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Brazil Table of Contents



Official Name: Federative Republic of Brazil (República Fede-rativa do Brasil).

Short Name: Brazil (Brasil).

Term for Citizen(s): Brazilian(s).

Capital: Brasília.

Independence: September 7, 1822 (from Portugal).


Size and Location: Standard figure is 8,511,996 square kilometers (including oceanic islands of Arquipélago de Fernando de Noronha, Atol das Rocas, Ilha da Trindade, Ilhas Martin Vaz, and Penedos de São Pedro e São Paulo). According to revised figure of Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (Fundação Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística--IBGE), which takes into account new measurements, total area is 8,547,403.5 square kilometers. Brazil occupies about 47 percent of continental area. Country situated between 05°16'20" north latitude and 33°44'32" south latitude, and between 34°47'30" east longitude and 73°59'32" west longitude. Its boundaries extend 23,086 kilometers, of which 7,367 kilometers on Atlantic Ocean. To north, west, and south, Brazil shares boundaries with all South American countries except Chile and Ecuador.

Standard Time: With an east-to-west territorial dimension of 4,319 kilometers, Brazil has four time zones. In most of country, time is three hours earlier than Greenwich time. Between summer months of October and February, country adopts daylight savings time, setting clock forward by one hour, in Southeast (Sudeste), Center-West (Centro-Oeste), and South (Sul) regions, and in states of Bahia in Northeast (Nordeste) and Tocantins in North (Norte).

Maritime Claims: Exclusive economic zone 322 kilometers (200 nautical miles).

Boundary Disputes: A short section of boundary with Paraguay, just west of Salto das Sete Quedas (Guairá Falls) on Paraná; and two short sections of boundary with Uruguay--Arroio Invernada area of Cuareim and islands at confluence of Quaraí and Uruguai.

Topography and Climate: Consisting of dense forest, semiarid scrub land, rugged hills and mountains, rolling plains, and long coastal strip, Brazil's landmass dominated by Amazon Basin and Central Highlands. Principal mountain ranges (Serra do Mar) parallel Atlantic coast. Climate varies from mostly tropical in North, where it is seldom cold, to more temperate in South, where it snows in some places. Also wide range of subtropical variations. World's largest rain forest located in Amazon Basin. Higher annual measurements (26°C to 28°C) occur in Northeast's interior and mid- and lower Amazon River. Lowest values (under 18°C) occur in hilly areas of Southeast and largest part of South. Highest absolute values, over 40°C, are recorded in Northeast's low interior lands; in Southeast's depressions, valleys, and lowlands; in Center-West's Pantanal (Great Wetlands) and lower areas; and in South's central depressions and Uruguai Valley. Lowest absolute temperatures often show negative values in most of South, where frosts and snow usual. Rainy areas correspond to Pará's coastal lands and western Amazonas, where annual rainfall greater than 3,000 millimeters. In Southeast on Serra do Mar (São Paulo State), recorded annual rainfall exceeds 3,500 millimeters. Drought areas located in interior Northeast, where annual rainfall under 500 millimeters. Maximum precipitation occurs during summer-autumn in most parts of country, except for Roraima and north Amazonas, where rainy season occurs during winter because these two states are located in Northern Hemisphere.

Principal Rivers: Vast, dense drainage system consisting of eight hydrographic basins. Amazon and Tocantins-Araguaia basins account for 56 percent of total drainage area. World's greatest fluvial island, Bananal, located in Center-West Region on Araguaia. With ten of world's twenty greatest rivers, Amazon (Amazonas) is world's largest in volume of water and one of world's longest (6,762 kilometers, of which 3,615 kilometers are in Brazil), discharging 15.5 percent of all fresh water flowing into oceans from rivers. Union of Paraná and Iguaçu in South, at border between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, forms Iguaçu Falls at Foz do Iguaçu.

Data as of April 1997

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Brazil Table of Contents