latter has only 6% of these resources. However, only 5% of all Brazilians live in the Amazon basin. The Paraná watershed, in turn, includes large metropolitan areas (such as São Paulo and Curitiba), with almost 32% of the population.
Regarding the use of water in the country, 69% is for irrigation, 11% for urban water supply, 11% for animal supply, 7% for industrial use, and 2% for rural supply. Almost 80% of the Brazilian electric energy supply mix is derived from renewable sources, and it is mostly based on the hydraulic power. Aquaculture also has great potential in the country, due to its 8,500-km coastline and 3.5 million hectares of natural wetlands or reservoirs. In the country, groundwater reserves are responsible for supplying nearly 20% of Brazilian households, especially in rural communities of the semiarid region.
In Brazil, water is considered a public good and its management is carried out in a participatory, decentralized and integrated way, considering its multiple uses, giving priority to human consumption and animal watering, and having drainage basins in their entirety as territorial units for planning purposes. Different actors in diversified spheres watch over the Brazilian waters, as set forth by the National Policy of Water Resources – which guides and legitimates this process –, and the National Water Resources Management System (SINGREH), which grows increasingly stronger with social participation.
- 13. Which Brazilian cities have populations of over one million people?
Ranking Municipality (State) Population (inhabitants) 1 São Paulo (SP) 11,316,149 2 Rio de Janeiro (RJ) 6,355,949 3 Salvador (BA) 2,693,605 4 Brasília (DF) 2,609,997 5 Fortaleza (CE) 2,476,589 6 Belo Horizonte (MG) 2,385,639 7 Manaus (AM) 1,832,423 8 Curitiba (PR) 1,764,540 9 Recife (PE) 1,546,516 10 Porto Alegre (RS) 1,413,094 11 Belém (PA) 1,402,056 12 Goiânia (GO) 1,318,148 13 Guarulhos (SP) 1,233,436 14 Campinas (SP) 1,088,611 15 São Luís (MA) 1,027,429 16 São Gonçalo (RJ) 1,008,064
2010 IBGE Census
- 14. What are the highest points in Brazil?
Name Location Height Pico da Neblina Serra Imeri (AM) 2,993.8 m Pico 31 de Março Serra Imeri (AM) 2,972.7 m Pico da Bandeira Serra do Caparaó (ES/MG) 2,892.0 m Pedra da Mina Serra da Mantiqueira (SP/MG) 2,798.4 m Pico das Agulhas Negras Serra do Itatiaia (RJ) 2,791.6 m Pico do Cristal Serra do Caparaó (ES/MG) 2,769.8 m Monte Roraima Serra do Pacaraima (RR) 2,734.0 m
- 15. What is the population of Brazil and its demographic density?
192 million people (IBGE 2011)
Economically active population: 101.1 million (PNAD 2009)
Demographic density: 22.43 people / square km (2010 IBGE Census)
- 16. What is the life expectancy in Brazil?
Life expectancy: 73.5 years
Men: 69.3 years
Women: 77.3 years
- 17. What ethnic groups make up the country’s population?
White: 91 million (47.7%)
Black: 14.5 million (7.6)
Mulatto: 82,2 million (43.1%)
Asian: 2 million (1%)
Amerindian: 817,900 (0.4%)
2010 IBGE Census
- 18. What are the main religions in Brazil?
There is no official religion in Brazil.
Pentecostal evangelical: 12.76%
Other evangelicals: 7.47%
Oriental or Asian: 0.31%
No religion: 6.72%
- 19. How is the Brazilian population divided economically?
Classes A / B: 11.76%
Class C: 55.05%
Classes D / E: 33.19%
- 20. What is Brazil’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)?
Year US$ (billion) 2011 2.475 2010 2.143 2009 1.701 2008 1.625 2007 1.849 2006 1.701 2005 1.584 2004 1.494 2003 1.377 2002 1.333 2001 1.278 2000 1.233
Banco do Brasil
- 21. What is the rate of inflation in Brazil?
Year Rate 2011 6.50% 2010 5.91% 2009 4.31% 2008 5.90% 2007 4.50% 2006 3.14% 2005 5.69% 2004 7.60% 2003 9.30% 2002 12.53% 2001 7.67% 2000 5.97%
- 22. Is it true that Brazil holds the world’s largest biodiversity?
Yes, Brazil boasts the world’s largest biological diversity, with about 20% of all species on the planet. Varied biomes reflect the wealthy of Brazilian flora and fauna. The Amazon alone holds 26% of the rainforest remaining in the world. Coastal and marine ecosystems are spread over 3.5 million square km of water under Brazilian control.
- 55 thousand plant species
- 524 mammal species
- 517 amphibian species
- 1,622 bird species
- 468 reptile species
- 3 thousand freshwater fish species
- 23. What are the main national days?
April 22, 1500 (Discovery of Brazil)
September 7, 1822 (Independence of Brazil)
November 15, 1889 (Proclamation of Republic)
- 24. What are the national holidays and movable feasts?
January 1 – New Year’s Day
April 21 – Tiradentes’ Day
May 1 – Labor Day
September 7 – Independence Day
October 12 – Our Lady of Aparecida’s Day (Patron Saint of Brazil)
November 2 – Remembrance Day
November 15 – Republic Proclamation Day
December 25 – Christmas Day
Carnival – In 2010, to be observed on February 16; in 2011, to be observed on March, 8
Good Friday – In 2010, to be observed on April 2; in 2011, to be observed on Abril, 22
Corpus Christi – In 2010, to be observed on June 3; in 2011, to be observed on June, 23
- 25. What are the guidelines of the Brazilian foreign policy?
Presenting very diversified economic and trade relations with different countries and regions of the world, the Brazilian foreign policy is characterized by multilateralism and seeks to foster integration and cooperation with several countries. Brazil has given great emphasis to trade negotiations within the World Trade Organization (WTO) in which it has carried out an important role in the leadership of developing countries, in particular within the group known as the G-20. The country has also directed its resources towards regional and bilateral issues, aiming to establish economic and trade alliances and agreements with several countries and regions in the world, especially those of South America, but also with countries in Africa, the Middle East, China, India, South Africa and the European Union.
In line with its multilateralist approach and with its determination to seek greater social justice globally, Brazil has adopted an active role in different international organizations that it belongs to, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank (IBRD), and the United Nations (UN).
- 26. What are the main airports in the country?
Airport Name/Location Contact Distance to downtown AJU – Aracaju Airport / Aracaju - SE (79) 3212-8500 12 km BEL – International Airport of Belém / Belém - PA (91) 3210-6000 13 km CNF – Tancredo Neves International Airport / Belo Horizonte - MG (31) 3689-2700 45 km BVB – Boa Vista International Airport / Boa Vista – RR (61) 3364-9000 11 km CGR – Campo Grande International Airport / Campo Grande – MS (67) 3368-6010 7 km CPQ – Viracopos International Airport / Campinas - SP (19) 3725-5000 18 km CGB – Marechal Rondon International Airport / Cuiabá - MT (65) 3614-2500 9 km CWB - Afonso Pena International Airport / Curitiba - PR (41) 3381-1515 18 km FLN - Florianópolis International Airport / Florianópolis - SC (48) 3331-4000 14 km FOR – Pinto Martins International Airport / Fortaleza - CE (85) 3477-1200 6 km GYN – Goiânia Airport / Goiânia - GO (62) 3265-1500 8 km GRU – Guarulhos International Airport / São Paulo - SP (11) 6445-2945 JPA – Presidente Castro Pinto Airport / João Pessoa - PB (83) 3232-1200 12 km MCP – Macapá International Airport / Macapá - AP (96) 3223-4087 3 km MCZ – Maceió International Airport / Maceió – AL (82) 3214-4000 25 km MAO – Eduardo Gomes International Airport / Manaus - AM (92) 3652-1210 14 km NAT – Augusto Severo Airport / Parnamirim - RN (84) 3644-1070/1110 20 km PMW – Palmas Airport / Palmas – TO (63) 3219-3700 0 km PNZ – Petrolina Airport / Petrolina – PE (87) 3863-3366 10 km POA – Salgado Filho International Airport / Porto Alegre - RS (51) 3358-2000 10 km PVH – Porto Velho Airport / Porto Velho – RO (69) 3025-7450 7 km REC – Guararapes International Airport / Recife - PE (81) 3464-4188 11 km RBR – Presidente Médici International Airport / Rio Branco - AC (68) 3322-4343 3 km GIG – Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport / Rio de Janeiro - RJ (21) 3398-5050 1 km SSA – Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães Airport / Salvador - BA (71) 3204-1010 28 km SLZ – Marechal Cunha Machado Airport / São Luís - MA (98) 3217-6100 15 km THE – Teresina Airport / Teresina – PI (86) 3225-2947 5 km VIX – Vitória Airport / Vitória - ES (27) 3083-6300 6 km