"BRICS" is the acronym denoting the emerging national economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The term was originally coined in 2001 as "BRIC" by the Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill in his report, Building Better Global Economic BRICs (Global Economics Paper No: 66) [PDF] External. At that time, the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China experienced significant growth, raising concerns regarding their impact on the global economy. Foreign ministers of these countries began meeting informally in 2006, which led to more formal annual summits beginning in 2009.
Generally speaking, these meetings are held to improve economic conditions within BRICS countries and give their leaders the opportunity to work in collaboration regarding these efforts. In December of 2010, South Africa joined the informal group and changed the acronym to BRICS. Together these emerging markets represent 42% of the world population and account for over 31% of the world's GDP according to the World Factbook.
Following are dates and locations of the past BRIC/BRICS summits, along with links to their official websites when available, statements or declarations from each summit. Many of the linked documents are available from the University of Toronto BRICS Information Centre External that keeps close track of the BRICS activities and provides comprehensive research and analysis.