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June 2014



The 2014 FIFA World Cup (beginning June 12th) will hold matches in several Brazilian cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasilia (the capital), Cuiaba, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Sao Paulo. Brazil is the largest country in South America, only slightly smaller than the United States. Portuguese is the official language.

Following more than three centuries under Portuguese rule, Brazil gained its independence in 1822, maintaining a monarchical system of government until the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the subsequent proclamation of a republic by the military in 1889. Brazilian coffee exporters politically dominated the country until populist leader Getulio Vargas rose to power in 1930. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil underwent more than a half century of populist and military government until 1985, when the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers. Brazil continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is today South America's leading economic power and a regional leader, one of the first in the area to begin an economic recovery.

The majority of Brazil's climate is tropical, but the south enjoys a temperate climate. The terrain in the north is mostly flat to rolling lowlands; there is a narrow coastal belt and mountains in the interior. The natural resources of the country include: bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, rare earth elements, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, and timber. Recurring droughts in northeast and floods and occasional frost in south comprise the major natural hazards of Brazil. As the largest country in South America, it shares boundaries with every country, except Chile and Ecuador.

CIA World Factbook, 4/2014