Brazil was discovered by the Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1500. Prior to this, the area was inhabited solely by native Indians. When the new settlers arrived they discovered that the land was ideal for growing sugar cane and this rapidly became the basis of the country’s economic growth. When the industry took off, help was needed to carry out the work and the first Africans made their way into the country to work as slaves in the plantations.
The discovery of gold in the late seventeenth century was to replace sugar as Brazil’s main export and in the nineteenth century this was again replaced by coffee. The end of this century also saw the abolition of slavery in the country. As a direct result, European immigrants came in their droves to work in the coffee-estates which were now widespread throughout Brazil.
The mass immigration into Brazil during this time was to have a lasting effect on the population of the country and this is still apparent today with the multitude of ethnic communities and regions throughout the country. There are people from all over the world living in Brazil and while the original settlers can be credited with the language and religion, all these other nationalities have also had their own influence on the country’s development. Along with the Portuguese, you will find over two hundred Indian communities, a rich African population which has descended directly from the original immigrants as well as Italian, French, German, Japanese and many other nationalities.
And, as well as the diversity which the inhabitants have created, the country itself is also one of stark contrasts. For many visitors it is the Amazon basin which has the most appeal. With over one tenth of the world’s living things residing here you can understand why. But, the country has a great deal more to offer. From the swamp lands of the Pantanal to the beaches in Rio, Brazil is as interesting as they get and a destination which truly does have something to offer each individual who visits.