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Lebanese Brazilians

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Lebanese Brazilians
البرازيليون اللبنانيون

Lebanese Brazilians in Nova Friburgo, late 19th century
Total population
≈5-7 million (by descent)[1][2]
Regions with significant populations
Brazil: Mainly in São Paulo State, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Rio de Janeiro, Paraná, Ceará , Bahia, Amazonas, Pernambuco , Maranhão , Piauí.
Brazilian Portuguese, Lebanese Arabic, French
Roman Catholicism 65%, Eastern Orthodox Church 30%, Shia Islam, Sunni Islam, Druze 5%
Related ethnic groups
Other Arab Brazilians and Asian Brazilians

Lebanese Brazilians (Portuguese: Líbano-brasileiros), (Arabic: البرازيلي اللبناني) are Brazilians of full or partial Lebanese ancestry, including Lebanese-born immigrants to Brazil. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, they form some of the largest Asian communities in the country, along with other West Asian and East Asian descendants.[3]

Although the exact number of Lebanese Brazilians is disputed, it is believed by some that there are at least 6 million Brazilians of Lebanese origin.[4]


The population of Brazil of either full or partial Lebanese descent is estimated by the Brazilian and Lebanese governments to be around 7 million people.[5][6]

According to a research conducted by IBGE in 2008, covering only the states of Amazonas, Paraíba, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso, and Distrito Federal, 0.9% of white Brazilian respondents said they had family origins in the Middle East.[7] If the first figure is correct (7 million), this number of descendants is larger than the population in Lebanon, and the original immigrant population a natural growth of 70 times in less than a century. However, other Middle Eastern countries such as Syria, Jordan, and Palestine also contributed immigrants to Brazil, and nowadays, most of their descendants are of only partial Middle Eastern ancestry.


Immigration of the Lebanese (and Syrians) to Brazil started in the late 19th century, most of them coming from Lebanon and later from Syria. The immigration to Brazil grew further in the 20th century, and was concentrated in the state of São Paulo, but also extended to Minas Gerais, Goiás, Rio de Janeiro, and other parts of Brazil.

Between 1884 and 1933, 130,000 Lebanese people entered Brazil through the Port of Santos—65% of them were Catholics (Maronite Catholics and Melkite Catholics), 20% were Eastern Orthodox, 10% were Muslims (Shia, Sunni), and about 5% were Druze. According to French Consulate reports from that time,[8] Lebanese/Syrian immigrants in São Paulo and Santos were 130,000, in Pará 20,000, Rio de Janeiro 15,000, Rio Grande do Sul 14,000, and in Bahia 12,000. During the Lebanese Civil War (1975–90), around 32,000 Lebanese people immigrated to Brazil.

Influence on Brazilian society[edit]

Despite being estimated at less than 4% of the population of the country, descendants of Lebanese immigrants occupied 10% of the parliament seats in 2014[4] and 8% in 2015.[9][10]

Lebanese culture has influenced many aspects of Brazil's culture. In big towns of Brazil it is easy to find restaurants of Lebanese food, and dishes, such as sfiha ("esfiha"), hummus, kibbeh ("quibe"), tahina, tabbouleh ("tabule") and halwa are very well known among Brazilians.

Most Lebanese immigrants in Brazil have worked as traders who sell textiles and clothes and open new markets. Lebanese-Brazilians are well-integrated into Brazilian society. Some even occupied positions of great importance, such as the presidency of the republic, for example Michel Temer.

Notable Lebanese Brazilians[edit]

Please see List of Lebanese people in Brazil


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affaires". Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Lebanon: Geography". Embassy of Lebanon in Brazil (in Portuguese). 1996. Archived from the original on 29 May 2008.
  3. ^ Petruccelli, Jose Luis; Saboia, Ana Lucia. "Caracteristicas Etnico-raciais da Populacao Classificacoes e identidades" (PDF). IBGE. p. 53. Retrieved 28 July 2021. descendentes e os asiáticos – japoneses, chineses, coreanos, libaneses, sírios, entre outros
  4. ^ a b Joe Dyke, "How the Lebanese conquered Brazil - Success came through hard work and perseverance", Executive Magazine, July 3, 2014
  5. ^ "Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affaires". Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  6. ^ ".:: Embaixada do Líbano no Brasil ::". Archived from the original on 2010-11-12. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
  7. ^ IBGE.
  8. ^ Lesser, Jeff (1999). Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-2292-4.
  9. ^ Carvalho, Viviane. "Interview With The Ambassador of Brazil to Lebanon". Home For Lebanon. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  10. ^ Bercito, Diogo. "No Congresso, 8% dos parlamentares têm origem libanesa". Folha de S. Paulo. Retrieved 7 February 2016.

External links[edit]