Polish Brazilians

Polish Brazilians
Polaco Brasileiro  · Polacy Brazylii/Polonia brazylijska
Total population
800,000[1] – 1.8 million [2]
Regions with significant populations


Mainly Southern and Southeastern Brazil
Portuguese · Polish
Roman Catholicism (ethnic Poles) · Judaism (Polish Jews)
Related ethnic groups
Poles, Brazilians, Austrian Brazilians, German Brazilians, Ukrainian Brazilians, Lithuanian Brazilians, Czech Brazilians and other White Brazilians and White Latin Americans

Polish Brazilians refers to Brazilians of full or partial Polish ancestry, who is aware of such ancestry and remain connected, to some degree, to Polish culture, or Polish-born people permanently residing in Brazil. Also, a Polish Brazilian can be a child of a Brazilian mother and Polish father (or vice versa).

Polish immigrants began arriving in Brazil in the late 19th century, but their numbers really increased in the 1920s. The Brazilian State of Paraná is a dominantly Polish area in Brazil. The Polish immigrants brought native folk music and dance music to Brazil such as mazurka (in Polish mazurek) and polonaise. In addition to the musical elements of the Polish culture, immigrants also brought customs, manners, and styles of clothing. Polish culture has also influenced aspects of the cuisine and architecture of Brazil.

Poles live in Guarapuava, Curitiba, Campo Largo, Contenda, Araucária, Lapa Săo Mateus do Sul, and Irati. With the immigrants there was an increase in employment on planted lands with the use of new tools, like the plow, the grille, and the sickle. There was the introduction of new types of jobs and professions, like blacksmith, carpenter, joiner and tailor. The immigrants work helped a lot on the economic growth in Paraná and renovated Paraná's social structure.


Polish house in Paraná

The first Polish immigrants arrived in the port of Itajaí, Santa Catarina, in August 1869. They were 78 Poles from the area of Southern Silesia. Commandant Redlisch, of the ship Victoria, brought people from Eastern Europe to settle in Brusque.

Brusque, in the State of Santa Catarina, received many Polish immigrants.

They were in total 16 families, among them: Francisco Pollak, Nicolau Wós, Boaventura Pollak, Thomasz Szymanski, Simon Purkot, Felipe Purkot, Miguel Prudlo, Chaim Briffel, Simon Otto, Domin Stempke, Gaspar Gbur, Balcer Gbur, Walentin Weber, Antoni Kania, Franciszek Kania, André Pampuch and Stefan Kachel. The Poles were placed in the colonies Príncipe Dom Pedro and Itajaí, in the area of Brusque.[3]

Fewer Poles immigrated to Brazil than Portuguese or Italians, but many Poles have settled in Brazil. From 1872 to 1959, 110,243 "Russian" citizens entered Brazil. In fact, the vast majority of them were Poles, since Poland was under Russian rule, and ethnic Poles immigrated with Russian passports.[4]

The State of Paraná received the majority of Polish immigrants, who settled mainly in the region of Curitiba, in the towns of Mallet, Cruz Machado, São Matheus do Sul, Irati, and União da Vitória.

Immigrantes living in Curitiba and outskirts (1878)[5]
Origin Population
Poles 6.000
Italians 2.500
Curitiba population (1872) 12.651

Most Polish immigrants to Southern Brazil were Catholics who arrived between 1870–1920 and worked as small farmers in the State of Paraná. Others went to the neighboring states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina and São Paulo, which is a state as well as a city. After the 1920s, many Polish Jews immigrated seeking refuge from Europe, settling mainly in the State of São Paulo. Today most Brazilian Jews are of Polish descent.


In a 1991 poll with Polish immigrants residents in Southeastern Brazil, 48.5% reported to be Jewish, 36.4% Catholic, 10.7% adherents of other religions and 4.5% non-religious.[4]

Polish culture in Brazil

The State of Paraná still retains a strong influence from the Polish culture. Many small towns have a majority of Polish-descendants and the Polish language is spoken by some of them, although nowadays most Polish Brazilians only speak Portuguese. The city of Curitiba has the second largest Polish diaspora in the world (after Chicago) and Polish music, dishes and culture are quite common in the region. Curitiba was largely influenced by a mayor Jaime Lerner.

Polish communities

A Polish old-style house in Paraná

After the proclamation of the Republic, the Brazilian government practically opened the doors of the country to immigration. In the first years of the Republic, the greatest immigration to Brazil occurred. The Polish appeared in the statistics in significant numbers. This period was known in Poland as "Brazilian fever". Important Polish communities appeared in several Brazilian states:

Notable Polish Brazilians

The image of Polish Brasilians in Polish culture

Polish writer Maria Konopnicka published in 1910 a poem Mister Balcer in Brazil (Pan Balcer w Brazylii). Balcer fails to accommodate and returns to Poland. Mieczysław Lepecki had visited several South American countries, including Brazil, preparing mass emigration from Poland, and published several books about South America. Kazimierz Warchałowski returned to Poland and published there books about Brazil.

See also


  1. "Polish Brazilians remember their culture: But many are forgetting their grandparents' language". The Economist. 25 November 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  2. "Polonia w liczbach: Polska Diaspora na świecie (dane szacunkowe 2007)" [Polish numbers: Polish Diaspora in the world (estimated 2007)] (in Polish). Wspólnota Polska. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  3. Brazil
  4. 1 2 Uma história oculta: a imigração dos países da Europa do Centro-Leste para o Brasil
  5. http://www.revistas.usp.br/ceru/article/viewFile/56989/59985
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