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[Iconográfico] Thiers Fleming, Capitão da Marinh…
BRAZILIAN FAMILIES OF IRISH DESCENT
It is estimated there are over 70,000 Brazilians of Irish descent residing mainly in the States of Amazonas, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Santa Catarina, Paraná, and Rio Grande do Sul.
The Dicionário das Famílias Brasileiras (1999-2001), by Antônio Henrique Bueno and Carlos Eduardo Barata (eds.), lists around 18 Brazilian families of Irish descent from the 18th century: Archer, Browne, Colvill, Darcy, Dwyer, Fella, Hayden, Maxwell, O’Brien, O’Connor, O’Grady, O’Hanlon, O’Kane, O’Leary, O’Reilly, & Rohan, of which two are notable: Belfort and Whitaker.
William (Guilherme) Whitaker (1794-1856) was born in Cork. He left numerous and illustrious descendants, including Jose Maria Whitaker who became president of Banco do Brasil in 1920.
Lourenço (Lancelot) Belfort (1708-c.1777) was an Irish businessman who became wealthy raising cops and cattle on his estate in Maranhão. In 1756, he built a town house in São Luís, Solar dos Belfort, which is still standing, following restoration in 2015. He also built a chapel in honour of St. Patrick in 1769. The Municipality of Belford Roxo in Rio de Janeiro derives its name from one of his descendants, Raimundo Teixeira Belfort Roxo.
John Joaquim Fleming (1773-1849) was a successful Irish immigrant to Brazil who participated in a revolutionary movement in São Paulo (June-July 1842). His descendants include Francisco de Almeida Fleming (1900-1999), a pioneer of Brazilian cinema in Pouso Alegre (MG) at the age of 18, and Thiers Fleming (1880-1971), who held the rank of “Captain of Sea and War” in the Navy of Brazil and received an “Order of Naval Merit” in 1952. Today, the Fleming family numbers about 5,000 people!
Other famous Brazilians of Irish descent include Lorena Simpson from Manaus (Portuguese/Irish descent) – singer, dancer and composer; Cintia Dicker (German/Irish descent) – model and actress; Professor José Roberto O’Shea – Professor at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Shakespearean and translator (including of James Joyce); and the brothers Haroldo de Campos (RIP), writer, translator, literary critic, and co-organiser of various Bloomsday celebrations in São Paulo, and Augusto de Campos, writer, translator, and literary critic – both translators of Joyce and proud of their maternal Irish lineage to Galway.