Italians in Brazil – History

Since the first colonizing expedition, that of Martim Affonso wanted by Don Giovanni III with a rescript of 20 November 1530, some Italians moved to the new world and among these the three brothers Francesco, Giuseppe and Paolo Adorno, from Genoa, who gave rise to a of the most illustrious Brazilian families. Paolo, passed to the city of Bahia where he married one of the daughters of Diego Alvares, called Caramurú, while Joseph married Caterina Monteiro and founded the chapel of Our Lady of Grace in Santos, later donated to the Carmelites and, on the island of Guaribe, the chapel of Santo Amaro. He died more than a hundred years old, with a reputation for holiness.

To Italian noble families who moved to Brazil – such as the Cavalcanti and the Acciaiuoli; and we can also mention the Dorias and the Fregosos – we allude to dealing with history, where we also talk about the Italians who took part in the wars against the Dutch.

Once the Portuguese dominion was consolidated, the inland expeditions aimed at the discovery of the territory and above all of its mineral resources. The great care with which foreigners were excluded from such enterprises meant that few Italians were among those bandairantes who conquered the Brazilian hinterland. Antonio Dias Adorno – who in an expedition took as many as 7000 indigenous prisoners – reached the Serra das Smeraldas and the governor Francisco de Souza served as an explorer, with the position of senior engineer of the state, of the Tuscan Baccio da Filicaia who also under his successor Don Diego Botelho continued to carry out delicate tasks.

Important in this age is the  work done by Italian Capuchins who in 1679 settled in Brazil and in 1708 managed to supplant the French Capuchins suspicion of spying pro’ of their countrymen. Friar Giuseppe da Bologna, who dared to fight slavery openly, was imprisoned and expelled. On the other hand, a priest of Italian origin Giovanni Perestrello Spinola, vicar of Villa Boa, made himself famous for his violence and greed, giving rise to an episode of revolt.

Francesco Giovanni Roscio contributed to the delimitation of the borders between the Portuguese and Spanish possessions, and for over thirty years he had delicate and difficult tasks from the Portuguese government. His work at the same track servants Baron of Rio Branco reminiscent in his notes about the limits between Brazil and Argentina. A constructive art began to flourish with the establishment of the first communities in Brazil, and it is certain that the first churches were built on the floors of Italian artists. The influences of Giacomo Cortesi, Andrea Pozzo, Giovanni Federico Ludovici are evident even if there are no documents of the permanence of these artists in Brazil. Certainly the father Organtino worked on it, who not only gave the design of the works but also took care of their execution, and his father Primoli. In sacred painting we have news of Giovanni Francesco Muzi who also practiced in scenography, while it is not possible to specify the names of the Italians, although they must have been numerous, who contributed to the embellishment of Rio de Janeiro, which became the imperial seat and center of attraction for Italian singing artists and musicians. Independence proclaimed and the borders to European emigration reopened, numerous Italians flocked to Brazil. Prominent among these is that of the doctor Giovanni Battista Badaro born in Laigueglia in 1793 and emigrated to Brazil in 1826. For two years he dealt with botany with works that alone would have been enough to give him fame, but then he devoted himself to politics, arguing in his newspaper The Observator Constitucional founded in San Paolo in 1828, liberal principles and the maintenance of the independence of Brazil, with lively controversies that aroused deep rancor against him, until on November 20 he was killed with a revolver. A large artery of S. Paolo now bears his name.

Rio de Janeiro had meanwhile become a shelter for numerous Italian political exiles and among others for that Luigi Rossetti who became Garibaldi’s dearest friend. In Brazil, he was also warmly welcomed in Rio by Delecazzi or Dellecase from Verona. From them Garibaldi learned of the Rio Grande movement, in which Count Tito Livio Zambeccari participated as secretary of Bento Gonçalves who, arrested with Ciro Menotti, had managed to escape the death sentence. Taken prisoner in the battle of the Fanfa, the Zambeccari had a visit from Garibaldi in prison, in which he and Rossetti explained their plan to organize a flotilla in the service of the Rio Grande dozen revolution: during the campaign the general fell in love with Anita, a native of Laguna in the state of S. Catharina, whose territory Garibaldi was able to conquer in a short time. But then the Republicans had to retreat and during the retreat Rossetti died.

In addition to the great defender of freedom, Italy was present in Brazil at that time with the same empress, Donna Teresa Cristina di Borbone, daughter of Francesco I of Naples and wife of Don Pedro II, and it can be said that the new dynastic relations they gave a real impetus to the commercial relations between Southern Italy and Brazil, so a new period begins for the Italian emigration which had hitherto had a predominantly political character. A Vacchini, however, had set up a hotel in Rio de Janeiro, then associating himself with Giuseppe Villa to found the Hotel do Universo in Rua Assemblea, center of all the Italians who landed in Rio; Angelo Fiorita with Tavolaro had founded the first Italian trading house, and the Zignago, the De Vincenzi, the Crestas, other companies. But when, under Don Pedro, there was a legislation favorable to the immigration of foreigners, a first colony of about thirty Genoese families was established in 1836 in the state of Santa Catharina, following the initiative of the consular agent of the king of Sardinia. New Italy was called the community, which in 1840 had a reverse, flourishing again just three years later with the name of Don Alfonso. Another request for the foundation of a colony was made in 1849 by the vice consul of the king of Sardinia, designating the land between the Biguassú and Tijucas rivers for the concession. The colonizing initiative of Senator Vergueiro, who substituted personal government action by importing European labor into his lands in the state of São Paulo, helped to attract other Italians.

And Italian emigration, at first sporadic, began to become an important phenomenon precisely with “contracted” emigration. Already in 1874 the sailing ship Anna Pizzorno he arrived in Paranaguá with 100 families called the order of Don Pedro II. Emigration developed following the imperial decree of 1885 which granted immigrants the reimbursement of travel expenses. Given the relative importance of the Italian colony in Rio, the Italian government decided to establish the seat of a general consulate there. This was able to issue money orders for remittances in Italy, while the export trade of coffee to Genoa began to flourish, which at that time served as an intermediary for this product for Trieste, Switzerland and southern Germany. The beginning of a railway construction program that went into effect after 1870 gave a new increase to emigration and among those who took on contracts and drew good fortune from them are Borisi, Bonino, Armenia and Francesco Rossi while the Jannuzzi brothers, who came from their native Fuscaldo, from humble workers became the major building contractors in the federal capital. Then the decree of May 13, 1888 by which slavery was abolished, caused the liberated people to abandon the camps en masse and, urgently to replace them, the best conditions were created for immigrants.

Brazil - History

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