OFFICIAL NAME: Federal Republic of Brazil
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Democratic federal republic
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Portuguese
AREA: 3,286,470 square miles (8,511,965 square kilometers)
MAJOR MOUNTAIN RANGES: Serra do Mar, Serra do Espinhaço
MAJOR RIVERS: Amazon, São Francisco, Paraná, Tocantin
Brazil is the largest country in South America and the fifth largest nation in the world. It forms an enormous triangle on the eastern side of the continent with a 7,400km coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. It has borders with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador.
The Brazilian landscape is very varied. It is most well known for its dense forests, including the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, in the north. But there are also dry grasslands (called pampas), rugged hills, pine forests, sprawling wetlands, immense plateaus (areas of level high ground) and a long coastal plain.
Northern Brazil is dominated by the Amazon River and the jungles that surround it. The Amazon is not one river but a network of many hundreds of waterways. Its total length stretches 6,840km, making it the longest river on Earth. Thousands of species live in the river, including the infamous piranha and the boto, or pink river dolphin.