According to a British Council questionnaire published yesterday, nearly two thirds of Britons don’t know that the capital of Brazil is Brasilia, the same number don’t know that Brazil is one of the world’s top 10 economies and more than a third don’t realise that Brazilians speak Portuguese.
On the positive side, less than a quarter know that Gisele Bündchen is a model. The rest have no interest at all in knowing the names of stick thin women who get paid millions just because they were fortunate enough to have good genes.
It’s an alarming but understandable ignorance. Brazil was not an important nation until recently and its fame was for football and carnival and favelas.
As the British Council pointed out:
“Historically, Brazil has had a relatively low level of engagement with UK cultural institutions, artists, producers and entrepreneurs. As Brazil develops as a major economic and political world power, both the UK and Brazil are committed to further developing a long term strategic relationship that will deliver mutual benefits and create new opportunities to strengthen relationships between the two nations.”