The Azores are all over the world. This is felt whenever we travel and whenever we realize that, in almost all Azorean families, there are emigration stories to several parts of the planet. Many Azoreans, depending on the historical context or even today, wanted to escape insularity, look for new opportunities, or improve their finances, and moved to other places.
In this first edition of “The Azores in the world”, we dedicate our special attention to the Azoreans who chose the south of Brazil as their new home.
The Azorean presence, still well noticeable in southern Brazil, is capable of impressing any visitor. Those people, who actually even speak Portuguese, are immensely proud of their Azorean roots and insist on keeping their ancestors’ traditions alive in their memory and in their lives.
Azorean emigration to Brazil is linked to the Portuguese colonial project to carry out the territorialization of Brazil, at a time when several nations were trying to contradict the limits imposed by the Treaty of Tordesilhas, and it began, in the early 18th century, with the first Azorean couples who settled in strategic areas with Portuguese support. These couples, mostly from the islands of Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge and Faial, were looking for better life conditions considering the poverty then felt in the Azores and following the seismographic events that frequently occurred in the Azores.
Azorean migrants arrived in Brazil, occupied lands mainly in Santa Catarina and Porto Alegre (a city that was once called “Porto dos Casais” or Couples Harbor, in allusion to the Azorean couples who disembarked there), a phenomenon that continued during the 18th century.
Currently, in the center of Porto Alegre, there is the “Monument to the Azorean Couples”, sculpted by Carlos Gustavo Tenius, honoring the first sixty couples who disembarked in the city and who established deep cultural roots, still very visible today.
In August 1996, the “Monumento ao Povoamento Açoriano” was built in Santa Catarina, with the aim of honoring the Azorean people for their contribution to the history and culture of Santa Catarina.
But the Azorean soul in the south of Brazil does not only live on monuments. The Azorean soul in this faraway place, but at the same time so close, is lived in the recreation of the festivities in honor of the Divine Holy Spirit, in the architecture, in the folklore, in the relics proudly exposed and passed down from generation to generation, in the studies and events that take place continuously in universities. There is an authentic interculturally that is cultivated and lived in a way that is worth seeing.