The Land of the Future: Changes in Italian Perceptions of São Paulo, Brazil as an Immigrant Destination, 1880-1930

David Aliano, CUNY Graduate Center

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, some Italians perceived São Paulo, Brazil as a vast land of the future promising wealth and prosperity, while others saw a backward wilderness run by cruel fazendeiros (coffee planters) who treated immigrants no better than their former slaves.  Ph.D. candidate in history David Aliano discusses the national debate over immigration to São Paulo by Italian government officials, journalists, and travel writers, and the ways those perceptions changed over time as a result of political and economic developments in both Italy and Brazil.