The Brazilian Academy of Letters, with its headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, is generally regarded as the most prestigious of the country’s numerous learned societies.The National Library, also in Rio, was founded in 1810 with 60,000 volumes from the Portuguese royal library; it now holds millions of books and documents.The cultures of the indigenous Indians, Africans, and Portuguese have together formed the modern Brazilian way of life.

The São Paulo Art Museum (1947) and Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art (1948) are internationally renowned.

Both Rio and São Paulo have major museums of anthropology and numerous theatres.

Most of Brazil’s other libraries have limited holdings.

Among the major history museums are the Museum of the Republic (1960; housed in the former governmental palace) and the National Historical Museum (1922), both in Rio, the São Paulo University Museum (1895), and the Imperial Museum (1940) in Petropólis.

From this point, there succeeded a period of political and social turmoil with the Paulista Coffee Oligarchy dominating the political scene.

In 1930, the populist dictator, Getúlio Vargas, overthrew the Old Republic thus giving way to what became known as the ‘Vargas Era’.

The President, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached in May 2016 after a political scandal.

The only exceptions are some members of Amerindian groups and pockets of immigrants (primarily from Japan and South Korea), who have not yet learned Portuguese.

Commercial and cultural imports from Europe and North America have often competed with—and influenced—Brazilians’ own cultural output, and critics have argued that the nation’s cultural identity is suffering as a result.

Despite numerous social and economic challenges, Brazilians continue to be exuberant and creative in their celebrations and art forms.

A notable institution for the performing arts is the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra (1953; revitalized 1972), housed since 1999 in the Sala São Paulo, a renovated early 20th-century railroad station.