Brazil is the
largest and most populous country in Latin America, and fifth largest in
the world. Spanning a vast area between
central South America and the Atlantic Ocean, it is the
easternmost country of the Americas and it borders Uruguay, Argentina,
Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana,
Suriname and the French department of French Guiana — every South
American nation except for Ecuador and Chile. Named after
brazilwood, a tree highly valued by early colonists, Brazil is home
to both extensive agricultural lands and rain forests.
Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is South
America's leading economic power and a regional leader. As a
former colony of Portugal, Portuguese is its official language.
The native peoples of the Brazilian rainforest play instruments including whistles, flutes, horns, drums and rattles. Much of the area's folk music imitates the sound of the Amazon Rainforest. When the Portuguese arrived in Brazil, the first natives they met played an array of reed flutes and other wind and percussion instruments. The Jesuit missionaries introduced songs which used the Tupi language with Christian lyrics, in an attempt to convert the people to Christianity, and also introduced Gregorian chant and the flue, bow, and the clavichord.