In 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed which essentially gave Portugal the eastern half of the "New Word", including Brazil, Africa, and Asia. The Portuguese Empire was actually the first global empire in history! It was also one of the longest-lived colonial powers, lasting for almost six centuries from when Ceuta was captured in 1415, until Macau (now China) was handed-over in 1999. In 1808, the King of Portugal, Dom João moved to Brazil and proclaimed a single state which included Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. The single state was called the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves , which was effective from 1815-1822. The new capital of the kingdom was Rio de Janeiro. The kingdom was disestablished in 1822 after the King returned to Portugal in 1821, leaving his son, Prince Dom Pedro to rule Brazil who in turn declared independence from Portugal.
We are used to thinking of genes as being the controlling factor that determines what each of us is like physically, but genes are only a tiny part of our DNA. The other 97% was thought to be junk until recently, but we now realise that epigenetics – the processes that go on outside the genes – also have a major influence on our development. Some parts act to control "switches" that turn genes on and off, or program the production of other key compounds. For a long time it was a puzzle how around 20,000 genes (far fewer than some breeds of rice) were enough to specify exactly what we were like. The realisation now is that the other 97% of our DNA is equally important.