Brazil's Top Incoming Agency on-line. Travel safely with professionals.
Learn About > Country Info > Main
History Culture
It´s easy to remember that Brazil was first discovered in 1500, but did you know that Rio de Janeiro was once the capital of the whole Portuguese empire and the home of the King?   Football unites everyone as they wait for Brazil to win the World Cup yet again. Rio and São Paulo maintain an eternal rivalry.
Brazil is larger than the United States (if you leave out Alaska!) and has borders with every country in South America except Chile and Equador. Just imagine 4,500 miles of beaches and the vast Amazon rain forests.   No other country has more Catholics than Brazil, but in many places the people have developed their own local customs which owe a lot to African and other influences.
The locals can tell the difference between summer and winter but most visitors don´t notice. You have a good chance of enjoying a hot sunny day on the beach in the middle of winter   In a country of so much diversity, itīs remarkable that almost everyone speaks the Brazilian version of Portuguese.
Most of the population of 185 million was traditionally concentrated in the coastal states, but the growth rates are now higher inland. Greater São Paulo has over 17 million, Greater Rio de Janeiro over 10 million.   Some splendid colonial buildings are preserved, many of them churches. The modernist movement has been very influencial, especially during the construction of the new capital Brasilia in 1960 by Oscar Niemeyer.
This human melting pot includes millions of people whose ancestors came from distant countries such as Japan, Syria and Germany and who still maintain some old-country traditions.   The indigenous Indians number about 250,000, living in special territories which cover about 10% of the country. Brazil has more Afro-descendents than any other country except Nigeria.
There´s still plenty of room for improvement, but literacy levels are steadily increasing, especially among the young. Poor mothers now receive a family allowance if their children regularly attend school.   "Girl from Ipanema", samba and classical Villa Lobos - Brazilian music is as varied as its people. Discover the new cinema or enjoy the exciting capoeira dances.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Brazil
Brazil has a lot to offer... - it is officially.

Immigration to Brazil
Immigration to Brazil began when the country opened its ports to "friendly nations" (1808), and gathered momentum in the wake of the Declaration of Independence (1822). Brazil's emperors sought to attract European immigrants to the south of the country by offering them plots of land that they were entitled to work as smallholders. German immigrants were the first to come. They were followed in 1870 by Italians.

Eating in Brazil
In this vast country which is Brazil, we have a rich regional cuisine that is almost impossible to generalize across a land that is coloured by such striking differences. What then, would be a typical menu for a middle-class Brazilian family?

Duty-free Allowances
- USD500 (or equivalent in other currency) worth of goods bought duty-free in Brazil
- 400 cigarettes or 25 cigars
- 250g of tobacco
- 2 litres of alcoholic beverages
- Books and periodicals

Prohibited Goods
- Meat (fresh, dried, canned or otherwise) or meat products
- Diary products (ie milk, eggs, cheese etc)
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Plants or parts of plants (ie flowers, seeds, bulbs, stakers, mushrooms, soil etc)
- Animal feedstuffs
- Apicultural products (ie honey, wax etc) or live insects and snails
- Vaccines, viruses, germ cultures, human or animal tissues (ie semen and embroyos) and biological products or materials used in veterinary medicine
- Agricultural defensives (ie pesticides, herbicides etc)
- Birds

Special Notes
- Customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation or export of items such as firearms, antiquities, tropical plants, medication and business equipment.