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German Immigration in Santa Catarina, Brazil

Southern region in Brazil

     The German immigration played an important role in the colonization process in various regions of southern Brazil since 1824, when the imperial government founded the colony São Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul. In Santa Catarina, the German colonization began, indeed with the establishment of Colony São Pedro de Alcântara, in an area relatively close to Desterro (now Florianópolis), capital of province.

    The colony, situated on the left at Maruim district of the town of São José has his foundation dated from the year 1829. During 1828 landed, on the island of Santa Catarina, coming in two brigs, "Marquês de Vianna" and "Luiza", 146 families, numbering 523 people, and meeting later that 93 individuals had been dissolved imperial battalions  in Rio de Janeiro, as well as 19 of the 27 Battalion, also dissolved in this Province, at all 625 Germans, who were directed to the new colony of São Pedro de Alcântara. Then, 146 families that were intended to form the new colony, but fourteen of them were in the city and its surroundings and therefore only 132 dates were demarcated for the same number of families. At the same time, German immigrants settled in Mafra, near the border with Paraná.

    These and other initiatives colonization in the first half of the nineteenth century did not produce the desired results (the implementation of family farming and occupation of lands) since the number of immigrant settlers was negligible and not all remained in the colonies.

    In 1835, the provincial government has promoted new settlement of some German families who were in São Pedro de Alcântara, this time in two cores (and Pocinho Belchior) located in low-açu Itajai River (in area that today is the city named Gaspar). This was the first attempt at colonization in the Itajai Valley. Later there was the founding of the Colony Santa Isabel, also near to Desterro, where there were three immigrant remittances. The first arrived in Desterro on December 28, 1846, in Bergantin "Venus" with 114 people, the second wave of immigrants, landed smack on the "November 14" in March 1847, with 79 immigrants, and the third in sandeel Belgian "Jean de Lacquenghien", with 64 immigrants (13 families and 3 single men, all Protestants). latter, the newspaper published in Antwerp on board, on June 12, 1847, were intended for the Province of Rio Grande do Sul, where, in fact, headed the other 27 migrants, the total of 91 that came with the Belgian sandeel.

Santa Catharina

    Blumenau, a private colony (originally), was founded in 1850 by Dr. Hermann Blumenau. The first settlers were mainly natives of Pomerania and Mecklenburg. Blumenau is the most widely known (largely because of its German name) and one of the most important German colonies in Brazil today. According to Carvalho “ Blumenau constitue dans l’Amérique du Sud le type le plus parfait de la colonisation européenne.” The area of the “municipio” covers 10,725 square kilometers and is populated by about 60,000 inhabitants, the great majority of whom are of German descent.

The “Stadtplatz” is composed mainly of one street 5,1/2 kilometers in length (including Altona) and is most beautifully situated on the right bank of the river Itajahy-Assu. It contains about 3,000 inhabitants, nearly all of whom are Germans. Dona Francisca was founded in 1851 as a private colony by the “ Hamburger Kolonisationsverein von 1849.” It comprises the territory given as a marriage dot by Dom Pedro II. to his sister, Dona Francisca, at the time of her marriage to the Prince of Joinville of the French House of Orleans.

The “ Stadtplatz”of the Colony was named Joinville in honor of the prince. Dona Francisca was founded under favorable circumstances at a time when many Germans, including members of the “upper classes” were leaving the Fatherland on account of the general political discontent during the latter part of the forties of the past century. This fact is reflected in the German language as spoken in Joinville today. It is perhaps more free from dialect than in any other German colony in Brazil. The general cultural status of the inhabitants of Germanic origin is relatively high. The entire colony (municipio) of Dona Francisca contains more than 30,000 inhabitants; the “ Stadtplatz” about 6,000. In both, the inhabitants of Germanic origin form the great majority.

The colony of Brusque was founded in 1860. Its early colonists were composed largely of former inhabitants of the Rheinland, Westphalia, Oldenburg and Baden. Next to Blumenau and Dona Francisca, Brusque is to-day the most important German colony in Santa Catharina. In the territory not included in the “municipios” mentioned above, the larger part of the inhabitants of the following centers are of German descent: Angelina and Santa Thereza, both founded in 1853; Therezopolis, founded in 1860; Palhoça, Braço do Norte and Pedras Grandes. Important numbers of Germans are located along the following rivers of Santa Catharina: Rio Itajahy do Sul; Rio das Tijucas; Rio Braço do Norte; and Rio Capivary. In point of numbers, Santa Catharina is next to the most important state in Brazil so far as German colonization is concerned.

Source: Schappelle, Benjamin Franklin. German Element in Brazil, Philadelphia, 1917.

Itajaí Valley and North of Santa Catarina State

flooding in Blumenau, 1911

The colonization of Itajaí Valley started properly in 1850 with the founding of the colony of Dr. Hermann Blumenau, at the confluence of the creek with the Old River Itajai-açu. This project, despite the difficulties encountered by immigrants to bring Blumenau, gave impetus to German colonization in the province of Santa Catarina. Another particular colony, Colony Dona Francisca (after Joinville), appeared in 1851 on the lands northwest of Santa Catarina received as a dowry for Princess Francisca, sister of Emperor Pedro II, when her marriage to the Prince de Joinville. To implement this colony consisted Hamburg Colonization Society, which has earmarked an area of ??46,582 hectares for settlement of German, Swiss and Norwegians. Almost a decade later, in 1860, began populating the main tributary of the Itajai-açu with the founding of colony Itajai (Brusque), administered by the state, that same year, the imperial government took over the administration of the colony Blumenau.

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