Polish Brazilians (Portuguese: 'polono-brasileiros') refers to Brazilians of full or partial Polish ancestry, who is aware of such ancestry and remain connected, to some degree, to Polish culture, or Polish-born people permanently residing in Brazil. Also, a Polish Brazilian can have one Polish parent.
The first Polish immigrants arrived in the port of Itajaí, Santa Catarina, in August 1869. They were 78 Poles from the area of Southern Silesia. Commandant Redlisch, of the ship Victoria, brought people from Eastern Europe to settle in Brusque.
They were in total 16 families, among them: Francisco Pollak, Nicolau Wós, Boaventura Pollak, Thomasz Szymanski, Simon Purkot, Felipe Purkot, Miguel Prudlo, Chaim Briffel, Simon Otto, Domin Stempke, Gaspar Gbur, Balcer Gbur, Walentin Weber, Antoni Kania, Franciszek Kania, André Pampuch and Stefan Kachel. The Poles were placed in the colonies Príncipe Dom Pedro and Itajaí, in the area of Brusque.
Fewer Poles immigrated to Brazil than Portuguese or Italians, but many Poles have settled in Brazil. From 1872 to 1959, 110,243 "Russian" citizens entered Brazil. In fact, the vast majority of them were Poles, since Poland was under Russian rule, and ethnic Poles immigrated with Russian passports.
|Immigrants living in Curitiba and outskirts (1878)|
|Curitiba population (1872)||12,651|
Most Polish immigrants to Southern Brazil were Catholics who arrived between 1870–1920 and worked as small farmers in the State of Paraná. Others went to the neighboring states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina and São Paulo, which is a state as well as a city. After the 1920s, many Polish Jews immigrated seeking refuge from Europe, settling mainly in the State of São Paulo. Today most Brazilian Jews are of Polish descent.
The State of Paraná still retains a strong influence from the Polish culture. Many small towns have a majority of Polish-descendants and the Polish language is spoken by some of them, although nowadays most Polish Brazilians only speak Portuguese. The city of Curitiba has the second largest Polish diaspora in the world (after Chicago) and Polish music, dishes and culture are quite common in the region. Curitiba was largely influenced by a mayor Jaime Lerner.
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After the proclamation of the Republic, the Brazilian government practically opened the doors of the country to immigration. In the first years of the Republic, the greatest immigration to Brazil occurred. The Polish appeared in the statistics in significant numbers. This period was known in Poland as "Brazilian fever". Important Polish communities appeared in several Brazilian states:
Polish writer Maria Konopnicka published in 1910 a poem Mister Balcer in Brazil (Pan Balcer w Brazylii). Balcer fails to accommodate and returns to Poland. Mieczysław Lepecki had visited several South American countries, including Brazil, preparing mass emigration from Poland, and published several books about South America. Kazimierz Warchałowski returned to Poland and published there books about Brazil.