Indian immigration to Brazil
|Regions with significant populations|
|Related ethnic groups|
There is a small community of Indians in Brazil who are mainly immigrants and expatriates from India. There are currently about 9,200 people of Indian origin living in the country and a majority of them live in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. There are also a number of people of Indian origin (mainly from the former Portuguese colony of Goa) who came to Brazil from both Britain's and Portugal's African colonies in the later half of the twentieth century. These are spread throughout Eastern Brazil and because few had Indian nationality and most have Portuguese names, they are indistinguishable from the general Brazilian population.
Early South Asian presence in Brazil
The earliest South Asians to arrive in Brazil were Asian seamen or Lascars, known as "Lascarim" in Portuguese. They arrived between the sixteenth and mid-seventeenth century, when the most important parts of the Portuguese Empire were their colonies in Asia. These included Diu, Daman, Bombay, Thana, Goa, Cochin and some smaller settlements in Hugli River.
Later as the settlement of coastal Brazil developed, many governors, Catholic clerics, and soldiers who had formally served in Asia arrived with their Asian wives, concubines, servants and slaves. later Luso-Indian servants and clerics connected with the religious orders, such as the Jesuits and Franciscans and spice cultivators arrived in Brazil.
In the eighteenth century there were Luso-Indians arriving in Brazil on ships of the English East India Company.
20th century South Asian Immigration to Brazil
- The first wave of Indian immigration to Brazil began when a small number of Sindhis had arrived there from Suriname and Central America (mainly from Belize and Panama) in the 1960s to set up shop as traders in the city of Manaus.
- The second wave of immigration consisted of university professors to Rio de Janeiro from Bengaluru, Goa and Delhi who arrived in the 1960s and also in the 1970s.
- Other people of Indian Origin migrated to that country from various African countries, mainly from former Portuguese colonies (especially Mozambique), soon after their independence in the 1970s. The number of PIOs in Brazil has been augmented in recent years by the arrival of nuclear scientists and computer professionals.
There are as many as 1,500 PIOs and only 400 NRIs besides the descendants and only since foreign nationals can acquire local citizenship without any discrimination after 15 years of domicile in this country. Brazil has also no bar against dual citizenship. But in recent years, it has been granting immigration visas only in high technology fields. The only exceptions are the Sindhis in Manaus and the immigrants and descendants in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
Besides its dispersal over the country, many of those that arrived in the earlier years have acquired Brazilian brides and are totally assimilated in the local society. The children born to such couples are Brazilians by birth. Most of the Indians living in Brazil have not only been able to assimilate themselves in the Brazilian way of life but also maintain close cultural and economic connection with India.
- Suresh Biswas (1861–1905), adventurer from Bengal
- Ashok Gandotra (born 1948), cricketer
- Froilano de Mello (1887–1955), microbiologist from Goa
- Nathalia Kaur (born 1990), model, Bollywood actress and opera singer
- Research by Clifford Pereira 2016.
- East in the West: Investigating the Asian presence and influence in Northeast Brazil from the 16th to the 18th centuries. By Clifford Pereira. In Proceedings of the 2nd Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage. Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA. May 2014.
- Research by Clifford Pereira 2010.
- President of India's Address to the Indian Community at São Paulo, pib.nic.in