Irish Brazilians

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Irish Brazilians
Regions with significant populations
São Paulo · Rio de Janeiro · Rio Grande do Sul · Santa Catarina · Amazonas · Minas Gerais
Portuguese · English · Irish
Roman Catholicism and others
Related ethnic groups
Other Brazilians, white Brazilians (specially Confederados), other American Brazilians and Scottish Brazilians

Irish Brazilians (Portuguese: Irlando-brasileiros or Hiberno-brasileiros; Irish: Gael-Bhrasaíligh[citation needed]) are Brazilian citizens of Irish ancestry, or Irish-born people residing in Brazil, and vice-versa. Many Irish immigrants to Brazil changed their surnames to resemble Portuguese names more closely, often losing the common prefix 'O'.[1][2]


Magazine from the time, with informations of São Paulo state to help and guide newly arrived European immigrants to São Paulo

The first known Irish settler in Brazil was a missionary, Thomas Field, who arrived to Brazil in late 1577 and spent three years in Piratininga (present-day São Paulo). In 1612, the Irish brothers Philip and James Purcell established a colony in Tauregue, at the mouth of the Amazon River, where English, Dutch, and French settlements were also established.[3] Many of the colonists traded in tobacco, dyes, and hardwoods. A second group of Irish settlers led by Bernardo O'Brien of County Clare arrived in 1620.[3] The first recorded Saint Patrick's Day celebration was on 17 March 1770.[3]

During the Cisplatine War, Brazil sent recruiters to Ireland to recruit men as soldiers for the war against Argentina. Any Irish that signed up for the Brazilian army were promised that if they enlisted they would be given a grant of land after five years of service. Approximately 2,400 men were recruited and when they arrived in Brazil (many with their families), they were completely neglected by the government. The Irish mutinied together with a German regiment, and for a few days there was open warfare on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. While most were ultimately sent home or re-emigrated to Canada or Argentina, some did stay and were sent to form a colony in the province of Bahia.[3]

Several attempts were made by Brazil to bring in more Irish immigrants to settle in the country, however, much of the land given to the settlers was porous or in extremely remote locations. Many of the Irish settlers died or re-emigrated to other countries. At the same time, several prominent Irish figures served in diplomatic posts in Brazil for the United Kingdom (as Ireland was part of the British Empire). Irish Nationalist and British diplomat Roger Casement, served as British Consul in Santos, Belém, and in Rio de Janeiro.[4]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Murray, Edmundo (1 July 2006). "Brazil and Ireland". Society for Irish Latin American Studies. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Links between Brazil & Ireland". 2004-10-16. Archived from the original on 2004-10-16. Retrieved 2020-09-30.
  3. ^ a b c d "Murray, Edmundo, "Brazil and Ireland&quot - Irish in Brazil". Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  4. ^ "An insight into life of Casement". Retrieved 2018-04-05.

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