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Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in South America and the only Portuguese-speaking country in the Americas. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population. Bound by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of over 7,491 km. It is bordered on the north by Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and the French overseas department of French Guiana; on the northwest by Colombia; on the west by Bolivia and Peru; on the southwest by Argentina and Paraguay and on the south by Uruguay.
Following more than three centuries under Portuguese rule, Brazil gained its independence in 1822, maintaining a monarchical system of government until the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the subsequent proclamation of a republic by the military in 1889. Brazilian coffee exporters politically dominated the country until populist leader Getulio Vargas rose to power in 1930. Brazil underwent more than half a century of populist and military government until 1985, when the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers. The current Constitution defines Brazil as a Federal Republic. The Federation is formed by the union of Federal District, the 26 States and the 5,564 Municipalities.
Characterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and Brazil is expanding its presence in world markets. However, it continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Brazil is the world's eighth largest economy by nominal GDP and the ninth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, Mercosul and the Union of South American Nations, and is one of the BRIC Countries.
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