Brazil is the fifth-largest country in the world in terms of land area, and it has the eighth-largest population. Brazil has a land surface that is nearly one-half the size of Australia's and occupies nearly one-half of the South American subcontinent. From north to south, the distance is 3,700 kilometres (2,300 miles), and the distance between east and west is nearly the same. On the Atlantic side of the country, the Amazon Basin encompasses a large portion of the country. Its source is located among the Andes Mountains, on the western side of the continent, and its mouth is located 6,500 kilometres (4,000 miles) away, where the Equator crosses the coast on the western side of the continent. A broad, flat plain runs through which the river flows; as it approaches the coast, however, the plain narrows gradually. Although the average annual rainfall is 150 to 250 cm (about 150 to 200 in), there is a lot of rain here, with some areas receiving as much as 400 or 500 cm (150 or 200 in) per year (60 to 100 in).
The flat areas adjacent to rivers are frequently inundated. Because of the dense tropical forest that covers the entire territory, accessing the territory is extremely difficult, and the hot, damp climate is not pleasant to live in. A much more hospitable environment can be found in the La Plata basin, which is located in the southern part of Brazil. The land surface is more varied, and there is less forest in this area than in the other. As a result, the land is higher than in the Amazon basin, where most of the drained area is less than 24om (800 feet) above sea level, and the climate is cooler than in the Amazon basin. The other two geographical regions are both made up of highland terrain. The Guyana Highlands are located to the north of the Amazon, while the Brazilian Highlands are located to the south and west of the Amazon. The Guyana Highlands are primarily composed of either hot, stony desert or hills covered in forest.
The amount of rain that falls varies greatly from region to region. Heat waves in the summer are countered by chilly winters. The Brazilian Highlands are located between 300 and 90 metres (1,000 and 3,000 feet) above sea level on average, though ranges of mountains rise from the tableland in the east. The highest point in Brazil is 2,787 metres (9,140 feet) above sea level. The Great Escarpment, which runs along the coast from Porto Alegre to Salvador, drops sharply down towards the sea in parallel steps, each step separated by a trough of a valley. The result is that communication between coastal areas and the highlands is extremely difficult. There are a few rivers that flow down to the sea from the eastern slope of the escarpment, but the vast majority of them flow inland, either to join the River Parana, which turns southwards to reach the sea as the River Plate, or to flow into the Sao Francisco River, which travels northwards parallel with the coast for 2,900 km (1,800 miles) before running eastward into the Atlantic.
The narrow coastal strip separating the Great Escarpment from the sea is on average only 100 km (62 miles) wide and accounts for only 7% of Brazil's total land area, according to the World Bank. Nonetheless, it is in this region that the majority of the world's great cities can be found, and it is also where 36 percent of the Brazilian population resides. Brazil is best known outside of the country as the world's largest coffee producer, and the commodity occupies a significant portion of the Brazilian economy. Brazil was not the place where coffee was first cultivated. This beverage was first consumed in the Middle East, according to a well-established legend. In the fifteenth century, a goatherd named Kaldi, who cared for his animals on pasture that was close to a monastery, noticed that his animals became very active after eating some berries that grew nearby.
He wrote down his observations in his journal. According to Kaldi, one of the monks was informed of this, and he decided to investigate the berries for himself. After experimenting with various methods of preparation, he determined that boiling them was the most effective, and the resulting beverage assisted in keeping the monks awake during their night services. Despite the fact that many people became aware of the drink very quickly, it took some time before it began to be grown in other parts of the world; by the early sixteenth century, however, Turkish and Dutch traders had brought seeds back to their respective countries. Cacao was introduced to South America through the offices of a young French naval captain named de Clieu, who transported it to Martinique, from where it eventually made its way to the continent.
De Clieu's journey across the Atlantic Ocean was not without its difficulties, whether for himself or for the coffee plant, which he encountered. In his words, "water was in such short supply that I was forced to share my meagre ration with my coffee plant, which was the source of my greatest hopes and the source of my greatest pleasure. " With the help of Sergeant Major Francisco de Melo Palheta, coffee was finally introduced to Brazil. A woman who worked as the wife of the Governor of French Guiana allegedly gave him the seeds in 1727, which was in violation of a law passed by the King of France, who wanted to maintain his monopoly on the plant in the area. A plantation of more than a thousand bushes in the Brazilian interior was established from Palheta's seeds. By the end of the eighteenth century, coffee farms - Fazendas - were a common sight in the Brazilian provinces of Para, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo, among other places. The crop proved to be exceptionally well suited to the climate and terrain of Brazil, and it thrived in all of the locations where it was planted. Coffee plants are small and delicate at first, and they require ample and regular watering, which is best achieved in a tropical climate with average temperatures ranging between 18 degrees Celsius and 21 degrees Celsius.
It is critical that there are no heavy rains or frost during the flowering season, and that there is no frost at any time. Coffee grows best in the shade, though if there are no shade trees in the way, the yield may be higher and the picking may be more convenient. This type of farming, on the other hand, has the tendency to cause the land to become depleted more quickly. Of course, it will eventually run out of resources, and in the olden days, farmers would have to relocate to a new location. Today, crop rotation and scientific treatment help to ensure that the soil remains healthy and well-nourished. The largest fruit from a parent bush that has been around for seven or eight years and is known for its high productivity is selected for seed production when the time comes to plant. When the fruit is fully ripe, the pulp is carefully removed by hand, taking care not to break the parchment-like covering in the process. Coffee seeds germinate in about six or seven weeks, but they will not produce a crop for three to five years after they are planted.
A fully grown plant can grow to be 2m (7 ft) or 6m (20 ft) in height. There are long and flexible branches as well as dark green leaves on this plant. Each bush may bloom several times a year, with its small white blossoms emitting a pleasant scent as they open and close. The berries are initially a dark green colour, but as they mature, they turn yellow and finally a deep crimson in colour, changing from green to yellow-orange. The two 'green' coffee beans that are contained within each berry are completely covered. Fruit is harvested at any time of year between spring and autumn, and it is typically spread out in a thin layer on the ground and turned over several times a day to expose them to the sun and wind, which will dry them out. They can also be dried in a machine if you so desire. When this process is completed, hulling machines are used to remove the outer coverings from the beans, which are then weighed and bagged before being transported to the nearest port for shipment. Approximately one-half of Brazil's labour force is employed in coffee farming and processing operations. The fazendas are complete self-contained communities for the people who work on them: not only do they have their own homes, but they also have a school, a church, and land where they can grow fruit and vegetables and raise animals.
The focal point is usually the owner's house, which is a large white structure. Brazil's new capital, Brasilia, was officially established as the country's capital in 1960. Formerly, Rio de Janeiro served as the country's capital, but it was long believed that this vast, overcrowded city, located on the country's rich coastal belt in the south-east, could never be considered representative of the entire country, and that it was also far too remote from many other parts of the country from an administrative standpoint. The site for the construction of an entirely new city, high in the Brazilian Highlands, was selected as a result of this decision. It was intended to be completely modern in design, serving as a symbol of the Brazilian people's unity and progressiveness. A competition was held in order to determine which design would be the best fit for the new city. Essentially, the winning design envisioned the city as a bow and arrow or a cross, with the vertical piece bent to match the lines of the lake. The three powers, the Executive, the Supreme Court, and the Federal Congress, were positioned at the three corners of a triangle, with an enormous rectangular esplanade in front of the Congress, along which the ministerial buildings were constructed as a result of the design. In another section, all of the 'cultural' buildings - the museums, libraries, and societies - are clustered together in a parkland area, and the University City, the hospital, and the observatory are all within walking distance.
This collection of tourist attractions - and there are others, too, such as an airport, a radio city, a fair and circus area, a sports centre, and a city square - is all arranged along the arrow, beginning with the Plaza of the Three Powers at its head, continuing with the cultural and recreational centres where the bow and arrow intersect, and ending with the railway station, which would be at its end. On either side of the intersection are the commercial districts. The residential areas are strung out along the curve of the bow and arranged in the form of a number of self-contained communities; each community will eventually have its own school, shops, theatre, and parking spaces. The residential areas are designed to be environmentally friendly. This eliminates the need for people to travel backwards and forwards across the city from shopping areas to entertainment areas to residential areas, thereby contributing to the development of a sense of community living among residents. Cocoa is the second most important agricultural export for Brazil, after coffee.
Instead of being indigenous to Asia, this plant is indigenous to the Americas, and it played an important role in the religious ceremonies of the ancient Aztecs. It is said that the cocoa seed was given to man by Quetzalcoatl, god of the sky, as a divine gift. The Aztecs believed that he had been punished by the other gods for his suffering, but humanity remembered him for his gift and expressed gratitude to him. The beans were used to make a drink known as choclatl, which translates as 'warm drink.' Initially, they were dried in the sun, then roasted in earthen pots, and finally ground to a fine powder between stones. In a separate step, the powder was combined with spices and formed into cakes, which were then pulverised and mixed with water. During the period preceding Cortes' invasion of México, cocoa beans were used not only to make chocolate, but also as a form of currency. There is evidence that they were used for a variety of purposes, such as paying tribute to the Emperor or purchasing slaves.
It was not until the middle of the nineteenth century that cocoa began to be used for anything other than beverages. The attempt to make chocolate bars in which sugar was added to the cocoa resulted in a product that was too coarse and dry to be widely accepted as a commercial product. Some chocolate manufacturers then discovered that by adding extra cocoa butter to the mixture of cocoa and sugar, they could produce chocolate with a smooth, creamy texture, and the demand for eating chocolate grew exponentially as a result. Originally from the Amazon-Orinoco Basin, the cocoa tree thrives in the low-lying forests of the region, where it can be found growing under the shade of larger forest trees. The average height of a fully grown cocoa tree is approximately 30 feet. Early in the life of the plant, the leaves are red or light green in colour, but as the plant matures, the leaves gradually turn a dark green.
The older, leafless part of the tree is where the buds, flowers, and fruit will eventually develop. The fruit is in the form of a pod that ranges in length from 15 to 25 cm (6 to 1o in) and contains between thirty and forty seeds. A variety of cocoa plants produce pods that are different in shape and texture - round or long, furrowed or smooth - depending on the variety. It is reasonable to anticipate that the pods will be fully developed approximately five to six months after the time of flowering. The seeds are embedded in the pulp of the pod, which is contained within the thick, woody exterior of the pod. After they have been extracted, they must be fermented and dried before being used. The industrial sector, particularly steel and shipbuilding, has seen significant progress since the late 1960s.