The original inhabitants of Brazil were Amerindians. When the Portuguese settlers arrived in the 1500s, they intermarried with the Amerindians.


Brazil was colonized (occupied and ruled) by the Portuguese. From the 1500s to the 1800s, Brazil provided nearly 75 percent of the world's supply of coffee.


Brazilians of African origin comprise nearly 10 percent of the total population of Brazil. As in the United States, their arrival can be traced back to the slave trade of the mid-1500s.


The Kayapo Indians are one of the main Amerindian (native) groups that remain in the rain forest around the Amazon River in Brazil. The Kayapos resisted assimilation (absorption into the dominant culture) and were known traditionally as fierce warriors.


In the late sixteenth century, Portuguese colonizers (foreigners who occupied and ruled the area) in Brazil named the Amerindians that inhabited the north of the Goiás region Xavante, for unknown reasons. The name the Amerindians used for themselves was Auwe, meaning people.


The people of Bulgaria are called Bulgarians. About 85 percent of the people trace their ancestry to Bulgaria.


Burkina Faso

The people of Burkina Faso are known as the Burkinabe. The main ethnic group in Burkina Faso is the Mossi, who make up about 55 percent of the total population.


Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in Africa, and one that Americans know the least about. Until 1984, it was known as Upper Volta.



The people of Burundi are known as the Burundians. The largest group, the Hutu (also known as Bahutu), are traditionally farmers and make up about 85 percent of the population in both Burundi and the neighboring country of Rwanda.


Rwanda and Burundi are two African countries with long histories. Both were kingdoms centuries before Europeans arrived.



Over 90 percent of the 10 million people in Cambodia are ethnic Khmers, descendants of the original population in the area. The largest minority groups are the Chinese (about 61,000) and Vietnamese (estimated at 56,000).


For much of the twentieth century, Cambodia has been largely unknown to most of the world except as the home of Angkor Wat (an elaborate three-story temple built in the twelfth century), one of the wonders of the world. Not until the Vietnam War (1954–75) did Cambodia come to the world's attention.

Hill Tribespeople

Among the groups who live in Cambodia are the hill tribespeople. These tribespeople are not ethnic Khmer, as are the vast majority of Cambodians.


Cameroon has an extremely heterogeneous (mixed) population, consisting of approximately 200 ethnic groups. The principal groups are Bantus, mostly in the south, and the Fulani, in the north.


Cameroon's present borders were drawn after World War I (1914–18). It had been a German colony in 1885 but was surrendered to the British and French in 1916.


Nearly one-third of Canadians claim multiple ethnic origin. People who report British origin (including Irish) make up almost 45 percent of the population.


French Canadians


Cape Verde

The people of Cape Verde are called Cape Verdenas. About 70 percent are descendants of Portuguese colonists and their African slaves, who came, most often, from what is today Guinea-Bissau.

Cape Verdeans

The Cape Verdean archipelago (island chain) had no known inhabitants before colonial times. It is believed that Arab sailors were aware of the islands by the tenth or eleventh century.

Central African Republic

Central Africans, the people in the Central African Republic, belong to more than 80 ethnic groups, which are classified according to geographic location. The Banda (34 percent) in the east central region and the Baya (27 percent) to the west are estimated to be the largest groups.

Central Africans


The people of Chad are called Chadians. The majority trace their origins to African groups, but the population has been influenced over the years through successive invasions from the Arabic north.


In the eleventh century, traders from north Africa were searching for gold and slaves. They came to the area that is Chad, and introduced the religion of Islam.


The people of Chile are called Chileans. The population is estimated to be about 75 percent mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian), almost 20 percent white, and about 5 percent Amerindian (native people, mainly Araucanians).


Several Amerindian cultures thrived in Chile prior to the arrival of Inca invaders from Peru in the fifteenth century. From the sixteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth, Chile was under Spanish colonial rule.


Historically, the Araucanian Indians lived in southern, central, and northern areas of Chile and in present-day Argentina. They were divided into three main groups: the Picunche in the north, the Mapuche in the central area, and the Huilliche in the south.


China is the most populous nation on Earth. The largest ethnic group in the world is the Han, who alone account for over 1 billion of China's total population of 1.1 billion.



The Dong are a nationality whose origin can be traced through a branch of the Xiou tribe during the Qin (221–206 BC) and Han (206 BC–AD 220) dynasties more than 2,000 years ago. They were also called Liao, Geling, and other names in ancient Chinese works.


Man (Manchus)

The Man, better known as the Manchus, dwell mainly in northeast China. They are descended from the Jurchens of the Central Plains.



Tibetan civilization began near the Yarlung Zanbo River in present-day Tibet. A Tibetan kingdom was created in the sixth century AD.


The Uighurs form the ethnic majority of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Their ancestors can be traced back 2,000 years.


The Zhuang were once a branch of the ancient Baiyue people. They descended from clans in present-day Guangxi province after the fall of the Han Dynasty in AD 220.


The people of Colombia are called Colombians. About 50 percent of the population is mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian or native people).


Amerindian tribes, including the Páez, inhabited the area of modern-day Colombia before the Spanish arrived in the sixteenth century. By the late 1700s, the Amerindians grew tired of paying high taxes to the Spanish, and decided to fight for independence.


The Páez Indians of Colombia resisted the Spanish conquerors who arrived in the sixteenth century. One of the first Spanish explorers to enter southwestern Colombia, where the Páez live, was Sebastián de Belalcázar.

Congo,Democratic Republic of the

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC) was formerly known as Zaire. This chapter begins with an overview article on the people of the DROC (the Congolese).


The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC—the former Zaire) is Africa's third-largest country. Its boundaries were drawn arbitrarily at the Conference of Berlin in 1884–85.


Efe and Mbuti

Congo, Republic of the

The people of the Republic of Congo are called Congolese. The population belongs to four major ethnic groups—the Bakongo, Bateke, Mboshi, and Sanga—which comprise more than 40 tribes.


In October 1997, the Republic of the Congo swore in a new president after a four-month civil war. The war killed thousands and left the capital of Brazzaville in ruins.


In the United States, the Aka are better known as "pygmies." The term "pygmy" refers to a person of short stature (typically under five feet tall) who hunts and gathers and has a strong identity with the tropical forest. It is generally a disrespectful term that emphasizes their physical characteristics.