Immigration > Brazil
Immigration to Brazil
In 1871, many of the privileges originally provided to the Volga Germans when they first settled in Russia where withdrawn.
Many began looking for new areas to settle where they could live undisturbed. While some looked to the Russian frontier in Siberia, where enforcement of the law was not as strict, many looked to the Americas as their best hope for the future. In the late 1800's and early 1900's, significant numbers of Volga Germans emigrated to the North American countries of Canada and the United States and thousands more looked for a new beginning in South America.
The reasons for settlement in South America are not well documented, but likely included the lower cost of the sea voyage, less rigorous medical controls at the borders and a more favorable religious environment for those of the Catholic faith.
Another group of scouts coming back from North America met with gentleman named Rudolph Kuhlemann who told them that the Brazilian government was seeking European colonists. He provided this group of Volga Germans scouts with a written list of the requirements to settle in Brazil, but the paper was placed in a book and lost for some period of time. By chance, this paper was found in 1876 and was made public at a one week conference about emigration that was held in the colony of Balzer. At the conference, which was held in August, many people from several colonies attended. Six or seven scouts were selected to travel to Brazil. Their leader was probably Karl Hartmann from Reinwald. Also mentioned are: Jakob Müller from Dönhof, a Gottfried or Joseph Meier from Graf, a Margheim from Merkel, a Schmidt from Kamenka, a Schamne from Graf and Alexander Reuss from Balzer. It is assumed that these scouts traveled to Brazil in September 1876 and returned in January 1877.
Reportedly, the scouts were treated well by the Brazilian government who accompanied and advised them. Initially they were taken to a forested site which they rejected in favor of the more familiar steppe land in the Brazilian state of Paraná. This land was located in what today are the Municipalities (Districts) of Ponta Grossa, Palmeira, and Lapa.
When the scouts returned to Russia, meetings were again held in various colonies where it was decided that groups of 300 to 400 would emigrate together, although some preferred to travel in smaller groups or alone. The first settlers began arriving in Brazil in late 1877, founding colonies in early 1878 in the Municipality of Ponta Grossa.
Settlements in Brazil were divided by religious preference as allowed by the Brazilian government.
Second, Brazilian Emperor Pedro II was a Germanophile (in fact his wife was an Hapsburg princess) who made all the efforts to attract German (including Russian German) immigration.
Last, the fact that the Catholic faith was the official one in Brazil (as in Argentina) is another aspect to consider, as many Volga Germans chosen South America because this reason. The proportion between Catholics and Protestants Volga Germans was approx. 7 to 1 in South America.
- Jorge Luis Göttig, Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Emigration to Brazil (Stahl am Karaman)
- Passenger Lists of Volga Germans going to South America, 1876-1894 (Gerardo R. Waimann)
Last updated 18 November 2013.