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
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
A Portuguese man, whose name in Spanish was Juan Arias and who was said to have come from
"Tavaria," was among Columbus' crew on his voyage of discovery. His name in Portuguese was
most likely João Aires, and there is a town in Portugal called Tavira, located near Palos,
out of which Columbus sailed in 1492. On the return trip in
1493 Columbus stopped in Santa Maria, Azores on February 13 and in Lisbon on March 4, and
the Portuguese were thus the first Europeans to hear reports of the outcome of the journey.
Columbus relied heavily on Portuguese expertise, including papers and charts of his Portuguese
The Treaty of Tordesilhas was signed on June 7. The previous year Pope Alexander VI had
declared that Portugal was entitled to lands east of a line drawn 100 leagues west of the Azores
and Cape Verde and that Spain was entitled to the lands lying west of that line. The Portuguese
were unwilling to accept this demarcation, and the treaty set the line at some 370 leagues from
Cape Verde. Pope Julius II did not confirm the treaty until January 24, 1506.
The Portuguese fished heavily on the Grand Banks and the Newfoundland area throughout the
first decades of the sixteenth century.
Pedro Álvares Cabral, attempting to reach India via the Cape of Good Hope, landed in
present-day Brazil and claimed the land for the Crown of Portugal.
Estêvão Gomes of Oporto, previously the chief pilot for
Magalhães (commonly known as Magellan), set out from La
Coruña in September, having been commissioned by Charles V, the emperor of Spain, the
previous year to locate a northwest passage leading from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Reaching
North America in February of 1525, he entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence despite the weather.
Gomes sighted Prince Edward Island and discovered the Gut of Canso. He followed the Nova
Scotia and Maine coasts and sailed the Penobscot in search of a strait that could lead him to the
Moluccas. It is probable that he reached Cape Cod in July of 1525, and he was in Spain in
Among the 600 men who landed near Tampa Bay, Florida with the Spanish explorer Hernando de
Soto were at least 100 Portuguese. The expedition traversed a great deal of territory, seeing parts
of present-day Georgia, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas,
and Oklahoma. Just under three years after landing, on May 21, 1542, De Soto died on the banks
of the Mississippi. The survivors continued on to present-day Texas. Among the explorers was a
nobleman from Elvas, Portugal, André de Vasconcelos da Silva, who seems to have been
the leader of the Elvas group. He never returned home. The oldest description of these lands is
from this expedition. Written in Portuguese by an anonymous Fidalgo de Elvas, or Gentleman of
Elvas, it was published in 1557.
While in the service of the King of Spain, João Rodrigues
Cabrilho (also known by his name in Spanish, Cabrillo) led the first Europeans to enter
California as he and his crew sailed into San Diego harbor. Cabrilho reached Drake's Bay on
November 14, named Cape Mendocino after the Viceroy of Mexico, and died on January 3, 1543,
on San Miguel Island, near Santa Barbara. A monument to Cabrilho was erected in Oakland,
California in the 1920s, and on January 3, 1937, the anniversary of Cabrilho's death, another
monument, this one erected on the island where he died, was unveiled by San Francisco's Cabrillo
Civic Club. A statue of the explorer, sculpted by Álvaro de Bré, was on display in
the Portuguese pavilion of the 1939 World's Fair in New York. The Portuguese minister of
information, António Ferro, promised to donate it to California, and a controversy
followed as to where it should be placed. It was eventually placed on Point Loma, located in San
Diego, and it is owned and maintained by the National Park Service.
The first person to take tobacco to Europe from America was Luís Góis, a
Portuguese man. Some was sent to France by Jean Nicot, ambassador to the Court of Lisbon.
Catherine de Medici is said to have suffered from an acute addiction to the substance, and the
word "nicotine" comes from the ambassador's name.
There are those who believe that João Caetano, a Portuguese in the service of Spain, came
to the Hawaiian Islands. However, most historians record the official discovery of the islands to
be the one by Captain John Cook in 1778.
Os Lusíadas, the epic poem by the great Portuguese writer Luís de
Camões, first appeared in Lisbon. Camões is inscribed on a wall of the Hispanic
Division Reading Room in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress and on the Boston
Public Library's Dartmouth Street façade.
A native of the Azores, Simão Fernandes piloted the British colonies to America. In 1584
he went to Virginia as Sir Walter Raleigh's master pilot, and in 1585 he discovered Port Simon, in
Portuguese soldiers, sent from Lisbon by order of Phillip II, composed the first garrison of the
San Felipe del Morro fortress in Puerto Rico. Some brought their wives, while others married
Puerto Rican women, and today there are many Puerto Rican families with Portuguese last names.
Portuguese navigator Pedro de Teixeira reached the coast of California north of Cape Mendocino.
The first documented Portuguese settler in the present-day United States, Mathias de Sousa,
arrived in Maryland. Some believe that he was of Jewish descent.
On October 3, a Franciscan convent for men was founded in Puerto Rico by Portuguese friars
who had come to the island in 1641.
On January 26, a group of 23 Portuguese Sephardic Jews, who had originally fled from Portugal
to the Netherlands, left Recife in Pernambuco, Brazil for New Amsterdam (now Manhattan, New
York City) in the wake of the collapse of the Dutch colony in that South American country. These
refugees were the founders of the first American Jewish community. During its first decades, the
Congregation Shearith Israel (since renamed the Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue) used the
Portuguese language. By the middle of the 1700s, however, both Portuguese and Spanish had
given way to English.
Groups of Portuguese and Spanish Jews from Barbados settled in Newport, Rhode Island. Other
Jewish settlers arrived from Curaçao, Brazil, Portugal, and the Netherlands.
A group of Portuguese Jews founded the Sephardim Touro
Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island. Jewish Portuguese families introduced the Masonic
order to Newport.
The principal source of the wine drunk in the Thirteen Colonies and the West Indies was the
archipelago of Madeira, which in turn received much Pennsylvania grain and New England cod.
The oath of allegiance to the British crown was administered in Pennsylvania to German, Dutch,
Portuguese, French, and Swiss citizens.
Isaac Mendes Seixas arrived in New York from Portugal. His son, Benjamin Mendes Seixas of
Newport and later New York, became one of the founders of the New York Stock Exchange.
A group of Portuguese and Spanish Jews arrived in Savannah, Georgia via England.
Rabbi David Mendes Machado, originally from Lisbon, became the rabbi of the
Spanish-Portuguese congregation Searith Israel in New York City.
Abraham de Lyon, a Jewish Portuguese winegrower, settled in Georgia and began planting
vineyards. He is said to have introduced the process into Georgia.
Shipwrecked Portuguese sailors are said to have arrived on the coast of Georgetown, South
Carolina and to have married into the Amerindian and Afro-American communities.
A group of Portuguese Jews arrived in Narragansett, Rhode Island from Lisbon after a
devastating earthquake in the Portuguese capital. The earthquake destroyed a large portion of
Portuguese official documents, including many related to the discoveries.
James Lucena received permission from the General Assembly of Rhode Island to manufacture
The Touro Synagogue in Newport (the first synagogue in the
United States) was dedicated on December 2. Among the founders was Aaron Lopez (or Lopes)
of Lisbon. He did not openly profess Judaism until arriving in Rhode Island, where he took the
name Aaron. Besides participating in the founding of the synagogue, Lopez was instrumental in
building up the whaling industry and he employed Azorean seamen
on his approximately thirty ships.
Pap estimates that there were several hundred Christian Portuguese in the colonies and many
other Jewish Portuguese by the time of the Revolutionary War.
Peter Francisco fought in the Revolutionary War in the northern
battles of Brandywine, Germantown, Montmouth, and Stony Point. Later he lived in Virginia, at
Locust Grove, from 1794 to the 1820s, and he died in 1831. Francisco was sergeant-at-arms in
the Virginia House of Delegates. In 1974 the Portuguese Continental Union of the United States
of America began bestowing a "Peter Francisco Award" upon distinguished Americans who have
contributed to the Portuguese cause. Francisco, who was abandoned as a small boy on a wharf in
Virginia, speaking very little English, is believed to have been Portuguese.
A number of Portuguese fought in the Revolutionary War, including Jacob and Solomon Pinto,
Jewish brothers who settled in New Haven in the 1750s. About fifteen percent of the enlisted
personnel on board the first warship to fly the Stars and Stripes, the Bonhomme
Richard, captained by John Paul Jones, were Portuguese.
Other examples include Joseph Dias or José Diaz, probably from the Azores, who came to
Martha's Vineyard in 1770. After marrying a local woman in 1780, he joined the revolutionary
forces and was captured by the British. Sent as a prisoner to England, he was released shortly and
was back home before the end of the year. In December 1780 he was baptized into the Baptist
church. He was captured a second time and in 1781 died a prisoner on the Jersey.
Antão de Almada, the governor of the Azores, stated in a report that groups of men from
the Azores became crew members of about 200 whaling ships. Many of these men eventually
came to America. When whaling was still a common activity, hiding or working on ships headed
for the United States was one of the most common ways for Portuguese boys and men to make
their way here from the Azores.
Portuguese settlers founded whaling stations for processing oil along the California coast at
Carmel, Half Moon Bay, Monterey, Pescadero, Point Conception, Portuguese Bend, Portuguese
Cove, San Diego, and San Simeon.
A part of the Pacific coast south of Alaska was discovered by the Portuguese navigator Salvador
A number of Portuguese names (some modified slightly) were reported in the first U.S. census. In
New York City and County, these included Farrara, Gomez, Navarro, Pinto, Seixas, Seixias, and
Silver. In Charleston District, South Carolina, De Costa and Lopus could be found. Philadephia
had Facundus and Telles, and there was a Rozario in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Moisés Seixas, born in 1744, wrote a congratulatory
address to George Washington in which he coined the phrase "to bigotry no sanction, to
persecution no assistance." Seixas was an influential Portuguese Jewish leader and a Grand
Master of the Masonic order, as well as a cashier at the Bank of Rhode Island. He died in 1809.
Portuguese nationals were already residing on the Hawaiian or Sandwich Islands.
After the Louisiana Purchase, some Portuguese moved to the vicinity of New Orleans. Later, in
1815, many Portuguese sailors and gunners were aboard the pirate leader Jean Lafitte's ship in the
Battle of New Orleans, fighting on the American side against the British.
Along with the Portuguese Jews who came to New York in the seventeenth century, there was a
small colony of Portuguese Christians in New York City by the War of 1812.
At least three Portuguese fought on American ships in the Battle of Lake Erie.
Portuguese adventurer John Elliot de Castro arrived in Hawaii. King Kamehameha I took a liking
to him, and Castro received lands from the king and served as his physician. Castro left Hawaii
and, after adventures that included being captured by the Spanish, he returned in 1816 and served
as secretary or foreign minister to the king.
António José Rocha, the first documented Portuguese settler in California, arrived
in present-day Los Angeles and set up a blacksmith shop. By 1828 he owned La Brea Rancho,
where the La Brea Tar Pits are now located. The ranch, which he obtained with the assistance of
his Mexican brother-in-law, had 4,600 acres. Rocha built a mill at Mission San Gabriel, as well as
a house that in 1853 became the L.A. city hall and county courthouse. He also established whaling
stations, some of the earliest in California.
The French Catholic Sulpician priest Peter Babad (1763-1846) began teaching Portuguese at St.
Mary's College in Baltimore.
Jacinto Pereira, also known as Jason Perry, was born in Faial, Azores, on April 15, 1826; he died
in Hawaii on March 27, 1883. Pereira was the owner of a dry goods store in Honolulu and a
leader of the Portuguese community there. He served as a consular agent on the islands and
helped recruit workers from Madeira to come to Hawaii.
According to local lore, António Silva, who arrived in Hawaii in 1828, was the one to
introduce sugar cultivation to the islands.
Commercial relations between New Bedford, Massachusetts and the
Azores were in full swing about this time. The first Azorean family to stay in New Bedford settled
there about ten years later.
Approximately 400 people from Cape Verde and the Azores, deserters from whaling ships, lived
in the Hawaiian Islands.
Sicilian Pietro Bachi, who taught Portuguese at Harvard College from 1826 to 1846, published a
Portuguese grammar, the second such work to appear in the United States.
Mexican authorities ordered the secularization of missions, leading to their decline.
There was a Portuguese vice-consulate in Boston.
The first Portuguese sailors started coming to Providence, Rhode Island. A few decades later
settlement in substantial numbers began.
Several hundred Portuguese nationals were recruited from the Azores to work on sugar
plantations in Louisiana. Many of these immigrants married Creole women and remained on the
plantations until the Civil War. In 1847 they founded the first Portuguese mutual aid society in the
United States, the Portuguese Benevolent Association. A second society, the Lusitanian
Benevolent Association, was founded in 1848 after a quarrel split the original association. Three
years later the two merged and took the name Lusitanian-Portuguese Benevolent Association.
Some of these settlers fought in the Confederate Army, and after the Civil War, many left for
California, while some are reported to have returned to Portugal.
The first group of Azoreans came to Gloucester, Massachusetts, a fishing community on Cape
The United States took control of Mexican lands that included California. There were Portuguese
natives living or conducting business there, engaged primarily in the whaling industry.
Numerous Portuguese and Azoreans took part in the California Gold Rush, leading to an increase
in the Portuguese presence in California. In 1850 there were 150 Portuguese there, and in 1860
there were already about 1,560. Some had been attracted to the area by an eighteen-page booklet
about California and the gold mines that was printed in Porto.
Approximately 1,000 Madeiran Protestants moved to the British island
of Trinidad for religious reasons in 1846. Three years later they were assisted by residents of the
Springfield, Illinois area in relocating to Illinois, and the group was solidified by 1855; in total
about 400 moved to Illinois.
Five Portuguese became naturalized Hawaiians in 1851. To that date, 37 Portuguese had done the
same. These numbers continued to rise for more than a decade.
Captain António Mendes, native of the Azorean island of Terceira, arrived in San
Francisco. Aside from reputedly being the first person to navigate the Sacramento River, he was a
miner and a farmer in California.
This year marked the recording of Provincetown, Rhode Island's first Portuguese-American birth.
winter of 1853-54
Painter and photographer Solomon Nunes Carvalho of Charleston, South Carolina joined explorer
John C. Frémont on his search through Kansas, Colorado, and Utah for a railroad route to
the Pacific. His portrait is part of American Memory's America's
First Look into the Camera.
John Philip Sousa was born on November 6, 1854, in Washington,
D.C. He remains one of the most famous American musicians and composers.
The Monterey Whaling Company, was started in 1854, three years after whaling began in
Monterey, California, and reorganized the following year, with two boats and seventeen
Portuguese seamen. It would later, in 1873, be merged with another whaling company and come
to comprise twenty-three whalemen.
Antone S. Sylvia, of the Azores, arrived in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He eventually became
the sole proprietor of the Joseph Frazer Whaling Outfitting Company, based in New Bedford, and
The first Portuguese in Fall River, Massachusetts is said to have arrived in 1855.
Tionio da Rosa, also known as Tionio Waters, came from Faial, Azores to Sacramento, California
and was one of the first pioneers of that area.
Mrs. Maria de Jesus Cunha (also known as Wager), along with a number of sons and daughters,
arrived in Fall River, Massachusetts, which has since become one of the largest and most
important Portuguese-American communities.
William M. Wood was born in Martha's Vineyard of a Yankee mother and Portuguese father.
Raised in New Bedford, Wood founded and headed the successful American Woolen Company.
The discovery of petroleum in Pennsylvania caused the American whaling industry to begin to
The process of canning, first of salmon, and later of sardines, tuna, and other fish, was introduced,
changing the fishing industry in California. Azoreans were involved in the canned fish industry by
The Portuguese in California could be found mostly on the Central Coast and in the Sierra
Mountains. There were more than 800 Portuguese miners in California.
According to the 1870 U.S. census, 2,658 Portuguese entered the country during this decade.
António S. Silva was a pioneer settler of San Leandro, California, where many Portuguese
eventually settled. Oakes Boulevard was named after his family, whose members have borne the
names Oakes and Carvalho, which means "oak." Many Portuguese names
were Anglicized in this way or suffered spelling or pronunciation modifications.
Two Portuguese are listed on the Massachusetts Honor Roll as having died for the Union in 1862:
Elisha N. Ávila died on February 14 at Fort Donaldson and Antone Frates (or Freitas) was
killed in action on June 2.
Azoreans and Madeirans from Monterey, California founded the whaling station at Carmel.
Carlos I, King of Portugal, was born in 1863 and died in 1908.
Maria Loriana Cunha, thought to have been the first Portuguese woman to arrive in Hawaii, was
issued a passport in Horta, Azores.
John Phillips or Phillipe, born João or Manuel Felipe, became
a hero, riding 240 miles in freezing snow and through hostile territory, when a fort that was being
built on the Bozeman Trail in Wyoming was attacked and he volunteered to call for help at the
next fort. He was known as "Portuguese John."
In Boston, the Sociedade Portugueza de Beneficencia de Massachusetts, the second Portuguese
mutual-aid society in the United States, came into being. Another, competing society, the
Sociedade de Beneficencia, Instrução e Recreio União Luisitana was
founded in 1871, and it had its own band.
The first Catholic priest who came to the United States from Portugal for the benefit of an
immigrant community arrived in New Bedford.
In San Francisco, the Associação Portuguesa de Beneficiencia de Califórnia,
formed by Azoreans, came into being. Within days a second group was formed and named
Associação Protectiva. In 1871 the two came together to form the Portuguese
Protective and Benevolent Association of the City and County of San Francisco, or the
Associação Portuguesa Protectora e Beneficente do Estado da Califórnia
(A.P.P.B.). It came to be influential in local affairs and to have a large membership, many affiliates
(or councils), and halls in a number of towns.
The Portuguese presence in the United States picked up dramatically: in the period 1820-70,
according to the U.S. census, 5,272 people (not necessarily immigrants) arrived from Portugal,
while the figure for 1871-80 is 14,082. Each decade through 1920 immigration continued to
increase. Although these figures can be used to demonstrate trends, Azoreans and Cape Verdeans
were not always counted among the Portuguese, and the figures do not provide information on
U.S.-born citizens of Portuguese descent. For this and other reasons, such as the volume of
clandestine departures from Portugal and its territories and/or illegal entries into the United
States, as well as the misclassification of Portuguese immigrants as Spanish, reliable data for
quantifying the Portuguese presence in the United States are by far the exception, not the rule.
Roughly one quarter of the children in schools in Provincetown, Massachusetts were Portuguese.
By this decade, the Portuguese in San Leandro, California were observing the Pentecostal Festa do Espírito Santo (Festival of the Holy
Ghost). The festival is typical of Portuguese-American and Azorean, but not Continental
Portuguese, communities. Eighty percent of the Portuguese who arrived in the 1870s came to the
In California, the Portuguese turned increasingly to dairying. About 27 percent of the Portuguese
in the United States resided in California, while almost all of the rest were in New England. A
decade later more than half would be in California.
The American whaling industry was in such a state of decline that an entire New Bedford whaling
fleet was abandoned in the ice of the Arctic Ocean.
A second attempt at attracting Portuguese laborers to Louisiana was made. About 230
Portuguese, of whom approximately 80 were children, landed in New Orleans and were supposed
to work along the Latourche River on plantations. However, work conditions were so poor that
many or possibly even all of them left the plantations to work in New Orleans or sail for Cuba.
The first of many Portuguese parishes in Fall River, Massachusetts began as a mission in 1874 and
became a parish in 1892. The mission, which grew to be the Santo Christo Parish, was started by
Rev. António de Mattos Freitas of São Jorge, Azores.
In Erie, Pennsylvania, the Sociedade Portuguesa da Santíssima Trindade (Portuguese
Society of the Most Blessed Trinity) came into being. According to Cardozo it was founded by
twenty-five Azoreans; Pap, on the other hand, claims it was formed by two dozen Madeiran
At Half Moon Bay in California the Holy Ghost festival was celebrated, begun by a woman from
Corvo by the name of Rosa Pedro. According to Pap, this appears to be the first such festival in
the United States.
St. John's Church in New Bedford, Massachusetts was dedicated this year. The parish, which was
canonically instituted in 1871, was the second Portuguese parish in New Bedford, after St.
In this year, 400 Portuguese, a large number of whom formerly served as seamen on whaling
vessels, resided in Hawaii.
In Hayward, California, the Guillermo Castro Ranch was partitioned and quite a few Portuguese
settlers acquired parcels of the land. João Vieira Goulart of São João, Pico,
Azores, was perhaps the most noteworthy of them. He had worked on a whaler out of New
England and eventually brought his family to San Francisco in 1869. In 1898, during the Klondike
gold rush, his two sons accompanied him to Alaska.
Although official records for the number of Portuguese in California in 1870 and 1880 show
approximately 3,500 and 8,100, respectively, in 1876 the Portuguese consul in San Francisco
estimated that there were 12,000 on the West Coast, presumably including some of American
birth. Pap believes the true figure to lie somewhere in between, and illegal immigration, as well as
imprecise definitions and use of the terms "white Portuguese," "black Portuguese," and "Atlantic
islander" (which includes natives of the Canary Islands), make it impossible to arrive at an exact
The Jornal de Notícias, the first Portuguese newspaper published in the
U.S., was produced in Erie, Pennsylvania by João M. Vicente and António Vicente
of Flores, Azores.
The Sociedade Portuguesa de Santo António Beneficente de Hawaii (Portuguese
Benevolent Society of St. Anthony of Hawaii) was founded by former whalers and gained in
importance after plantation workers also joined.
Nine of the forty-eight captains of Grand Bankers out of Provincetown, Massachusetts were
The first Portuguese immigrants to Honolulu arrived on the German ship Priscilla.
Although accounts differ as to the exact number of passengers, at least one hundred men, women,
and children from Madeira and possibly also the Azores were on board. They worked on the
sugar plantations, as many had done previously. This year marked the beginning of the mass
migration of Portuguese to Hawaii, which continued until the end of the century.
A group of Madeiran men who arrived in 1879 brought with them their instruments, forms of three of which became common in the United
States: the ukelele, the steel guitar, and the taro patch fiddle.
Several sailing vessels provided regular service between the Azores and New Bedford or Boston.
Voz portuguesa, the first Portuguese-language periodical in California, first
appeared on August 5. It was founded in San Francisco by a Brazilian and was in publication for
Over seventy percent of the Portuguese in California were residing on the Central Coast (San Francisco and Oakland Bays), and
they were by and large farmers.
According to official data, there were 13,159 persons of Portuguese stock (7,990 of whom were
foreign-born) residing in the State of California, more than 11,000 more than resided there in
1860. According to the 1880 United States Census, there were 15,650 Portuguese natives in the
country as a whole.
Council No. 1 of the União Portuguesa do Estado da Califórnia (Portuguese Union
of the State of California, U.P.E.C.) was established in San Leandro. U.P.E.C. grew tremendously
over the years and became one of the most prestigious and largest associations of its kind.
Jacinth M. de Gouveia, who is said to have been the one to introduce linguiça (Portuguese
smoked pork sausage) into Hawaii, arrived. He was originally from São Miguel, Azores.
Also in Hawaii, the Brotherhood of the Holy Ghost of the Holy Trinity, organized to celebrate the
religious holidays observed by the Portuguese, was founded.
The first settler from Faial arrived in Martha's Vineyard and began a small farm. It would be the
beginning of an Azorean farming community, uncommon in New England, where most
Portuguese immigrants were industrial workers, although quite a few Cape Verdeans and
Azoreans worked picking cranberries, strawberries, or other berries.
The newspaper Luso-americano may have been started this year; if so, it was the
first Portuguese-language newspaper in New England. It ran until 1889.
In New Bedford, Massachusetts, the Monte Pio Luso-Americano was founded. It is New
Bedford's oldest fraternal organization and was authorized by President McKinley to fly the
Portuguese flag without an accompanying U.S. flag. In 1896 King Dom Carlos I gave the
society's first president, Manuel M. Enos, a knighthood in the Order of Christ.
The newspaper A liberdade was founded in Hawaii after 1882. In 1896 it merged
with O luso, which remained in publication until the 1920s.
John B. Ávila, the "father of the sweet potato industry," arrived in California. Born on
São Jorge, Azores, Ávila worked on farms in Alameda County for several years
until, along with his brother, he bought irrigated land on which he planted Azorean sweet
potatoes, which would soon become a major commercial crop in the Atwater-Buhach area.
Ávila was one of the "Big Four" sweet potato growers, all of them Portuguese, who
controlled the industry in California during the first decades of the twentieth century. He also ran
a general store, was one of the founders of the Atwater branch of the Bank of America, and was
the supreme president of the Irmandade do Divino Espírito Santo in 1912-13.
The Portuguese newspaper A civilização luso-americana was
published in Boston. It may have been the first Portuguese-language newspaper in New England.
During this period, 925 Portuguese men, 638 women, and 1,189 children arrived in Hawaii. Not
only were the Portuguese the highest-paid members of the labor force in Hawaii at the time, they
were also the chief source of labor on the islands.
The Hawaii Homestead Law, under which twenty Portuguese acquired land during 1886-88, was
Garcia Monteiro arrived in New Bedford. Born of a wealthy family in Faial, he left his privileged
life behind to start over in the United States. Upon arrival, he worked on a Portuguese immigrant
newspaper, barely making a living. By 1885 he was in Boston with another low-paying job, this
time in a print shop. Still, he refused to accept assistance from his family and prepared himself for
medical school while continuing to work in the print shop. In 1887 Garcia Monteiro was admitted
to a tuition-free school in Boston, and he graduated within three years.
In Gloucester, Massachusetts, some Azorean settlers purchased land with the
building a Church of Our Lady of Good Voyage. According to Canonic law, they were required
to do so in the name of the Archbishop of Boston, but they were reluctant to comply, and the
dispute went to court. A church was finally completed in 1893. A celebration in honor of Our
Lady of Good Voyage is held every June in Gloucester.
The Portuguese settlement on Point Loma (San Diego) was started by Manuel Madruga of
Ribeiras, Pico, Azores. Eventually Madruga, who died in 1941 at the age of 105, would begin two
fish markets. Madruga's wife Rosalina also lived a very long life: she died in 1951 at 101. He is
said to have founded the area of San Diego known as La Playa, where many wealthy Portuguese
The Portuguese-language newspaper O luso-hawaiiano, founded in Honolulu by A.
Marques, was published.
Nearly half of the more than 21,000 Roman Catholics in Hawaii were Portuguese.
In Providence, R.I., the Portuguese parish Our Lady of the Rosary was founded.
According to Cardozo, the first recorded Festa do Divino Espírito Santo (Festival of the
Divine Holy Ghost) was held in Sausalito, on San Francisco Bay, before 1887.
U.P.E.C. (União Portuguesa do Estado da Califórnia) members were not allowed
to discuss the organization's business with nonmembers, and women were not allowed to join. In
addition, a number of the original members were Masons. This situation left many wives and
girlfriends suspicious of U.P.E.C.'s activities. After Father Manuel
Francisco Fernandes, on February 5, 1887, wrote in the Progresso californiense
of San Francisco that the Masonry was headed by the devil, U.P.E.C.'s leaders resolved to write a
hymn for the organization that would show that its members were patriotic and religious and that
it was not a Masonic society. The hymn did seem to lay the fears to rest.
The long-running Portuguese newspaper União portuguesa was founded in
San Francisco by António Maria Vicente.
The Church of the Holy Ghost, the first Californian Portuguese Catholic church, was inaugurated
The newspaper O amigo dos católicos appeared in California. It was
renamed O arauto in 1896 and O jornal de notícias in 1917.
The sponsoring of Portuguese immigration to Hawaii was ceased in 1888 due to its high cost and
the success of efforts to recruit Japanese workers. Almost 12,000 people had moved from
Madeira or São Miguel, Azores to Hawaii by this date.
The statutes of the Irmandade do Divino Espírito Santo (Brotherhood of the Divine Holy
Ghost, I.D.E.S.) of Mission San Jose, California were written in 1889, although the brotherhood
seems to have been started a few years earlier: the celebration of the Festa do Divino
Espírito Santo in 1887 may have been the group's first activity. I.D.E.S. grew to be a
large organization with several councils, with the supreme council being located in Oakland. In
1917, at the society's peak, it had 11,006 members.
Large numbers of Portuguese immigrants began to arrive in Fall River, Massachusetts, mostly
from São Miguel, to work in the cotton mills. They were the first sizable group of
Portuguese to arrive in that city. Within thirty years they made up one-fifth of Fall River's
Inacio Rodrigues Costa Duarte, the first person known to have been Portuguese consul in San
Francisco, served during this period.
On June 13, A pátria, the first Portuguese newspaper in Oakland, California,
appeared for the first time. It was founded by a Brazilian national, Manuel Stone, along with the
Sociedade de Publicidade Portuguesa, and it was in print for six years, by which time Oakland had
become the center of Portuguese culture in California, with 4,000 Portuguese living there,
particularly in West Oakland.
Fourteen-year-old Guilherme M. Luiz of Angra do Heroísmo, Azores, arrived in the
United States in 1891. He settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts and worked in the mills there.
The successful Guilherme M. Luiz Travel Agency of New Bedford was established in 1909 by his
family, who founded A alvorada (later called the Diário de
notícias), a very professional newspaper, in 1919. The newspaper was sold to
João R. Rocha in 1940 and continued to be published until 1973.
The first Portuguese-American Methodist church was founded in New Bedford. Two years later,
a Baptist church was also organized in New Bedford, and another Methodist church, this one in
Fall River, followed.
The first Holy Ghost festival in Hawaii was held this year. At one point there were four such
festivals held yearly in Honolulu alone.
The first Ph.D. dissertation to be written for a United States university on a Portuguese subject,
The Demarcation Line of Pope Alexander
VI, was presented at Yale University by Edward Gaylord Bourne.
The whaling station at San Simeon, California, founded in the late 1860s by José
Machado, also known as Joseph Clark, closed. It was the last of the whaling stations in California.
In 1962 it was declared a California State Historical Monument.
There was a Portuguese Ladies Society in Honolulu.
The Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown, and of the eighteen delegates to the Constitutional
Convention, three were Portuguese.
During this period 18,096 acres of homestead lands were acquired by 514 Portuguese in the
In Honolulu the Kalihi Holy Ghost Society was founded to sponsor social events and celebrate
In Santa Clara, California the Sociedade do Espírito Santo
(S.E.S.) was founded.
The Real Associação Autónoma Micaelense de Massachusetts was founded.
At one point it had about fifty branches throughout the United States, and its membership was
open only to São Miguel-born men and their descendants. It ceased to exist in 1936 and
was succeeded by the Irmandade do Senhor Santo Cristo de Socorros Mortuários, which
was formed in Alameda County, California and allowed any Portuguese to join.
The newspaper O luso was published. It was formed by the merging of A
união lusitano-hawaiiana with A sentinella.
The Hawaiian Islands, known at the time as the Sandwich Islands, became United States territory,
thus ending the Hawaiian penal contract labor system, under which most of the Portuguese
immigrants had arrived.
The Sociedade Portuguesa Rainha Santa Isabel (Portuguese Society of Queen St. Elizabeth,
S.P.R.S.I.), named for the queen of medieval Portugal canonized in
1625, was formed at St. Joseph Church in Oakland, California to
serve the church and provide benefits to the society's members, although it ceased its affiliation
with the church in 1901. This large, prosperous society is a women's organization and it performs
charitable works, including offering scholarships.
The União Portuguesa do Estado da Califórnia began publishing its
Boletim, later renamed U.P.E.C. Life, the oldest Portuguese
publication of its type. It has included both information about the organization and historical
essays on the Portuguese in California.
The first Portuguese physician in Fall River, Massachusetts, António H. Rosa, graduated
from the University of Maryland in Baltimore's School of Medicine.
Of the eighteen Portuguese mutual-aid societies in New England, two were for women.
During this period, three Portuguese newspapers -- A voz pública
(1899-1904), A setta (1903-21), and O facho (1906-27) -- were
Hilo, Hawaii. During 1900-10, A liberdade was published in Honolulu. O
facho was the last Portuguese newspaper to be printed in Hawaii.
The Portuguese began moving into the San Joaquim Valley at the turn of the century, and it
became the second major area of Portuguese settlement in California. Southern California,
especially San Diego, also grew in importance.
Fifty-nine percent of Portuguese immigrants during this period were male.
Almost 13,000 Portuguese had come to Hawaii by 1899.
João G. Mattos Jr., born in the Azores, joined the California Assembly in 1900, being the
first person of Portuguese extraction to do so. He would later join the California Senate, as well
as serve as a judge.
In Sacramento, the first Portuguese class in the state of California was established.
The Portuguese weekly A liberdade began to be published in Sacramento, later
moving to Oakland (1920), where it was published six days a week for six years, thereafter
becoming once again a weekly publication. It was edited by Guilherme Silveira da Glória,
a former Catholic priest who was also a poet.
Many Portuguese immigrants to Hawaii moved to California.
Frank M. Silvia of Fall River, Massachusetts, an important Bristol County representative of the
The large and successful União Portuguesa Protectora do Estado da Califórnia
(U.P.P.E.C.), a Portuguese women's benevolent society, was begun under the patronage of Our
Lady of the Immaculate Conception. It was incorporated in January of 1902. Also in 1902, Queen
Dona Amélia of Portugal received the honorary supreme presidency of the organization.
In Honolulu there were 5,000 Portuguese. There were another 5,500 living on plantations and yet
another 5,000 living elsewhere in Hawaii. The Hawaiian Missionary Board published the first
edition of a Protestant hymnal in Portuguese, Canticos evangelicos: Nova colecção de
psalmos e hymnos, printed by Typographia Lusitana. A. H. R. Vieira was among
those who translated the lyrics and he composed some of the songs.
In Gloucester, Massachusetts the first Holy Ghost celebration in New England was held after
Captain Joseph P. Mesquita's skipper weathered a terrible storm. The captain had vowed that he
would hold a Holy Ghost festival if he and his crew survived the storm. He sent to Portugal for a
crown, which was placed on the head of each of the crew members by a priest after Mass during
the Gloucester festival every year until 1931.
The American White Star Line began providing twice-monthly service between the Azores and
Boston. The ships went to Ponta Delgada and occasionally Madeira, but they never visited the
The Real Associação Autonómica Micaelense was formed in Massachusetts
by immigrants from the Azorean island of São Miguel. The mutual-aid society was
responsible for popularizing the festival to the Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres (Lord Holy
Christ of Miracles). The association had branches in California and Hawaii, and the festival came
to be celebrated in Oakland and South San Francisco. Nonetheless, Fall River, Massachusetts has
been the festival's principal locale.
A drought in Cape Verde led to an increase in migration.
David N. Carvalho's Forty Centuries of Ink, or a
Chronological Narrative Concerning Ink and Its Background was published. Carvalho
wrote the book in response to the problem of wide-spread usage of low-grade inks and papers
that would not stand the test of time, and his objective was to show how to tell the difference
between truly old ink and that which has been made to look old for criminal purposes, as well as
to offer a history of inks. Carvalho was well-known for his crime-solving abilities, which were
highlighted in Crime in Ink by his daughter, Claire Carvalho, and Boyden Sparkes.
To see full bibliographic citations, see the bibliography.
The Portuguese Methodist Church in Oakland, California was founded by Rev. Roberto K.
Baptista, who was born in Jacksonville, Illinois and was a descendent of the Madeiran Protestants who had moved to Illinois before the Civil War.
Archer M. Huntington financed the publication of a facsimile edition of Garcia de Resende's
1516 songbook Cancioneiro geral. In
Hawaii during the same year the fourth edition of the Catecismo pequeno da doutrina
cristã was published for Portuguese Catholics.
A strike protesting wage cuts in textile mills in Fall River that lasted half a year brought many Azoreans to near starvation. Thirteen
thousand Portuguese left Fall River as a result of the strike, but they were quickly replaced by
new immigrants, and those that did stay got by partly because they owned vegetable gardens. This
was only one of a number of strikes for better wages and working conditions, as well as shorter
hours, in which the Portuguese took an active role. Some of the strikes lasted as long as nine
January of 1905 saw the founding of the "A Pátria" Association of Mutual Help in
Honolulu, which was incorporated in 1910. The association's constitution and statutes were in
On New Year's Day in Oakland, a group headed by Dr. M. M. Enos founded the hospital of St.
Anthony, the first Portuguese hospital in California. Within two decades it had a special maternity
ward and 100 beds.
The Portuguese-American Bank was founded by Joaquim António da Silveira, at one
point perhaps the richest Portuguese in the United States, and a number of other Portuguese in
San Francisco. Silveira was originally of Ribeira da Areia, São Jorge, Azores, and he
received knighthood in the Order of Christ from the Portuguese government in 1935. He lived in
California and Nevada and was active in the dairy business.
Sixteen percent of the population of New Bedford, Massachusetts were Portuguese-born or of
Portuguese parentage. Even those Portuguese who did not settle in New Bedford tended to pass
through the city before moving on to other communities in New England or California. The first
Portuguese immigrants to stay in New Bedford were from the Azorean island of Faial, although
there were some Cape Verdeans among them. As the cotton mills grew around the turn of the century, immigrants began to come from the eastern islands of
São Miguel and Terceira. After 1910 the continentals and Madeirans, along with more
Cape Verdeans, arrived.
The Portuguese-language weekly As novidades, begun by John Machado, was
published in Fall River, Massachusetts.
The volume of reemigration led to a naturalization convention between the United States and
In Lowell, north of Boston, there were about 440 Portuguese families residing in crowded
Thirty-one members of the legislature of the Territory of Hawaii were of Portuguese ethnicity
and many of these were foreign-born.
A Cape Verdean fisherman, Francisco Silva, organized the first Festa do Espírito Santo
(Festival of the Holy Ghost) in La Playa, on San Diego Bay. His daughter Rose was the first
queen of the festival.
There were four or five Portuguese weeklies in publication in Hawaii, three in California, and
seven in New England.
The second president of Stanford University, Dr. John C. Branner, wrote A Brief Grammar of the Portuguese
Ezra Pound devoted a chapter of his Spirit of
Romance to the Portuguese epic poet Luís de Camões.
The fall of the Portuguese monarchy led to the immigration of several thousand Continentals.
Some joined the Azorean fishermen who had been in Provincetown and Gloucester,
Massachusetts, as well as the Boston harbor, for half a century.
The first Portuguese school in the United States, affiliated with the Santo Cristo parish of Fall
River, Massachusetts, opened in 1910. The Rev. João B. de Valles, the second pastor of
the parish, was chiefly responsible for this endeavor. He was a World War I hero and a public
school in New Bedford, Massachusetts was named for him.
António A. Rogers, son of António Rogers, who was born Soares in Flamengos,
Faial, Azores, was himself born in San Leandro, California. He became deputy district attorney of
Alameda County in 1909 and was elected in 1910 on the Republican ticket to the State Assembly,
in which he served a two-year term. A decade later he left politics and devoted himself to
The number of Portuguese who had immigrated to Hawaii was greater than 21,000.
Because of poor working conditions in Hawaii, roughly 2,000 Portuguese moved from the islands
to California during this period.
M. G. Santos wrote the Almanach Portuguez de
Hawaii para 1911.
Antone Ferreira Tavares, a Hawaiian born in the Azores, was elected to the Territorial House of
Representives. A successful businessman, Tavares was reelected for five consecutive terms. He
was elected to the Territorial Senate in 1920 and reelected once.
The Portuguese-American League was formed in Oakland, California with the objective of
promoting naturalization and activity in local politics.
Direct service from the Azores to Providence was established by the Fabre Line. The steamers
took the following route: New York-Providence-Lisbon-Ponta
Delgada-Angra do Heroísmo-Horta-Providence.
The Portuguese consul in Boston reported that his district, comprised of the six New England
states, with 70,000 native-born Portuguese and 80,000 American-born descendants, had the
second largest Portuguese colony of all other nations of the world, following only Brazil.
According to the consul, over ninety percent of them lived in Massachusetts, while there were
10,000 in Rhode Island, 1,000 in Connecticut, and about 300 in the remaining states of New
Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. Seventy-five percent were Azorean. The report stated that
fifty-six percent of the women, and two-thirds of the overall Portuguese population, were factory
Of the thirty-five Portuguese mutual-aid societies in New England, eleven were for women.
The Holy Ghost parish in Fall River opened the first Portuguese parochial school in the United
States. Many others in New England followed, although none were ever created in Hawaii or
Artur Vieira de Ávila, João de Melo, and Constantino Barcelos founded the
Portuguese newspaper O lavrador in Lemoore, California. It moved to Hanford and
Ávila became the only editor. In 1920 it moved again, this time to Tulare, where Alfredo
Silva joined Ávila in editing the paper, which they moved to Oakland in 1927.
Several thousand Capeverdeans were residing in the San Francisco area. They worked on
riverboats or on the docks.
João Francisco Escobar of Faial, Azores wrote The New Method to Learn the Portuguese Language
In West Oakland, the social and benevolent society Associação Protectora
União Madeirense do Estado da Califórnia (União Madeirense for short)
was founded. The society grew to include dozens of councils not only in California, but also in
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.
Portuguese immigration to Hawaii came almost to a halt.
This year marks the beginning of Portuguese settlement in western Massachusetts, specifically
Ludlow, located near Springfield.
A Revista Portuguesa, a monthly journal, was published in Hayward, California by
João de Melo.
Mr. A. de Souza Canavarro died. He had served as the Portuguese consul in Hawaii for nearly
In San Francisco the Sociedade Cabo Verde was organized to benefit Cape Verdean men.
The first man from Fall River, Massachusetts of Portuguese descent to become a dentist was
Joseph C. Carvalho, originally of São Miguel, Azores. He earned his degree from the
University of Maryland.
The weekly Portuguese newspaper O Portugal first appeared in New Bedford,
Massachusetts, started by Alberto Moura of Chaves, Portugal, who sold the newspaper two years
later and moved to California.
This year in Massachusetts, there were 440 servants, 52 bartenders, 27 clergymen, 25 waiters, 10
dentists, 9 teachers, 8 musicians, 8 physicians and surgeons, 5 trained nurses, 5 saloon keepers, 1
actor, and 1 lawyer who were Portuguese.
Fifty-five percent of the employed Portuguese in Massachusetts worked in the textile mills. Men
earned more than women, and the Portuguese earned less than members of other nationalities.
The Panama Exposition was held in San Francisco to commemorate the construction of the
Panama Canal. Portugal participated in the exposition, largely through the efforts of the
Portuguese-American community in California.
The Carvalho steamship agency was established in San Francisco by A. M. Carvalho and J. R. de
Four members of the parish of the Immaculate Conception in New Bedford, Massachusetts began
the celebration of the Madeiran Festa do Santíssimo Sacramento, the Feast of the Most
Holy Sacrament (the Eucharist), held on the first Sunday of August. It came to be known as the
largest Portuguese-American social gathering.
The distinguished Brazilian diplomat, historian, and journalist Dr. Manoel de Oliveira Lima, of
Portuguese stock, offered his library to The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
The Oliveira Lima Library, opened in 1924, is the oldest
Luso-Brazilian library in the United States and its collections are extensive.
The Sociedade de Caridade Portuguesa (Portuguese Charity Society) was founded in Honolulu.
On May 13, three children in Portugal who were tending their flocks reported seeing a lady,
believed to be the Virgin Mary. On that spot was built the shrine to Our Lady of Fátima,
to which many pilgrims have since traveled. The apparition has profoundly affected Portuguese
spiritual life on both sides of the Atlantic. As a matter of fact, seven of the eight Portuguese
churches inaugurated in the United States between 1948 and 1973 were named Our Lady of
The United States instated a literacy test, requiring immigrants to have a basic knowledge of
reading and writing in their own language. Those over sixteen years of age were given a short
passage to read, and there is speculation that illiterate Portuguese may have managed to pass
because the test administrators were not familiar enough with the language to know if they were
Over 15,000 Portuguese volunteered to serve in the armed forces when the U.S. entered World
War I. Walter Goulart, a Portuguese American, was the first American soldier to fall. In New
Bedford, Massachusetts there is a monument honoring him.
In Oakland, California the União Portuguesa Continental do Estado da Califórnia
(Portuguese Continental Union of the State of California, U.P.C.) was formed as a benevolent
society for people from continental Portugal, as the other Portuguese benevolent societies were
controlled by Azoreans or Madeirans. The continental Portuguese population of California was
rather small, and the U.P.C. soon branched out to include the East Coast: councils were
established in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. In 1957 the
U.P.C. merged with the Benevolent Society of California, thus forming the United National Life
Insurance Society and in California, the Luso-American Fraternal Federation.
A Portuguese-language school financed by the Portuguese government was opened in Honolulu.
According to Cardozo, in 1917, and again in 1953, there were two Portuguese serving in the
Hawaiian Senate, while in 1921-27 and 1931-32, there was one, and the sergeant-at-arms of the
Hawaiian Senate in 1932 was Portuguese.
The Luís de Camões Portuguese Library in Oakland, California, founded by Maria
Josefina da Glória, was in operation during these years.
Portuguese fraternal organizations, which were known for their good management and low
premiums, were often joined by non-Portuguese. For example, about twelve percent of the almost
19,000 members of the I.D.E.S. (Irmandade do Divino Espírito Santo, San Jose) were not
of Portuguese descent in 1918.
Manuel Medina is believed to have begun specializing in tuna fishing off the coast of Mexico in
1919. He may have been the one to introduce diesel-powered tuna-clippers that allowed for
longer trips, starting in 1930.
The Church of the Five Wounds in San Jose, California was dedicated. The parish had been
established in 1914. It started out with a small chapel dedicated to the Holy Spirit, but in 1916 the
construction of a much larger church, copying one in Braga, in mainland Portugal, was begun.
With World War I construction prices skyrocketed, and the parish was severely in debt by the
time construction was completed, but the parish survived.
Four immigrants from Vila Franca do Campo, São Miguel, Azores introduced the annual
festival to the Senhor da Pedra (Lord of the Stone) to New Bedford in 1919 or 1924.
Approximately 65 percent of Californian dairy farmers were Portuguese. They were largely
responsible for developing cooperative creameries.
1920s & 1930s
As the result of economic crises, about a third of the Portuguese in New Bedford, Massachusetts
left that city in the 1920s and following years. Fall River also lost a considerable part of its
Agriculture declined after World War I and Portuguese farmers and dairymen in California
E. H. Cristiano, born in Santo António, Pico, Azores, who emigrated to the United States
in 1903 at the age of 13, was admitted to the California bar and elected to the State Assembly in
1920. He had already obtained a degree in mining engineering and served in the U.S. Army
during World War I, and he went on to be reelected once and to join the California Senate in
There were many Cape Verdeans working for the Southern Pacific Railroad, making the
Sacramento colony the largest Cape Verdean one in California.
By 1920, approximately 15,000 first-generation Azoreans owned farms in California.
The percentage of Portuguese immigrants to the United States who were residing in California
was roughly 30, down from over 50 in 1880.
The Associação Protectora União Madeirense de Massachusetts was formed
in New Bedford.
A Portuguese loan bank in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the Luzo Corporation of America, was
chartered under the name People's Loan and Property, Inc. Although it began with an authorized
capital of $20,000 on March 1, in June, this number was increased to $250,000.
Although, according to official United States records, 19,195 Portuguese immigrated in 1921, the
entire decade saw the immigration of 29,994. This dramatic drop was due to quota restrictions set
by the United States.
Holy Ghost festivals had become common throughout the Portuguese settlements in Rhode Island
The Portuguese began to settle in the Ironbound section of Newark,
New Jersey, many coming from New Bedford and Pawtucket. Thousands of Continentals, mostly
from the Minho region, joined them in the years following the establishment of this community.
Bernie de Viveiros, a Californian son of Portuguese immigrants, played major league baseball in
the 1920s for Detroit and later for Oakland.
The Sport Club Português was founded in Newark, New Jersey by Continentals. It gained a
reputation for having excellent facilities, used by other groups in Newark. The club added a
language school in 1936.
The Immigration Act of 1921 set the quota for Portuguese immigrants at 2,520, revised to 2,465
the following year.
The organization the United Portuguese S.E.S. (Sociedade Espírito Santo) Hall was
formed in Point Loma on the San Diego Bay to honor the Holy Ghost. It was decided that
Portuguese-owned fishing boats would donate 25 cents to a church fund and another 25 cents to
a hall construction fund for every ton of fish they caught. The construction of the hall was
completed in 1922, and a new one was finished in 1948, each in time for the Holy Ghost Festival.
Manuel de Oliveira Medina served as president for several decades.
The Portuguese literary magazine O cosmopolitano, a monthly publication, was
produced in the town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts.
S. Griswold Morley, chairman for many years of the University of California at Berkeley's
Department of Spanish and Portuguese, translated Sonnets and Poems of Anthero de Quental.
In San Francisco, Mário Bettencourt da Câmara edited the bulletin of the
Associated Milk Producers, intended for Portuguese dairy farmers.
In New Bedford, Massachusetts, Alberto Corrêa was responsible for the first broadcast in
Portuguese in the United States, which occurred over Station WDAU.
In Ludlow, Massachusetts the Grémio Lusitano was founded.
Supported largely by Portuguese shipowners, the American Tunaboat Association (ATA) was
organized in San Diego.
There were over 100 cotton mills in full operation in Fall River, Massachusetts.
The Immigration Act of 1924 set the quota for Portuguese immigrants at 503.
Eduardo de Carvalho, Portuguese consul in Boston, reprinted newspaper articles written under
pseudonyms: as Gil de Alverca, he published Problemas da nossa colónia
and Palestras coloniais; as Cuturrinha Colonial, Falar e escrever. The
articles included in the Cuturrinha Colonial volume may instead have been written by someone
else using this pseudonym and then edited by Carvalho. For full bibliographic citations, see the bibliography.
Begun in 1920, the Associação Beneficente Aliança Portuguesa (Portuguese
Alliance Benevolent Association) was incorporated in 1924 in Fall River, Massachusetts. Alberto
Freitas of Madeira, the association's first secretary, eventually became part of the editorial staff of
the Diário de Notícias of New Bedford and served for several
decades as the association's president, beginning in 1934. Fall River in 1924 had many Portuguese
clubs and other organizations, including three newspapers, four banks, five benevolent
associations, and seven Catholic parishes.
The Portuguese Ministry of National Education held the first final examinations for proficiency in
Portuguese in Fall River at the Ateneu Nacional Português (National Portuguese
Athenaeum). Manuel de Sá Couto and his wife were responsible for teaching the classes.
Alfonso Tavares de Melo, known as Al Melo, was a New England boxing champion who went to
the 1924 Olympics. There were quite a few successful Portuguese-American boxers.
Abílio da Silva Greaves of Faial, who held several patents for devices related to aviation,
invented the Thermophone fire alarm. He was a pastor in Boston.
In August the Portuguese in California welcomed Commander Brito Paes, Captain Sarmento de
Beires, and mechanic Manuel Gouveia, who earlier in the year had flown from Lisbon to the
Portuguese colony of Macau, located on the coast of China, on the Pátria, a
daring feat at the time. The three visited a number of Portuguese settlements in California.
The Portuguese community in San Francisco saw the first issue of the humor magazine A
abelha. The journal, which was published first by Alfredo Gomes and later by
António da Conceição Teixeira, was later moved to Oakland.
Stephen Peter Alencastre, born in Madeira, became Bishop of Hawaii. He had been raised on the
sugar plantations on the islands and had been a priest since 1902.
Elijah Clarence Hills of the University of California, J. D. M. Ford of Harvard University, and
Joaquim de Siqueira Coutinho of The Catholic University of America wrote A Portuguese Grammar, which remained a
standard grammar for many years.
Earl Warren, district attorney of Alameda County, joined Council No. 55 of San Leandro of the
União Portuguesa do Estado da Califórnia (U.P.E.C.). Warren would later be
named Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He died in 1974.
Dr. Joaquim R. S. Leite became the Portuguese consular agent for San Leandro.
The União Portuguesa Beneficente, Inc. (Portuguese Beneficent Union), formed to aid
members and their families in sickness and death, was founded in 1925 and incorporated in 1926.
The União Portuguesa Continental dos Estados Unidos (Portuguese Continental Union of
the United States of America) was founded in Massachusetts. Although it originally accepted only
members from Continental Portugal, the beneficent society, which has grown to have dozens of
lodges in the United States and Canada, later opened its membership to all those with ties to the
Whaling in New Bedford came to an end.
António J. Perry of the Hawaiian Supreme Court was the son of Azorean immigrants. He
was appointed chief justice in 1926 and reappointed in 1930.
Attorney Francis J. Carreiro, one of the first Portuguese in Fall River, Massachusetts to be active
in politics in that city, was elected to the School Committee.
The House of Prayer for All People, a black revivalist church, was founded in Charlotte, North
Carolina by Bishop Charles M. Grace -- "Sweet Daddy Grace" -- born Marcelino Manuel
Graça on Brava, Cape Verde around 1882. Grace, who had first seen New Bedford about
1902, spent time as a cook on a schooner that travelled back and forth between Massachusetts
and Cape Verde. He later owned a grocery in Wareham, Massachusetts and worked on the
railroads in the South, again as a cook. In 1921 he began preaching in New Bedford. He was
believed to have performed miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit, and his followers
numbered more than three million in cities throughout the United States.
The bishop of Angra, António Augusto de Castro Meyrelles, a great orator, visited
The St. Joseph mission of the Portuguese Church in East Oakland, California was erected into an
George Perry Ponte of New Bedford earned a degree in law from Boston University and was
admitted to the Massachusetts Bar Association. He served as a member of the New Bedford city
council, 1928-30 and 1939-42, and as president of the council in 1942, and he served in the
Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1943-44. In 1963 he became an associate justice of
the Massachusetts Supreme Court.
Joseph Dunn's A Grammar of the Portuguese
Language, considered to be among the best works of its kind, was published by the
Hispanic Society of America in New York. It was later published in London.
The still-popular bilingual newspaper O luso-americano, with local correspondents
in a number of Portuguese-American communities, was founded in Newark, New Jersey.
The Harvard College Library received the Fernando Palha
Portuguese collection as a gift from John B. Stetson Jr.
In Mahoning Township, Pennsylvania, Joaquim Joe Cardoso, known as Jack J. or J. J. Cardoso,
was born. He published several works on African Americans.
There were three major linguiça producers in the Bay area and two Portuguese hotels in
San Francisco proper, as well as two in Oakland.
The quota for Portuguese immigrants was reduced to 440.
The Dom Nuno Club, renamed the Cabrillo Civic Club in 1934, was established in San Francisco
to encourage Portuguese-American participation in civic affairs and served as a precedent for the
establishment of the Cabrillo Civic Clubs of California, whose aim was to end
Portuguese-American isolation from the rest of Californian society through active participation in
affairs and politics.
John R. Machado was elected to the Fall River, Massachusetts city council. He was reelected in
1932 and 1934 and was also the president of the Fall River Central Labor Union for ten years.
There were nearly 12,000 Portuguese in San Leandro, California.
1930 or 1931
Brothers Arthur V. Ávila and João V. Ávila of Pico, Azores, founders of
the Latin-American Broadcasting Company, started the first daily Portuguese radio show in
California, aired on KTAB.
The Portuguese dominated the tuna industry in the United States.
The União Portuguesa Continental da Califórnia broadened its membership base,
allowing all white Portuguese, including women, to join. Nonwhite Cape Verdeans were still
barred from admission.
Benjamin Nathan Cardozo was named to the United States Supreme Court, for which he served
until his death in 1938. Born in New York City in 1870, he was a descendant of Sephardic
Portuguese who arrived in America before the Revolution. He wrote the important work The Nature of the Judicial Process.
A large festival, organized by the União Portuguesa do Estado da Califórnia
(U.P.E.C.) of San Leandro and attracting 40,000 people from throughout California, was held in
Oakland in April to celebrate the fifth centennial of the discovery of the Azores and the seventh
centennial of the death of St. Anthony of Padua, also known as St. Anthony of Lisbon.
The Jornal de notícias, the Imparcial, and the
Colónia portuguesa all merged, becoming the Jornal
português. Under the editorship of Pedro L. C. Silveira of Flores, it became the most
important Portuguese-Californian publication.
In Sacramento, California, the Portuguese newspaper O progresso was first
published by Alfred Silva. Although it stopped being published in 1940, O progresso
is once again in circulation.
Reemigration has been prevalent in the Azores, and many of those who return are naturalized
American citizens. It is estimated that some 17,000 American citizens were living in the Azores in
1933. The constant contact between the Azores and New England has affected the Portuguese
spoken in both places.
A luta, "the Portuguese newspaper in the Empire State," the biweekly official organ
of the Message of Fátima, was founded by Monsignor Joseph Cacella, a priest of the
Archdiocese of New York.
California declared September 28 to be Cabrillo Day.
Portuguese began to be taught in high schools in Fall River, Massachusetts and Oakland,
The Territorial Board of Health's Bureau of Vital Statistics reported that the Hawaiian Islands
had a population of 392,277, of whom 29,863 were Portuguese. Only 1,754 of those Portuguese
had not been naturalized.
Frank A. Silva became the first Portuguese to be elected to the town council of Little Compton,
Rhode Island, for which he served until 1940. His father, Joseph Silva, was a whaler from Faial,
Azores and had moved to Little Compton in 1893 after first settling in New London, Connecticut
There were roughly 30 textile mills in New England, down from over 150 fifteen years earlier.
Many had moved south in search of cheaper labor.
Portuguese-language plays have been popular among immigrants. For example, between late
February and early April of 1937, in New Bedford alone nine different plays were performed by
five different Portuguese theatrical groups.
The League of Portuguese Fraternal Societies was started. In the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition it
financed the Portuguese-American representation, even buying a monument to Cabrilho. Three
years later it donated two antiairchraft guns to the U.S. Armed Forces, at a total of about
The Irmandade de Santo Christo de Socorros Mortuários was formed in Oakland,
California by members of the St. Joseph parish.
Sidney Robertson Cowell collected Portuguese and other folk songs in California. The recordings
are among the collections of the American Folklife Center of the
Library of Congress.
William B. Greenlee, who founded and endowed the important Greenlee Collection of Portuguese and Brazilian materials of
the Newberry Library in Chicago, was the translator and editor of The Voyage of Pedro Álvares Cabral to Brazil
and India, published by the Hakluyt Society in London.
Department of Commerce patent law attorney Manuel C. Rosa, born in Taunton, Massachusetts
in 1898, developed a classification of organic compounds still used today. He became director of
the Patent Office's Patent Examining, Classifying, and Research Activities in 1951. In 1953 he
was awarded a medal for meritorious service by the Department of Commerce and in 1957, a gold
medal for exceptional service.
George Ernest Freitas of Honolulu, son of the well-known builder Henry Freitas, held a degree
from the University of Dayton in civil engineering. In 1938 he founded the Pacific Construction
The famous Santo Cristo Band of Fall River, Massachusetts, the oldest marching band in New
England, played at the World's Fair in New York.
Regular transatlantic commercial air service, via Bermuda and the Azores, was established
between New York and Lisbon.
A large number of Portuguese radio programs were popular in California and New England.
In New Bedford, Massachusetts immigrants from the Azorean island of Corvo began celebrating
an annual feast to Nossa Senhora dos Milagres (Our Lady of Miracles) in or before 1940. The
major such feast is called the Festa da Serreta, after a village on Terceira, another Azorean island.
It is held in Gustine, California, where the festivities end with the Bodo de Leite (Milk Feast),
when milk and sweet rolls are distributed at noon on a Saturday and a procession follows on
Joseph F. Francis joined the Massachusetts State Senate. He was probably the first Portuguese
American in the East to win a seat in a state legislature.
Most of the Portuguese press in California published bilingually.
In Fall River, Massachusetts a monument to Prince Henry the Navigator, erected with funds
collected to commemorate the eighth centennial of the Portuguese nation, was unveiled.
The approximately eighty tuna clippers based out of San Diego were mostly controlled by the
Portuguese colony at Point Loma.
The mayor or City Council chairperson of San Leandro, California was Mrs. Helen L. C. Lawrence
Oakland, with a Portuguese population of 12,000, had the largest concentration of Portuguese in
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a number of Portuguese-American organizations
voiced their members' willingness to defend the United States. In 1942, U.P.C., the largest
Portuguese fraternal organization, adopted a resolution that stated that its members would
support the United States regardless of any position Portugal might take in World War II.
Celebrated Portuguese historian Jaime Cortesão gave an address at an event
commemorating the fourth centennial of the discovery of California held at the Gabinete
Português de Leitura (Portuguese Library) in Rio de Janeiro.
Henrique Santos, born in Madeira, won the U.S. fencing championship.
A native of São Miguel who moved to Fall River, Massachusetts at a very young age,
Mariano S. Bishop (or Bispo) became one of the directors of the Textile Workers Union of
America in 1943 and became executive vice president in 1952, passing on shortly thereafter.
The majority of the Portuguese in Fall River, Massachusetts were naturalized citizens. In 1920,
only seven percent of the foreign-born Portuguese in that city had been naturalized.
Laurinda C. Andrade, along with João R. Rocha, publisher
and editor of the Diário de Notícias, founded the Portuguese
Educational Society of New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was formed to promote the Portuguese
language, as well as cultural exchange between the United States, Portugal, and Brazil.
Frank B. Oliveira of Fall River was elected representative to the Massachusetts State House,
being the first Portuguese American to serve in this capacity. Both of his parents were from the
Azorean island of São Miguel. Oliveira remained in the Massachusetts legislature until
1958, when he was defeated in an election.
A United States Air Force base was established at Santa Maria, Azores.
George P. Miller of Alameda County, a descendant of Joseph F. Miller, a Portuguese pioneer,
became the first Portuguese-American in Congress. He served twelve consecutive terms.
Mary L. Fonseca become a member of the Fall River School Committee. She served as a state
senator for almost twenty years.
There were at least forty Portuguese-speaking priests in New England and eight in California.
The First Luso-Brazilian Colloquium took place at the Library of Congress.
Leonard Bacon, an American poet, published The
Lusiads, the first American translation of the sixteenth-century epic poem by
In New Bedford a monument to the "Portuguese-American war dead" was erected. In Fall River
in 1951 and later in Ludlow, similar memorials were dedicated to people of Portuguese extraction
who died fighting for the United States.
José Madeira Feliciano of Leiria, Portugal founded the Lisbon Construction Company of
Kensington, Maryland. The firm has been responsible for, among other projects in Maryland and
the District of Columbia, a section of the Washington Beltway (I-495) located in Maryland.
Two members of the Massachusetts State Senate, as well as four of the State House of
Representatives, were Portuguese-born or descendants of Portuguese. One of them was a woman,
State Senator Mary L. Fonseca.
Henry Freitas, born of Portuguese immigrant parents in Honolulu, served as a senator in the
Territorial Legislature. The Hawaiian executive and graduate of St. Louis College was responsible
for a number of major building projects.
Judge Cyrus Nils Tavares, born at Pukalani, Maui, Hawaii in 1902, was chairman of the Hawaii
Statehood Commission. Before that he was deputy attorney general of Hawaii (1927-34),
assistant attorney general (1942-43), attorney general (1944-47), and a delegate to the Hawaiian
Constitutional Convention (1950). Beginning in 1960, he was United States district judge in
Hawaii, until he retired in 1972.
March 15 was declared Peter Francisco Day in Massachusetts. In 1962, Rhode Island and
Newark, New Jersey declared their own Peter Francisco Days.
Portuguese-American Clarence L. Azevedo served as mayor of Sacramento, California.
The University of Hawaii ceased offering Portuguese for lack of students.
The Portuguese Protective and Benevolent Association of the City and County of San Francisco
(A.P.P.B.), which in 1945 first admitted women and in 1948 changed its name to "Benevolent
Society of California," merged with the União Portuguesa Continental, thus forming the
United National Life Insurance Society. A new division, the Luso-American Fraternal Foundation,
took over its fraternal, social, and cultural activities.
John M. Arruda became mayor of Fall River. Arruda, the son of Portuguese immigrants, may
have been the first person of Portuguese blood to hold that office in New England.
Library of Congress
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July 15, 2010
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