The United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter, it is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. UNESCO has 11 associate members. Most of its field offices are "cluster" offices covering three or more countries. UNESCO pursues its objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences, social/human sciences and communication/information. Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy and teacher-training programs, international science programs, the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press and cultural history projects, the promotion of cultural diversity, translations of world literature, international cooperation agreements to secure the world's cultural and natural heritage and to preserve human rights, attempts to bridge the worldwide digital divide.
It is a member of the United Nations Development Group. UNESCO's aim is "to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture and information". Other priorities of the organization include attaining quality Education For All and lifelong learning, addressing emerging social and ethical challenges, fostering cultural diversity, a culture of peace and building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication; the broad goals and objectives of the international community—as set out in the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals —underpin all UNESCO strategies and activities. UNESCO and its mandate for international cooperation can be traced back to a League of Nations resolution on 21 September 1921, to elect a Commission to study feasibility; this new body, the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation was indeed created in 1922.
On 18 December 1925, the International Bureau of Education began work as a non-governmental organization in the service of international educational development. However, the onset of World War II interrupted the work of these predecessor organizations. After the signing of the Atlantic Charter and the Declaration of the United Nations, the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education began meetings in London which continued from 16 November 1942 to 5 December 1945. On 30 October 1943, the necessity for an international organization was expressed in the Moscow Declaration, agreed upon by China, the United Kingdom, the United States and the USSR; this was followed by the Dumbarton Oaks Conference proposals of 9 October 1944. Upon the proposal of CAME and in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, held in San Francisco in April–June 1945, a United Nations Conference for the establishment of an educational and cultural organization was convened in London 1–16 November 1945 with 44 governments represented.
The idea of UNESCO was developed by Rab Butler, the Minister of Education for the United Kingdom, who had a great deal of influence in its development. At the ECO/CONF, the Constitution of UNESCO was introduced and signed by 37 countries, a Preparatory Commission was established; the Preparatory Commission operated between 16 November 1945, 4 November 1946—the date when UNESCO's Constitution came into force with the deposit of the twentieth ratification by a member state. The first General Conference took place from 19 November to 10 December 1946, elected Dr. Julian Huxley to Director-General; the Constitution was amended in November 1954 when the General Conference resolved that members of the Executive Board would be representatives of the governments of the States of which they are nationals and would not, as before, act in their personal capacity. This change in governance distinguished UNESCO from its predecessor, the ICIC, in how member states would work together in the organization's fields of competence.
As member states worked together over time to realize UNESCO's mandate and historical factors have shaped the organization's operations in particular during the Cold War, the decolonization process, the dissolution of the USSR. Among the major achievements of the organization is its work against racism, for example through influential statements on race starting with a declaration of anthropologists and other scientists in 1950 and concluding with the 1978 Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice. In 1956, the Republic of South Africa withdrew from UNESCO saying that some of the organization's publications amounted to "interference" in the country's "racial problems." South Africa rejoined the organization in 1994 under the leadership of Nelson Mandela. UNESCO's early work in the field of education included the pilot project on fundamental education in the Marbial Valley, started in 1947; this project was followed by expert missions to other countries, for example, a mission to Afghanistan in 1949.
In 1948, UNESCO recommended that Member States should make free primary education compulsory and universal. In 1990, the World Conference on Education for All, in Jomtien, launched a global movement to provide basic education for a
Dictionaries traditionally define literacy as the ability to read and write. In the modern world, this is one way of interpreting literacy. One more broad interpretation sees literacy as competence in a specific area; the concept of literacy has evolved in meaning. The modern term's meaning has been expanded to include the ability to use language, images and other basic means to understand, gain useful knowledge, solve mathematical problems and use the dominant symbol systems of a culture; the concept of literacy is expanding across OECD countries to include skills to access knowledge through technology and ability to assess complex contexts. A person who travels and resides in a foreign country but is unable to read or write in the language of the host country would be regarded by the locals as illiterate; the key to literacy is reading development, a progression of skills which begins with the ability to understand spoken words and decode written words, which culminates in the deep understanding of text.
Reading development involves a range of complex language-underpinnings including awareness of speech sounds, spelling patterns, word meaning and patterns of word formation, all of which provide a necessary platform for reading fluency and comprehension. Once these skills are acquired, a reader can attain full language literacy, which includes the abilities to apply to printed material critical analysis and synthesis; the inability to do so is called "illiteracy" or "analphabetism". Experts at a United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization meeting have proposed defining literacy as the "ability to identify, interpret, create and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts"; the experts note: "Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, to participate in their community and wider society". Literacy emerged with the development of numeracy and computational devices as early as 8000 BCE.
Script developed independently at least five times in human history Mesopotamia, the Indus civilization, lowland Mesoamerica, China. The earliest forms of written communication originated in Serbia, followed by Sumer, located in southern Mesopotamia about 3500-3000 BCE. During this era, literacy was "a functional matter, propelled by the need to manage the new quantities of information and the new type of governance created by trade and large scale production". Writing systems in Mesopotamia first emerged from a recording system in which people used impressed token markings to manage trade and agricultural production; the token system served as a precursor to early cuneiform writing once people began recording information on clay tablets. Proto-cuneiform texts exhibit not only numerical signs, but ideograms depicting objects being counted. Egyptian hieroglyphs emerged from 3300-3100 BCE and depicted royal iconography that emphasized power amongst other elites; the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing system was the first notation system to have phonetic values.
Writing in lowland Mesoamerica was first put into practice by the Olmec and Zapotec civilizations in 900-400 BCE. These civilizations used glyphic writing and bar-and-dot numerical notation systems for purposes related to royal iconography and calendar systems; the earliest written notations in China date back to the Shang Dynasty in 1200 BCE. These systematic notations were found inscribed on bones and recorded sacrifices made, tributes received, animals hunted, which were activities of the elite; these oracle-bone inscriptions were the early ancestors of modern Chinese script and contained logosyllabic script and numerals. Indus script is pictorial and has not been deciphered yet, it may not include abstract signs. It is thought that the script is thought to be logographic; because it has not been deciphered, linguists disagree on whether it is a complete and independent writing system. These examples indicate that early acts of literacy were tied to power and chiefly used for management practices, less than 1% of the population was literate, as it was confined to a small ruling elite.
According to social anthropologist Jack Goody, there are two interpretations that regard the origin of the alphabet. Many classical scholars, such as historian Ignace Gelb, credit the Ancient Greeks for creating the first alphabetic system that used distinctive signs for consonants and vowels, but Goody contests, "The importance of Greek culture of the subsequent history of Western Europe has led to an over-emphasis, by classicists and others, on the addition of specific vowel signs to the set of consonantal ones, developed earlier in Western Asia". Thus, many scholars argue that the ancient Semitic-speaking peoples of northern Canaan invented the consonantal alphabet as early as 1500 BCE. Much of this theory's development is credited to English archeologist Flinders Petrie, who, in 1905, came across a series of Canaanite inscriptions located in the turquoise mines of Serabit el-Khadem. Ten years English Egyptologist Alan Gardiner reasoned that these letters contain an alphabet, as well as references to the Canaanite goddess Asherah.
In 1948, William F. Albright deciphered the text using additional evidence, discovered subsequent to G
Rio de Janeiro (state)
Rio de Janeiro is one of the 27 federative units of Brazil. It has the second largest economy of Brazil, with the largest being that of the state of São Paulo; the state of Rio de Janeiro is located within the Brazilian geopolitical region classified as the Southeast. Rio de Janeiro shares borders with all the other states in the same Southeast macroregion: Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo and São Paulo, it is bounded on the south by the South Atlantic Ocean. Rio de Janeiro has an area of 43,653 km2, its capital is the city of Rio de Janeiro, the capital of the Portuguese Colony of Brazil from 1763 to 1815, of the following United Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves from 1815 to 1822, of independent Brazil as a kingdom and republic from 1822 to 1960. The archaic demonym meaning for the Rio de Janeiro State is "fluminense", taken from the Latin word flumen, meaning "river". Despite the fact "carioca" is a most ancient demonym of Rio de Janeiro's inhabitants, it was replaced by "fluminense" in 1783, when it was sanctioned as the official demonym of the Royal Captaincy of Rio de Janeiro, a few years after the City of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro has become the capital city of the Brazilian colonies.
From 1783 and during the Imperial Regime, "carioca" remained only as a nickname by which other Brazilians called the inhabitants of Rio. During the first years of the Brazilian Republic, "carioca" was the name given to those who lived in the slums or a pejorative way to refer the bureaucratic elite of the Federal District. Only when the City of Rio lost its status as Federal District and became a Brazilian State when the capital was moved to Brasília earlier in 1960, "carioca" was made a co-official demonym with "guanabarino". In 1975, the Guanabara State was ended and extinct by President Ernesto Geisel becoming the present City of Rio de Janeiro and "carioca" was made the demonym of its municipality. Although "carioca" is not recognized as an official demonym of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazilians call the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro in general as "cariocas", most of its inhabitants claim to be "cariocas". Nowadays, social movements like "Somos Todos Cariocas" have tried to achieve the official recognition of "carioca" as a co-official demonym of the Rio de Janeiro State.
The state's 22 largest cities are Rio de Janeiro, São Gonçalo, Duque de Caxias, Nova Iguaçu, Niterói, Campos dos Goytacazes, Belford Roxo, São João de Meriti, Petrópolis, Volta Redonda, Magé, Macaé, Itaboraí, Cabo Frio, Armação dos Búzios, Angra dos Reis, Nova Friburgo, Barra Mansa, Barra do Piraí, Teresópolis and Nilópolis. Rio de Janeiro is one of the smallest in Brazil, it is, the third most populous Brazilian state, with a population of 16 million of people in 2011 and has the third longest coastline in the country. In the Brazilian flag, the state is represented by the beta star in the Southern Cross. European presence in Rio de Janeiro is as old as Brazil itself, dating back to 1502. Rio de Janeiro originated from parts of the captainships of São Vicente. Between 1555 and 1567, the territory was occupied by the French, who intended to install a colony, France Antarctique. Aiming to prevent the occupation of the Frenchmen, in March 1565, the city of Rio de Janeiro was established by Estácio de Sá.
In the 17th century, cattle raising and sugar cane cultivation stimulated the city's progress, definitively assured when the port started to export gold extracted from Minas Gerais in the 18th century. In 1763, Rio de Janeiro became the capital of Colonial Brazil. With the flight of the Portuguese royal family from Portugal to Brazil in 1808, the region soon benefited from urban reforms to house the Portuguese. Chief among the promoted changes were: the transformation of agencies of public administration and justice, the creation of new churches, hospitals, the foundation of the first bank of the country - the Banco do Brasil - and the Royal Press, with the Gazette do Rio of Janeiro; the following years witnessed the creation of the Academia Real Militar. There followed a process of cultural enhancement influenced not only by the arrival of the Royal Family, but by the presence of European graphic artists who were hired to record the society and Brazilian natural features. During this same time, the Escola Real de Ciências, Artes e Ofícios was founded as well.
In 1834, the city of Rio de Janeiro was transformed into a "neutral city", remaining as capital of the state, while the captainships became provinces, with headquarters in Niterói, a neighboring city. In 1889, the city became the capital of the Republic, the neutral city became the federal district and the province a state. In 1894, Petrópolis became the capital of Rio de Janeiro, until 1902 when Niterói recovered its capital status. With the relocation of the federal capital to Brasília in 1960, the city of Rio de Janeiro became Guanabara State. Niterói remained the state capital for Rio de Janeiro state, while Rio de Janeiro served the same status for Guanabara. In 1975, the states of Guanabara and Rio de Janeiro were merged under the name of Rio de Janeiro, with the city of Rio de Janeiro as state capital; the symbols of the former State of Rio de Janeiro were preserved, while the symbols of Guanabara were kept by the city of Rio de Janeir
Minas Gerais is a state in the north of Southeastern Brazil. It ranks as the second most populous, the third by gross domestic product, the fourth largest by area in the country; the state's capital and largest city, Belo Horizonte, is a major urban and finance center in Latin America, the sixth largest municipality in Brazil, after the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Fortaleza, but its metropolitan area is the third largest in Brazil with just over 5,500,000 inhabitants, after those of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Nine Brazilian presidents were born in the most of any state. With an area of 586,528 square kilometres —larger than Metropolitan France—it is the fourth most extensive state in Brazil; the main producer of coffee and milk in the country, Minas Gerais is known for its heritage of architecture and colonial art in historical cities such as São João del Rei, Ouro Preto, Diamantina and Mariana. In the south, the tourist points are the hydro mineral spas, such as Caxambu, Lambari, São Lourenço, Poços de Caldas, São Thomé das Letras, Monte Verde and the national parks of Caparaó and Canastra.
The landscape of the State is marked by mountains and large areas of fertile lands. In the Serra do Cipó, Sete Lagoas and Lagoa Santa, the caves and waterfalls are the attractions; some of Brazil's most famous caverns are located there. In recent years, the state has emerged as one of the largest economic forces of Brazil, exploring its great economic potential. Two interpretations are given for the origin of the name Minas Gerais, it comes from "Minas dos Matos Gerais", the former name of the colonial province. So a first and more common understanding affirms that the name means "General Mines", with the word Gerais serving as an adjective to the mines, which were themselves spread in several spots around a larger region. Another explanation is that this ignores the two large geographical spaces which conformed the state in its history: the region of the mines, the region of the Gerais; these corresponded to the areas of Sertão which were farther and hard to access from the mining spots. The confusion comes from the fact that the term "Gerais" is taken as an adjective to "Minas" in the first version, although according to this point of view it refers to the region called Gerais.
A further complication is that this is not a well-defined area on the map of the state, but rather a designation to these parts outside the mining spots, more related to the geography of Sertão, more isolated from the state's nucleus. Minas Gerais is in the north of the southeastern subdivision of Brazil, which contains the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo, it borders on Bahia, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and the state of Espírito Santo. It shares a short boundary with the Distrito Federal. Minas Gerais is situated between 14°13'58" and 22°54'00" S latitude and between 39°51'32" and 51°02'35" W longitude, it is larger in area than Metropolitan Spain. Minas Gerais features some of the longest rivers in Brazil, most notably the São Francisco, the Paraná and to a lesser extent, the Rio Doce; the state holds many hydroelectric power plants, including Furnas. Some of the highest peaks in Brazil are in the mountain ranges in the southern part of the state, such as Serra da Mantiqueira and Serra do Cervo, that mark the border between Minas and its neighbors São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
The most notable one is the Pico da Bandeira, the third highest mountain in Brazil at 2890 m, standing on the border with Espírito Santo state. The state has huge reserves of iron and sizeable reserves of gold and gemstones, including emerald and aquamarine mines. Emeralds found in this location are comparable to the best Colombia-origin emeralds, are most a bluish-green color; each region of the state has a distinct character, geographically and to a certain extent culturally. The central and eastern area of the state is hilly and rocky, with little vegetation on the mountains. Around Lagoa Santa and Sete Lagoas a typical Karst topography with caves and lakes is found; some of the mountains are entirely iron ore, which led to extensive mining. Recent advances in environmental policy helped to put limits to mining. About 200 kilometres to the east of Belo Horizonte is the second Metropolitan Region of the state, Vale do Aço, which has iron and steel processing companies along the course of the Rio Doce and its tributaries.
Vale do Aço's largest cities are Coronel Fabriciano and Timóteo. Now that mining is restricted large areas of forest are being removed for timber, charcoal and to clear land for cattle ranching; the original forest cover of these inland hills is much fragmented. The city of Governador Valadares is in the limit of this region with the poorer North; the south of Minas Gerais is green, with coffee and milk production. This region is notably cooler than the rest of the state, some locations are subject to temperatures just below the freezing point during the winter; the region is famed for its mineral-water resorts, including the cities of Poços de Caldas, Lambari, São Lourenço and Caxambu. Many industries are located at Pouso Alegre; the southeast of the state, called Zona da Mata was the richest region unti
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a statistic composite index of life expectancy and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. A country scores a higher HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, the GNI per capita is higher, it was developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq, with help from Gustav Ranis of Yale University and Meghnad Desai of the London School of Economics, was further used to measure a country's development by the United Nations Development Program's Human Development Report Office. The 2010 Human Development Report introduced an Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index. While the simple HDI remains useful, it stated that "the IHDI is the actual level of human development", "the HDI can be viewed as an index of'potential' human development"; the index does not take into account several factors, such as the net wealth per capita or the relative quality of goods in a country. This situation tends to lower the ranking for some of the most advanced countries, such as the G7 members and others.
The index is based on the human development approach, developed by ul Haq framed in terms of whether people are able to "be" and "do" desirable things in life. Examples include—Being: well fed, healthy; the freedom of choice is central—someone choosing to be hungry is quite different from someone, hungry because they cannot afford to buy food, or because the country is in a famine. The origins of the HDI are found in the annual Human Development Reports produced by the Human Development Report Office of the United Nations Development Programme; these were devised and launched by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq in 1990, had the explicit purpose "to shift the focus of development economics from national income accounting to people-centered policies". To produce the Human Development Reports, Mahbub ul Haq formed a group of development economists including Paul Streeten, Frances Stewart, Gustav Ranis, Keith Griffin, Sudhir Anand, Meghnad Desai. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen utilized Haq's work in his own work on human capabilities.
Haq believed that a simple composite measure of human development was needed to convince the public and politicians that they can and should evaluate development not only by economic advances but improvements in human well-being. Published on 4 November 2010, the 2010 Human Development Report calculated the HDI combining three dimensions: A long and healthy life: Life expectancy at birth Education index: Mean years of schooling and Expected years of schooling A decent standard of living: GNI per capita In its 2010 Human Development Report, the UNDP began using a new method of calculating the HDI; the following three indices are used: 1. Life Expectancy Index = LE − 20 85 − 20 LEI is 1 when Life expectancy at birth is 85 and 0 when Life expectancy at birth is 20.2. Education Index = MYSI + EYSI 2 2.1 Mean Years of Schooling Index = MYS 15 Fifteen is the projected maximum of this indicator for 2025. 2.2 Expected Years of Schooling Index = EYS 18 Eighteen is equivalent to achieving a master's degree in most countries.3.
Income Index = ln − ln ln − ln II is 1 when GNI per capita is $75,000 and 0 when GNI per capita is $100. The HDI is the geometric mean of the previous three normalized indices: HDI = LEI ⋅ EI ⋅ II 3. LE: Life expectancy at birth MYS: Mean years of schooling EYS: Expected years of schooling GNIpc: Gross national income at purchasing power parity per capita The HDI combined three dimensions last used in its 2009 Report: Life expectancy at birth, as an index of population health and longevity to HDI Knowledge and education, as measured by the adult literacy rate and the combined primary and tertiary gross enrollment ratio. Standard of living, as indicated by the natural logarithm of gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity; this methodology was used by the UNDP until their 2011 report. The formula defining the HDI is promulgated by the United Nations Development Programme. In general, to transform a raw variable, say x, into a unit-free index between 0 and 1 (which allo
A river is a natural flowing watercourse freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water. Small rivers can be referred to using names such as stream, brook and rill. There are no official definitions for the generic term river as applied to geographic features, although in some countries or communities a stream is defined by its size. Many names for small rivers are specific to geographic location. Sometimes a river is defined as being larger than a creek, but not always: the language is vague. Rivers are part of the hydrological cycle. Potamology is the scientific study of rivers, while limnology is the study of inland waters in general. Most of the major cities of the world are situated on the banks of rivers, as they are, or were, used as a source of water, for obtaining food, for transport, as borders, as a defensive measure, as a source of hydropower to drive machinery, for bathing, as a means of disposing of waste.
A river begins at a source, follows a path called a course, ends at a mouth or mouths. The water in a river is confined to a channel, made up of a stream bed between banks. In larger rivers there is also a wider floodplain shaped by flood-waters over-topping the channel. Floodplains may be wide in relation to the size of the river channel; this distinction between river channel and floodplain can be blurred in urban areas where the floodplain of a river channel can become developed by housing and industry. Rivers can flow down mountains, through valleys or along plains, can create canyons or gorges; the term upriver refers to the direction towards the source of the river, i.e. against the direction of flow. The term downriver describes the direction towards the mouth of the river, in which the current flows; the term left bank refers to the left bank in the direction of right bank to the right. The river channel contains a single stream of water, but some rivers flow as several interconnecting streams of water, producing a braided river.
Extensive braided rivers are now found in only a few regions worldwide, such as the South Island of New Zealand. They occur on peneplains and some of the larger river deltas. Anastamosing rivers are quite rare, they have multiple sinuous channels carrying large volumes of sediment. There are rare cases of river bifurcation in which a river divides and the resultant flows ending in different seas. An example is the bifurcation of Nerodime River in Kosovo. A river flowing in its channel is a source of energy which acts on the river channel to change its shape and form. In 1757, the German hydrologist Albert Brahms empirically observed that the submerged weight of objects that may be carried away by a river is proportional to the sixth power of the river flow speed; this formulation is sometimes called Airy's law. Thus, if the speed of flow is doubled, the flow would dislodge objects with 64 times as much submerged weight. In mountainous torrential zones this can be seen as erosion channels through hard rocks and the creation of sands and gravels from the destruction of larger rocks.
A river valley, created from a U-shaped glaciated valley, can easily be identified by the V-shaped channel that it has carved. In the middle reaches where a river flows over flatter land, meanders may form through erosion of the river banks and deposition on the inside of bends. Sometimes the river will cut off a loop, shortening the channel and forming an oxbow lake or billabong. Rivers that carry large amounts of sediment may develop conspicuous deltas at their mouths. Rivers whose mouths are in saline tidal waters may form estuaries. Throughout the course of the river, the total volume of water transported downstream will be a combination of the free water flow together with a substantial volume flowing through sub-surface rocks and gravels that underlie the river and its floodplain. For many rivers in large valleys, this unseen component of flow may exceed the visible flow. Most but not all rivers flow on the surface. Subterranean rivers flow underground in caverns; such rivers are found in regions with limestone geologic formations.
Subglacial streams are the braided rivers that flow at the beds of glaciers and ice sheets, permitting meltwater to be discharged at the front of the glacier. Because of the gradient in pressure due to the overlying weight of the glacier, such streams can flow uphill. An intermittent river only flows and can be dry for several years at a time; these rivers are found in regions with limited or variable rainfall, or can occur because of geologic conditions such as a permeable river bed. Some ephemeral rivers flow during the summer months but not in the winter; such rivers are fed from chalk aquifers which recharge from winter rainfall. In England these rivers are called bournes and give their name to places such as Bournemouth and Eastbourne. In humid regions, the location where flow begins in the smallest tributary streams moves upstream in response to precipitation and downstream in its absence or when active summer vegetation diverts water for evapotrans
Brazil the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, its most populated city is São Paulo; the federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 kilometers, it borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile and covers 47.3% of the continent's land area. Its Amazon River basin includes a vast tropical forest, home to diverse wildlife, a variety of ecological systems, extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected habitats; this unique environmental heritage makes Brazil one of 17 megadiverse countries, is the subject of significant global interest and debate regarding deforestation and environmental protection.
Brazil was inhabited by numerous tribal nations prior to the landing in 1500 of explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, who claimed the area for the Portuguese Empire. Brazil remained a Portuguese colony until 1808, when the capital of the empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. In 1815, the colony was elevated to the rank of kingdom upon the formation of the United Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves. Independence was achieved in 1822 with the creation of the Empire of Brazil, a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system; the ratification of the first constitution in 1824 led to the formation of a bicameral legislature, now called the National Congress. The country became a presidential republic in 1889 following a military coup d'état. An authoritarian military junta came to power in 1964 and ruled until 1985, after which civilian governance resumed. Brazil's current constitution, formulated in 1988, defines it as a democratic federal republic. Due to its rich culture and history, the country ranks thirteenth in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Brazil is considered an advanced emerging economy. It has the ninth largest GDP in the world by nominal, eight and PPP measures, it is one of the world's major breadbaskets, being the largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years. It is classified as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country, with the largest share of global wealth in Latin America. Brazil is a regional power and sometimes considered a great or a middle power in international affairs. On account of its international recognition and influence, the country is subsequently classified as an emerging power and a potential superpower by several analysts. Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, BRICS, Union of South American Nations, Organization of American States, Organization of Ibero-American States and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, it is that the word "Brazil" comes from the Portuguese word for brazilwood, a tree that once grew plentifully along the Brazilian coast.
In Portuguese, brazilwood is called pau-brasil, with the word brasil given the etymology "red like an ember", formed from brasa and the suffix -il. As brazilwood produces a deep red dye, it was valued by the European textile industry and was the earliest commercially exploited product from Brazil. Throughout the 16th century, massive amounts of brazilwood were harvested by indigenous peoples along the Brazilian coast, who sold the timber to European traders in return for assorted European consumer goods; the official Portuguese name of the land, in original Portuguese records, was the "Land of the Holy Cross", but European sailors and merchants called it the "Land of Brazil" because of the brazilwood trade. The popular appellation eclipsed and supplanted the official Portuguese name; some early sailors called it the "Land of Parrots". In the Guarani language, an official language of Paraguay, Brazil is called "Pindorama"; this was the name the indigenous population gave to the region, meaning "land of the palm trees".
Some of the earliest human remains found in the Americas, Luzia Woman, were found in the area of Pedro Leopoldo, Minas Gerais and provide evidence of human habitation going back at least 11,000 years. The earliest pottery found in the Western Hemisphere was excavated in the Amazon basin of Brazil and radiocarbon dated to 8,000 years ago; the pottery was found near Santarém and provides evidence that the tropical forest region supported a complex prehistoric culture. The Marajoara culture flourished on Marajó in the Amazon delta from 800 CE to 1400 CE, developing sophisticated pottery, social stratification, large populations, mound building, complex social formations such as chiefdoms. Around the time of the Portuguese arrival, the territory of current day Brazil had an estimated indigenous population of 7 million people semi-nomadic who subsisted on hunting, fishing and migrant agriculture; the indigenous population of Brazil comprised several large indigenous ethnic groups. The Tupí people were subdivided into the Tupiniquins and Tupinambás, there were many subdivisions of the other gro