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Americana (the name means "American" in Portuguese) is a city of the State of Sao Paulo, distant 133 kmm from the capital.
After the end of the Civil War, many Americans were unhappy with their situation; by that same time, the Brazilian Emperor, feeling the pressure of the anti-slavery groups (the American War itself was a signs of things to come in Brazil) was looking for immigrants willing to work in the Brazilian fields.
Several groups of Americans came to Brazil, and several colonies were founded by them. The group led by Colonel William Hutchinson Norris, ex-Senator by the State of Alabama, and his son Robert Norris, which settled in a region near Santa Barbara d'Oeste, was the most successful of all; Norris arrived in 1868, and shortly afterwards, all the other groups moved from their original settlements and joined Norris.
Norris and the American families employed the techniques from Alabama to cultivate cotton; their superior knowledge and skills soon turned the group into an important cotton trader. In 1875, an important boost came with the opening of a train station, which permitted easier transportation of the production.
In 1878, an association of Brazilian and American entrepreneurs started up a cotton fabric factory, close to the station. The Americans then were concentrating around the station and the factory; the village was then dubbed "American Village"; the village grew larger and larger, and today is the city of Americana.
To educate their children, the Americans brought teachers from USA; their pedagogical methods were so efficient that, eventually, they were adopted by the official Brazilian system. The religious cults were also conducted by American priests; in 1895, a Presbiterian Church was founded in the village. Because people from other religions could not be buried in catholic cemeteries, the Americans had to build their own, the Cemiterio do Carmo; until today, American descendents are buried there, and it's around the chapel in the cemitery that festivities are organized, in memory of the founders.
To celebrate the centenary of immigration, a museum was opened in Santa Barbara d'Oeste; the museum exhibits objects and documents which belonged to the pioneers.
Visit the official website maintained by the city of Americana.
A book narrating the saga of the Americans in Brazil was written in 1967 by Judith Macknight Jones; the book is in Portuguese only; read comments (in English) here.
Check also the next link, with descriptions of the life of an American family which emigrated to Brazil
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