This chapter explores a historical case study that has long ignited controversies that are similar to those involved in defining and understanding the concept of future environmental migrants or refugees. It examines the historical development and use of explanations applied to the long history of migration out of the Brazilian Northeast to the industrial heartland of Brazil to the south and to the Amazon Basin in the west. One of the advantages of considering this history is the existence of a centuries-old discourse about the Brazilian Northeast that constitutes a detailed argument about the relative roles of human beings and nature in the creation of human misery in general and human migration in particular. The drought theory of human suffering has had effects that range beyond the Brazilian Northeast and that give new life to natural deficiency as an explanation for poverty. Mass migration into the Amazon that began in 1970 was linked to the drought explanation of Brazil's troubles.