SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online


Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos, ahead of print  Epub 20-Fev-2013


'Combating' tropical diseases by the German language newspapers published in Brazil



Research conducted in the German language newspapers published in Brazil show how much German overseas communities managed to share their experiences with regard to health in tropical and subtropical regions. These newspapers were the vehicle through which the lay public was informed regarding 'combating' tropical diseases from the end of the 19th century onwards. Immigrants and their descendants in Brazil were informed by the press not only of the illnesses to which Europeans in colonial Africa were subject, but also of sanitation measures, prophylaxis, experiments with tropical medicine, etc.

 "In the cause of colonialism in Africa, tropical medicine was a subject examined by the Teuto-Brazilian press," says the historian Sílvio Marcus de Souza Correa, a professor at the Federal University of Santa Catarina responsible for the study. "Scientific expeditions in Africa and research carried out at European institutes for tropical medicine made the pages of the Teuto-Brazilian newspapers for various reasons: some German communities were located in areas where disease was endemic; there was interest – even a certain chauvinism – in the development of German medical science and the German pharmaceutical industry; since the Berlin Conference (1884), the German colonies in Africa received attention from the Teuto-Brazilian press, which had recourse to news telegraphed from Germany."

Teuto-Brazilian newspapers can be found in various archives in São Paulo, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. In Germany there are also collections of German language newspapers published in Brazil. As digitalization of much of this source material still remains to be done, access to the originals or to microfilms is still the only way to consult them. However, their importance for historical studies is stressed by Prof. Souza Correa, since the Teuto-Brazilian press published a great deal of material, especially with regard to "German Africa," which never reached the national Portuguese language newspapers, or only reached them with a different emphasis.

The article "O 'combate' às doenças tropicais na imprensa colonial alemã" ("Combating tropical diseases in the German colonial press") is published in the review História, Ciências, Saúde – Manguinhos, January 2013, available at



Sílvio Marcus de Souza Correa
55 48 37219249
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brasil