Brazil profile

Map of Brazil

Brazil is South America's most influential country, a rising economic power and one of the world's biggest democracies.

Over the past few years it has made major strides in its efforts to raise millions out of poverty, although the gap between rich and poor remains wide.

The exploitation of the Amazon rainforest, much of which is in Brazil, has been a major international worry, since the wilderness is a vital regulator of the climate.

A former Portuguese colony, Brazil has a highly diverse population, including indigenous Americans and the descendants of African slaves and European settlers.

FACTS

LEADER

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff greets lawmakers in the National Congress in Brasilia in February 2016.

Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's first woman president, was suspended from her post after the Senate voted to impeach her in May 2016.

A close ally of her predecessor, left-wing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, she was first voted into office in 2010 and won a second term in 2014.

At her second swearing-in she promised to kick-start the economy, tackle corruption and invest in social development.

But since 2013 she has faced mass protests and more recently the threat of impeachment over allegations that she illegally manipulated finances to hide a growing public deficit ahead of her 2014 re-election - a charge that she denies. She insists that the steps to remove her from office amount to a coup.

Vice-President Michel Temer will act as interim president while Ms Rousseff's impeachment trial takes place.

MEDIA

Actors rehearse on the set of Brazilian TV Globo's soap opera "Joia Rara" (Precious Jewel) in Jacarepagua, Rio de Janeiro on 19 November 2013. Brazilian-made dramas and soaps - known as telenovelas - are broadcast around the world.

South America's biggest media market is home to thousands of radio stations and hundreds of TV channels. TV has long been the most influential medium.

Media ownership is highly concentrated. Domestic conglomerates such as Globo, Brazil's most-successful broadcaster, dominate the market and run TV and radio networks, newspapers and pay-TV operations.

The constitution guarantees a free press and there is vigorous debate in the media on social and political issues.

TIMELINE

Brazilian slave traders inspect a group of Africans shipped into the country for sale. The arrival of millions of African slaves contributed to Brazil's diverse ethnic and cultural mix

1500 - Portuguese land in the area and claim it for the Portuguese crown.

1822 - The son of the Portuguese king declares independence from Portugal and crowns himself Pedro I, emperor of Brazil.

1888 - Slavery is abolished. A year later, Brazil's monarchy is overthrown and a federal republic is established; in subsequent decades, government is dominated by European coffee plantation owners.

1930 - Nationalist and anti-communist Getulio Vargas comes to power in a coup; his 15-year authoritarian rule pursues state-led industrialisation and improvements in social welfare.

1945 - Vargas toppled by a coup that restores democratic rule and ushers in the second Brazilian Republic.

1960 - The capital is moved from Rio de Janeiro to the new purpose-built city of Brasilia.

1964 - Left-wing President Joao Goulart is ousted in a coup that commences two decades of military rule; the regime stifles freedom of speech and tortures opponents while pursuing economic development.

1984 - A period of liberalisation and re-democratisation since 1980 under military ruler Joao Figueiredo culminates in the election of civilian opposition candidate Tancredo Neves as president, effectively restoring full democratic rule.

2002 - Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, popularly known as Lula, wins elections to become Brazil's first left-wing president for more than 40 years.

2015 - Congress agrees to launch impeachment proceedings against Lula's ally and successor Dilma Rousseff - Brazil's first female president.

Members of indigenous groups in the state of Rio de Janeiro march in November 2015 against a planned constitutional amendment which would allow Congress to demarcate indigenous territory. Modern-day Brazil's indigenous people form a small but growing part of the population

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