Thursday, September 7, marks Brazil Independence Day, “Sete de Setembro!” Brazilians gather for picnics, cookouts, and parties, attend cultural events, and set off fireworks. A national celebration is held at the Ministries Esplanade in the country’s capital city of Brasília with the president and a military parade showcasing the country’s armed forces.
“Dia da Independência” holds great cultural and historical importance for Brazilians who lived under Portuguese colonial rule until September 22, 1882. Dom Pedro I, son of King Dom João VI of Portugal, declared the country’s independence on the banks of the Ipiranga River in São Paulo before becoming Emperor of Brazil. However, his rule was short-lived as the country became a republic in 1889, and Deodoro da Fonseca was elected the first president.
Today, Brazilians celebrate their history and culture and view September 7 as a day of unity and pride. The country and its citizens have made numerous contributions to science, art, athletics, and more. Here are just a few notable Brazilians.
- Pelé − Retired footballer who is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, player of all time. Pele won three World Cups with Brazil in 1958, 1962, and 1970−the most World Cup wins by a player.
- Gisele Bündchen − Model and businesswoman Bündchen earned a spot on Forbes’ top-earning models list in 2012.
- Paulo Coelho − Author of more than 30 books whose novel The Alchemist is an international best-seller.
- Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior − Footballer who made his professional debut at age 20 and soon became the Brazilian league’s top player.
- Oscar Niemeyer − Architect who designed the capital city Brasilia and is known for his modernistic architecture.
- Maria da Penha − Biopharmacist, womens’ rights activist and human rights defender.
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