Brazil Essay, Research Paper
Brazil is the largest country in South America. It stretches almost 2700 miles from the bottom of the Andes Mountains eastward to the Atlantic Ocean. It borders on every country of the continent except for Chile and Ecuador. Brazils official name is the Federative Republic of Brazil. Brazil occupies almost half of South America and is the world s fifth-largest country in area. Although its area is just a little less than that of the United States, Brazil s population is only about 60% that of the United States. The capital of Brazil is Brasilia. It was built in the highlands beginning in 1957 to encourage development of the interior. The population in Brasilia is estimated to be around 1,576,657. The largest city is Sao Paulo and it is estimated that the population there is near10, 099,086. Brazil s total population is estimated to be about 150,400,000.
Brazil is the only Latin American nation that takes its language and culture from Portugal. The native inhabitants mostly consisted of the nomadic Tup -Guaran Indians. Adm. Pedro Alvares Cabral claimed the territory for Portugal in 1500. The early explorers brought back a wood that produced a red dye, pau-brasil, this is where the land received its name. Portugal began colonization in 1532 and made the area a royal colony in 1549.
During the Napoleonic Wars, King Jo o VI, fearing the advancing French armies, ran the country in 1808 and set up his court in Rio de Janeiro. Jo o was brought home in 1820 by a revolution, leaving his son as regent. When Portugal wanted to reduce Brazil again to colonial status, the prince declared Brazil’s independence on Sept. 7, 1822, and became Pedro I, emperor of Brazil. Harassed by his Parliament, Pedro I abdicated in 1831 in favor of his five-year-old son, who became emperor in 1840 (Pedro II). The son was a popular monarch, but discontent built up and, in 1889, following a military revolt, he had to abdicate. Although a republic was proclaimed, Brazil was ruled by military dictatorships until a revolt permitted a gradual return to stability under civilian presidents.
In the last of a long series of military coups, Gen. Jo o Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo became president in 1979 and pledged a return to democracy in 1985. The election of Tancredo Neves on Jan. 15, 1985, the first civilian president since 1964, brought a nationwide wave of optimism, but when Neves died on April 21, Vice President Sarney became president. Sarney was widely distrusted because he had previously been a member of the military regime’s political party. Collor de Mello won the election of late 1989, pledging to lower the chronic hyperinflation by following the path of free-market economics. When Collor faced impeachment by Congress because of a corruption scandal in Dec. 1992 and resigned, Vice President Itamar Franco assumed the presidency.
A former finance minister, Fernando Cardoso won the presidency in the Oct. 1994 election with 54% of the vote. Cardoso has engineered the disposal of bad government-owned monopolies in the telecommunication, electrical power, port, mining, railway, and banking industries. In his short time in office Cardoso’s economic acumen has made a measurable dent in Brazil’s poverty level.
The ethnic diversity that today characterizes the Brazilian population and the scales of values of the different groups have promoted a culture, which, far from constituting a compact unit, consists of a grouping of different traditions and cultural m langes. Within the society unmetabolised residues of primitive cultures, that still feed racial prejudice and discrimination, coexist alongside other world views, in particular the so called “American way of life” based on the model of the industrialized west. The result of this is a social melting pot, which, similar to the North American one, supports Brazil’s supremacy in the continent. The history of Brazilian art may be divided into three periods: The time prior to the arrival of the Europeans (up to 1500 A.D.), the period between the landing of the Portuguese and independence (1822) and the period that brings us up to today.
As regards the prehistoric period (from 8000 to 1000 B.C.), there are three distinct groupings of artistic finds: carvings and paintings on rock, which have been discovered in numerous localities, instruments and relatively rare sculptures in stone, and ceramics which constitute the most conspicuous grouping.
At the beginning of the first millennium new groups, probably of Andean origin and who had mastered agriculture and the manufacture of ceramics, gave rise to a last phase in the development of local art that lasted up until the arrival of the Portuguese.
The art of the Brazilian Indians continues to exist today. However, it can only be appreciated in part since the groups that still practice the traditional way of life have been driven to remote internal regions of the country and their products may be seen above all in museums and private collections.
The 17th and 18th centuries are considered the golden age for architecture, decoration and ornamentation of buildings. The so-called “Colonial Baroque” is especially noticeable in domestic architecture, testimony to the traditions and way of life imported from the motherland. The driving force behind cultural development during this period were the missionary orders. Of similar importance in the architectural field were military installations constructed by European architects.
A special place is reserved, in the Brazilian figurative arts, for the retabulos, altar pieces that constitute a decorative element conceived as a sign of the triumphant Church of the Counter-reformation. Sculpture and painting are both essentially connected to religious life.
Neo-classicism arrived late in Brazil and characterized the whole of the 19th century. During the 20th century Brazilian architecture has developed in connection with the growth of the cities. The most important project of this century has been the planning and construction of the new capital, Brasilia, commissioned by president Kubztschek and designed by the architects Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer. Of these two the latter has left his mark in a style which, in a throwback to the traditions of the Baroque, creates structures that have aesthetic as well as functional aims.
chief of state: President Fernando Henrique CARDOSO (since 1 January 1995); Vice President Marco MACIEL note the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Fernando Henrique CARDOSO ; Vice President Marco MACIEL note the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 4 October 1998
election results: Fernando Henrique CARDOSO reelected president; percent of vote 53%
Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congresso Nacional consists of the Federal Senate or Senado Federal
and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara dos Deputados
Elections: Federal Senate last held 4 October 1998 for one-third of Senate; Chamber of Deputies last held 4 October 1998
election results: Federal Senate percent of vote by party NA%; seats by party PMDB 27, PFL 20, PSDB 16, PT 7, PPB 5; Chamber of Deputies percent of vote by party NA%; seats by party PFL 106, PSDB 99, PMDB 82, PPB 60, PT 58
Judicial branch: Supreme Federal Tribunal, 11 judges are appointed for life by the president and confirmed by the Senate