Name of Brazil

Name of Brazil


Brazil is named after a tree.


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The name Brazil is a shortened form of Terra do Brasil (Land of Brazil), a reference to the brazilwood tree. The name was given in the early 16th century to the territories leased to the merchant consortium that was led by Fernao de Loronha to exploit brazilwood for the production of wood dyes for the European textile industry.

The term for the brazilwood tree in Portuguese, pau-brasil, is formed by pau (wood) and brasa (ember), the latter referring to the vivid red dye that can be extracted from the tree. The word brasa is formed from Old French brese (ember, glowing charcoal), which is in turn from medieval Latin brasa.

According to tradition, before colonisation, the native name of the land was the one given by the local indigenous peoples, Pindorama (Tupi for Land of the Palms). However, exact translation of "Land of Palms" would be Pindotetama or Pindoretama in the Tupi language, suggesting Pindorama may be a later corruption of the original term. Pindorama may have referred merely to the coastal regions, as the term Tapuiretama or Tapuitetama (Land of the Enemy) was used by the Tupi to refer to the interior, then mostly inhabited by Je peoples.


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