From the jungle calls of the Amazon to the curves of Copacabana's thong-clad crowds, Brazil is a heady celebration of the big, the bold and the beautiful. Brazil's vast coastline is fringed with sandy beaches and island getaways, while buzzing Rio de Janeiro and stylish Sao Paulo offer nightlife and culture galore - as well as an annual dose of Carnival fever. Brazil is the largest country in South America and Latin America, and the world's 5th largest country but by geographical area and population which is over 193 million. Brazil was a colony of Portugal from 1500 until 1815. Independence was gained in 1822 with the formation of the Empire of Brazil. In 2011 Brazil economy was the worlds seventh largest and is still fast growing. 84% of the population is defined as urban with concentrations in the south east and north east of the country and a large void of uninhabited areas in the west where the Amazon rainforest lies.