Brazil takes up half of South America. It is home to the worlds second longest river (The Amazon) and contains almost half of the worlds rain forest. It is the fifth largest country in the world in terms of size and population and the official language is Portuguese. Up until 1500 the area was the composed of many small nationals formed by the regions indigenous tribes. However Pedro Alvares Cabral claimed the territory for Portugal in 1500. It was ceded to Rio de Jeneiro in 1808 and only achieved independence in 1822. Brazil has lived through a succession of military and dictatorial regimes with associated guerrilla resistance and weathered several severe financial crisis. Democratic rule has now been in place for 30 successive years.
Capital city: Brasília Highest Point: Pico da Neblina 2,995.30 m (9,827 ft) Longest river: Amazon River, 6,992 km (4,345 mi) Total Area: 8,514,877 km2 (3,287,612 sq mi) Bordering countries (10) Argentina, Bolivia, Columbia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela.