Under the Southern Cross: A Collection of Accounts and Reminiscences About the Ukrainian Immigration in Brazil, 1891-1914


82 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography
ISBN 1-896239-62-5
DDC 981'.600491791




Reviewed by Myroslav Shkandrij

Myroslav Shkandrij is head of the Department of German and Slavic
Studies at the University of Manitoba and the editor of The Cultural
Renaissance in Ukraine: Polemical Pamphlets, 1925–1926.


The mass immigration of Ukrainians to Brazil paralleled their
immigration to Canada. Indeed, from the 1890s until the outbreak of the
First World War, Brazil competed with Canada as a destination for those
citizens of Eastern Galicia who were searching for a more prosperous
life in the Americas. Some 45,000 pioneers made the journey overland to
Genoa, then by sea to the Brazilian coast, and finally to their areas of
settlement (mostly in Paranб).

They are allowed to tell their stories in 12 accounts, which the editor
has gathered from newspapers, published memoirs, and unpublished
letters. All the accounts were written in the first three decades of
emigration, and retain the freshness of first impressions. In them the
settlers describe their travel experiences, the shock of arrival in a
climate, land and cultural surroundings for which they were quite
unprepared, and their attempts to cope with the difficulties of adapting
to new conditions.

This is a well-edited and well-designed book by a Canadian who is
intimately familiar with his subject. The translations are both accurate
and readable. They are supplemented with evocative photographs, maps,
and charts from the turn of the century. The volume also contains an
informative introduction, carefully documents each entry, and provides
extensive notes.

For many Canadians of Ukrainians descent, the book will provide a
mirror image of the immigration to this country. People from the same
villages, sometimes from the same families, lured by the promise of land
or riches, left at approximately the same time for either Canada or
Brazil. The stories in this volume will be read with the history of
Canadian immigration in mind, and their fates will inevitably elicit
comparisons with the lives of Ukrainians in Canada. Because the
Ukrainian immigration to Brazil provides such an interesting comparison
to the settlement of the prairies, there is much here that will resonate
with Canadian readers. The volume will interest historians and students
of diasporas for the light it throws on the mentality of the pioneers,
their varied motives for emigrating, and the views expressed of Canada
and Brazil. But a reader of travel literature or one fascinated by the
European encounter with South America will find much to delight them in
this volume.


Morski, Jeffrey Picknicki., “Under the Southern Cross: A Collection of Accounts and Reminiscences About the Ukrainian Immigration in Brazil, 1891-1914,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/8749.