Brief history of Germans’ migration to Brazil
The first German immigrants arrived in Brazil during the reign of D. Pedro I. They settled in the Southeast and South of the country, where, from 1824, the German colony of São Leopoldo (Rio Grande do Sul) was founded.
The Germans represented approximately 5% of the immigrants who sought a new homeland in Brazil. Over more than a hundred years, approximately 250,000 Germans arrived in Brazil. Currently, the number of their descendants on Brazilian soil is estimated at five million.
Rio Grande do Sul was the state that received most of the German immigrants, followed by Santa Catarina. In the 30s of the last century, 20% of the population of these states was already of German origin. In Paraná, São Paulo and Espírito Santo the percentage was lower, but equally significant. Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro received quantitatively smaller contingents, although the German presence in cities like Juiz de Fora and Petrópolis was remarkable.
Large migratory waves were recorded in 1870, 1890, and especially between the two world wars.
Most German immigrants, therefore, arrived in Brazil between 1920 and 1930. Between the end of World War I, in 1918, and 1933, the year of Adolf Hitler's rise to power, around 80,000 Germans arrived in Brazil seeking to escape the instability of the Weimar Republic.
German immigration to Brazil played an important role in the process of urbanization and industrialization, having influenced, to a large extent, the architecture of cities and, in short, the Brazilian physical and social landscape. It also played an important role in shaping Brazilian culture, especially with regard to certain eating habits, typical theatrical stagings, church choirs, brass bands and so on. A typical example is the Oktoberfest, a party held annually, which symbolizes German joy, having incorporated, with adaptations and modifications, German food, music, and language into Brazilian culture, especially in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina.