Celebrating the Portuguese Communities in America:
A Cartographic Perspective


Tabula Magellanica qua Tierra del Fuego

Tabula Magellanica qua Tierra del Fuego. [1709?]
Geography and Map Division

Although numerous countries and individuals were involved in the exploration and mapping of the Americas, it was the Portuguese who set the stage during the fifteenth century for the ensuing discoveries in the New World. Portuguese-born and sponsored explorers played a significant role, especially in charting a route around the southern tip of South America; in exploring and exploiting the waters bordering the northeast coast of North America; and in exploring the Pacific Coast of North America, particularly the area that today is the state of California.

The Portuguese did not establish major settlements in North America during the colonial period, but they did become an important immigrant group during the late nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. A few isolated settlements, such as the Portuguese-Jewish congregations in Newport, Rhode Island, and Charleston, South Carolina, have been documented in the original thirteen colonies. During the nineteenth century, Portuguese immigration started to increase, but did not reach large numbers. Most of these immigrants, who came from the Azores rather than from continental Portugal, were involved in the whaling industry. These settlements were concentrated in southeastern New England (especially around New Bedford, Massachusetts) with smaller numbers in the Pacific arena, including scattered whaling stations in Hawaii and along the California coast. The largest numbers of immigrants came in the last two decades of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth century, as the new arrivals settled in the industrial towns of southeastern New England and the agricultural communities around the San Francisco Bay and throughout the San Joaquin Valley in central California.

Through maps and photographs, this exhibit celebrates Portuguese communities in the United States. Primarily, it documents the migration of Portuguese people to America and their subsequent settlement in this new homeland. It also highlights the Portuguese contributions to the exploration and mapping of these unchartered lands.

Table of Contents

The Portuguese Role in Exploring and Mapping the New World
Portuguese Settlement in the United States
Whaling, Fishing, and Industrial Employment in Southeastern New England
Agricultural Settlements in Central California
Protestant Exiles from Madeira in Illinois
Twentieth-Century Arrivals from Portugal Settle in Newark, New Jersey
Many Lisbons in the United States

Go to:

Library of Congress Library of Congress
Comments: Ask a Librarian ( July 15, 2010 )
Legal | External Link Disclaimer