Brazil’s Geography

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Brazil’s Atlantic Coastal Plain begins in the northeast of South America at Cabo San Roque and expands southward ending in Rio de Janeiro. The Coastal Plain is located between the Atlantic Coast and the escarpment which runs parallel to the plain. This area is characterized by its warm and humid climate which is ultimately considered tropical. Most climatic patterns have been influenced by the plains proximity to the Atlantic Ocean (Kent 236). The region’s precipitation is considered moderate with rainfall ranging from 1,300 mm to 1,600 mm; essentially the region has little to no real dry season (Kent 237) The Portuguese began exploring Brazil’s Atlantic Coastal Plain in the early 1500s (Kent 236). In fact, colonization and settlement began in this region (Kent 237). The region quickly became the focus of colonization, and the countries first two settlements, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro were located on the plain. Today roughly 45 million Brazilians call the plain their home (Kent 236). During the early years of colonization, tropical broadleaf forests and brazilwood tree were extensively logged. The Brazilwood could be used as a rich red dye, which became the colony’s first significant export. However, by the end of colonial period, forests were largely nonexistent (Kent 237). This led the colonists to seek another alternative export which in this case was agriculture, especially sugarcane, cacao, and pasture (Kent 237). Sugar cultivation essentially became the economic backbone throughout the remainder of the colonial period. Sugar cultivation led to the plantation system, which led to the transformation of Brazil (Kent 236). Brazil moved from being an unwanted, remote part of the world to a dynamic and productive colony (... ... middle of paper ... ...ajority of Brazilians can trace their ancestry back to European, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Africa, and in fact, Indigenous Brazilians form less than 1 percent of population (The World Book Encyclopedia 567). Today, the three main ethnic groups are there of African descent, European origin, and mixed ancestry. The mixed race consist of caboclos or mixed Indian, and mulattoes or mixed African and European (The World Book Encyclopedia 568). Works Cited “Sugar Industry (Colonial Brazil).” Encyclopedia of Latin America. 1974. Print. Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. 1996. Print. Kent, Robert. Latin America: Regions and People. New York: The Guilford Press, 2006. Print. “South America.” World Geography. Ed. Sumner, Ray. Vol. 3. Pasadena, California: Salem Press, 2001. Print. The World Book Encyclopedia. 2013. Print.

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