In the 18th-century there was another important German figure in Brazilian history; that of Lieutenant-General Johann Heinrich von Boehm. It was von Boehm who, at the head of Portuguese troops, recaptured the city of Rio Grande in Rio Grande do Sul from the Spaniards in 1777. Von Boehm was assisted by two other German officers, i.e., the Count of Lippe and Marschal Funk. These three characters were in a sense the forerunners of the German battalions brought into Brazil by the First Empire in the early part of the following century.
The first colonization of importance by Germans in Brazil did not take place until the early part of the 19th century. Beginning with that century there was a steady stream of non-Portuguese settlers into the country, and of these the Germans formed an important part.
The following is a resume of the German colonies in Brazil and a brief introduction to their history.
For the sake of convenience, the colonies have been divided:
First; according to the states in which they are located.
Second; according to the date of founding.
Third; according to the kind of colony administratively at the time of founding. As to this they fall under three categories:
a) Private colonies, i.e., founded by a private individual or corporation.
b) Provincial colonies, i.e., founded by a particular state or former province.
c) State colonies, i.e., founded by the central government, whether during the time of the Empire or since the formation of the Republic.
The word German as applied to colonists refers only to natives of Germany who became naturalized citizens of Brazil and to Brazilians of German extraction.
Colonies located within the confines of other German colonies (e.g., Hansa, Sao Bento etc.) are not listed.
Direct immigration signifies immigration from Europe.
Indirect immigration signifies immigration from a South American country bordering on Brazil; immigration from another Brazilian state; or from another colony within the same state.
Numerical statistics concerning individual colonies have been avoided except in a few cases where they are of sufficient comparative importance to be noted in a work of this scope.
All the colonies coming in consideration (excepting some of those founded since 1890) have been “emancipated,” i.e., they no longer receive special aid from, the government and their special colonial directorates have been abolished.
The states of Brazil which are important so far as German colonization is concerned are Bahia, Minas Geraes, Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro (Federal District), Sao Paulo, Parana, Santa Catharina and Rio Grande do Sul. This is the geographical order from north to south and the one according to which they will be taken up.