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Brazil is a Federative Republic, administratively and politically divided in 27 federative units (26 states and a federal district). The president, governors, mayors, senators, representatives and councilors are elected directly by mandatory vote every 4 years.

The country is located in South America and it is the fifth largest country in area with 8.514.876.599 km². The country is bordered by Atlantic Ocean through its entire coast. It is also the fifth country in population, with more than 190 million inhabitants. Majority of the population is concentrated in the coast.

Brazil is the largest national economy in Latin America, the world’s sixth largest economy at market exchange rates and the seventh largest in purchasing power parity (PPP), according to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Brazil has a mixed economy with abundant natural resources.

The first big product of Brazilian Economy was the sugarcane production, during colony period, followed by the gold extraction in Minas Gerais state. After its independence, a new economic cycle has emerged, and coffee became the main product. This moment was very important for the development of the state of São Paulo, which is now the richest one in the country. Nowadays, Brazil is within the 20 world greatest exporters list.

Brazilian topography is diverse and includes mountains, plains, highlands, and scrublands. Much of the terrain lies between 200mt (660ft) and 800mt (2,600ft) in elevation. The main upland area occupies most of the southern half of the country. The country has also one of the greatest sweet groundwater reservoirs in the planet. The Guarani Aquifer, the biggest in the world, is partly located under Ribeirão Preto.

Brazilian climate comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a large area and varied topography, but most of the country is tropical. Brazil hosts different climatic subtypes: equatorial, tropical, semiarid, highland tropical, temperate, and subtropical.

The different climatic conditions produce environments ranging from equatorial rainforests in the north and semiarid deserts in the northeast, to temperate coniferous forests in the south and tropical savannas in central Brazil. The country climate is predominantly tropical. The exception is South Country (including parts of São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul) with subtropical climate and reasonably defined seasons. Ribeirão Preto has a nice warm weather, with high temperatures (medium 26oC) all year, excepting some days during the winter.

Brazilians are descendant of native people, Portuguese colonists, Africans and from the diverse groups of immigrants that established in Brazil between 1820 and 1970. Most part of immigrants were Italians and Portuguese, but there was significant presence of Germans, Spanish, Japanese and Syrian-Lebanese. Racism is considered an imprescriptible and no-bail crime by the Brazilian Constitution.

Because of its continental dimensions, Brazil is a country with a rich cultural diversity that synthesizes the diverse ethnicities from Brazilian people. Because of that, there is no homogeneous Brazilian culture, but a mosaic of different cultural sources that together form Brazilian culture. As the Portuguese settled here, culture has a great influence of Portuguese culture. It’s exactly this Portuguese cultural inheritance that composes Brazilian unit: there are different ethnicities, however, everyone speaks the same language (Portuguese) and almost 90% of population is Christian, either Catholics or Protestants.

Portuguese is the official spoken language for all population. Brazil is the only country of Portuguese language in America, giving to it a distinct cultural identity in relation to the other countries from the continent. The language spoken in Brazil is very similar to the one spoken in the other parts of the world. Amazingly Portuguese is considered to be the most homogeneous occidental language spoken modernly. There are differences in some words and in pronunciation, but all speakers can understand themselves.

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