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Lebanese Brazilians (Portuguese: Líbano-brasileiros) (Arabic: البرازيلي اللبناني) are Brazilians of full, partial, or predominantly Lebanese ancestry, or Lebanese-born immigrants in Brazil. Until 1922, Levantine immigrants were considered "Turks", as they carried passports issued by the Turkish Ottoman Empire, which then ruled over present-day Lebanon.[4]

The population of Brazil of either full or partial Lebanese descent is estimated by the Brazilian and Lebanese governments to be around 7 million people.[1][2] According to a research conducted by IBGE in 2008, covering only the states of Amazonas, Paraíba, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso, and Distrito Federal, 0.9% of white Brazilian respondents said they had family origins in the Middle East.[3] If the first figure is correct (7 million), this number of descendants is larger than the population in Lebanon. However, other Middle Eastern countries such as Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine also contributed immigrants to Brazil, and nowadays, most of their descendants are of only partial Middle Eastern ancestry.

Immigration of the Lebanese (and Syrians) to Brazil started in the late 19th century, most of them coming from Lebanon and later from Syria. The immigration to Brazil grew further in the 20th century, and was concentrated in the state of São Paulo, but also extended to Minas Gerais, Goiás, Rio de Janeiro, and other parts of Brazil.

Between 1884 and 1933, 130,000 Lebanese people immigrated to Brazil—65% of them were Catholics (Maronite Catholics and Melkite Catholics), 20% were Eastern Orthodox, and 15% were Muslims (Shia, Sunni, and Druze). According to French Consulate reports from that time [1], Lebanese/ Syrian immigrants in São Paulo and Santos were 130,000, in Pará 20,000, Rio de Janeiro 15,000, Rio Grande do Sul 14,000, and in Bahia 12,000. During the Lebanese Civil War (1975–90), around 32,000 Lebanese people immigrated to Brazil.

Although the exact number of Lebanese Brazilians is disputed it is clear that there are at least 6 million Brazilians of Lebanese origin.[5] Despite being estimated at less than 4% of the population of the country, descendants of Lebanese immigrants occupied 10% of the parliament seats in 2014[5] and 8% in 2015.[6][7]

Lebanese culture has influenced many aspects of Brazil's culture. In big towns of Brazil it is easy to find restaurants of Lebanese food, and dishes, such as sfiha ("esfiha"), hummus, kibbeh ("quibe"), tahina, tabbouleh ("tabule") and halwa are very well known among Brazilians.

Most Lebanese immigrants in Brazil have worked as traders who sell textiles and clothes and open new markets. Lebanese-Brazilians are well-integrated into Brazilian society.

Notable Lebanese Brazilians

Please see List of Lebanese people in Brazil

See also


  1. ^ a b Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affaires
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-12. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  3. ^ a b IBGE: Características Étnico-Raciais da População Archived 2013-09-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Recopilaron casi 200 años de los sirio libaneses en Argentina Archived 2014-09-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ a b Joe Dyke, "How the Lebanese conquered Brazil - Success came through hard work and perseverance", Executive Magazine, July 3, 2014
  6. ^ Carvalho, Viviane. "Interview With The Ambassador of Brazil to Lebanon". Home For Lebanon. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  7. ^ Bercito, Diogo. "No Congresso, 8% dos parlamentares têm origem libanesa". Folha de S. Paulo. Retrieved 7 February 2016.