Hispanic Division: Back to Agricultural Settlements in Central California
Aerial Perspective of the East Side of San Francisco BaySeveral of the oldest Portuguese-American farming communities in the San Francisco Bay area are located south of Oakland in the neighboring towns of San Leandro, San Lorenzo, and Hayward, which are depicted in this 1931 aerial perspective drawing. As the Portuguese moved into this area, beginning in San Leandro in the 1850s, they entered an agricultural landscape that had already been shaped by earlier Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo settlements. They first worked as contract laborers on existing farms, but as they prospered, they purchased small farms, concentrating on dairying and the intensive cultivation of fruits and vegetables. A 1911 newspaper article described San Leandro as a "city of orchards and gardens . . . almost as Portuguese as old Lisbon itself." These Portuguese communities gained literary distinction when Jack London fictionalized some of the residents in his semi-autobiographical novels, Martin Eden and The Valley of the Moon.
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Aerial Perspective of the East Side of San Francisco Bay