Brazil's Immigration Throughout Time

Brazil is a land of immigrants. The various peoples that have moved to this land have made a huge effect on the culture and the life of Brazilians. Currently the largest ethnic groups residing in Brazil are the Portuguese, the Italian and the Japanese.


Before 1500, the population of Brazil was around 3 million people. These were the native Brazilians. In 1500, The Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral was lost on his route to the West Indies, and stumbled onto Brazil instead. This started the colonization of Brazil. The large influx of Portuguese into the country, changed Brazil completely. Portuguese is now the national language, and without the advanced technology they brought over, Brazil wouldn’t be a thriving country today.


After the initial colonisation, this opened the flood gates for further European migrants to enter the country. In the early years up until the 1930s, the predominant migrants were still Portuguese, however many other Europeans such as the German, the Spanish and the Italian also decided to move to greener pastures. With the arrival of the Europeans, they trafficked slaves from Africa. Though these Africans can hardly be considered migrants – as they were brought over against their will – they were brought over in such large numbers that now Brazil has deep African roots.


Brazil’s wide-open spaces and riches of the land attracted most of these early migrants. In recent times, with the industrialisation of many of Brazils cities, the focus of immigration was to work and live in metropolitan areas. It was still mostly Europeans – again particularly the Portuguese – that wished to migrate to Brazil, but a large Japanese population also migrated in the 1930 -1940s.

Currently this trend of immigration continues, as now it is more predominantly Asians who have chosen to move to Brazil. Currently Chinese and Koreans make the largest ethnic group of new migrants. Recent civil unrest in South American countries also have spurred immigrants to move to neighbouring Brazil.