The Physical Setting
With its expansive territory, Brazil occupies most of the eastern part of the South American continent and its geographic heartland, as well as various islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The only countries in the world that are larger are Russia, Canada, China, and the United States (including Alaska). The national territory extends 4,395 kilometers from north to south (5°16'20" N to 33°44'32" S latitude) and 4,319 kilometers from east to west (34°47'30" E to 73°59'32" W longitude). It spans four time zones, the westernmost of which, in Acre State, is the same as Eastern Standard Time in the United States. The time zone of the capital (Brasília) and of the most populated part of Brazil along the east coast is two hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, except when it is on its own daylight savings time, from October to February. The Atlantic islands are in the easternmost time zone.
Brazil possesses the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, located 350 kilometers northeast of its "horn," and several small islands and atolls in the Atlantic--Abrolhos, Atol das Rocas, Penedos de São Pedro e São Paulo, Trindade, and Martim Vaz. In the early 1970s, Brazil claimed a territorial sea extending 362 kilometers from the country's shores, including those of the islands.
On Brazil's east coast, the Atlantic coastline extends 7,367 kilometers. In the west, in clockwise order from the south, Brazil has 15,719 kilometers of borders with Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana (see table 2, Appendix). The only South American countries with which Brazil does not share borders are Chile and Ecuador. A few short sections are in question, but there are no major boundary controversies with any of the neighboring countries.
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