Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world with 8,5 mil km2 (3,6 mi.2.). Its territory makes up almost half of the total of South America, bordering every South American country with the exception of Chile and Equador. It is the eighth most populous nation of the world and 65% of its 190 million inhabitants are under 30 years old. It is an urban country where more than two out of three Brazilians live in a city.
Politically, Brazil is divided into 26 states and one Federal District which includes the capital, Brasilia. The states are divided into five regions, each seeming to be a country within the country with its marked social, cultural and geographical contrasts.
Brazil was discovered in 1500 by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares Cabral. During the 17th century, Brazil became the world's largest producer of sugar. Eventually gold and diamonds replaced sugar as Brazil's primary commerce. In the 19th century Brazil was the worlds leading producer and exporter of coffee, which is still one of its major economical sources. The rubber boom in the late 19th century brought development and prosperity to the north of Brazil.