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March 30, 2009

Where, exactly, is Brazil?


A little rusty on your geography? Well, a new geography textbook from Brazil’s Ministry of Education will make you feel better. According to an Associated Press report by Bradley Brooks, maps in this textbook “distributed by the education ministry in Brazil’s most populous state botches the location of most of Brazil’s neighbors. Paraguay is switched with Uruguay, and a second ‘new’ Paraguay is shown with a coastline at the southern tip of Brazil.”

The good news is, “Bolivia is fortunate enough to appear on the map, but the book misses its border with Paraguay — the Paraguay that sits where Uruguay should be, that is.”

The bad news is, the publisher, Vanzolini Foundation, printed 500,000 copies of these babies — which it will now have to eat, and replace with a new printing of the book, hopefully with more accurate maps.

Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.