Brazilians (brasileiros in Portuguese, IPA: [bɾɐ̞ziˈlejɾus]) are all people born in Brazil. A Brazilian can be also a person born abroad to a Brazilian parent or a foreigner living in Brazil who acquired Brazilian citizenship.
- 1 Who is a Brazilian?
- 2 Ethnic groups
- 3 Overview
- 4 White people
- 5 Mixed (Multiracial) people
- 6 Black African people
- 7 East Asian people
- 8 Amerindian people
- 9 Genetic studies
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Who is a Brazilian?
According to the Constitution of Brazil, a Brazilian citizen is:
- Anyone born in Brazil, even if to foreign parents. However, if the foreign parents were at the service of a foreign State (such as foreign diplomats), the child is not Brazilian;
- Anyone born abroad to a Brazilian parent, with registration of birth in a Brazilian Embassy or Consulate. Also, a person born abroad to a Brazilian parent who was not registered but who, after turning 18 years old, went to live in Brazil;
- A foreigner living in Brazil who applied for and was accepted as a Brazilian citizen (naturalized Brazilian).
According to the Constitution, all people who hold Brazilian citizenship are equal, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or religion.
A foreigner can apply for Brazilian citizenship after living for 4 (four) uninterrupted years in Brazil and being able to speak Portuguese. A native person from an official Portuguese language country (Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea Bissau and East Timor) can request the Brazilian nationality after only 1 uninterrupted year living in Brazil. A foreign born person who holds Brazilian citizenship has exactly the same rights and duties of the Brazilian citizen by birth, but cannot occupy some special public positions such as the Presidency of the Republic, Vice-presidency of the Republic, Minister (Secretary) of Defense, Presidency (Speaker) of the Senate, Presidency (Speaker) of the House of Representatives, Officer of the Armed Forces and Diplomat.
The Portuguese prerogative
According to the Brazilian Constitution, the Portuguese people have a special status in Brazil. Article 12, first paragraph of the Constitution, grants to citizens of Portugal with permanent residence in Brazil "the rights attached to Brazilians", excluded from the constitutional prerogatives of Brazilian born. Requirements for the granting of equality are: habitual residence (permanent), the age of majority and formulation of request from the Minister of Justice.
In Brazil, the Portuguese may require equal treatment with regard to civil rights; moreover, they may ask to be granted political rights granted to Brazilians (except the rights exclusive to the Brazilian born). In the latter case, this requires a minimum of three years of permanent residence.
The use of citizenship by non-Brazilian nationals (in this case, Portuguese) is a rare exception to the principle that nationality is a sine qua non for citizenship, granted to the Portuguese – if with reciprocal treatment for the Brazilians in Portugal – due to the historic relationship between the two countries.
Brazil is a society, which is home to people of many different ethnic backgrounds. As a result, Brazilians usually treat their nationality as a citizenship, rather than as an ethnicity.
Brazilians are mostly descendants of colonial settlers and post-colonial immigrants, African slaves and Brazil's indigenous peoples. Along with several other groups of immigrants who arrived in Brazil, from the 1820s well into the 1970s, most of the immigrants were Portuguese, Italians, Spaniards and Germans, also with significantly large numbers of Japanese and Lebanese people.
When the Portuguese arrived in South America in the 16th century, Brazil was inhabited by an estimated 2.4 million Amerindians, of more than hundreds of different tribes, who had been living there since the Pleistocene. From 1500 until its independence in 1822, Brazil was settled by some 724,000 Portuguese, mostly men. Portugal remained the only significant source of European immigrants to Brazil until the early 19th century. However under the rule of Dutch Brazil in the north-eastern part of the country from 1630-1654, a smaller, but significant number of Dutch settlers and soldiers (Dutch Brazilian) and some Jews arrived, the latter seeking religious freedom. They founded the first Synagogue in the Americas, named Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue in the city of Recife. It is estimated, that 80,000 Dutch entered Brazil in that period. At the end of Dutch rule, most of the Dutch and Jews had been expelled by the Portuguese, but a smaller number had fled to the interior of north-eastern Brazil, had changed their names to Portuguese ones or had switched the religion. Nevertheless many Dutch settlers had intermarried and therefore miscigenated with the local population before. The Jews who were mostly expelled took off to what was then named New Amsterdam, today, New York City, founding the oldest Jewish congregation in the USA, the Congregation Shearith Israel. Others converted to Christianity, they were then known as New Christians or Marranos who sometimes practiced Crypto-Judaism. Even if the Jewish population under Dutch-Brazil not surpassed a few thousand individuals, a much bigger number of New-Christians, in the past simply known as Portuguese, and Romani People arrived in Colonial Brazil. They immigrated to Brazil or had been deported by the Inquisition from mostly Portugal and also Spain. As a result of the Atlantic slave trade, from the mid-16th century until 1855, an estimated 4 million African slaves, from dozens of different countries, were brought to Brazil. In 1808, the Portuguese court moved to Brazil and opened its seaports to other nations. Then, other groups of immigrants started to immigrate to the country.
From 1820 to 1975, 5,686,133 immigrants entered Brazil, the vast majority of them Europeans. In this period the Portuguese and Italians arrived in equal numbers, and numbered, including the Spaniards, close to 70% of all immigrants. The rest was composed mainly of Germans, Japanese, Lebanese, Syrians, Poles, French and Ukrainians. Dozens of other immigrant groups form sizable to larger groups in Brazil. The port of Santos, São Paulo, widely known as the most important entrance of immigrants in Brazil, received people from more than 60 different countries.
The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) classify the Brazilian population in five categories: brancos (white), negros (black), pardos (brown or mixed), amarelos (Asian/yellow) and índios (Amerindian), based on skin color or race. The last detailed census (PNAD) found Brazil to be made up of c. 91 million white people (White Brazilian), 79 million multiracial people (Pardo), 14.7 million black people (Afro-Brazilian), 2-4 million Asian people (Asian Brazilian) and 817,900 indigenous (Amerindian) people.
Nowadays, Brazil is home to the largest Italian (c. 25-30 million), Portuguese (c. 40–110 m.), Lebanese (c. 5 m.) and Japanese (c. 1,5 m.) diaspora and holds the biggest number of multiracial people (Pardo) in the world. There are more people of Lebanese and Portuguese diaspora living in Brazil than in their respective homelands. The German, Polish and more interestingly, the Romani People diaspora, is the second largest. The Syrian ranks, depening on the source, on first or second place. The Spanish diaspora ranks on third or fourth place. Also, Brazil is home to the only still ancient pomeranian speaking (Pomeranian language) community in the world, the language is now extinct.
In the 2005 detailed census, for the first time in two decades, the number of White Brazilians did not exceed 50% of the population. On the other side, the number of pardos (multiracial) people increased and all the others remained almost the same. According to the IBGE, this trend is mainly because of the revaluation of the identity of historically discriminated ethnic groups.
The ethnic composition of Brazilians is not uniform across the country. Due to its large influx of European immigrants in the 19th century, the Southern Region has a large White majority, composing 79.6% of its population. The Northeastern Region, as a result of the large numbers of African slaves working in the sugar cane engenhos, has a majority of pardos and black peoples, respectively, 63.1% and 7.0%. Northern Brazil, largely covered by the Amazon Rainforest, is 71.5% pardo, due to Amerindian ancestry. Southeast (55% White, 35% Pardo, 8% Black, 1% Asian, 0,1% Amerindian) and Central-Western (50% White, 43% Pardo, 5% Black, 1% Asian/Amerindian) Brazil have a more balanced ratio among different racial groups.
In 2011, the country was home to 1.5 million foreign born people, more than twice as of 2009. The numbers still could be higher, as there are many undocumented people in Brazil as well. For both, the documented and undocumented, most of the foreigners come from Portugal, Bolivia, China, Paraguay, Angola, Spain, Argentina, Japan and the USA. The major work visas concessions were granted for citizens of the United States and the United Kingdom.
Brazil is said to be the most miscegenated country in the world, as since the country was discovered, intermarriage between races never has been a problem. But many Brazilians can not trace back their real origin. It has always been nothing unusual, that names which were difficult to pronounce had been changed into easier Portuguese surnames, specially within mixed-race Brazilians. Brazil is a true melting-pot of Europeans, Asians, Africans and indigenous people, who either are in the single group or a mixture of various different backgrounds and races.
|Skin color or
Whites constitute the majority of Brazil's population regarding the total numbers within a single racial group. The country has the second largest White population in the Americas in absolute numbers and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere; around 91-100 million people, after only the United States. The White-Brazilian population constitute the third largest white population in the World within a nation in absolute numbers, after the U.S. and Russia. The main European and Arab (exclusively from Lebanon and Syria) origins in Brazil are Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, German, Polish, and Lebanese. There are people of European descent distributed throughout Brazil; however, the Southeastern and Southern regions have the largest white populations.
|North Brazil||23,5 %|
|Northeast Brazil||28,8 %|
|Central-West Brazil||50,5 %|
|Southeast Brazil||55-58 %|
Mixed (Multiracial) people
Multiracials constitute the second largest ethnic group of Brazil with around 80 million people. The term Pardo or mixed-race Brazilian is a rather complex one. Multiracial Brazilians appear in hundreds of different shades, colours and backgrounds. They are a mixture of colonial and post-colonial Europeans/Arabs with black African slaves, indigenous tribes and also East-Asians. Every single group can be mixtured with another one, from generation to generation. That can happen vice-verca, so a new generation is born with mixed background and is mixtured again. The colours can vary from light to dark. A smaller number of whites with different racial backgrounds from the past also consider themselves as Pardo. The largest populations are found in northern and northeastern Brazil, with considerably numbers in the states of Mato Grosso, Goiás, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro (state), São Paulo (state), Paraná (state) and the Federal District. While the occurrence of Pardos is not uniform across the country, there are states with more people of mixed background than others. It also can happen that Pardos constitute significant numbers within single regions in states.
|North Brazil||69,2 %|
|Northeast Brazil||62,7 %|
|Southeast Brazil||35,69 %|
|Southern Brazil||16,98 %|
Black African people
Blacks constitute the third largest ethnic group of Brazil with around 14 million citizens. These are people who have origins in any of the black populations of Africa. In the country, thes are generally used for Brazilians with at least partial Sub-Saharan African ancestry. Most African Brazilians are the direct descendants of captive Africans who survived the slavery era within the boundaries of the present Brazil, but also with considerable European and Amerindian ancestry (in average, when combined, they surpass 50%, making the Subsaharan African non-dominant according to genetic contribution). Afro-Brazilians might not directly be compared to Pardo-Brazilians. The number of African genes is substantially higher in Afro-Brazilians, therefore their skin colour is ways darker or, black, compared to mixed-race Brazilians.
|North Brazil||6,2 %|
|Northeast Brazil||8,1 %|
|Central-West Brazil||5,7 %|
|Southeast Brazil||7,91 %|
|Southern Brazil||3,6 %|
East Asian people
Asians constitute the fourth largest ethnic group of Brazil, 2.1 million, what may not include East-Asians with mixed background. The largest Asian ethnic group in the country are by far the Japanese. Brazil has the largest population of Japanese people outside of Japan, being in percentage or absolute numbers. The others are mainly Chinese, Taiwanese and South Korean. Due to the recent immigration of Chinese citizens to Brazil the number of these people is constantly on the rise.
|North Brazil||0,5 - 1%|
|Northeast Brazil||0,3 - 0,5 %|
|Central-West Brazil||0,7 - 0,8 %|
|Southeast Brazil||1,1 %|
|Southern Brazil||0,5 - 0,7 %|
Japanese immigrants began officially arriving in 1908, as a result of the decrease in the Italian immigration to Brazil and a new labour shortage on the coffee plantations. However, there was a small influx of Japanese citizens to Brazil before.
The end of feudalism in Japan generated great poverty in the rural population, so many Japanese began to emigrate in search of better living conditions. In 1907, the Brazilian and the Japanese governments signed a treaty permitting Japanese migration to Brazil. The first Japanese immigrants (790 people – mostly farmers) came to Brazil in 1908 on the Kasato Maru. They travelled from the Japanese port of Kobe via the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Many of them became owners of coffee plantations.
In the first seven years, 3,434 more Japanese families (14,983 people) arrived. The beginning of World War I in 1914 started a boom in Japanese migration to Brazil; such that between 1917 and 1940 over 164,000 Japanese came to Brazil, 75% of them going to São Paulo (state), where most of the coffee plantations were located.
Most of the Japanese Brazilian population lives in the state of São Paulo, especially in the municipalities, regions and metropolitan regions of São Paulo (city), Mogi das Cruzes, Guarulhos, Bastos, Presidente Prudente and various other cities. The second most important place for Japanese immigration was Paraná (state), where they constitute a numerous population in the cities and regions of Maringá, Londrina, Assaí and Curitiba.
Other important populations are found in municipalites in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará and Piauí. Japanese Brazilians are found all over Brazil, especially in the more prosperous or capital cities. Due to internal migration processes, some Japanese Brazilians moved from the more popular destinations to rural areas and other places.
The Chinese immigration to Brazil started in 1810, after the Portuguese Royal Family moved it's court from Portugal to the city of Rio de Janeiro. At this time, Portugal organized the first influx of Chinese people from its colony in Macau. Later, other immigrants came to develop the cultivation of tea in São Paulo (state).
Years later, in 1844, there was another influx to the city of Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba, this time to plant rice in the first city. However, the plantation was a failure. The Chinese labor force was then redirected to the construction of a road connecting the Botanical Garden to another section of the city, Alto da Boa Vista. This might explain the construction and existence of the Vista Chinesa (Chinese View) which borders that historic road.
Brazil received Chinese people along the time of the great immigration, but the greatest influx occurred in the 1950s. At that time China was experiencing many internal upheavals. The Chinese people mainly came from the southern coastal provinces, particularly Guangdong (Canton) and Fujian. Others came from Xinjiang and Heilongjiang, the last ones due to the border to Russia. Some smaller numbers of the Chinese who immigrated to Brazil actually were Russian people.
Nowadays, at least 250.000 people in Brazil are of Chinese origin, with almost everyone from mainland China. Another important group are the people from the island of Taiwan. More than 50.000 people are Taiwanese Brazilians, what makes the number rise up to 300.000 individuals with Chinese origin.
Most of the Chinese Brazilians live in São Paulo (city). Others live in the cities of Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro (city), Recife and Porto Alegre. Due to strong Chinese investmens and immigration to Brazil, in the last 10 years the number of Chinese citizens kept rising. They immigrate to many capital cities and bigger cities in the interior.
Korean immigration to Brazil began officially in 1963, to encourage emigration to control population, reduce unemployment and garner foreign exchange via immigrant remittances. So the South Korean government passed its Overseas Emigration Law. However, smaller groups already arrived in the 1950s (52 and 53) who were prisoners from the Korean War. The first immigrants came to work in the agriculture. The immigrants who came in the 1960s mainly fixed themselves in the cities.
The Federal Police states that there are actually around 50.000 people with mainly South-Korean origin.
This sample may be underrepresenting the numbers significantly, since both documented and especially undocumented immigrants may choose not to register with South Korean diplomatic missions in Brazil. Unofficial estimates put the Korean population of Brazil at between two and three times higher than that of the government. Almost 90 % of the population lives in the state of São Paulo, most of them in the capital. Others are found in the main capitals and cities of the country.
Amerindians constitute the fifth largest ethnic group of Brazil, with around 800,000 individuals. Is the oldest ethnic group in the country, mainly located in Amazon Forest and also in various other regions. Compared to the total population of the country the number might seem small, but millions of Brazilians actually have some Amerindian ancestry. This happened mainly because of the miscigenation of indigenous tribes with colonial settlers.
Genetic studies have shown the Brazilian population as a whole to have European, African and Native Americans components.
An autosomal study from 2013, with nearly 1300 samples from all of the Brazilian regions, found a predominant degree of European ancestry combined with African and Native American contributions, in varying degrees. 'Following an increasing North to South gradient, European ancestry was the most prevalent in all urban populations (with values up to 74%). The populations in the North consisted of a significant proportion of Native American ancestry that was about two times higher than the African contribution. Conversely, in the Northeast, Center-West and Southeast, African ancestry was the second most prevalent. At an intrapopulation level, all urban populations were highly admixed, and most of the variation in ancestry proportions was observed between individuals within each population rather than among population'.
An autosomal DNA study (2011), with nearly 1000 samples from every major race group ("whites", "pardos" and "blacks", according to their respective proportions) all over the country found out a major European contribution, followed by a high African contribution and an important Native American component. "In all regions studied, the European ancestry was predominant, with proportions ranging from 60.6% in the Northeast to 77.7% in the South". The 2011 autosomal study samples came from blood donors (the lowest classes constitute the great majority of blood donors in Brazil), and also public health institutions personnel and health students.
|Northeast of Brazil||60.10%||29.30%||8.90%|
According to an autosomal DNA study from 2010, "a new portrayal of each ethnicity contribution to the DNA of Brazilians, obtained with samples from the five regions of the country, has indicated that, on average, European ancestors are responsible for nearly 80% of the genetic heritage of the population. The variation between the regions is small, with the possible exception of the South, where the European contribution reaches nearly 90%. The results, published by the scientific magazine American Journal of Human Biology by a team of the Catholic University of Brasília, show that, in Brazil, physical indicators such as skin colour, colour of the eyes and colour of the hair have little to do with the genetic ancestry of each person, which has been shown in previous studies (regardless of census classification). "Ancestry informative SNPs can be useful to estimate individual and population biogeographical ancestry. Brazilian population is characterized by a genetic background of three parental populations (European, African, and Brazilian Native Amerindians) with a wide degree and diverse patterns of admixture. In this work we analyzed the information content of 28 ancestry-informative SNPs into multiplexed panels using three parental population sources (African, Amerindian, and European) to infer the genetic admixture in an urban sample of the five Brazilian geopolitical regions. The SNPs assigned apart the parental populations from each other and thus can be applied for ancestry estimation in a three hybrid admixed population. Data was used to infer genetic ancestry in Brazilians with an admixture model. Pairwise estimates of F(st) among the five Brazilian geopolitical regions suggested little genetic differentiation only between the South and the remaining regions. Estimates of ancestry results are consistent with the heterogeneous genetic profile of Brazilian population, with a major contribution of European ancestry (0.771) followed by African (0.143) and Amerindian contributions (0.085). The described multiplexed SNP panels can be useful tool for bioanthropological studies but it can be mainly valuable to control for spurious results in genetic association studies in admixed populations". It is important to note that "the samples came from free of charge paternity test takers, thus as the researchers made it explicit: "the paternity tests were free of charge, the population samples involved people of variable socioeconomic strata, although likely to be leaning slightly towards the ‘‘pardo’’ group".
An autosomal DNA study from 2009 found a similar profile "all the Brazilian samples (regions) lie more closely to the European group than to the African populations or to the Mestizos from Mexico".
According to another autosomal DNA study from 2008, by the University of Brasília (UnB), European ancestry dominates in the whole of Brazil (in all regions), accounting for 65.90% of heritage of the population, followed by the African contribution (24.80%) and the Native American (9.3%).
São Paulo state, the most populous state in Brazil, with about 40 million people, showed the following composition, according to an autosomal study from 2006: European genes account for 79% of the heritage of the people of São Paulo, 14% are of African origin, and 7% Native American. A more recent study, from 2013, found the following composition in São Paulo state: 61,9% european, 25,5% african and 11,6% native american.
MtDna and y DNA studies
Haplogroup frequencies do not determine phenotype nor admixture. They are very general genetic snapshots, primarily useful in examining past population group migratory patterns. Only autosomal DNA testing can reveal admixture structures, since it analyses millions of alleles from both maternal and paternal sides. Contrary to yDNA or mtDNA, which are focused on one single lineage (paternal or maternal) the autosomal DNA studies profile the whole ancestry of a given individual, being more accurate in describing the complex patterns of ancestry in a given place. According to a genetic study in 2000 who analysed 247 samples (mainly identified as "white" in Brazil) who came from four of the five major geographic regions of the country, the mtDNA pool (maternal lineages) of present-day Brazilians clearly reflects the imprints of the early Portuguese colonization process (involving directional mating), as well as the recent immigrant waves (from Europe) of the last century.
According to a study in 2001, the vast majority of Y chromosomes (male lineages) in white Brazilian males, regardless of their regional source, is of European origin (>90% contribution), with a very low frequency of sub-Saharan African chromosomes and a complete absence of Amerindian contributions. These results configure a picture of strong directional mating in Brazil involving European males, on one side, and European, African and Amerindian females, on the other.
In the Brazilian "white" and "pardos" the autosomal ancestry (the sum of the ancestors of a given individual) tends to be in most cases predominantly European, with often a non European mtDNA (which points to a non European ancestor somewhere down the maternal line), which is explained by the women marrying newly arrived colonists, during the formation of the Brazilian people.
- Lists of Brazilians
- Brazilian diaspora
- White Brazilians
- Native Brazilians
- Asian Brazilians
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- Some regional pronunciations include [bɾaziˈleɪ̯ɾʊs] in São Paulo and much of Southern Brazil, and [bɾɐziˈleⁱɾuⁱʃ] in Rio de Janeiro.
- Constituição da República Federativa do Brasil, Artigo 12, I.
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- A Imigração Japonesa em Itu
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- (Portuguese) Lusotopia