Brazil is the biggest country in all of South America. Officially known as the Federative Republic of Brazil, this nation covers an area of 3.287 million square miles (8.515 million square km) and has an estimated population of 209 million, making it the fifth most populous nation on the planet, behind Indonesia but ahead of Pakistan. Brazil has the eighth highest GDP on Earth, making it a leading global economic force. The nation has borders with almost all other South American countries, with Ecuador and Chile being the only two exceptions, and covers nearly half of South America.

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Brazil is home to hugely diverse landscapes and wildlife, including the Amazon River and rainforest. Inhabited by various tribes and indigenous peoples for many thousands of years, Brazil was claimed as part of the Portuguese Empire in 1500 and was under Portuguese control for several centuries, becoming a presidential republic in 1889. The official language of Brazil is Portuguese and the country's capital city is Brasilia. The largest city in Brazil is São Paulo. Here are some statistics and overviews of the largest cities of Brazil.

São Paulo

Situated in the Southeast Region of Brazil, São Paulo is the country's biggest city. It is classified as an alpha global and is also the most populous city in the entire Western Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere. São Paulo is also the largest city in the world to have Portuguese as its official language. This city covers an area of 587.3039 square miles (1,521.11 square km) and has an estimated population of 13.1 million, with over 21.5 million in the surrounding metropolitan area.

São Paulo has the 11th strongest GDP on Earth and contributes to over 10% of Brazil's national economy. It is also home to some of the tallest buildings in the country like the Mirante do Vale and North Tower. São Paulo is also a major touristic destination, home to many unique landmarks and attractions, along with hosting dozens of major events each year.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is situated in the state of the same name and is located in the southeastern part of the country. This city covers an area of 486.5 square miles (1,221 square km) and has an estimated population of 6.6 million, with over 12 million in the surrounding metropolitan area.

It is often simply referred to as Rio and its name translates into English as 'River of January'. Rio is one of Brazil's most visited locations due to its unique landscapes, architecture, beaches, and monuments like Christ the Redeemer, which is one of the most famous statues on Earth.

Brasilia

Brasilia is the third largest city in Brazil and is also the country's federal capital. It is situated among the Brazilian highlands in the central western part of the country. Brasilia covers an area of 2,240.164 square miles (5,802 square km) and has an estimated population of 3 million, with more than 4.2 million in the surrounding metropolitan area.

This city was founded in 1960, so is a relatively recent addition to the Brazilian landscape, but has grown at an exponential rate. All of Brazil's main governmental buildings are housed in Brasilia, along with over 120 international embassies.

Salvador

Located in the Brazilian state of Bahia, Salvador is the country's fourth biggest city. Salvador covers an area of 268 square miles (693 square km) and has a very low elevation of just 26 feet (8 m) above sea level due to its location on the eastern coast of the country.

The estimated population of Salvador is 2.9 million, with 3.9 million living in the surrounding metropolitan area. This city was founded by Portuguese settlers in 1549 and was the original capital city of Brazil. It's one of the oldest cities in the country with a lot of history behind it.

Fortaleza

Situated in the state of Ceará, of which it is the state capital, Fortaleza is the fifth largest city in Brazil. It is located in the northeastern part of the country and its name was derived from the presence of a Dutch military installation called Fort Schoonenborch, which was built in the area before the city was founded.

Fortaleza covers an area of 121.6 square miles (314.93 square km) and has an estimated population of 2.6 million, with over 4 million people living in the surrounding metropolitan area. Fortaleza has the distinction of being the closest Brazilian state capital to Europe.