Portuguese Immigrants in the United States


Manoel da Silveira Cardozo wrote in his book The Portuguese in America, 590 B.C.-1974: A Chronology and Fact Book that the history of the Portuguese presence in the United States may be roughly divided into two distinct periods: before and after the Civil War. According to Cardozo, the Portuguese migrants' "earlier achievements were different from the later ones, and the dimensions are quite unique, but the divisions of time are part of the larger whole, and the happenings in each must be seen in the same way" (vi). He maintained that the Portuguese "have proportionately furnished more immigrants to the Western [hemisphere] than any other nation of Europe" (vi). The two great Portuguese communities in the United States, one in New England and the other in California, both of which have grown substantially within the last one hundred years, are separated by distance, climate, and even occupation. Although many of the Portuguese in Hawaii left the islands, mostly for California, their presence too should not be forgotten.

Other historians divide the Portuguese presence in what are now the United States into three periods. Leo Pap, in his The Portuguese Americans, divides this history into the period before 1870 and those of 1870 through 1921 and 1958 to the present. He considers the years between 1921 and 1958 to be a time of dormancy. Most experts currently use divisions similar to Pap's.

The following chronology is based largely on Cardozo's and Pap's books, as well as The Portuguese in California by August Mark Vaz, although a number of other works have been consulted, including those by Carlos Almeida, Joaquim Francisco Freitas, Lionel Holmes and Joseph D'Alessandro, and Belmira E. Tavares. Click on an author's name to see the corresponding citation.







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