Unlike most South American countries which were largely colonized by the Spanish, the Portuguese started colonizing Brazil in the 16th century.
Choosing surnames for many people was done in a rather unusual fashion. If the last name was unknown or difficult to pronounce in the Portuguese language, they were given the surname “da Costa” if they lived near the coast or “da Silva”(from the forest) if they lived inland. Orphan children were given the surname “dos Santos” (from the saints) so these three surnames are very common and yet reveal nothing of the heritage of the individual.
It is estimated that 80% of the Brazilian population has at least one Portuguese ancestor. There is also significant African, Arabic, Italian, German, Japanese, and Spanish influence as can be seen in the most common surnames in Brazil.
Find all of these Brazilian surnames in this puzzle … Almeida, Alves, Araújo, Azevedo, Barbosa, Cardoso, Carvalho, Cavalcante, Correia, Costa, Dias, Fernandes, Ferreira, Gomes, Gonçalves, Lima, Martins, Melo, Montes, Morais, Oliveira, Pereira, Ribeiro, Rocha, Rodrigues, Santos, Schmitz, Silva, Souza, and Teixeira.
Click image to download Common Brazilian Surnames Printable Word Search.