Perhaps the first Scots to visit what is now Brazil were, in fact, soldiers serving in French military expeditions. Three Scottish soldiers are reported to have contracted the pox near Rio de Janeiro in the late 1550s! Scots were involved in both French and Dutch efforts to establish colonies in the area, but of course it was the Portuguese who gained the greatest hold.
Despite its overseas empire, Portugal fell to Napoleonic forces in the early nineteenth century and the royal family sought refuge in Brazil: Scots were amongst those who accompanied them as you can read here.
But whilst some Scots fought in the Portuguese Army, and others served in the British Army which helped to liberate it from the France, one Scotsman was fighting hard to break up the Portuguese empire. Thomas Cochrane, Earl of Dundonald, is one of the most famous names in South American military history. Born in Lanarkshire in 1775, Cochrane (right) became a naval hero during the wars against France but was dismissed from the Royal Navy after a financial scandal. He then turned his skills to aiding independence movements in South America, first in Chile and then Brazil. In 1823 Cochrane took command of the Brazilian navy and was instrumental in removing the last Portuguese forces from the country. He was made Marquess of Maranhão by the new government and continued to serve them when rebellions broke out. Although his service ended acrimoniously, Cochrane is still remembered as a hero of Brazilian independence and a father of its navy.
Following independence from Portugal, Brazil offered similar opportunities to immigrants as did neighbouring Argentina. Just as the Scots introduced football to the latter, so they are famed in Brazil. Charles William Miller (left), born in São Paulo in 1874 to a Scottish railway engineer and his Anglo-Brazilian wife, Miller was educated in Britain before returning to South America. On his return he brought with him two footballs and helped to found the first team and league in Brazil. When Archie McLean moved to Brazil from Paisley in 1912, he introduced a fast style of play which has since become synonymous with South American football. McLean also helped establish Scottish Wanderers FC for his fellow expats, although the team disbanded in 1916. Football was not the only physical activity introduced by Scots: the Gracie family, descended from a Dumfriesshire man who left Scotland in 1826, founded the martial-art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Nor was it only in sport that the Scots and their descendants have had an impact. Edward and Fleetwood Pellow Wilson, two brothers from Scotland, established a construction and logisitics company in Salvador in 1837. They were responsible for building major railways in Brazil as well as its first dry-dock. The company remains one of the largest maritime and logistics company in the country.
Is dòcha ann an da-rìribh gur e na saighdearan a bha a’ frithealadh ann an tursan armailteach na Frainge a’ chiad Albannaich a thadhail air Braisil. Tha e air aithris gun do ghlac triùir shaighdearan Albannach an galair breac faisg air Rio de Janeiro aig deireadh nan 1550an! Bha Albannaich an sàs ann an iomairtean Frangach agus Duitseach gus coloinidhean a stèidheachadh san dùthaich, ach mar a tha fios againn b’ iad na Portagailich a choisinn an cuibhreann a bu mhotha. A dh’aindeoin ìmpireachd thall-thairis, thuit Portagail do fheachdan Napoleon tràth san naoidheamh linn deug agus bha an teaghlach rìoghail a’ sireadh comraich ann am Braisil: Bha Albannaich am measg an fheadhainn a chaidh còmhla riutha mar a leughar an seo.Ach ged a bha cuid de dh’Albannaich a’ sabaid anns an Arm Phortagaileach agus feadhainn eile a’ frithealadh san Arm Bhreatannach a chuidich le a shaoradh on Fhraing, bha aon Albannach a’ sabaid gu cruaidh gus an ìmpireachd Phortagaileach a bhriseadh suas. Is e Tòmas Cochrane, Iarla Dhùn Dòmhnaill, aon de na h-ainmean as cliùitiche ann an eachdraidh armailteach Cheann a Deas Aimeireagaidh. Air a bhreith ann an Siorrachd Lannraig ann an 1775, thàinig Cochrane gu bhith na ghaisgeach cabhlachail aig àm nan cogaidhean an aghaidh na Frainge ach chaidh a chur às a’ Chabhlaich Rìoghail an dèidh sgaineal a thaobh ionmhais. Thionndaidh e a sgilean an uair sin gu bhith a’ cuideachadh ghluasadan neo-eisimeileachd ann an Aimeireaga a Deas, an toiseach anns an t-Sile agus an uair sin Braisil. Ann an 1823, ghabh Cochrane ùghdarras air cabhlach Bhraisil agus bha e mar mheadhan air na feachdan Portagaileach mu dheireadh a chur a-mach às an dùthaich. Chaidh Marcas Maranhão a dhèanamh dheth leis an riaghaltas ùr agus lean e air gam frithealadh nuair a bhris na reabhlaidean a-mach. Ged a chrìochnaich a chuid seirbheis gu math lasarra, tha Cochrane fhathast air a chuimhneachadh mar ghaisgeach neo-eisimeileachd Bhraisil agus na athair don chabhlaich.
A’ leantainn air neo-eisimeileachd bho Phortagail, thairg Braisil a leithid eile de chothroman do dh’imrich à Arsaintìona. Dìreach mar a thug na h-Albannaich ball-coise do dh’Arsaintìona, is ann airson sin a tha cliù aca am Braisil. B’ e aon dhiubh sin Teàrlach Uilleam Mac a’ Mhuilleir, a rugadh ann an São Paulo ann an 1874 do dh’innleadair rèile Albannach agus do a bhean Shasannach/Bhraisilianach. Fhuair Mac a’ Mhuilleir oideachadh ann am Breatainn mus do thill e a dh’Aimeireaga a Deas. An dèidh dha tilleadh, thug e leis dà bhàla ball-coise agus chuidich e leis a’ chiad sgioba agus lìog ann am Braisil a chur air bhonn. Nuair a ghluais Eàrdsaidh MacIllEathain gu Braisil à Pàislig ann an 1912, thug e a-steach stoidhle luath cluiche a tha on uair sin air fàs co-chiallach ri ball-coise Aimeireaga a Deas. Chuidich MacIllEathain cuideachd le Scottish Wanderers FC a stèidheachadh do a cho-imrich, ged a sgaoil an sgioba sin ann an 1916. Cha b’ e ball-coise an aon ghnìomhachd chorporra a thug na h-Albannaich a-steach: chuir an teaghlach Gracie, a thàinig bho fhear à Siorrachd Dhùn Phris agus a dh’fhàg Alba ann an 1826, air bhonn an ealain ghaisgeanta Bhraisilianach, Jiu-Jitsu. Cha b’ ann a-mhàin ann an spòrs a thug na h-Albannaich agus an sliochd buaidh. Stèidhich dà bhràthair à Alba, Èideard agus Fleetwood Pellow MacUilleam, companaidh togail is logastachd ann an Salvador ann an 1837. Bha iad cunntachail airson prìomh rathaidean-iarainn a thogail ann am Braisil a thuilleadh air a’ chiad doca-tioram. Tha an companaidh fhathast mar aon de na companaidhean cuantach is logastachd as motha san dùthaich.