Brazil is composed of 26 states and the federal district. The states, in descending order of population, are S~ao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Rio Grande do Sul, Paran'a, Pernambuco, Cear'a, Par'a, Maran h~ao, Santa Catarina, Goi " as, Para " ib a, Esp " ir ito Santo, Piau'i, Alagoas, Rio Grande do Norte, Amazonas, Mata Grosso, Mata Grosso do Sul, Sergipe, Rond^on ia, Tocantins, +Asko, Amap'a, and Roraima. The federal district includes Bras " ilia, which replaced Rio de Janeiro as the national capital in 1960. The largest city is S~ao Paulo, center of Brazilian industry, with a population (1991) of 9,480,427. Other leading cities, with their 1991 populations, include Rio de Janeiro, the former capital of the country and a commercial center (5,336,179); Salvador, a port located in a fertile agricultural region (2,056,013); Belo Horizonte, hub of a cotton-raising region (2,048,861); Bras " ilia, the capital (1,596,274); Recife, chief commercial city of the central region (1,290,189); Curitiba (1,290,142); Porto Alegre, an Atlantic port (1,262,631); Belem, a chief port on the lower Amazon River (1,246,435); and Manaus, a port on the Negro River (1,010,558). Religion About 89 percent of the inhabitants of Brazil are Roman Catholic.

Many Catholics combine worship of African deities with their Christian religious practices. The most prevalent of these is the Candombl'e sect, whose adherents are found mostly in the state of Bahia. There are also about 9.7 million Protestants, including substantial numbers of Lutherans, Methodists, and Episcopalians, and a small community of Jews. Most Native Americans follow traditional religions. Separation of church and state is formal and complete. Language Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, although Brazilians have adopted many words and phrases from native and immigrant languages.

German and Italian are spoken by many Brazilians, especially in the cities of the south.