When most people think of Brazil, lederhosen and Oktoberfest are not exactly the first things that spring to mind. But what seems unlikely is often true – such is the case with southern Brazil and its German influences. The food, music, architecture, language and cultural traditions of Germany are evident throughout this region thanks to massive waves of immigration.
The first wave of immigration came in the mid 1800s, when failed revolutions in German states prompted millions to flee Europe. Of those leaving their homeland, a small number settled in southern Brazil, primarily in the state of Santa Catarina. A second wave of emigration began in 1878 and lasted for years. Many Germans emigrated to the United States, but some choose to settle in South America, and in southern Brazil. So how did such a relatively small number of immigrants create such a strong culture?
The Germans had been emigrating to Brazil as early as 1824, and though their numbers were behind the other immigrant populations of Portugal, Spain, Italy and Japan, their habits and cultures persisted. The Germans emigrated before many Italians, Spaniards and Japanese, so their roots were older. Additionally, the Germans had a high birth rate, with a German woman giving birth to eight children on average between 1826 and 1828. The next generation produced even more — up to 10 children, which grew their subculture population faster than any other immigrant culture.
Despite the rich German heritage that exists now, the first years for German immigrants were not easy. Many emigrated from Germany with the promise of land to farm, but that land was overgrown and abandoned by the Brazilian government, and many succumbed to tropical disease. Others left the area in search of less hostile living conditions. But others persisted, building their own houses and communities, and eventually cultivating the land. The most important German colonies were settled around 1850 in Blumenau and Joinville, both in Santa Catarina. These settlements in turn attracted more Germans, particularly during WWII.
Today the German influence is evident, especially in Santa Catarina, with numerous breweries and restaurants all favoring old German traditions. Blumenau boasts a word-class Oktoberfest, and the classic German sausage is also common, and can be found in everything from pizza to omelets in local eateries. Despite the early difficulties of settling in South America, Germans survived and thrived to create a lasting home in Brazil.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
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