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Adventurers, Emissaries and Settlers: Ireland and Latin America
27-30 June 2007, National University of Ireland, Galway

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From Cork to St John: An early example of Irish migration to New Brunswick

Oliver Marshall (University of Oxford)

During the nineteenth century, the province of New Brunswick , and especially the port city of Saint John , was one of the most important destinations for Irish migrants. For most, the attraction was simple: fares that were inexpensive compared to passages to the United States . Of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who arrived in New Brunswick , relatively few settled in the province. Instead, as soon as they could earn their passage money on the wharves of Saint John or in the timber camps of the port’s hinterland, most headed south to join the rapidly expanding Irish communities in Boston or New York .  Amongst these immigrants were two ship loads of Irish men, women and children who arrived in Saint John in 1828 from Rio de Janeiro . For a long time they were known about town as “the Brazilians”.

This paper will explore both the Irish and Brazilian backgrounds to this small wave of immigrants to New Brunswick . In describing the recruitment in Cork 1827 of as many as two thousand men to serve in the Brazilian army, their transfer with their wives and children (possibly another two thousand people) to Rio de Janeiro, and events that led to their expulsion from the Brazilian capital, this paper will touch onto the neglected issue of re-migration. Migration was not always a straightforward matter of exchanging one home for another. Instead, moving between third countries was commonplace within the Irish Diaspora, contributing to the development of global networks but frequently also leading to the severing of links.

Online published: 24 April 2007
Edited: 07 May 2009

The Society for Irish Latin American Studies

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