The history of Polish emigration to Brazil
The beginnings of the organized emigration movement date to the second half of the nineteenth century. Originally it had a political character and was mainly a result of national uprisings.
At that time intelligence, engineers, technicians, doctors and representatives of other professions have emigrated. At that time, however, the emigrants did not yet create permanent, dense clusters.
The impulse for organized emigration was the enfranchisement reforms, thanks to which peasants were released from serfdom. For the first time, they could decide for themselves about their own and their family’s fate. They had greater freedom of movement from place to place and to settle in other areas.
Due to the reforms the great landed property has shrank and as a result the number of the peasant land has increased. Consequently the stratification of agricultural property, from the richest class of humps with the largest tracts of land to poor bailiffs and farm workers became a fact.
What had the greatest impact on the decision to emigrate were: poverty, lack of land for cultivation, natural disaster, overpopulation, diseases and epidemics, industrial revolution, lack of prospects, desertions and reluctance to serve in the invading army, letters encouraging emigration from those who had left earlier.
The illiteracy, which significantly reduced the prospects of a good income and facilitated the decision on emigration. In the Kingdom of Poland in 1860, illiterate people constituted 90.7% of the total population, in Galicia 77% in 1880 and 67% in 1890. Only in the Prussian partition the general obligation of education caused that the problem didn’t exist.
The illiterate population, in spite of initial distrust, could be more easily convinced by the visions of emigration spread by convincing innkeepers, teachers and other agents.
In the 19th century, Europeans most willingly emigrated to: the United States (1801-1935: 34 million), Canada (1821-1924: 4.5 million), Brazil (1821-1945: 5 million), Argentina (in 1857-1949: 7 million)
The development of railways and transatlantic shipping (steamers accounted for 57% of the fleet in 1890) was an important factor contributing to emigration.Emigration from particular partitions was different.