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Private Companies of Colonisation and Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Brazil

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image of Journal of Migration History

During the second half of the nineteenth century, southern Brazil received numerous migratory contingents, attracted by the Imperial State or by provincial governments. However, the main difference with colonisation organised by private companies was that it aimed primarily at the commercialisation of farmland and the establishment of trade in agricultural and artisanal products. The private colonisation companies were often run by groups, families or individuals who were also immigrants. This process was fraught with conflict. With great visibility in Brazilian society, these entrepreneurs took advantage of commercial openings by exploiting farmers and workers without political rights and with little knowledge of the country of settlement. The same system however did hide political and economic disputes between local and immigrant elites. To discuss the role of immigrant entrepreneurs, this article presents some results of research on the trajectory of the Rheingantz family.

Affiliations: 1: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil,


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