B r a z i l

Area: 8,547,404 square kilometers, making it the largest nation in South America, and fourth largest in the world after Russia, Canada and China—so large it has 4 time zones as you pass from its westernmost state, Acre, to the Atlantic coast.

Population: 157 million

Major cities:
Sao Paulo: 9,842,059 (data as of 1993)
Rio de Janeiro: 5,473,909 (1991)
Brasilia (Federal capital): 1,672,876 (1991)
Belem: 1,297,592 (1993)
Manaus: 1,078,277 (1993—but grown considerably since then!)

Highest point: Pico da Neblina, at 3,014.1 meters

Language: Portuguese

A m a z o n   B a s i n

The Amazon Basin contains the largest area of tropical rainforest in the world, 60% in Brazil, but also extending into 8 other nations—Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Columbia. Nine Brazilian states are part of “Amazonia”—from Acre in the west, (and moving, counter-clockwise,) Rondonia, Mato Grosso, Tocantins, Maranhao, Para (with Belem, its largest city, a major historic center and port at the mouth of the Amazon), Amapa, Roraima and the state of Amazonas itself, with its capital of Manaus.

Amazonia (3,904,393 square kilometers) makes up half the total land area of Brazil, but is home to only 19 million people out of a total population of 157 million. At four inhabitants per square kilometer, Amazonia has one of the lowest population densities on Earth.

The Amazon River, by official measurement, is the second longest river in the world, but in many respects it’s the mightiest river on the planet. (See Activities A.3 and 1.3.) The Amazon basin holds one fifth of all the fresh, river water in the world. The Amazon’s flow is so strong that it carries sweet water 200 kilometers out to sea before the ocean turns it salty! By some estimates, it discharges as much water into the ocean in one day as England’s Thames River does in a year.

I m a g e s   o f   B e l e m

Maps Data Supplied by ESRI