Of the approximately 6 million immigrants received by Brazil, 70% were of Portuguese, Spanish and Italian origin. Among the others, Germans (Germans), Slavs (Russians, Poles and Ukrainians) and Asians (Japanese and Syrian-Lebanese) stood out.
The arrival of Portuguese people was more or less continuous since the 16th century, but immigrants of other nationalities, as a rule, arrived here in well-defined flows.
In the first half of the 19th century, immigration to the south of the country predominated . The entire history of the population and economic development of the states in that region is closely related to the waves of European immigrants who went there, especially the Germans, Slavs and Italians.
According to Computerdo, the Germans were attracted to Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, thanks to the policy of distributing small plots of land adopted by the federal government; they initially dedicated themselves to agricultural activity and later to industrial activities, such as textiles, in Santa Catarina (Joinville, Blumenau, Brusque and Itajaí). The Slavs concentrated in Paraná (on the outskirts of Curitiba) and devoted themselves to agricultural activity. The Italians settled in Santa Catarina (Criciúma, Uruçanga, etc.) and in Rio Grande do Sul (Caxias do Sul, Garibaldi, Bento Gonçalves, etc.), initially dedicating themselves to agriculture (grape culture in Rio Grande do South, for example) and then to industry.
In the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, immigrants related to the development of coffee culture in the state of São Paulo stood out , which is characterized by having received more than half of the immigrants who arrived in the country. The chronological coincidence between the advent of political and economic crises in European countries and the preference for foreign labor in expanding coffee farming (to the detriment of black workers, who were available) attracted immigrants mainly of Italian origin and, to a lesser extent number, Portuguese and Spanish. At first, they dedicated themselves exclusively to coffee farming, working as settlers on the farms; later, they had a significant participation in industrial activity, which began to gain importance in the early twentieth century.
The Syrian-Lebanese began to arrive at the end of the 19th century and went mainly to the state of São Paulo and the Amazon, dedicating themselves particularly to trade.
The Japanese , whose first contingent of immigrants dates from 1908, arrived in greater numbers in the period from 1925 to 1935, heading essentially to São Paulo (Ribeira valley, Paraíba valley, Alta Paulista and Sorocabana) and to the Amazon (nearby of the city of Belém). They dedicated themselves to agricultural activity, and their participation in the implantation of tea culture in the Ribeira valley and black pepper in the state of Pará deserves mention.
Brazil, since its colonization, has been eminently a recipient of immigrants. However, the serious economic and social crises of recent years have motivated many Brazilians to opt for emigration. Searching for better job opportunities and more satisfactory living conditions, they have been moving to several countries on all continents, but in greater numbers to Canada, the United States, Portugal, France, Spain and Italy.
The influx of immigrants has been drastically reduced since the 1930s. The main causes were the economic crisis resulting from the 1929 Crisis and the enforcement of restrictive legislation, created by the Vargas government in 1934 and 1937. By the new rules, only up to 2% of the total number of immigrants of each nationality received here in the previous 50 years could enter the country annually.
This reduction in foreign immigration then gave rise to an increase in internal migrations.