It is often said that the first European explorer to set foot in the country was Spaniard Vicente Yanez Pinzon, who supposedly landed near the site of modern-day Recife on January 26th 1500. Officially, however, it is Portuguese Pedro Alvares Cabral who is regarded as the discoverer of Brazil.

His fleet, in search of the Indias, sailed into the South of modern-day Bahia on April 22nd 1500. Since 1530, the Portuguese Crown implemented a colonising policy that lasted centuries and ended when Dom Pedro I declared the country’s independence on September 7th 1822. After 1822, Brazil was governed by an imperial dynasty until a military revolt led by Marshal Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca forced Emperor Dom Pedro II to abdicate in November 1889.

The country became a republic and, despite a long period of instability and even military dictatorship between 1964 and 1985, it now enjoys the fruits of democracy. Current President Dilma Rousseff has held the post since her inauguration on January 1st 2011.

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