Brazil: Human Geography Essay

1488 words - 6 pages

Over the years, culture has been defined as a set of learned behaviors and beliefs in a form of human activity. This also includes values, traditions, or lifestyle shared by a particular society at a particular place. According to Houl, there are four key components of culture (Houl, T.F. 1969). These are values, norms, institutions, and artifacts.By definition, values are set of ideas about life and the important things related to it. Norms are expectations on the behavior of the people. Institutions are the structures of societies where values and norms are learned. Lastly, artifacts are the things or aspects of material culture, which is also products of values, norms, and traditions of a ...view middle of the document...

Cultural RegionBrazil's name is derived from the Portuguese word for the reddish color of brazilwood. It is an important export during the 16th century. Today, Brazil is the world's largest exporter of sugar and coffee. Brazil gained independence from Portugal in 1822 and during the 19th century, they enjoyed a political stability, which is unusual for Latin America. Brazil has a population of 188,078,261 as of the year 2006, with a language of Portuguese and major religions of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.Cultural DiffusionMost Brazilians lived in very densely populated areas of eastern Brazil. Although urbanization has not produced actual declines in rural population, internal migration has caused cities to grow much faster than rural areas. Many migrants to the cities take up residence in shantytowns, on the edge of urban areas.The ethnic mix in BrazilBrazil is a multi-racial country. Because of the incredible arrival of immigrants to Brazil during the 19th century, the population is mostly Caucasian. Italians, Germans, Syrians, and Lebanese followed the Portuguese in migrating to Brazil. The Asians arrived during the 1930's. About 1 million Indians lived in Brazil when the first Portuguese explorers arrived early in the 16th century. Intermarriage between Portuguese and Indians produced a new race called mamelucos by the Brazilians.During the 1538, African slaves were brought to Brazil. Mulattoes, those mixed Negro and Caucasian ancestry, constitute about 20% of the population. Today, the population of Brazil's three southernmost states is mostly Caucasians.The ArtsThe strength of the arts in Brazil owes much to the country's racial and ethnic mix. Rio's Carnaval, a spectacular folk festival held each year just before Lent, is a showcase for the samba, Brazil's most characteristic dance, which has pronounced African beat. The influence of Mexican revolutionary muralists is evident in the work of such famous modern artists as Candido Portinari.The culture of Brazil is Latin American, of a very assorted nature. Its chief early influence was Portuguese culture, because of strong colonial ties with the Portuguese empire that spread the Portuguese language, legal system and other cultural inheritances. Other important influences came from other parts of Europe, the Native South American people, Africa and Asia, creating a varied multicultural and mixed society. As a multiracial country, its culture also adapted other influences. The Amerindian peoples influenced Brazil's language and cuisine and the Africans, brought as slaves, largely influenced Brazil's music, dance, cuisine, religion and language.Language and religionAlthough Brazil has racially mixed population, most of its citizens re united by language and religion. More than 90% of Brazilians are Roman Catholic, making Brazil the world's largest Roman Catholic country. The church and the state have been constitutionally separated since 1889. Portuguese is the official language used...

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