Skip to main content

Icelandic descendants in Brazil

“I consider the destiny of the Icelanders that emigrated to Brazil and that of their descendants to be a hidden part of the History of Iceland. Those who emigrated to Brazil have been forgotten, whereas knowledge on Icelandic descendants in Canada and the United States is considerable. However, the story of the Brazilian Icelanders and their descendants is remarkable in many was and deserves more coverage and visibility,” says Eyrún Eyþórsdóttir, doctoral student in Anthropology.

Eyþórsdóttir studies the descendants of the almost 40 Icelanders who emigrated to Brazil at the end of the nineteenth century in the theoretical context of diaspora and globalized identity. She says that the globalized Icelandic identity is interesting in many respects but especially so among the Icelandic descendants in Brazil.

Eyþórsdóttir lived temporarily in the South of Brazil in her teens and experienced first hand how important people’s origins are in the social context there. “There is great cultural diversity in Brazil where you can find a community of people of Icelandic descent that is relatively unknown. I became interested in this community and it later became the inspiration for my research,” she says.

The preliminary results indicate, among other things, that the Icelandic identity is present among Icelandic descendants in Brazil and that it is important to them. The manifestation of the identity is for example reflected in the pride of their Icelandic origin. Eyþórsdóttir considers it interesting to pursue whether this identity has become more important in recent years; and if so, why? “The study is important as it increases knowledge on Icelandic descendants among Brazilians. Such knowledge is both important form a scientific point of view as well as for the general social discourse,” concludes Eyþórsdóttir.

Supervisor: Kristín Loftsdóttir, Professor at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences.

Eyrún Eyþórsdóttir