On the Argentine-Brazilian border, Iguassú Falls are roaring with the force of 275 individual falls over an area of more than three kilometers. The rumbling water plunges into the 90-meter Devil’s Kit. The waterfalls can be admired from both sides of the country.
In addition to Rio, trips to Brazil usually always include a visit to the Iguassu Falls. I watch the waterfalls from both the Brazilian and Argentine sides. The enormous power of the waterfalls can be felt and seen on the piers near the waterfalls. Above the waterfalls you can see dozens of rainbows at best, and in addition to the waterfalls, you can see the surrounding rainforest area. Iguassu Falls are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Early to modern times
Around 1000 BC About 3.6 million people lived in what is now Brazil. The systematic settlement of the country by the Portuguese began in the first half of the 16th century (São Vicente was founded in 1532). A governor general governed the lands from Bahia (later Salvador). The other colonial powers also claimed land, and French and Dutch settlements were established. It was around a hundred years before they were driven out by Brazilian troops (1654). In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Portuguese made numerous inland inquiries in search of slaves and treasures.
The 19th century
Until the beginning of the 19th century, Brazil was a viceroyalty dependent on Portugal. When the French invaded the mother country Portugal in 1807, the Portuguese court moved to Brazil for a short time. When the prospect of a liberal constitution for the country was held back after his return, Brazil’s declaration of independence with a constitutional emperor came on September 7, 1822. Three years later, Portugal recognized the independence of its former colony. Large waves of immigration, the cultivation of coffee and the export of rubber led to the rapid growth of the Brazilian economy. Indigenous Indians and slaves imported from Africa were employed as workers on the rapidly expanding plantations. Only in 1888 was slave farming prohibited.
The 20th century
During the First and Second World Wars, Brazil fought alongside the Allies. In the years in between, the country was severely weakened by the Great Depression in 1930 and the continuing fall in prices for the main export goods, coffee and rubber. The result was social unrest and uprisings by the agricultural workers against the large landowners, and the extremist parties were well received. After a communist uprising, President G. Vargas (1930 to 45) had all political parties banned and ruled the country with dictatorial severity. Not least because of the extensive social reforms he implemented, Vargas was re-elected president in 1950 five years after his disempowerment.
In 1960 Bras¨ªlia replaced Rio de Janeiro as the capital city. This was the highlight of a campaign to drive the expansion of the Brazilian hinterland and industrialization. This also included the settlement of foreign industrial groups (e.g. VW in São Paulo).
After several changes in government, which were often characterized by terror against opponents of the regime, a civilian was elected as president in the first democratic elections in 1985. In the following years, too, the high inflation rate and government debt could not be mastered. In 1989, Fernando Collor de Mello was directly elected president by the people and presented a radical funding program. Evidence of bribery and corruption led to his resignation and conviction at the end of 1992.
The financial and economic expert Fernando Henrique Cardoso began to stabilize Brazil’s economic situation in the mid-1990s. The first legal restrictions on the clearing of the tropical rainforest were enacted. Despite the ongoing financial crisis, Cardoso was confirmed in office in 1998; in the same year and again in 2001, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) granted international financial assistance to Brazil. A first summit of the heads of government of the countries of Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union took place on Brazilian soil (Rio de Janeiro) in June 1999. At this point, Brazil’s criticism of President Cardoso’s economic policy increased; the economic situation was further exacerbated by the flood disaster in January 2000,
The country was able to recover economically in the new millennium. According to AbbreviationFinder, the value of the real currency rose against the euro. President Luiz In¨¢co Lula da Silva, who has been in office since 2003 and is a member of the Labor Party, is increasingly pursuing social goals (fighting hunger, land reform). After the previously extremely high foreign debt was completely repaid, Brazil has risen to the ranks of the creditor states. However, the economic upswing of the past few years has not reached the majority of the population. The increasing global demand for biofuels is also proving problematic for the country. The sugar cane production required for this leads to the destruction of the rainforest and to an increase in the price of other agricultural products displaced by the sugar cane. To meet the 80% reduction in rainforest deforestation announced by President Silva by 2020, soybean acreage should not be expanded. The discovery of a huge oil field (“Franco”, approx. 4.5 billion barrels of oil) off the Brazilian coast, the production of which will triple Brazil’s oil reserves, is said to lead to an economic stabilization of the country.
In 2008, Brazil, along with the other eleven independent states of South America, founded the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) based on the model of the European Union.
In October 2009, the International Olympic Committee decided that Rio de Janeiro, a city of over a million people, would host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Brazil is also the venue for the 2014 World Cup. At the end of 2009, Germany and Brazil signed a cooperation agreement to prepare the upcoming major sporting projects. The government of Brazil agreed that the country’s security problem would be overcome by a comprehensive renewal of the system and that the necessary large investments for the missing infrastructure were secured.
Dilma Vana Rousseff has been President of Brazil since January 2011. Former head of state Luiz In¨¢cio Lula da Silva was not allowed to run for election again after a two-year term.