The Summer Olympics are so fun to watch—amazing athletes, impressive medals and some cool sights around Brazil, host of this year’s Olympics.

Rio de Janeiro may be in the spotlight for bringing many of the world’s best athletes together, but the city has lots of other claims to fame as well. Rio is one of the Southern Hemisphere’s most visited cities because of Carnival, an annual celebration that marks the beginning of Lent, and the city’s famous landmarks like the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer and Maracanã Stadium—one of the world’s largest football stadiums!

While Rio brings Brazil a lot of attention and tourists, it’s no longer the country’s capital. That distinction belongs to Brasilia, the city founded in 1960 that houses all three branches of government: the congress, president and Supreme Court.

As a country, Brazil has a long and VIBRANT history. Portugal claimed the land in 1500, more than 500 years ago! The country declared its independence in 1822. Brazil is the largest country in South America, and the only country on the continent that speaks Portugese. While most of us know the country as Brazil, it’s actually called Brasil in Portuguese. There are 12 countries in South America, and Brazil shares a border with all of them except for Chile and Ecuador!

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world by both land area and population, and it has more than 4,600 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean! The Amazon River also flows through Brazil, and the country is home to more than half of the Amazon Rainforest. You can find some pretty unique critters in Brazil, too, including: armadillo, tapirs, jaguars and pumas. Brazil’s economy relies on things such as logging, fishing and agriculture—these same activities also pose a threat to the country’s diverse tropical environment.

All in all, Brazil has a lot to offer visitors, whether you’re an Olympic athlete or a tourist with a taste for delicious food and a lively culture.

Facts About Brazil:

* **Capital:** Brasilia

* **Population:** 190,010,647

* **Area:** 3.29 million sq. mi.

* **Currency:** Real

* **Language:** Portuguese

* **Products:** transportation equipment, soybeans, footwear, coffee

Edition: 
Tucson
Issue: 
August 2016