Brazil - Early Colonists from Glarus

Coming to Brazil

Brazil was stylized in the middle of the 19th century as the earthly paradise and land of plenty. The cultivation of coffee was regarded as a symbol of the prosperity to be gained from afar. Between 1852 and 1857, some 2000 Swiss emigrated to the province of Sao Paulo in Brazil, where they worked as coffee pickers on 25 coffee plantations spread over 25 different areas. They had been forced to emigrate by crop failures and famine. The reality in Brazil, on the other hand, was different - the paradise in their minds quickly gave way to the hard daily life on the plantations. Under pressure from the growing international criticism of slavery, since the 1840s Brazil had been trying to replace slaves with colonists who were to manage the coffee plantations as sharecroppers. Long accustomed to keeping slaves, however, the Swiss were also treated unfairly. The emigrants hardly had a chance to pay their debts and become free farmers. As a result, there was a revolt against the working and living conditions imposed on them, which escalated into a Swiss state affair and emigration to Brazil quickly dried up.

Original Pioneer Colonist (Arrival in August 1853)

The first known group of Glarus colonist mainly from Engi and Matt left Hamburg for Santos in July 1853. They all went to the coffee plantation farm Ibicaba after they arrived in Santos.

Original Pioneer Colonist (Arrival in June 1855)

Thomas Davatz (1815-1888) was schoolmaster in Fanas, Fideris and Malans in the Swiss canton of Graubünden. In 1854 he decided to emigrate to America. His original idea was to settle in the USA. As a result of the positive official propaganda of the government he finally decided to settle in Brazil. Together with a group of compatriots from Graubünden, but also from Glarus, Aargau and other parts of Switzerland, he boarded the sailing ship "Kronprinz Ernst August" in Hamburg on April 20, 1855, with which he arrived in Santos on June 15, 1855 after a little more than 7 weeks. The group was hired by the colonization company of Senator Nicolau de Campos Vergueiro. Some of the settlers were led to the Ibicaba estate and others to the Angelica estate which both were in the state of São Paulo. Both colonies belonged to Senator Vergueiro where he had coffee grown. 

Original Pioneer Colonist (Arrival in August 1855)

The group which set sail from Hamburg to Santos in June 1855 was the largest closed travel group of Glarner to Brazil. Most of them came from Matt and Engi.

 

The Beginnings of Immigration to São Paulo

(Translation from the below mentioned website Imigração germânica no estado de São Paulo)

It began in the state of São Paulo in 1827, when 995 settlers were brought from Germany, hired by Major Schaffer to serve the Imperial Government. With these immigrants were constituted the colonies of Santo Amaro (mostly evangelical) and Itapecerica (mostly catholic).

 

In 1837, through Major João Bloem, another 227 immigrants, mostly Prussians, were brought in, of which 56 settled in the steelworks of Ipanema in Sorocaba and the remaining 171 were employed in the construction of the Cubatão/São Paulo road.

 

From 1846 to 1849 Senator Vergueiro introduced the colonial partnership system (Parceria), hiring 506 German immigrants to work in the coffee plantation near the Ibicaba Farm. After a revolt initiated by the Swiss Thomaz Davatz, who demanded better working conditions, Prussia prohibited immigration to the state of São Paulo.

 

In 1852, 36 families from Holstein were immigrated, totaling 170 people. Of these 27 families went to work at Fazenda São Jerônimo owned by Francisco Antonio de Souza Queiroz in the municipality of Limeira.

 

The rest, that is, 9 families went to Sete Quedas Farm, owned by Joaquim Bonifácio do Amaral located in the municipality of Campinas.

 

In the year 1862, the Ibicaba Farm again received more German immigrants. There were 104 families who were mostly from Renania Palatinado and Vestphalia.

 

According to information there were more than 100 localities with immigrants of German and Swiss origin working in the coffee plantations in the interior of São Paulo.

 

This influx of immigrants introduced approximately 8,000 Germanic and Swiss immigrants into the state of São Paulo during the 19th century.

 

These immigrants were fully incorporated into the local population, so much so that their descendants, 3rd and 4th generations, completely forgot the German language.

 

Colonies (19th and 20th centuries) are listed and described on the above mentioned website.

Documents about Early Colonists in Brazil 

Link to the Article Brazil - Early Colonists from Glarus with a list of all so far known emigrants from Glarus

Links

Link to the website about German Immigration in the State of São Paulo with a list and description of the various colonies (only in Portuguese)

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