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Brazil (Portuguese: Brasil Portuguese pronunciation: [bɾaˈziw]), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: República Federativa do Brasil, About this sound listen ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the sixth most populous. The capital is Brasília, and the most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.

Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 kilometers (4,655 mi). It borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile and covers 47.3% of the continent's land area. Its Amazon River basin includes a vast tropical forest, home to diverse wildlife, a variety of ecological systems, and extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected habitats. This unique environmental heritage makes Brazil one of 17 megadiverse countries, and is the subject of significant global interest and debate regarding deforestation and environmental protection.

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Portuguese Empire
Credit: The Ogre
The Portuguese Empire was the earliest and longest lived of the modern European colonial empires, spanning almost six centuries, from the capture of Ceuta in 1415 to the handover of Macau in 1999. Portuguese explorers began exploring the coast of Africa in 1419, leveraging the latest developments in navigation, cartography and maritime technology such as the caravel, in order that they might find a sea route to the source of the lucrative spice trade. In 1488, Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and in 1498, Vasco da Gama reached India. In 1500, by an accidental landfall on the South American coast for some, by the crown's secret design for others, Pedro Álvares Cabral would find and lead to the establishment of the colony of Brazil.

Over the following decades, Portuguese sailors continued to explore the coasts and islands of East Asia, establishing forts and trading posts as they went. By 1571, a string of outposts connected Lisbon to Nagasaki: the empire had become truly global, and in the process brought great wealth to Portugal. Between 1580 and 1640 Portugal became the junior partner to Spain in the Iberian Union of the two countries' crowns. Though the empires continued to be administered separately, Portuguese colonies became the subject of attacks by three rival European powers hostile to Spain and envious of Iberian successes overseas: The Netherlands (which was engaged in a war of independence against Spain), England and France.

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Dilma Rousseff
Credit: Agência Brasil

Dilma Rousseff was the 36th and current President of Brazil, in office between 1 January 2011 and 31 August 2016 when she was removed from the presidency after an impeachment process. She is the first woman to have held the office. Previously she was Chief of Staff to the President of Brazil, serving under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, from 2005 to 2010. The daughter of a Bulgarian entrepreneur, she is an economist by training and co-founder of the Democratic Labour Party. She served as Da Silva's Minister of Energy and became Chief of Staff after José Dirceu's resignation amidst scandal. She was elected the presidency in a run-off election on 31 October 2010.

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Banks' beer. There's nothing like it! To Brazil. And to Barbados justice.

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Tom Zé (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˌtõw̃ ˈzɛ]; born Antônio José Santana Martins, 11 October 1936 in Irará, Bahia, Brazil) is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer who was influential in the Tropicália movement of 1960s Brazil. After the peak of the Tropicália period, Zé went into relative obscurity: it was only in the 1990s, when the musician and label head David Byrne discovered an album recorded by Zé many years earlier, that he returned to performing and releasing new material.

Tom Zé grew up in the small town of Irará, Bahia in the northeastern Sertão. He would later claim that his hometown was "pre-Gutenbergian", as information was primarily transferred through oral communication. As a child, he was influenced by Brazilian musicians such as Luiz Gonzaga and Jackson do Pandeiro. Zé became interested in music by listening to the radio, and moved to Salvador to pursue a degree. He later relocated to São Paulo and began his career in popular music there. Much of his early work involved his wry impressions of the massive metropolitan area, coming from a small town in the relatively poor northeast.

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Simca Vedette Chambord 1961
Credit: Dino1948

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Juscelino Kubitschek bridge
Credit: Sting

The Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge also known as the President JK Bridge or just the JK Bridge, crosses Lake Paranoá in Brasília, D.F. It is named for Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira, former president of Brazil, who in the late 1950s decided to build Brasília as the new capital of the country. It was designed by architect Alexandre Chan and structural engineer Mário Vila Verde.

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