Brazil is an attractive travel destination, from its breathtaking beaches to its vibrant culture; yet many are unaware of some of the surprising facts about it.
Snake Island or Ilha Queimada Grande is an isolated, yet perilous island filled with Golden Lancehead snakes that are highly poisonous. Unfortunately, access for civilians is strictly restricted.
1. Brazilians are the most sexually active people in the world
Brazilians may be best known for their lively Rio carnival, samba music and beaches; however there are many other interesting and quirky aspects of their vibrant South American country that stand out. Brazil boasts 13 national holidays plus numerous extra ones specific to individual cities or regions such as Saint George’s Day or World Cup football games that celebrate Black Awareness.
Brazil may be known for coffee production and exports, but its natural treasures also include the Amazon rainforest, Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and Iguazu Falls located along its border with Argentina – these waterfalls were recently chosen as one of the Seven Wonders of Nature by visitors and voters to become one of their New Seven Wonders of Nature voted most beautiful by visitors.
The country is also home to many uncontacted indigenous groups that live in the forest without any interaction from outsiders, often being hunted down by ranchers or drug traffickers seeking to claim their lands as property for themselves. One tribe now only has a lone survivor.
Although some of these tribes are now more connected to the outside world, there remain concerns that their isolation could expose them to disease and other issues. Thankfully there are now official protections in place for isolated communities, with one group having recently been featured on a BBC documentary.
Brazilians often express themselves through art, with an impressive collection of modern and classical masterpieces in Brazil’s museums. Recently however, an art museum in Rio caused great outrage after opening an exhibit featuring nudist works by Degas and Picasso alongside portraits of gay men and women by Robert Mapplethorpe.
2. Brazil is the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese stands out among South American nations due to its unique history: following Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World, Portugal and Spain competed to colonize it quickly; to avoid rivalry between them, Pope Clement V established a line of demarcation that divided their claims under the Treaty of Tordesillas 1494 – leading many Brazilians who also speak Spanish proudly identify as Portuguese speakers.
Brazilians take great pride in their language, which is evident through their lifestyle. They have created their own system of phonetics unique to their culture. Furthermore, Brazilian cuisine reflects this rich heritage – including traditional dishes such as Feijoada which features beef stewed with beans and collard greens; another popular selection being Acai fruit which has become the symbol of Brazil.
Brazilians have also invented many useful tools and technologies. Vital Brazil from Minas Gerais created polyvalent anti-ophitic serum in 1903 for treating poisonous snake bites; Jose Braz Araripe from Brazil designed an automatic transmission system for cars; Carlos Chagas discovered Chagas disease in 1909.
Although it might seem strange that only nine countries speak Portuguese today, this makes perfect sense when one considers history. When King Dom Joo VI left Brazil in 1808 to avoid Napoleon’s invasion and started building national identity that has continued up to this day.
3. Brazil is home to the largest emerald ever found
Brazil is one of the largest countries in South America and boasts an intriguing geography. Covering an area slightly larger than that of continental United States, from tropical rain forests to cool uplands; Brazil shares borders with all South American countries save Chile and Ecuador.
Brazil is home to some of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders and stunning man-made marvels alike, such as Ouro Preto – a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in Minas Gerais that was the richest town during America’s 18th-century gold rush and now serves as an open air museum.
Emeralds are popular gemstones due to their vibrant hue and hexagonal form, making them highly valued in large sizes. Although carat weight may be an indicator of price for diamonds and gemstones, its actual worth depends on rarity and quality rather than just weight alone. When searching for large emeralds it is important to remember that rarity and quality determine its true worth.
Brazil is home to one of the largest emeralds ever discovered weighing in at over 180,000 carats! Nicknamed the Chipembele Emerald due to its hexagonal shape resembling that of a rhinoceros horn, proceeds from selling this incredible gemstone will help fund conservation efforts of black rhinos in Zambia.
4. Brazil is home to the largest tree in the Amazon rainforest
Nearly every country on the globe boasts one natural landmark it’s particularly proud to display: China boasts the Great Wall; Australia features Great Barrier Reef; while in America Big Ben stands proud. Brazil stands out among them all as home of an enormous tree that rivals any others around the globe.
A giant tree known as an angelim vermelho (Dinizia excelsa) towers as tall as 25-story skyscrapers and spans 9.9 meters around its circumference, as spotted during a 3D mapping project in 2019 in northern Brazil’s Iratapuru River Nature Reserve. Researchers discovered it by satellite images taken during this 3D mapping initiative.
It’s one of the 15 giant trees found in that area, yet this one stands out, towering over all others by miles – possibly becoming the tallest angelim vermelho tree ever in all of Amazonia rainforest!
Scientists don’t yet know for certain how old this tree is; estimates range between 400-500 years old. Thus making it one of the few in existence with such massive heights of growth.
Scientists were able to measure this giant tree due to it being in an off-limits region of the rainforest that’s off limits to loggers and gold miners, yet researchers still had to mount numerous expeditions in order to locate it – including one 10-day trek that led to one team member becoming ill; three more trips took place after this; with the last trip occurring between September 12-25 this year and covering 250 kilometers on water with treacherous rapids as well as 20 kilometers over mountainous jungle terrain on foot.
5. Brazil is home to the largest Sambadrome in the world
Brazil is home to the world’s largest Sambadrome, where samba schools parade during Rio Carnival. More than just spectacle, however, Rio Carnival’s renowned event requires blood, sweat and tears for each year’s float creation – with one winner emerging at its conclusion.
Carnaval brings samba school parades to the Sambadrome that provide an exhilarating spectacle of rhythm and dance that should not be missed. They also show that samba is much more than an entertainment act: for many Brazilians it has become part of their daily lives.
At Samba Schools’ parades, spectators can see their colorful costumes and choreography that blend elements from African, Portuguese and indigenous cultures into intricate performances at Sambadromes across Brazil. However, even without making it to Sambadromes there will still be plenty of cariocas celebrating in street parties known as blocos if they miss going into them altogether.
Oscar Niemeyer, one of Brazil’s renowned architects and a key figure in modern architecture development, designed The Sambadrome (officially Passarela Professor Darcy Ribeiro or Sambodromo in Portuguese). Dubbed as “Samba Stadium”, this venue can hold up to 90,000 people during special group parades at Rio Carnival.
Even when not hosting carnival parades, the Sambadrome is used as a major concert venue. Eric Clapton, Supertramp and Pearl Jam have performed at this unique venue during a variety of events at this iconic location.