Brazil is a nation in South America. It contributes nearly half of the continent's area and population, with approximately 193 million inhabitants. Brazil borders every country in South America except Chile and Ecuador, as well as the French territory of French Guiana. Its capital is Brasilia, and its largest city is Sao Paulo.
Brazil was colonized by the Portuguese in the seventeenth century. Sugar plantations were established, and gold mining began in the interior.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the Kingdom of Portugal moved its capital to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. This was the first time a colonial power had moved its seat of power to a colony. The capital was moved back after the war ended, and Brazil was granted independence a decade later. During the 19th century, Brazil was an empire. The liberal emperor Pedro II began modernization reforms, including the abolition of slavery, which was not accomplished until 1888.
During the 20th century, Brazil borrowed heavily from foreign powers to finance new infrastructure. A new capital at Brasilia was built in the 1960s. Brazil's timber industry boomed, cutting down much of the Amazon rainforest. Brazil was a member of the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War.
Brazil is dominated by the Amazon River and the Amazon rainforest that surrounds it in the north. Most of Brazil's population is concentrated in coastal cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. The Brazilian Highlands form a barrier inland, running alongside much of the Atlantic coast.