Rio de Janeiro Emigration and Immigration

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Rio de Janeiro is a state in the southeast region of Brazil. It is small in area but contains the city of Rio de janeiro, which is presently the second largest city and metro area in Brazil.


Cemetery records of the Cemiterio Catumbi (PDF), in Rio de Janeiro city, in the Sao Francisco de Paula district of the city. from 1851 and 1852.

Emigration and Immigration

The immigration process in Brazil was of great importance for the formation of the Brazilian culture. Portuguese colonists exploited the vast land, and the country became quite wealthy, which was reason enough for the great immigration of other nationalities, which began in 1818. In 1819, the first group of immigrants came from Switzerland and were assigned to settled in the area known now as Rio de Janeiro, which they named then Nova Friburgo. The Germans arrived later in 1824 and were settled in Rio Grande do Sul, colonizing the cities they called Novo Hamburgo, São Leopoldo, Santa Catarina, Blumenau, Joinville, and Brusque. People from Ukraine and Poland settled the area of Paraná. The Turks and Arabs settled in Amazonia. The majority of the Italians settled in São Paulo, as also did the Japanese and Spaniards.

After the abolition of slavery in 1888, the Brazilian government encouraged European immigration, because the skills brought by immigrants were needed for the progress of the country. Since then, the largest groups of immigrants to Brazil came from Italy and Germany.

As immigrants arrived at the port of Rio de Janeiro, they were registered by the Central Agency for Immigration (Agencia Central de Imigração). After disembarking, the immigrants were taken to the Isle of Flores (Ilha das Flores) and processed at the House of Emigrants (Casa dos Imigrantes). If the immigrants’ destination was São Paulo, they usually continued on to Santos, which is the port city for São Paulo (many ships went directly to Santos). The port authorities who registered and handled immigrants in Brazil were known as the Hostelry of Immigrants (Hospedaria de Imigrantes).

According to the census demographic statistics, Brazil reached a population of about 17,438,434 in 1900. In 1920, the population had almost doubled in number. By 1940, the population had increased to 41,236,315, and in 1960, Brazil reached a population of 70,191,370.

About 171,157 German immigrants arrived between the years 1900-1960. About 1,243,633 Italian immigrants arrived between 1876-1920. The largest group of Italian immigrants came from the areas of Vêneto, Campânia, Calabria, and Lombárdia. The smallest group came from Ligúria and Sardenha. The major Japanese immigration occurred between 1940 and 1950 with the majority of about 132,000 Japanese settling in São Paulo. The next largest group of Japanese settled in Paraná, and some 1,000 Japanese settled in Rio de Janeiro. Smaller groups of less than 1,000 were distributed in other nearby areas.