Italians in Brazil – History Part 2
The Italians contributed to the liberation of the slaves, not only with the help given to the agitation (especially by Count Alessandro Siciliano who had set up a center of abolitionism in Piracicaba), but above all with the comparison between the work performance of the emigrant and the slave. The provisional government that followed the proclamation of the republic was, however, anti-emigrationist, promising to colonize Brazil with Brazilian arms, but already at the end of 1891 it had to change its mind, giving development to an active action of attracting foreign labor, which, although it concerns Italy, it could already be said that it began with the two information offices set up by the councilor Antonio Prado in Genoa and Milan.
On 3 August 1892 the government of the Union, grouping in a single contract the various concessions previously made by the imperial and the provisional governments, reached a pact with the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan Company to introduce one million European immigrants., to be carried out over a period of 10 years, while the state of S. Paolo continued to introduce Italian workers on its behalf, stipulating contracts now with the immigration promoter, now with other introducers.
Italian emigration followed a triple current directed to the state of S. Paolo for the port of Santos, to the state of Minas Geraes for Rio de Janeiro, to the state of Espirito Santo for the port of Vittoria. At this time the emigration agents misunderstood maliciously, and too often, about the destination of Italian families, having no qualms about sending those who had been hired for another to one state and vice versa, despite the fact that the emigrant’s passport clearly indicated the point of destination.
Some state governments took over to “subsidize” emigration, such as Rio Grande do Sul until 1895, Minas Geraes until 1897, S. Paolo until 1927. The Italians who arrived in Brazil, who in 1885 were about 12,000, climbed to 31,000 in 1887, to over 97,000 in 1888.
Two very serious periods had meanwhile passed through Italian emigration in the decade. In 1888 when the migratory flow, as mentioned, had increased enormously, the Brazilian state found itself facing a huge agglomeration of people in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Porto Alegre, without being able to immediately proceed with the distribution of colonizable lands. so that the kindergartens of emigrants were regurgitating and while that of S. Paolo was capable of only 4000 people it housed 9000, among which a terrifying yellow fever suddenly broke out which caused a massacre. For this reason, with an order dated May 13, 1889, the Italian government suspended emigration and in turn the Brazilian government hastened the repatriation. But even more serious was the situation revealed in 1894. When the flattering promises of the new republican regime established over the imperial one failed, the reaction, which was surprised and dismayed on November 15, began to organize itself until the tremendous explosion of 1893, and then new and serious occurred in the economic organization of the Republic disturbances, which ended up sacrificing most of the displaced who were in the country. This was prey to the spirit of reaction that radiated from the center to all states; in the far south, the revolution and the civil war that followed and lasted two years damaged the Italians not a little. economic organization of the Republic, new and serious disturbances, which ended up sacrificing most of the displaced who were in the country. This was prey to the spirit of reaction that radiated from the center to all states; in the far south, the revolution and the civil war that followed and lasted two years damaged the Italians not a little. economic organization of the Republic, new and serious disturbances, which ended up sacrificing most of the displaced who were in the country. This was prey to the spirit of reaction that radiated from the center to all states; in the far south, the revolution and the civil war that followed and lasted two years damaged the Italians not a little.
Many peaceful settlers asked for compensation for the damage suffered and the Italian government did not fail to diplomatically support these requests: this fact raised opposition and above all shocked public opinion so that very unfortunate incidents occurred between Brazilians and Italians. The presentation of the Italian requests (the protocol) originated a popular uprising against the Italians whose assets were damaged. The news of these events led to the sending to Brazil of the royal ships Lombardia (which in the port of Rio destroyed almost all the crew from yellow fever, fraternally aided by the officers of the Brazilian navy) and Piedmont, with the plenipotentiary De Martino, who came to a settlement with the Brazilian government.
Thus, after a still conspicuous expatriation of 82,000 emigrants in the previous year, to 1902, and the famous provision, incorrectly known under the name of “Prinetti decree” and which instead consisted in the suspension – by the emigration commissioner – licenses for the transport of emigrants with free travel issued to certain shipping companies. This measure was aimed only at rescuing emigrants from the fallacious lure of free travel, leaving emigration to Brazil in exactly the same conditions of freedom, but of conscious responsibility, as for other countries. Except that, it was enough by itself – proof of the artificiality of the pre-existing stimulus – to progressively reduce emigration for Brazil to an average of about 12,000 per year, largely offset by repatriation. According to the same Brazilian statistics, from 1902 to today there have been 427,757 arrivals, against 278,795 repatriations.
The 1,292,159 Italians who, according to the statistical yearbook of the ceased emigration commission, had emigrated to Brazil from 1876 to 1925 were thus distributed for reasons of origin: Veneto (383,701); Campania (170,646); Lombardy (107,740); Calabria (139,087); Abruzzi and Molise (94,079); Tuscany (85,055); Emilia (60,764); Basilicata (55,633); Sicily (45,500); Piedmont (43,813), etc.
Brazilian statistics, naturally including Italians from other origins as well as those arriving from Italy, denounce a total of 1,432,443 from 1810 to 1926 over a general total of 4,167,439 immigrants of which 1,319,189 Portuguese, representatives, after Italian, the most numerous element. Again according to Brazilian statistics, the Italians who made their way to São Paulo in the period considered were 92,967, while the others, especially Veneti, went elsewhere and especially to Rio Grande do Sul, Espirito Santo, Paraná, S. Catharina, Minas Geraes. Until 1901, precise data on Italian repatriation and re-emigration to other countries are missing – anything but neglected, especially for the Plata, until the decade 1890-1900.
After the Italian measures of 1902, there was no lack of attempts to resume Italian emigration to Brazil. But a complex of causes, including the persistent desire on the Brazilian side to want emigrants above all and indeed exclusively for the fazende, where ours, for economic, social and moral reasons, were not, nor could they be, to be found. ease, prevented the development of Italian colonization enterprises based on direct ownership in Brazil, for which that Confederation would have presented particularly favorable conditions.
The war then ensued: the same hint of recovery that occurred in the spontaneous emigration to Brazil in the immediate post-war period was not such as to alter the physiognomy of the phenomenon, definitively, ultimately, consolidated by the new fascist emigration policy, being by now the repatriation almost exceeds the arrivals, which generally represent returns of emigrants to their overseas offices.