Table of Contents
Visiting a foreign country has always been the subject of fascination and anxiety. When preparing such a visit, it is vital that one understands the country in depth. This includes the country’s history in the context of politics, culture and its people. Within the culture, one has to be conversant with the spoken language and subsequent way of life the parts of the country that one is interested in visiting. One such country on my radar is Brazil. It stands amongst the few countries that are enjoying economic stability amidst various controversial implications surrounding their political climate. Many authors and researchers have in the past studied Brazil, exposing the nature of the nation from different perspectives. Having studied some of the articles and books on Brazil, I find it necessary to revisit the subject in the view of visiting it in the recent future. My goal in this paper is to compel the audience to acquire an interest in Brazil as the best possible visiting destination either in the capacity of a tourist or on vocation.
To help achieve this goal, I have divided the paper into three main sections, punctuated with subsections in between. The first section will provide a full history of Brazil, its geographical location, together with other vital information. The second section talks of the events culminating in the country’s economic rise, the timeline of events and the resultant effect on the existing culture. In the last segment, the paper touches on why it is important to visit Brazil, while succinctly explaining why it is an area of interest. The end of the paper will be marked with a conclusion and the works cited page that contains the academic and internet sources that assisted me in researching about Brazil. They amount to six sources in total, amongst which two are scholarly articles.
History of Brazil
Brazil was colonized by the Portuguese, who date back to 1500 when Pedro Álvares Cabral first arrived in Brazil en route to India (New York Times). They encountered the indigenous people in the locality; the Tupinamba Indians. The Portuguese aimed at monopolizing the famous pau-brasil trade that was the redwood used for making dye at the time. Controlling this trade would leverage the Portuguese into controlling the region’s trade. It is said that the Indians and Portuguese once collaborated into the trade. However, the latter group tried to enslave the Indians to work in plantations after the decline of the redwood trade. This move was countered with resistance as most Indians fled inland. Thus, the Portuguese turned to African slaves to further their plantation farming agendas. Even as they dealt with the Indians, the Portuguese faced competition from other European nations in claiming the Brazilian territory. Spain, France, England and Holland equally wanted stakes in this location. The Portuguese administration was weak and could not establish a central government. During its start-up years, it only relied on captains to head segments of Brazil. This move was not successful and in effect, the Monarch appointed a governor-general to manage the captains and build a capital from which to centralize all operations in the protectorate. The discovery of diamond, emerald, and gold in the 17th century revived the direct links between Portugal and Brazil, as exportation of these minerals, together with tobacco, sugar, gold, and diamonds prompted economic surge (New York Times). Subsequently, cities and academic institutions were built in various places in Brazil. The capital was also moved to Rio de Janeiro, a move termed strategic for political and administrative purposes. By this time, the Portuguese had warded off other European nations’ interference, cementing its grip on Brazil.
However, what truly set the pace for the founding of an independent Brazil was the arrival of the royal family from Portugal, after fleeing Napoleon Armies in the early 19th century (New York Times). The royal family led by Dom João VI transformed many sectors in Brazil, changing the look of major cities. With the introduction of universities, banks and a mint in the territory, there was a marked improvement in the status of Brazil. Dom João VI soon returned to Portugal, leaving behind his son Pedro I to govern the territory. It is Pedro I who proclaimed the autonomy of Brazil on September 7, 1822 (New York Times). He thus founded the Brazilian Empire, rolling the independence of Brazil from the Portuguese rule. Since then, Brazil maintained a monarchial system of governance, which was in place until 1888 when slave trade was abolished. Brazil was declared a republic the following year, 1889. Since then, the nation has been under governance by both the populist and military governments until 1985 when power was officially ceded to civilian rulers. Today, Brazil is a democracy, under the guidance of its constitution upon which human rights and foundations of governance are spelled.
Brazilian people, language, and religion
The population of Brazil as of 2017 stands at more than 207 million people (Central Intelligence Agency). The citizens are referred to as Brazilians. Ethnically, the whites and the Mulatto form the majority of the people, with a small percentage of people being Black and Asian. The Mulatto could be traced back to the rampant slave trade in the darker slavery years. Majority of the people live adjacent to the Atlantic coast on the east side of the country. The south-east part is also home to a dense population owing to the presence of Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia cities. Having been colonized by Portugal, the official and most widely used language is Portuguese. Spanish, German, English, and Italian Languages are however also in use. Roman Catholic is the most widespread religion in Brazil, with over half the population owing allegiance to it. Protestants form the second largest religion, containing subgroups such as the Adventists.
Brazil is a country located on the South American continent. It is the largest country in South America both by population and geographical size, covering nearly half the continent (Meyer). It neighbors all the South American nations with the exception of only Chile and Ecuador. These neighbors include Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela (Meyer). Brazil borders the Atlantic Ocean. Another notable water body in this nation is the Amazon River, which traverses a large part. The Amazon marks a rich water body that is largely navigable. It is estimated that the Amazon is fed by close to 200 tributaries and almost a third of the total water bodies in the nation is drained into the Amazon. It is the home of diverse cultures as well as an array of dynamic composition of thousands of flora and fauna.
Events Marking Economic Change
With the ending imperialism in the late 20th century, the Brazilian constitution was enacted to elevate the nation into a full democracy. The first democratically elected president was Fernando Affonso Collor de Mello (Morrison, 19). With the new constitution, many political groups and unions were formed to represent the people on the national level. This meant that the people’s voices were heard in regards to changes that were deemed necessary to propel the country forward. Larger social participation and interest in the way the nation was being governed proved important for the shaping of the economy in years to come. It is these groups and parties, together with consumer protection agencies that ensured equality and stabilization of prices; the two important factors for higher economic growth. In the events of re-democratization, policies revolving around macroeconomics were passed. Apart from these efforts, market-oriented reforms were advocated for as seen with the trade and financial liberalization. Within the confines of macroeconomics, there was a consolidation of a minimal inflation environment that would be affected by the inclusion of a pension system and a privatization program which would be overseen by various regulatory agencies.
Enactment of vital budget and income distribution policies
Another vital measure to improve the economy in the late 20th century was to come up with a fair income distribution policy that would a smaller social gap between the affluent and the poor. The income distribution processes were done through cash transfer policies and strengthening the purchasing power of the minimum wage at that time. Low-income families were identified by their school going children, after which cash transfers were provided to them. The focus on macroeconomic stability and market-oriented reforms in both the credit and capital markets helped Brazil shape up its economy, especially in the economic crisis in 2002 (Burity 737). All these measures impacted positively on the nation’s market efficiency, providing avenues for credit expansion. The reforms further formalized the Brazilian economy helping form the middle-class citizenry; an important demographic composition in any nation’s economic progress. It can be seen that deliberate measures to solidify the economy set the pace for future economic stability and prosperity. The negotiated reforms led to a revived investment in the country which set the stage for productivity gains, and a more efficient income distribution. The most notable effects of re-democratization have been the change in government transfers, which has enabled social groups to enjoy access to government benefits. In addition, budget allocations to support social policies have been on the rise since the 190s. These social policies have always been instrumental in reducing income inequalities that used to exist prior to its consolidation. Overall, it is within the constraints of a new kind of democracy that tangible economic reforms have been carried out in Brazil.
Evolution of education
With the realization of a democratic structure of governance, there were increased efforts to invest in the education sector. The constitution of 1988 provided for universal access to education (Schwartzman 23). Education sensitization was attached to gender equality which equally advocated for the female rights. Education could be said to have contributed to the country’s economic growth in the last century. It is access to education that at first led to income inequality. The government spending on education in the mid-20th century was at dismal levels. This was in comparison to other developing countries at that time. It is said that only 6 out of 10 children had access to education in the 1950s (Schwartzman 27). Such a case unsurprisingly returned poor development, for it is a country’s elite group that provides experts and scholars to push an economic agenda. With increased democracy, education was invested upon. The percentage of spending rose to better digits as compared to other fast-rising economies in the world like Italy and Japan. It is upon a solid education foundation that Brazil has sustained its citizens through the input of professionals and scholars in different areas. Spending on education spells a boost in labor productivity, build-up of human capital and a greater potential for growth. Investment in education has been part of the poverty-reduction policy. Apart from re-democratization and revamping of the education sector to realize economic growth, there exist other measures of equal importance. They include regulation of taxes and transfers, transfer of money outside the government budget, cross-subsidies and trade protectionism.
Investment on agriculture and industries
Being the most populated country in the continent, Brazil boasts of a vibrant economic growth. This is characterized by the rate of urban, population and industrial development at the turn of the 21st century. Brazil has over the years established itself as an industrial and agricultural hub. It is estimated that almost 33% of the land in Brazil is agricultural (Central Intelligence Agency). Coffee and sugar are the major products, providing employment and agricultural prosperity. It is upon these two cash crops that Brazil is establishing its spot amongst major world economies. Other agricultural products include beef, wheat, rice, corn, soybeans sugarcane, citrus and cocoa (Central Intelligence Agency). In minerals, it is a major dealer in bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, rare earth elements, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, and timber (Central Intelligence Agency). These sectors have led to increased growth and development especially in the interior parts of the country. In the late 20th century, Brazil underwent an economic slug characterized by a global financial strain. This period however strengthened its ability to weather looming crises. Brazil reemerged as a strong market and a big contributor to global growth. Four years ago, in 2013, Brazil plunged again into austerity. Its economy shrunk leading to increased unemployment and escalating inflation rates. The then President Dilma Rousseff was consequently impeached amidst political scandals, after which her vice president Michel Temer assumed office. Today, Brazil ranks as the eighth-largest economy globally. It is a member of the Common Market of the South, a trade bloc comprised of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Venezuela (Central Intelligence Agency). The country has since taken measures to mitigate the economic recess in the past three years.
with any paper
Impact on culture
An economic rise in Brazil has impacted on the people’s culture. The country has to contend with changing ideologies of communism. The country is fast transforming in accordance with globalization, capitalism, and modernity (Burity 747). A country faced with these factors is also faced with inequalities fueled by economic and socio-cultural differences within the population. There is an emergence of social groups and classes as necessitated by prevailing economic circumstances in the country. The economic rise has also enabled the country to host and be home to foreigners. A distinction and achievement for Brazil in recent times was the ability to host the 2014 FIFA world cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The latter event is the first of its kind in the whole of South America. This indicates the economic and social confidence of the nation. Being bestowed with a responsibility to hold two global events consecutively shows that Brazil is indeed a growing economy. Such events introduce new cultures to Brazilians who are slowly changing as their economy continues to flourish.
Brazil has proven a nation on constant economic rise even amidst recess and political controversies. Being the only Portuguese speaking language in South America it holds a unique cultural and social aspect. Its strategic location and a mostly tropical climate make it an ideal travel destination in the period of November to March when the country is warmest. Being the leading economy in South America, it will provide the best template with which to study other countries, either developed o developing. Brazil is an important trade partner to the United States of America. Looking at its trading patterns will also shed light on its international ability to negotiate and conduct business. Likewise, Brazil has a diverse culture owing to its large population. Visiting Brazil will provide on with a variety of things, places and people to analyze. There is no shortage of professionals, wildlife, and physical scenarios which one can choose to indulge in.
All these facts and findings on Brazil indicate that it is a country of rich heritage. It has earned recognition in the 21st century amongst nations with fast-growing economies. Given a few more years, Brazil is poised to rediscover its economic boom that has been impaired following the recess of 2015 and 2016. A good political climate and goodwill amongst the citizens will help surge the country forward. Brazil remains a top destination for tourists and an ideal investment location. The rest of the world recognizes Brazil’s potential in agriculture, trade, and sports. Brazil should capitalize on its global position and use it as a leverage to further its prosperity agenda for years to come. Good government stewardship and cooperation on the international stage will undeniably play a major role in stabilizing and growing the country’s economy.
- Excellent quality
- 100% Turnitin-safe
- Affordable prices
- New York Times. “A Brief History Of Brazil.” The New York Times, 2006.
- Burity, Joanildo A. “Brazil’s Rise: Inequality, Culture And Globalization.” Futures, vol 40, no. 8, 2008, pp. 735-747. Elsevier BV.
- Central Intelligence Agency. “The World Factbook.” Central Intelligence Agency, 2017.
- Meyer, Amelia. “A Study Of The Country Brazil.”
- Morrison, Marion. Brazil. Chicago, Ill.: Heinemann Library, 2012. Print.
- Schwartzman, Simon. “Economic Growth And Higher Education Policies In Brazil.” International Higher Education, no. 67, 2015, Boston College University Libraries.