São Paulo

São Paulo. A leading industrial state and the most populous state in Brazil (2007 pop 41,262,199), occupying 248,222.8 sq km in the southeastern part of the country. Its capital is São Paulo. The Ukrainian community, numbering approximately 30,000 (in 1991), is the second largest in Brazil, after Paraná. Most of the Ukrainians live in São Paulo or São Caetano do Sul, one of the four centers which form the São Paulo metropolitan region.

Ukrainian immigrants began arriving in the state in significant numbers during the 1890s, although most of them were simply passing through. One of the early settlements was the colony Ukraina in Rancharia, which was formed in 1926 by 40 Ukrainian families who had moved from Santa Catarina and Paraná. It was particularly notable for being a predominantly Catholic community that nevertheless invited an Orthodox priest to serve it in 1931, after several years of seeking a priest of its own denomination. The community later established a school and other organizations, but ultimately most of its members resettled once more in Nova Ukraína in Paraná.

The scattered pockets of Ukrainian settlement in the state achieved a focal point only after the Second World War, when Ukrainian church and community organizations were established on a firmer footing. These were centered in the capital. The Ukrainian population of São Paulo is notable for its predominantly urban character, which is in contrast to the largely agrarian character of other Ukrainian communities in Brazil.

Natalia Kerechuk

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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