chapter  1
19 Pages

The Legacy of Color

First and foremost among the contrasts between Brazil and its neighbors has been its subcontinental size, making Brazil after the breakup of the Soviet Union the fourth largest country in the world, behind Canada, the United States, and China. Although its population has long been enormously di­ verse, Brazil’s national culture preserved its homogeneity. Unlike Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Mexico, and Haiti, where millions do not speak the official language, Portuguese prevails from the rain forests to the southern Brazilian pampa.