Brazil: a Cultural Metropolis

Brazil is a land rich in natural resources, making it a prime location for pioneers.  Brazil’s history during the 16th and 17th century was overshadowed by war between the Portuguese and Dutch settlers; at the time, the majority of South America was ruled by the Spanish-Portuguese coalition.  Eventually Brazil became solely under Portuguese rulership, and by the 1800’s became the center of their vast empire.  When the French army, led by Napoleon himself, invaded Portugal at the peak of his reign, the royal family fled to Brazil, putting Brazil in the center of multiple large wars over the next five decades.  The native tribes were happy to coexist and trade with the colonists, but were forced into slavery as plantations were constructed.  By the end of the 1800’s, a mass uprising toppled the Portuguese colonial monarchy.  Years of political instability followed, and a brutal military dictatorship seized power.  After WWII it was overthrown, giving way for economic prosperity and the formation of a native republic.


The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, but the dialect can be different by region.  Spanish, English, French, and German are commonly spoken in areas that are popular for tourism.  However there are over 160 indigenous languages still spoken in Brazil; the languages with the highest number of speakers (over 35 thousand) is Tikuna, then Guarani Kaiowa (22 thousand), then Kaingang (22 thousand), then Xavante (13 thousand), and Yanomami (12 thousand).  While the majority of the Brazilian population is Roman Catholic, there is no official country religion.

The people of Brazil are generally fun-loving, friendly, and enjoy festivities.  Aesthetically they prefer stylish decorations and vibrant colors.  Dancing, music, and football [called soccer in America] are core passions of the culture.  Brazil has a strong multicultural community, but unlike most other multicultural nations, Brazil emphasized the importance of their traditions and rituals.