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Seven facts you may not know about Brazil

Thursday, March 24, 2016

LAWRENCE — Brazil has been in the international spotlight in recent years. The focus has largely been on international sport as the nation played host to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and this August, Rio de Janeiro will host the Summer Olympics. As always, though, there is more to a country than is found in the headlines.

Antonio Luciano Tosta, assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Kansas, is co-editor of a new book, “Latin America in Focus: Brazil." Here are seven facts Tosta shares that you might not know about Brazil:

Taking flight

Brazil’s economy has a sizable manufacturing base, with aviation as one of the main industries. The country manufactures and exports a large number of aircraft to the United States.

Land of the Rising Sun in South America

Brazil has a very diverse culture with immigrants from around the world. In fact, the nation has the largest Japanese community outside of Japan.

Coffee and your sugar

Brazil may be better known for its production of sugar cane, but it is also one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of coffee.

An unpleasant past

Like the United States, Brazil has a history of slavery. The nation had the longest history of slavery in the Americas as the practice was not abolished until 1888.

African influence

Brazil has one of the world’s largest populations of African descendants. Largely because of the history of importing slaves from Africa, an African influence can be found in everything from Brazil’s food and music to its visual and martial arts.

It’s a jungle out there

Home to the Amazon River and one of the world’s largest rainforests, Brazil is home to some of the world’s greatest biodiversity. More than 700 new species are discovered there annually, and a new species of plant is discovered every two days.

Cup of gold

In 2014, Brazil was host to the FIFA World Cup, the international soccer tournament held every four years. While it didn’t win in its host year, Brazil has won more World Cups — five — than any other nation.

Photos: Images via WikiCommons.