OFFICIAL NAME
Federative Republic of Brazil

GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE
Democracy

PRESIDENT
Dilma Rousseff (elected 2010)
Worker’s Party
Served as Minister of Energy and then Chief of Staff under da Silva who chose her as his successor;
Economist; former city and provincial official; imprisoned in the 70s for leftist activities under Brazil’s military regime.
Brazil’s first female president

POPULATION
200 million

CAPITAL
Brasilia
2.4 million (2007)

OTHER MAJOR CITIES (ranked by population)
Sao Paulo
Rio de Janeiro
Salvador
Belo Horizonte
Recife

ETHNICITY
52% White
41% Mixed race
6% Black
1% Other

LANGUAGES
Portuguese
Many indigenous languages

LITERACY
86.4%

LIFE EXPECTANCY
Men 68.3
Women 76.38

RELIGION
74% Roman Catholic 
15% % Protestant
4% Other
7% None

AREA
3,284,470 square miles

PROTECTED AREAS
28 National Parks
6 National Ecological Reserves
23 National Biological Reserves

NATIONAL FLOWER
Ipe-amarelo (Tecoma chrysostricha)

NATIONAL BIRD
Sabia-laranjeira

MAJOR INDUSTRIES
Agriculture
Mining (iron ore, tin, quartz)
Manufacturing (textiles, shoes, chemicals, steel)
Food processing
Service

MAJOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Coffee
Citrus fruit
Soybeans
Wheat

HOLIDAYS
1/1 New Year's Day
Feb (or Mar) Carnaval
Mar/Apr Good Friday
4/21 Remembrance of Tiradentes (French Revolutionary hero, Civic Patron of Brazil, symbolizing power of the people)
5/1 Labor Day
May (or June) Corpus Christi
9/7 Independence Day
10/12 Nossa Senhora Aparecida (Catholic Patroness of Brazil)
11/2 Dia dos Finados (Day of the Dead)
11/15 Proclamation of the Republic
12/25 Christmas

CUISINE
Visitors can expect superb cuisine on Brazil tours, with heavy influences from Europe (especially Italy and Portugal) and Africa. Among the delectable entrées are feijoada, a pork stew with black beans, chorizo and bacon. One mainstay is the cassava (manioc) tuber that is used as a component in stews and soups or fried as chips. On Brazil tours at Christmas time, visitors may experience the culinary tradition of roast piglet. Favorite side dishes include polenta, pepper-scented rice, fried bananas, ambrosia and coconut puddings and orange salad. Chayote (or "chuchu") is a green vegetable of the gourd family that is baked in a cheese sauce. Snack foods include "pastel" and "empada", mixtures of meats, fish and cheese in pastries, baked or fried, and "quejadinha", an amalgam of coconut and parmesan. One of the country's most famous regional cuisines is from the southern state of Minas Gerais. Brazil also produces quality wine.

CURRENCY
Real (R$)

INTERNATIONAL DIALING CODE
55

TIME ZONE
Four time zones; Most of Brazil is US Eastern Standard Time + 1 hr during most, but not all of the year, so it is best to check local time on arrival.

ELECTRICITY
Some is 110V and some 220V. Plugs are round, the same as those used in Europe.