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Arab Brazilian
Carlos Ghosn.jpgLuciana Gimenez 4.jpgPaulo S Maluf em Avaré 210706 REFON .jpg
Roberto Abdenur.jpgDaniella Sarahyba.jpgGilberto Kassab 22092007.jpg
Tony Kanaan 2008 Indy Japan 300.jpgGuilherme Afif Domingos.jpegGlauco Arbix.jpg
Arnaldo jabor 2.jpgAlckmingeraldo2006.jpgFernando Haddad.jpg
Notable Arab Brazilians:
Carlos Ghosn · Luciana Gimenez · Paulo Maluf
R. Abdenur · Daniella Sarahyba · G. Kassab
Tony Kanaan · Afif Domingos · Glauco Arbix
Arnaldo Jabor · Geraldo Alckmin · F. Haddad
Total population
10,000,000- Arab Brazilians[1]
Regions with significant populations
São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro

Portuguese, Arabic


Predominantly Christianity (mostly Roman Catholic), with Jewish and Islamic minorities

Related ethnic groups

Other Arabs, Arab American, Lebanese Canadian, Lebanese Australian, Arab Argentine, Brazilian Jews, Portuguese Brazilians

An Arab Brazilian is a Brazilian-born person of Arab descent. There are approximately 10 million Brazilians of Arab descent, most of them tracing their roots back to Lebanese and Syrian immigrants who arrived in Brazil in the early 20th century. The number of Brazilians of Lebanese ancestry is around 7 million, making Brazil's Lebanese population larger than the entire population of Lebanon[2]. Today, only a minority of these Arab Brazilians still know and use their original Arabic language, most of them having shifted to Portuguese.

Immigration of Arabs to Brazil started in the late 19th century, most of them coming from Lebanon, later from elsewhere in Ottoman Syria - Palestine and Iraq. Arab immigration to Brazil grew in the 20th century, and was concentrated in the state of São Paulo, but also extended to Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Rio de Janeiro and other parts of Brazil.

One remarkable characteristic of the Arab Brazilian population is its extraordinary prolificity. According to the IBGE[3][4], about 100,000 Arab immigrants came to Brazil from the late 19th Century on, but they have managed to multiply by a factor of 100 in about one century. To compare, here are the IBGE figures for immigrants of various nationalities to Brazil, and the estimates of the population of their descendants:

Number of immigrants and their descendents, by national origin
Origin Number of immigrants Number of descendents Descendents per immigrant
Arab 93,823 10,000,000 106.58
German 226,622 5,000,000 21.06
Spanish 683,382 15,000,000 20.95
Italian 1,507,695 25,000,000 15.58
Japanese 176,735 1,400,000 6.92

The prolificity of Arab immigrants to Brazil is remarkable not only in comparison to that of immigrants of other nationalites to Brazil, but also in comparison with Arab immigrants to other countries, such as Argentina or the United States:

Number of Arab immigrants and their descendents, by country
Country Number of immigrants Number of descendents Descendents per immigrant
Brazil 93,823[5] 10,000,000 106.58
Argentina 102,988[6] 3,500,000 33.98
United States 95,000[7] 1,189,731 12.52

Initially, most Arab immigrants in Brazil were Christians. However, after the 1970s, large number of Muslims from Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinian Territories and other Arab Muslim countries immigrated, and the current Muslim population of Brazil, predominantly Sunni Muslim, is estimated at about 1.5 million.[8] However, when effectively counted by the Brazilian Census, Brazilian Muslisms were only 27,239 in 2000[9]. There are also Brazilian Jews who are or whose ancestors were immigrants from Lebanon, Syria and North Africa (known as Mizrahi Jews); among them is Harry Abdul, the father of American singer/dancer Paula Abdul.

Arab culture has influenced many aspects of Brazil's culture. In big towns of Brazil it is easy to find restaurants of Arab food, and Arab dishes, such as sfihas, hummus, kibbeh, tahina, tabbouleh and halwa are very well-known among Brazilians. Most Middle-Eastern immigrants in Brazil have worked as traders, roaming the vast country to sell textiles and clothes and open new markets. This economic history can be seen today in the ways that the São Paulo-based Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce has gained greater recognition in increasing Brazilian exports to the Arab world (see: Karam, John Tofik. 2007. Another Arabesque: Syrian-Lebanese Ethnicity in Neoliberal Brazil. Philadelphia: Temple University Press).

Arab-Brazilians are well integrated into Brazilian society. Many important Brazilians are of Arab descent, including important politicians such Paulo Maluf and Geraldo Alckmin, artists, writers and even top models.


Historical figures of Lebanese Brazilian

Arab settlement in Brazil
Source: (IBGE)[10]
Ethnic groups 1884-1893 1894-1903 1904-1913 1914-1923 1924-1933
Lebanese and Syrians 96 7,124 45,803 20,400 20,400

Notable Arab Brazilians


See also

External links



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