The immigration of Jews from Russia was mainly responsible for the ineffective yet oppressive Aliens Act of 1905.
The introduction of European immigrants dates from 1818 when a Swiss colony was located at Nova Friburgo, near Rio de Janeiro, and it was continued under the direction and with the aid of the imperial government down to the creation of the republic. Since then the state governments have assumed charge of immigration, and some of them are spending large sums in the acquisition of labourers.
Owing to the inadequate supply of labour two important immigration leagues of business men were formed in 1904 and 1905, and in 1907 the state government began officially to attempt to secure desirable foreign immigration, sending agents abroad to foster it.
During the great migrations in Asia from east to west many populations were probably driven to the northern borders of the great plateau and thence compelled to descend into Siberia; succeeding waves of immigration forced them still farther towards the barren grounds of the north, where they melted away.
The immigration from countries other than Portugal during the first half of that century was small, but before its close it increased rapidly, particularly from Italy.