The end of World War I marked the beginning of a new era in European migration to Brazil. The immigrants that had poured into the “país do futuro” (country of the future) now came at only a trickle and the number of entries fell by over fifty percent between 1913 and 1914 and by another sixty percent the year after. In 1918 fewer than 20,000 immigrants entered Brazil, a low that would not again be approached until 1936. Even so, between 1918 and 1919 the number of arrivals to Brazil's ports almost doubled, and in 1920 almost doubled again, reaching 69,000.
Post-war immigrants to Brazil differed in many ways from the pre-war group, both in national origin and in their views of success and opportunity. Although Portuguese, Italians, Spanish, and German immigrants continued to predominate, between 1924 and 1934 East European immigration to Brazil increased almost ten times to more than 93,000, representing about 8.5 percent of the total. Most of the East Europeans who migrated to Brazil in the quarter century after World War I were those fleeing the upheavals created by the establishment of the state of Poland. At the same time quotas and other forms of restriction in the U.S., Argentina, and Canada increasingly led potential migrants to look towards Brazil. The frequently destitute East Europeans rarely enjoyed the support of their often powerless governments, a factor that made such immigrants attractive to Brazil's large landowners. In 1927, a contract between the Polish Government and Brazil's Secretary of Agriculture for the transportation of 2,000 Polish families was partially based on the belief that the mixing of “docile” East Europeans with more “volatile” Southern Europeans would “go a long way to obviate any labor trouble that might otherwise occur.” Whatever positive attributes the East Europeans might have presented to Brazilian elites in terms of “dividing and conquering,” the Lithuanian government complained that the condition of its 20,000 immigrants was “so pitiable … that (we) might be forced to repatriate them.”
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