The official name is the Federative Republic of Brazil (Republica Federative, do Brasil).
Located in eastern and central South America. The area is 8512 thousand km2. Population 176.5 million people. (2002). The official language is Portuguese. The capital is the city of Brasilia (2.1 million people, 2000). Public holiday – Independence Day September 7 (since 1822). Monetary unit – real.
Member of the UN and its specialized organizations, Non-Aligned Movement, IADB, IBRD, IMF (since 1945), MERCOSUR, OAS, etc.
Population of Brazil
In 2002, according to Countryaah, Brazil ranked 5th in the world in terms of population. The average annual population growth rate: in 1980-85 2.1%, in 1995-2000 1.3%. Birth rate 18.1%, mortality 9.3%, infant mortality 35.8 pers. per 1000 newborns (2002). Average life expectancy is 63.5 years, incl. men 59.4, women 67.9. Gender and age structure: 0-14 years old – 28% (men 25.1 million people, women 24.2 million), 15-64 years old – 66.4% (57.4 million and 59.4 million), 65 years and older – 5.6% (3.9 million and 5.9 million). Competent among persons over 15 years of age is 83.3%. 80% of the population lived in cities (2000, in 1985 71%). The economically active population is 57.9% (men 75.5%, women 41%) (2000). Ethnic composition of the population: 55% – Europeans (Portuguese, Germans, Italians, Spaniards, Poles); 38% – mestizos and mulattoes; 6% – blacks; 1% – Japanese, Arabs and Indians.
89% profess Catholicism, many people of African origin – the cult of candoble and others, the rest – Protestants, Jews.
History of Brazil
Before the Portuguese conquest, what is now Brazil was inhabited by Indian tribes. The conquest and colonization began after the arrival of the Portuguese navigator A. Cabral in 1500 in the conditions of acute rivalry between Portugal and France and Holland. In 1549 a general government was established with its capital in Salvador (Bahia). The creation of large plantation farms was accompanied by the importation of African Negro slaves. The brutal exploitation of the Indians and Negroes caused numerous uprisings. The Republic of Palmaris (1630–97), created by fugitive Negroes, received the greatest resonance. Starting from con. 17th century there were protests against the Portuguese authorities and the Brazilian colonists, the largest of them was the conspiracy in Minas Gerais in 1789 under the leadership of Tiradentes.
In 1808, after the invasion of Napoleonic troops, the Portuguese royal court moved to Brazil. In 1815, the territory of the country was formally declared an equal part of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. After the king’s return to Lisbon, his son became Prince Regent, who in 1822 assumed the title of Emperor of Brazil under the name Pedro I. On September 7, 1822, the country’s independence was proclaimed. The desire to expand the southern borders led to the war with Argentina (1851-52). In 1865–70, Brazil, in alliance with Argentina and Uruguay, waged war against Paraguay, but both wars did not produce any positive results. Slavery was abolished in 1888. November 15, 1889 after the overthrow of the monarchy, Brazil became a federal republic.
During World War I, Brazil sided with the Entente, but withdrew from the League of Nations in 1926. In the 1920s there were performances of junior and middle officers – tenentists. The campaign of L.K.’s column received the greatest resonance. Prestes (1924-27), later a prominent figure in the Communist Party. In 1930, as a result of a coup d’état, J. Vargas came to power and established a personal dictatorship in the country. The political regime, legally fixed in the corporate Constitution of 1937, was called the New State. During World War II, Brazil was on the side of the anti-Hitler coalition. In 1945, Vargas was removed as a result of a coup d’etat, but in 1950 he was again elected head of state. The second presidency was accompanied by acute economic problems and political instability.
In 1955, J. Kubitschek, who held nationalist positions, was elected president of the country. J. Cuadrus, who replaced him in 1961, was forced to resign shortly after his election as a result of an acute government crisis. The post of head of state was taken by Vice-President J. Goulart. At the same time, the highest military hierarchy and the conservative opposition achieved a sharp limitation of the president’s powers and the creation of a parliamentary government. Nevertheless, in 1963, after a plebiscite was held, the powers of the president were restored in full.
On March 31, 1964, the Goulart government was overthrown. As a result of the coup d’etat, the Armed Forces came to power, which led the country for more than 20 years. During the 1st decade of military rule, repressive methods were widely used. The new regime took all necessary measures to neutralize real and even potential opposition. Legal guarantees were suspended, political activity was banned and then restricted, and tens of thousands were arrested or expelled from the country. A typical feature of Brazilian reality was the disappearance of opponents of the regime, political censorship, the suppression of mass student and trade union movements, and even the use of torture. The military managed to put an end to the armed resistance, which took the form of a partisan struggle. At the same time, the successful development of the economy (the “Brazilian miracle”) made it possible to combine repressive measures with separate social programs. The new Land Code contributed to the formation of farms and the modernization of traditional latifundia.
The institutional acts adopted by the military governments and the Constitution of 1967 radically reformed the political system. The National Congress was assigned a decorative role, the president was endowed with practically unlimited powers. The president and vice president were elected by the electoral college, and the mayors were appointed by the governors.
The widespread use of repression coexisted with some of the trappings of democracy: heads of state changed regularly, congress and political parties functioned, and limited pluralism was tolerated. The coming to power of E. Gaizel (1974–79) was accompanied by the gradual elimination of the most odious features of the military-dictatorial regime. J. Batista Figueiredo (1979-85) continued the process of liberalization. His reforms included a broader amnesty for political prisoners, the restoration of a multi-party system, the holding of direct elections for state governors, and the recognition (with certain restrictions) of the right of workers to strike.
On January 15, 1985, T. Nevis won the presidential election, who was never able to take up his duties. The civil government of J. Sarney (1985–90), who assumed the presidency after the death of Nevis, completely restored the system of representative democracy. The transitional period ended with the adoption of the 1988 Constitution.
In 1992, the National Congress impeached President F. Collor de Mello, elected in 1989, on charges of corruption. Important socio-economic and political transformations aimed at strengthening the rule of law and reforming the economy on the basis of a significant adjustment of the neoliberal model were carried out by President F.E. Cardoso (1994-2002). A new stage in the development of the country opened after the victory in the elections on October 27, 2002 of the candidate of the left forces L.I. Lula da Silva.