Brazil's population is a mixture of Native American, European, and
African peoples. These groups have intermingled over the years to
create a society with considerable ethnic complexity. The Native
American population has been in Brazil the longest, but is now the
The Portuguese began arriving in 1500, and other European groups
came after 1850. The ancestors of African Brazilians arrived as
slaves, beginning about the mid-1500s and ending in 1850 when the
slave trade was abolished.
Portuguese is the official and prevailing language of Brazil, although
there are some regional variations in pronunciation and slang words.
Since 1938 Portuguese has been the compulsory language for teaching
in schools, but German and Italian are still spoken in homes in
the South by some descendants of immigrants. English and French
are the main second languages of educated Brazilians.
There are also over 100 indigenous languages, of which the most
important are Tupi, Ge, Arawak, and Carib. The Portuguese borrowed
some Indian words, particularly from Tupi, which was the common
language used in interactions among the Native Americans of the
coastal regions, Jesuit missionaries, and early settlers.
The population of Brazil consist of 90% Roman Catholics.