Brazil is the largest Portuguese speaking country in the world. The Portuguese first settled in the northeastern part of the country and by the time the slave trade ended in 1853 more than 3.5 million African slaves had been sent there and they had a major influence on the development of Brazilian cuisine.
Brazil is the world's largest producer of Sugar Cane, Coffee and Beef.
Brazil produces more oranges than any other country.
Brazil's many rivers, lakes and aquifers account for 18% of the world's available freshwater resources.
Cassava is native to South America, in the Amazon Basin of Brazil, and was one of the first cultivated plants in the western hemisphere.
Cassava originated in Brazil. In the 16th century Portuguese sailors brought it to Africa, which now produces more than 50% of the world cassava supply.
Dende is an orange palm oil that is semisolid at room temperature because it is so high in saturated fat. It is very popular in Brazil, and is used both for its color and flavor.
Pastureland covers nearly 25% of Brazil and 150 million acres of arable land remain uncultivated.
(Foreign Affairs Nov/Dec 2010)
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