Jón Hjaltason: Why did Icelandic emigration to Brazil fail?
In the nineteenth century Icelanders became interested in Brazil, wanting to migrate there. Interest peaked in the summer of 1865 when people practically sat on the shore waiting for a ship to collect them, having severed all ties with Iceland. The same situation arose in 1873 when a group of 35 left for Brazil but hundreds of people had signed up and were ready to go. Most of the hopeful emigrants were from Northern Iceland but there was also a big group from the islands of Vestmannaeyjar, south of Iceland. Eventually only that small group left and the question is why? The simple answer is; there was no ship. But is this true? Were there other obstacles on the way to fulfill the dream of Brazil? Among the answers suggested is the opposition to emigration and weak leadership.
Keywords: Brazil, emigration, poverty, dreams of a better life