Although some cultures and ethnic minorities have survived in Brazil for thousands
of years, for the overwhelming majority of the country, life is more strongly rooted
in more recent changes. With the arrival of the Spanish the many indigenous groups
of people in Brazil took many different paths, from surviving in the forests to
being enslaved or integrated into the immigrating population.
Among the earliest immigrants, most were Portuguese, but the Portuguese sought to
control and profit from this vast land and didn't have the manpower to do so.
This led to massive immigration of people from other areas, including Africa, often
in the form of slavery. The French, Dutch, Spanish, and others also arrived to profit
from these lands, making the country even more diverse.
The many introductions and changes to the country led to a continuous altering of
the culture and people. Some communities remain tied to indigenous roots and cultures,
others have become almost wholly African in ethnicity, but culturally and linguistically
may be more closely tied to Portugal or Africa. Still others have taken on the route
of the majority, which is a developing Brazilian culture based on European traditions
as the Portuguese language and Catholicism dominate.
Cultural variations expand beyond just ethnicity; they also change according to
the urban-rural balance, socio-economic class, and more. The cultural and lifestyle
differences among the people in Brazil are vast and seemingly endless. However,
most of the people remain united in many ways; most of the people speak Portuguese
and are Catholic, among other important identifying features.