Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 km (4,655 mi). It is bordered on the north by Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and the French overseas region of French Guiana; on the northwest by Colombia; on the west by Bolivia and Peru; on the southwest by Argentina and Paraguay and on the south by Uruguay. Numerous archipelagos form part of Brazilian territory, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz. It borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile and occupies 47% of the continent of South America.
Brazil was a colony of Portugal beginning from the landing of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500, up until 1815, when it was elevated to the rank of kingdom upon the formation of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. The colonial bond was in fact broken several years earlier, in 1808, when the capital of the Portuguese colonial empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, after Napoleon invaded Portugal. Independence was achieved in 1822 with the formation of the Empire of Brazil, a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system. The country became a presidential republic in 1889, when a military coup d'état proclaimed the Republic, although the bicameral legislature, now called Congress, dates back to the ratification of the first constitution in 1824. Its current Constitution, formulated in 1988, defines Brazil as a federal republic. The Federation is formed by the union of the Federal District, the 26 States, and the 5,564 Municipalities.
The Brazilian economy is the world's seventh largest by nominal GDP and the seventh largest by purchasing power parity, as of 2012. A member of the BRIC group, Brazil has one of the world's fastest growing major economies, and its economic reforms have given the country new international recognition and influence. Brazil's national development bank (BNDES) plays an important role for the country's economic growth. It mostly depends on its own money and invests in big local firms. The bank's goal is to promote economic growth as well as to preserve the environment and protection of local communities. Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, CPLP, Latin Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Organization of American States, Mercosul and the Union of South American Nations. Brazil is one of 17 megadiverse countries, home to a variety of wildlife, natural environments, and extensive natural resources in a variety of protected habitats. Brazil is considered a middle power in international affairs, and has been identified as an emerging power..
The word "Brazil" comes from brazilwood, a tree that once grew plentifully along the Brazilian coast.