Brazil’s rich tapestry of diversity and history offers up some truly captivating curiosities. Let’s dive into six surprising facts about this lively South American country:
1. Here’s a fact that might raise an eyebrow: following the American Civil War, an estimated 20,000 Confederate refugees made Brazil their home. Today, nearly 260,000 Brazilians trace their lineage back to these American emigres. These individuals, proudly known as “Confederados,” celebrate their historical roots with an annual festival filled with Confederate flags, uniforms, and Southern delicacies. These families inhabit the city of Americana, established by 10,000 Confederate exiles after the Civil War when Brazil was still a slave-holding society.
2. In a delightful demographic surprise, Brazil boasts a larger Lebanese population than Lebanon itself. Brazil’s ethnic and cultural landscape is impressively diverse, with sizeable communities of Japanese and Okinawan origin, a significant German-speaking population, and a rich tapestry of indigenous languages and cultures.
3. From 1889 until 1968, Brazil bore a similar moniker to its northern namesake – it was officially the “Republic of the United States of Brazil.” Even the national flag was changed to resemble that of the U.S. for a brief period following the Proclamation of the Republic.
4. Brazilians displayed their trademark resourcefulness during the 1932 Olympics. Faced with financial difficulties, the nation sent its athletes on a journey aboard a ship brimming with coffee, selling the cargo along the way to fund their passage to the games.
5. Brazil’s monarchical past came to an abrupt end in 1888, when Crown Princess Isabel enacted a law freeing all slaves. This noble act was met with resistance from wealthy plantation owners, leading to a military coup that saw the imperial family ousted from power.
6. The Brazilian approach to timekeeping is notably relaxed. Lateness is so ingrained in the culture that the phrase “com pontualidade britânica,” meaning “with British punctuality,” is used to indicate a strict start time for events.