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According to Joyce Lorimer in her book English and Irish Settlements on the River Amazon, 1550-1646, “in about 1612 brothers Philip and James Purcell established a plantation in Forte de Tauregue at the mouth of the River Amazon. Huge profits were made by the colonists in tobacco, dyes and hardwoods. They were followed by Bernardo O’Brien of County Clare, who built a fort on the north bank of the Amazon and named the place Coconut Grove”. O’Brien’s first language, and that of his compatriots in the Amazon, was Irish.

In 1828, an uprising took place in Rio de Janeiro among some Irish mercenaries who had been recruited into the Imperial army to support Brazil in its conflict with Argentina. As a result of that uprising, one hundred Irish families were expelled and sent by ship to found an agricultural colony in Ilhéus, Bahia.

Following the Great Famine in Ireland, Fr. T. Donovan led around 300 Wexford emigrants to Monte Bonito, near Pelotas, then in the province of Rio Grande (do Sul). The activities of the Dom Pedro II
Agricultural Colony (1852-1868) are well documented in three ledgers held at the municipal library in Pelotas, detailing minutes of meetings, cash transactions, and material furnished by the local mayor’s office at the time. When the colony broke up, most of its members made their way to Argentina or Uruguay.

Agents of the Brazilian government in England and the United States actively promoted emigration to a colony near Brusque, Santa Catarina. 246 Irish were recruited from the streets of New York. According to William Scully, writing in the Anglo-Brazilian Times (1870), one of the main reasons the colony did not prosper was due to the unsuitable agricultural land offered.