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August 2016



From August 5 – 21, 2016 the Summer Olympics will be held in over 30 venues in Brazil. The opening and closing ceremonies will be held in Maracanã. Located in the state of Parà, Brazil, the city of Maracanã is known for fishing, cattle raising, and lumber. The stadium will also host the decisive matches of the football (soccer in the U.S.) tournament. Concerns over the Zika Virus in Brazil and in other parts of the world, continue to grow.

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 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. Having successfully weathered a period of global financial difficulty in the late 20th century, Brazil was seen as one of the world’s strongest emerging markets and a contributor to global growth. The awarding of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games (the first ever to be held in South America) was seen as a sign of that growth. However, since about 2013, Brazil has been plagued by a shrinking economy, growing unemployment, and rising inflation. Political scandal resulted in the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in May 2016; her vice president, Michel Temer, is currently acting president.

Brazil is only slightly smaller than the United States. In contrast, while the US only shares two borders, Brazil borders ten countries. In general, the climate of Brazil is mostly tropical, but temperate in south. Its terrain is mostly flat to rolling lowlands in north; in other areas there are some plains, hills, mountains, and a narrow coastal belt. The highest point in Brazil is Pico da Neblina (2,994 m) in the state of Amazonas, near Venezuela. Brazil’s natural resources include: bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, rare earth elements, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, and timber.

The flag of Brazil is unusual: it is green with a large yellow diamond in the center bearing a blue celestial globe with 27 white five-pointed stars; the globe has a white equatorial band with the motto ORDEM E PROGRESSO (Order and Progress). The green represents the forests of the country and the yellow rhombus its mineral wealth. The blue circle and stars depict the sky over Rio de Janeiro on the morning of 15 November 1889 - the day the Republic of Brazil was declared. The number of stars has changed with the creation of new states and has risen from an original 21 to the current 27 (one for each state and the Federal District).

To learn more about the Zika Virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

CIA World Factbook; The Columbia Gazetteer; Rio 2016; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7/2016; 6/2016; 6/2016; 8/2016

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