16. Immigrants

Escrito em 30/08/2022
Felipe Macchiaverni

For 50 years, between approximately the 1870s and 1920s, Brazil witnessed an intense influx of immigrants who arrived in large cities and in the inland of the country. Projects to populate geographic voids and territories with supposed shortages of labor aimed to progressively replace slave labor.The different immigrant communities –Italians, Germans, Spaniards and Japanese, among others –brought with them their habits and practices, among them the sociability around leisure and sports inthe clubs in the colony. Significant contingents of these communities came together to create social and recreational associations, such as S. C. Germânia, C. Esperia, C. Espanhol, Palestra Itália, Portuguesa de Desportos and many others. Many of these clubs turned to amateur football and, decades later, professional football.In these nuclei of immigrants that attract segments of the middle class and the most economically favored, there were significant contingents that would give rise to the working class inSão Paulo and who also played football. This is the case of working-class neighborhoods such as Água Branca, Ipiranga, Bexiga, Mooca and Barra Funda. In the Brás neighborhood, for example, the Moinho Matarazzo, founded in 1900, produced wheat flour, canned pork lard and pasta to cater to the salaried workforce, gathering more and more workers around it. Juventus da Mooca is one of the clubs that emerged in the midst of this football made up of the popular classes and Italian immigrants linked to factories. This daily routine of multitudes of immigrants around work and leisure, and in this context the sociability brought about by football, were portrayed by the modernist Antônio de Alcântara Machado in a remarkable book. Released in 1927, Brás, Bexiga and Barra Fundais composed of 11 short stories, one of them being “Corinthians (2) vs Palestra (1)”. In this one, the characterization of popular types in the stadium environment goes hand in hand with the reproduction of language and diction typical of Italian immigrants, whether as fans or players.