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Facts about Brazil
Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 190 million people. It is the only Portuguese-speaking country in the Americas and the largest lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) country in the world.
Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of over 7,491 km (4,655 mi). It is bordered on the north by Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and the French overseas department of French Guiana; on the northwest by Colombia; on the west by Bolivia and Peru; on the southwest by Argentina and Paraguay and on the south by Uruguay. Numerous archipelagos form part of Brazilian territory, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz. It borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile.
Brazil was a colony of Portugal from the landing of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 until 1815, when it was elevated to United Kingdom with Portugal and Algarves. The colonial bond was in fact broken in 1808, when the capital of the Portuguese Kingdom was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, after Napoleon invaded Portugal. The independence from Portugal was achieved in 1822. Initially independent as the Empire of Brazil, the country has been a republic since 1889, although the bicameral legislature, now called Congress, dates back to 1824, when the first constitution was ratified. Its current Constitution defines Brazil as a Federal Republic. The Federation is formed by the union of the Federal District, the 26 States, and the 5,564 Municipalities.
The Brazilian economy is the world's seventh largest economy by nominal GDP and the eighth largest by purchasing power parity. Brazil is one of the world's fastest growing major economies. Economic reforms have given the country new international recognition. Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, CPLP, Latin Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, Mercosul and the Union of South American Nations, and is one of the BRIC countries. Brazil is also home to a diversity of wildlife, natural environments, and extensive natural resources in a variety of protected habitats.