Archeological evidence indicates that Indians moving south from North America had settled in what is now Brazil by at least 12,000 to 10,000 b.c. (Some archeologists believe that the first migration to Brazil may have taken place as early as 30,000 years ago.) Indians who settled in the Amazon Basin became farmers living in simple thatched-roof dwellings. Stone tools and weapons found along the east coast suggest that the Indians who settled in that area probably lived by hunting and fishing.

Important dates in Brazil
1500The Portuguese fleet commander Pedro Alvares Cabral landed in Brazil and claimed it for his country.
1630The Dutch invaded Brazil. The Portuguese drove them out in 1654.
1750Portugal and Spain signed a treaty fixing areas of rule in South America.
1808-1821The Portuguese royal family ruled Portugal and Brazil from Rio de Janeiro.
1822Brazil declared its independence from Portugal.
1888Slavery was abolished in Brazil.
1889Brazil proclaimed itself a republic.
1917Brazil declared war on Germany in World War I.
1930Military officials made Getulio Vargas president.
1942Brazil declared war on the Axis in World War II.
1945Brazil joined the United Nations.
1946A new constitution restored individual rights.
1960Brazil moved its capital from Rio de Janeiro to the newly built city of Brasilia.
1964Military leaders took control of the government.
1977Manufactured products, for the first time, earned more income from exports than did agricultural products.
1985Brazil's government was returned to civilian rule.