Croatian diaspora in Brazil
Number of Croats in Brazil and their immigration
Until recently it was hard to determine the accurate number of Croats and their descendants in Brazil, as well as in most countries where Croatian immigrants live. However, based on statistical resesearch done during the last seven years, according to the latest data there are around 80,000 Croats and their descendants living in Brazil. Croatian immigrants arrived in Brazil in three waves during the twentieth century. The first wave of immigration occured at the end of the 19th century and in the early 20s of the last century. Most Croats came from Gorski kotar, central Croatia and west Slavonia. They were working on coffee farms and doing railroad construction work. The second wave began after WWII, more precisely in the 20s of the last century, when Brazil was in need of farm workers, which prompted the Brazilian government to facilitate and finance their immigration until 1930. Majority of immigrants came from Dalmatia and Slavonia, but also from other parts of Croatia. They settled in the state of Sao Paulo in the city of Sao Paulo. According to some sources from 1939 onwards there were 30,000 Croats living in Brazil.
After WW II a number of Croatian political refugees and highly skilled workers came to Brazil. Members of the third wave of immigration came from all parts of Croatia. They settled mostly in the city of São Paulo where they stayed, and then part of them moved to other Brazilian states. The number of Croats born in Croatia is falling in Brazil, but the fourth i.e. fifth generation of their descendants is growing up. Majority of them live in the area of São Paulo Megalopolis, but a fewer number settled in Rio de Janeiro, the state of Parana and its capital Curitiba, Rio Grande do Sul, Belo Horizonte, Recife and Brazilia, but there are individuals living all over Brazil.
Status of Croats in Brazil
Croats who have Brazilian citizenship have the same rights and obligations as other Brazilian citizens regarding their employment and social rights. The application for citizenship can be submitted after at least four years of permanent residence in Brazil and in some cases after a year. Brazil allows its citizens dual citizenship.
The educational level of the Croats in Brazil is diverse but today majority of them are highly skilled. Croats who arrived in Brazil in the interwar period had a lower level of education. However, as a socio-professional group they have remained homogeneous, especially in the farming sector and as craftsmen.
Among Croats who immigrated after WWII there were members of church, middle-class citizens, highly skilled people, people in various independent professions, merchants etc.This diversity and different causes of emigration enabled the second group to have a different interaction with the Brazilian society. The members of Croatian community were better organized and took an active part in the community all of which was prompted by the end of political regime in Brazil which lasted from 1930 to 1945. It is common for both groups of immigrants that their descendants assimilated into Brazilian society and forgot the Croatian language. Majority of them are well educated and work in state-owned companies, small to medium sized enterprises and trade.
Croatian Associations and Catholic Missions
Two associations need to be singled out: "Sacra Croata Paulistano" and " Društvo prijatelja Dalmacije” (Society of friends of Dalmatia) established at the end of 1950s and they have their houses. Recently the Croatian association in the state of Parana has been established. . Although there was a significant number of Croatian priests and nums after the WWII until the mid 80s of the last century, today the Croatian community in Brazil does not have Catholic Missions or parishes, but the premises of several churches have been used in the areas where the houses of two Croatian associations are located in Sao Paulo.
Croatian classes and courses of the Croatian language
There are no organized classes of the Croatian language and culture or a teaching institution funded by the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia.
During 2012 a course of the Croatian language and culture was organized by professor Milan Puh with the support of Croatia Sacra Paulistana (CSP) and the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia. Today Croatian language classes are held in the premises of two Croatian associations, both CSP and Society of friends of Dalmatia and are attended by people aged 16-65 years.
Professor Milan Puh obtained the approval to establish the university course of the Croatian language and culture at the University of Sao Paulo in 2020. This is the first university course of that kind in Brazil.
Publishing and Media
Both Croatian associations have published several monthly magazines and newspapers in Croatian, and then in Portugese as well. The association “Croatia Sacra Paulistana” has published the newsletter “Conexao Brasil-Croatia” (Brazil-Croatia link) and “Društvo prijatelja Dalmacije” published “Jornal da Sociedade da Dalmacia”. At present the members of the community get informed mostly via social networks and other digital media. The most important Facebook group is “Croatas e Descendentes no Brasil - Croatians and Descendants in Brazil“and Croatian Houses have their webpages: Croatia Sacra Paulistana (https://www.croatiasacra.org.br/) i Društvo prijatelja Dalmacije (https://www.croatas.com.br/ ). The Network of Croats in Brazil is about to be completed. It is a portal whose purpose is to strengthen bonds between our people in Brazil and in homeland.