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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Latvian immigration to São Paulo, Brazil : 1890-1970 immigration and assimilation Cornford, Ieva Mara Megnis

Abstract

Documentation of the extent of Latvian immigration to Brazil and to the urban centre of São Paulo between 1890 and 1970 and evidence of the degree of Latvian-Brazilian assimilation are non-existent. This thesis fulfills a need for investigating the displacement of the Latvian ethnic society into an unfamiliar geographical, social and cultural Brazilian environment. Both Latvia and Brazil are discussed in terms of geography and climate, origins of civilization and language, cultural heritage and social structure. The cosmopolitan nature of São Paulo is introduced. The reasons for Latvian migration and statistical information regarding Brazilian immigrant policy and numbers of immigrants are derived from census data, church records and archival material. A Lutheran church record case study is also documented as supporting material, and estimates are established from a wide variety of reported statistical information concerning Latvians in Brazil. Latvian religious subdivisions form the basis for tracing the São Paulo community development and extent of Latvian-Brazilian assimilation. General aspects of assimilation in Brazil are applied to the Latvian community with detailed discussion of cultural and social integration including intermarriage and language, customs and environment. Conclusions are drawn from the extent of Latvian influence within the Brazilian society and the reciprocal but stronger Brazilian contribution to the Latvian heritage.

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