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Brazil Tours

Social Cultural Diversity

Travel & Tours / Brazil – Brazil is a multinational country with an extraordinary ethnic / linguistic diversity, particularly in the Mata Atlântica region, from where the colonization started. According to the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE), more than 10 million immigrants came to Brazil until today (including 4 million African slaves).

During the colonial period, immigration was limited to Portuguese people. Accordingly, the Brazilian nation was initially originated by the fusion of three races: white (Portuguese), indigenous (Amerindian) and black (African). Later, European, Jewish, Arab and Japanese immigrants joined them.

The Indigenous Peoples were decisive in the formation of Brazilian culture, in the sense of religion (catimbó, tamandaré or macumba carioca), alimentation (maize, manioc and cajú) and medicine. Children of Indian women and Portuguese men (Mamelucos) played an important role in the enlargement of the Brazilian territory.

Between 1532, when Martim Afonso de Sousa founded São Vicente, and 1800, the European immigration to Brazil was almost exclusively Portuguese. More than 700.000 Portuguese immigrants came to settle in their new colony at this time. Different than the constructive colonization of North America by the Anglo - Saxons, the lusitanian/iberic settlement in Brazil was a colonization of exploitation based on slavery, initially with Indians and later with African slaves.

Since mid of the 16th century, due to the extinction of the Indian race, their inexperience and resistance to work, African slaves slowly began to substitute the Indian labor force. It is estimated that about 4 million African slaves were imported to Brazil at this time. They were used to produce sugar, coffee, cotton and other export products and belonged to societies of extreme ethnic and linguistic diversity, such as Congos, Angolans, Benguelas, Cabindans, Nagôs, Bantos and many more.

The African born in Brazil (Creoles) were mixing with other races forming mestizos of different types, like Mulato (African and European), Caboclo (European and Indian), Cafuzo (African and Indian) and many others. They influenced deeply the cultural formation of Brazil with regard to religion (e.g. calundo, candomblé, zungu) music and dance (e.g. capoeira, samba, revira, axé) and alimentation (e.g. coconut milk, dendê).

Descendants of African slaves, nowadays living in so-called quilombos are called quilombolas and descendants of mixed white, Indian and African people are denominated caiçaras when they settled along the coast and caipiras when they settled in the country´s interior.

The agricultural crisis (latifundio, feudal system), together with the industrial revolution in Europe in the 19th century caused lack of ground, unemployment and extreme poverty for a large part of the rural population (campesinos). On the other hand, the Brazilian government promoted the entrance of immigrants into Brazil due to the lack of labor force caused by the abolishment of slavery in 1888. Between 1884 and 1939, more than 4 million foreigners emigrated to Brazil.

First arrived the Swiss (2.000) in 1819, who settled in Rio de Janeiro (Nova Friburgo), the Germans (171.000), in 1824, who went mostly to Rio Grande do Sul (Novo Hamburgo, São Leopoldo, Santa Catarina, Blumenau, Joinville and Brusque), the Spanish (582.000), the Slavics, originally from Ukraine and Poland, inhabiting Paraná, the Turks and Arabs, who were concentrated in the Amazon, the Italians (1,4 million) from Venice, Geneva, Calábria, and Lombard, who in their mayor part came to São Paulo, the Japanese (186.000) and many more – Travel to Brazil / Tours.