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Sypniewski and Other Families in Paraña, Brazil, South America
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska

Brazil is the largest and most populated South American Republic. It covers an area of 3,286 miles. In the years 1890 and 1891, not only did Poles migrate to the United States and Canada, but there was a large group that went to Brazil. In particular they traveled from Bremen, through Rio de Janeiro, and then, into the Brazilian interior, to the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Panana. One such region was that of Cruz Machado,in the State of Paraña, Brazil. A Christian group of Poles was led to the area surrounding two Catholic Missions (Most Brazilians were also Catholic): The Heart of Our Lord Jesus (Serca Pana Jezusa) and St. Anne's (Swieto Anny). Both missions were located in Southwest Cruz Machado.

These neighboring colonies had a mission apiece. The names of these Missions/Churches were formally deeded and named for the little town and municipality of Cruz Machado. We know this from the diary of Dr. Antonio Candido of Cruz Machado. Candido was the viscount of that temporary empire. The colonists distinguished themselves by banding together after exploring the independent Paraña region of Brazil.

Diocese of Parana <---Click here for more information on the Diocese of Parana.

Their first official was Alfons Nadolny. The district occupied about 1,731 square kilometers and was entrusted to Nadolny's rule. By the 17th century, there were about 17,000 residents in this area.

The colonization of this hot region, located above sea-level, near the Sierra de Esperanza Mountains was named Cruz Machado by the Brazilian Government. This land was located near the Iguasu and Areia Rivers in the year 1910. This area was a carry over from the former federal colonies. By 1950,tThe settlement had about 9,600 occupants and 5,500 of them were of Polish origin, descendants of the former congregations of the two churches mentioned above. Accompanying the Polish settlers were Ukranians and Germans. They built the settlements of Concordia, Amazonas, Victoria, Carazin, and Santa Anna. By and large the Poles original ancestors were from Pochodzacy, Chelmszeryzny, Siedleckiego, and Lubelskiego in Poland.

Jozefa Anusza, was the vicar of Araucaria, Michala Pankiewicza and J. Jacholkowski were some of the early settlers.

The Polish immigrants of Cruz Machado arrived in July 1911 (in the winter in the Southern Hemisphere). They were promised individual cabins, but instead found four hundred (400) old wooden sheds. Often two families were crowded together in these shacks.

The colony was plotted by three engineers: Edmund Wos Saporski, Jan Rysicz, and Franciszek Sypniewski. The newly established settlement was called Rio de Banho. Cruz Machado was colonized, but because of the crowded, unsanitary living quarters, and the climatic extremes (unlike those in Poland), a large number of children, adults, and elderly settlers were soon buried in Polish cemetaries. As with most colonists, the promises made were much grander than the reality of their situation. After the survivors adapted to their new homes, colonization picked up, and the "Old Timers" that survived the early days moved to Guarapuava and began a new colony across the river called Santa Ana.

By 1920, the colonies of Cruz Machado consisted of seven hundred, fifty (750) Polish families, fifty (50) Brazilian families, and a few other nationalities. The remaining land of Cruz Machado was regulated by land officials in 1911. Catholic priests assumed parishes anywhere clergy was needed. Father Pawel Tomala was the parish vicar of Guarapuava. Another priest was Father Teodor Hilary Drapiewski and Father Piotr Haidi made periodic visits to all colonies as a traveling priest. In 1912, Bishop Joæo Francisco Braga came to this area to visit the parishes. Chaplain priest, Theodore Drapiewski arrived and the clergy continued to go their through modern times.

In the early 1900s, even Theodore Roosevelt headed an exploration to the Paraña and Mato Grosso regions of Brazil. Victor Oppenheim, a Latvian and civil mining engineer also traveled in this area.

Curitiba, Brazil.


Poles came to Brazil in three main waves: the smallest number between 1869 and 1889, the largest during the period of so-called "Brazil Fever" that swept Poland and Ukraine between about 1890 and 1896, and the next largest contribution in the years just before World War I. Most of the Poles settling in the vicinity of Curitiba, Parana, Brazil, arrived in the 1880s with subsequent immigrants settling further afield in south-central Paraná.

In recent years, however, there has been a tremendous revival of interest in people's Polish heritage, and, wherever there are large concentrations of Poles, children are encouraged to join Polish language classes, folk dance classes, and music groups to preserve folk traditions of their Motherland.

One small town near Curitiba (25:26S, 49:16W), called Araucaria, has a museum to promote and preserve elements of the Polish immigrant heritage. Araucaria (named after the Parana pine) is located about 30 kilometers south of Curtitiba. In Araucaria is "Parque Cachoeira." The park is the location of the Museu da Mata e Imigração Polonesa The museum is open from Tuesday through Sunday from 10a.m. until 5p.m. This is an outdoor museum that serves as a tribute to the area's first Polish settlers who arrived in 1886. Resembling a small village, the museum is similar to the one in Curitiba's Bosque João Paulo II, but larger. Old buildings have been renovated and the village consists of early pioneer log cabins, a granary, chapel and school, as well as a pig pen, beehive, and various agricultural implements. There's an excellent book and gift store, and traditional Polish food is available.

Buses leave Curitiba's Praça Rui Barbosa hourly for the 45-minute journey to Araucária.

Book About Poles in Parana. ... Percentage of Poles that Came to Curitiba .... More
index with more links about the Polish Colonies in Brazil

Other Sypniewski's:

A professor at this University of Parana, called Luis Sypniewski, has a grandmother who was a Sypniewski. He has written to me, but as yet we do not know if she is an ancestor of Franciszek Sypniewski, the engineer.

University of Parana

An article called "A Note on Polish Settlers in Brazil" was published in August 1995 by the Rodziny newsletter:


Listing of various Immigrants to Brazil

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