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Lisbon’s communities from Portugal’s former colonies provide the strongest link to the country’s past, when it was the hub of a trading empire that connected Macau in the east to Rio de Janeiro in the west. Though integral elements of Lisbon life, these communities can sometimes be an invisible presence in their adopted land, pushed out to the periphery of the city.

With our “Postcolonial Lisbon” series, CB hopes to bring these communities back into the center, looking at their cuisine, history and cultural life. In this fourth installment of the series, we look at Lisbon’s Brazilian community.

Despite Brazil being the largest of Portugal’s former colonies, the presence of its people in Lisbon has only been felt recently. During the 1950s and 60s, Brazilians in Portugal were limited to small groups of students, a few migrant adventurers and those Portuguese descendants born in Brazil who decided to return to the motherland.

However, since the 90s, a more regular coming-and-going has been taking place between Brazil and Portugal. This pendulum-like swing of migration is a consequence of their respective political and economic crises and moments of growth. At the beginning of that decade, many Brazilians moved to Lisbon in the wake of the difficult inflationary crisis that was affecting South America’s biggest nation. By 2005, they formed the largest foreign community settled in the Portuguese capital, with more than 30,000 residents.

Read more…

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