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Victorious Brazilian fans
Find out how Bayswater came to be known as Brazilwater and how this vibrant expanding community has in a short time been influential in shaping the lives of Londoners.
When we think of Brazil, images of carnival, football and coffee come to mind. Yet this youthful, vibrant and expanding community in our capital has, in a short time, been influential in shaping the lives of Londoners.
Pele, a hero for many Brazilians
Many young Brazilians come to London to study, but once here some discover that the capital’s ethnic and cultural diversity offers opportunities and a good quality of life. In part, this immigration of Brazilians to London is a consequence of the economic possibility of travel.
An estimated 60,000 Brazilians live in London
However, within modern Brazilian culture there has always been a migratory instinct both internally and around the world.
Latin Americans began to arrive in London in significant numbers during the 1970s, driven by political and/or economic pressure. The Brazilian population here has increased steadily since the military coup of 1964. During the 1980s economic crisis, improved transport services and the easing of restrictions on foreign travel added to this growth in emigration.
Brazil’s strongest European links are to Portugal - until 1822 it was a Portuguese colony and Portuguese is spoken by almost the whole population. But large numbers of Brazilians from all walks of life continue to arrive in the UK all the time.
Brazilian dancers at the Notting Hill parade
An estimated 60,000 Brazilians live in London and many travel under other national passports. Bayswater was once so famous for its Brazilian residents, it was affectionately nicknamed ‘Brazilwater’, though today you’re as likely to meet Brazilians in Brixton and Dollis Hill as you are in Notting Hill.
But what attracts people from the world’s most multicultural nation to London? London’s history as a centre of international commerce and finance, of high quality education and professional training has drawn many Brazilians to work or study here.
In Brazil, English has replaced French as the principal second language among educated people. Brazilian professionals from the sciences and the arts, who have made London their home, have contributed to its reputation for cultural innovation.
The Anglo-Brazilian Society has been promoting relations between Brazil and the UK since 1943 and regularly organises lectures, exhibitions and musical events to further knowledge of Brazil and its people and culture. Although the Anglo-Brazilian Society has played an important role in building bridges between the UK and Brazil, in the past, Brazilians often found that there was a lack of organisations and groups centred around their specific needs.
Jean Charles de Menezes
In recent years, artists and activists have brought a new cohesion to Brazilian culture in London, and a greater sense of community has begun to emerge. On a sad note, never has that community cohesion been more apparent than after the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes by Metropolitan Police officers at Stockwell tube station in 2005. The death of an innocent man in such tragic circumstances brought Brazilians together with other Londoners in mourning and in protest.
last updated: 16/05/2008 at 12:43