It is impossible to make an exact statement as to the total number of Germans in the country. The reasons for this are not far to seek. The fact that an accurate census for Brazil does not exist is not surprising when we consider the enormous expanse of territory. The greater part of this is but sparsely settled and largely covered with primeval forests. Official statistics, where they do exist are apt to have been carelessly compiled and often are entirely untrustworthy, “Paciencia,” has been the watchword here as well as throughout all other walks of life in Brazil.
If we restrict ourselves to estimate, among the total of Brazilian citizens, those of any particular European origin, the difficulty increases. Here the census reports offer practically no help because all persons are listed simply as Brazilians, no reference being made as to their origin.
The primary sources in making up the estimates are furnished by the immigration reports as they are found in the “Ministerio da Agricultura” in Rio and the “Secretaria da Agricultura” of several individual states. Even here the statistics are inadequate for our purpose. As a rule only such colonists as came in third class on ships from Europe are listed. In addition, it is impossible to determine how many colonists came by land (indirect immigration) from adjoining South American countries such, as Uruguay, Paraguay or Argentine.
The secondary sources, and the ones which in this instance are most valuable, are embodied in the estimates of former colonial directors and other officials, as well as private persons having first hand knowledge concerning the different European elements in Brazil.
The official data offered by the Bureau of Statistics of the “Ministerio da Agricultura” in Rio concerning immigration directly from Europe begins with the year 1820. That concerning immigration from Germany in particular begins with 1827. Official figures are available as to the number of immigrants from Germany from that date to the present excepting the years 1830-1836 inclusive, 1838, 1839, 1843, 1844, 1846, 1848 and 1849. The total is 128,233 up to the end of the year 1915.
In order to determine the approximate numerical value of the German element in the population of Brazil, many estimates worthy of consideration have been compared. The estimates which in the opinion of the writer have the strongest claim to accuracy, are listed below. As will be seen, those determined upon by Friedrich Sommer, Direktor of the “Banco Allemao Transatlantico” of Sao Paulo are largely followed. This authority has for years been making a careful study of the subject and consequently his conclusions bear particular weight.
Taking up the states in the order as previously, we have:
Bahia. No reliable estimates
except as contained below
in “Northern and Central States.”