10 Things You Didn’t Know About Brazil

Brazil brings Carnival and beautiful women to mind, but there's so much more to it than that! Here are some interesting facts about Brazil to surprise you.

Brazil… it is the home of beautiful women and beautiful beaches. What’s not to love about it? From the nightlife of Rio de Janeiro to the Oceanside, Brazil truly is a sight to be seen. But there’s more to this country than many people can imagine.

Sure, there are beaches and nightclubs and a lot of fun things to do, but Brazil has its well hidden charms ready to be discovered. In fact, you might just be surprised to see how advanced and modern this country really is. There may even be a few things other countries can learn from this stunning South American gem.

Keep on reading to find out about some interesting facts about Brazil that will most certainly shed some light to how you perceive this country, and it just may make you buy a one way ticket.

1. The large cities of Brazil are known to be gay-friendly


While 10.4% of the entire Brazilian male population, and 4.9% of the female population, identify as gay or bisexual, Rio de Janeiro has the highest percentage of non-heterosexual males in the country with almost 20% of them identifying as gay or bisexual.

The city of Manus holds the distinction of having the highest percentage of lesbian or bisexual women with 10.2% of the female population identifying as such. But in total, it’s Sao Paulo that has the highest LGBT, both male and female, population in the entire country.

Many of the larger cities have gay-orientated business like bars, nightclubs, bathhouses and restaurants.

2. Brazil is making it easier to change your gender

For those who are seeking gender reassignment surgery, Brazil is not only making it easier to change your name and gender on your birth certificate, the country is also allowing the surgery to be free under their healthcare system.

It was with a unanimous vote that the 3rd Class of the Superior Court ruled to allow name and gender changes on the birth certificate, and with that understanding, rapporteur Nancy Andrighi brought up that if they consent to the surgery, they should also provide a means for the individual to have a decent life in society.

As long as the patient is at least 18 years old, a transsexual and suffers from no personality disorder, they are able to receive the surgery. On average, there are 100 gender reassignment surgeries per year.

3. Brazil is said to have the best coffee in the world

If you can’t imagine a morning without your cup of joe, you may have to thank Brazil for you


r daily caffeine fix. Brazil is easily the biggest coffee producing country in the world, even more so than Colombia. Coffee plantations cover large areas of land and require hundreds of people to help run them day-to-day.

Because of this, they produce a lot of coffee and, some might argue, the best coffee in the world. Brazilian coffee is mild, sweet, medium-bodied and with low levels of acidity thanks to the climate, soil quality and the altitude which allows both Arabica and Robusta beans to grow.

4. In fact, it’s coffee which helped send athletes to the Olympics one year

Brazil had to sit out the 1928 Olympics, and with pretty much everyone suffering from the Great Depression, they had to get creative about getting to the 1932 Olympics. And that they did!

The government couldn’t afford to send its athletes to the Los Angeles Olympics, so they put them on a ship with 50,000 sacks of Brazilian coffee to sell at ports along the way. When they got to the Port of Los Angeles, they charged for every person who stepped off the ship.

Since they didn’t have enough money for all the athletes to exit, they chose those most likely to win medals. And one of those people also happened to be the first South American woman to ever compete in the Olympics.

5. Prisoners can reduce their sentences by reading books and riding bikes


This one might have you scratching your head at first, but bear with us for a moment. There’s actually some sound reasoning behind this. For the prisoners who read books, the belief is that the books will help prepare them for success upon their release. For every book they read, inmates can reduce their sentence by four days, with a limit of 48 days per year.

It’s known as Redemption through Reading, and it also requires the prisoners to write a book report upon finishing the book. The reports must be written neatly, much like you’d expect in a school setting, and the books available to the inmates include literary classics along with non-fiction scientific books and philosophical texts.This addresses the problem that many Brazilian prisoners face, as many have very little or a non-existent education.

Well, that makes some sense, doesn’t it…? But riding bikes? What’s that about? Well the bikes aren’t ordinary bikes. They’re stationary bikes attached to car batteries that charge as they pedal. They then use those batteries to power the street lights nearby. Pretty ingenious if you ask me!

6. Brazil relies heavily on renewable energy

In fact, 85.4% of the domestically produced electricity in Brazil is some form of renewable energy. Programs such as the one mentioned above for prisoners likely helped a bit, and as of 1985, 91% of all cars produced in the country ran on sugarcane ethanol. Brazil also utilizes wind power, solar power, hydroelectric power and more, working to rely on outside sources of energy less and less.

7. Brazil is the first country to ban tanning beds

When you imagine walking along the beach on the coasts of the beautiful Brazil, you probably imagine beautiful, tanned women walking alongside you. And well, that might be true… but those people with tans had to come about them in more natural ways than indoor tanning.

Brazil was the first country to completely outlaw tanning beds and indoor tanning, or even buying or selling equipment to do so. This came after the World Health Organization classified tanning beds as a Level 1 carcinogen, the same level as plutonium and cigarettes.

8. A rhinoceros was elected to Sao Paulo’s city council

Cacareco was a five-year-old female rhino at the local zoo, but to those living in Sao Paulo she was so much more. Not only did Cacareco win the election for city council, she won by a landslide. In fact, she has one of the highest totals for a local candidate in Brazil’s history.

Makes you wonder what’s up with that, doesn’t it? Well, it appears it was in protest against the other candidates. A group of students printed up 200,000 ballots with her name on it, and all the votes were legitimately cast by voters. One of them even commented, “Better to elect a rhino than an ass.”

It was considered a protest against food shortages, the high costs of living and corruption. Sadly, the rhino would not go on to hold office, however. The election officials nullified all her ballots and held a new election the following week.

9. Rio de Janeiro wasn’t just the capital of Brazil


It was also the capital of Portugal. Yes, that’s right, the city was the only European capital not located in Europe. It became the capital city when the Portuguese royal family fled Lisbon ahead of Napoleon’s invasion and remained the capital after the independence of Brazil in 1822.

Rio was the capital of Brazil until 1960 when that honor was handed over to Brasilia, a city that was more centralized.

10. The new capital, Brasilia, was built from scratch

Because of its modernist architecture and unique layout, the newest capital of Brazil was chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Developed and planned by Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer in 1956, the city’s design is divided into numbered blocks with sectors for specific activities such as the Banking Sector, the Hotel Sector and more.

The entire city was built from scratch, and was intended to bring progress to the interior of Brazil. And it was built during a time when everyone was fascinated with air travel, so from the sky, it looks just like an airplane.

See just how fascinating Brazil is? It’s easy to believe the entire country is like Rio de Janeiro, but there’s so much diversity, so much more to it than that. I hope you enjoyed reading about it and will consider visiting.

About the author

Kristen Duvall

Kristen is a writer of tales both real and make-believe. A Midwestern girl at heart, she currently resides in Southern California with her boyfriend, a Great Dane, and two rescued kitties, one of which is known simply as the KiKi Monster.

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