Portugal Emigration and Immigration

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Online Records[edit | edit source]

Passenger Lists[edit | edit source]

Passports[edit | edit source]

Finding the Town of Origin in Portugal[edit | edit source]

If you are using emigration/immigration records to find the name of your ancestors' town in Portugal, see Portugal Finding Town of Origin for additional research strategies.

Immigration/Emigration (Imigração/Emigração)[edit | edit source]

"Emigration" means moving out of a country. "Immigration" means moving into a country. (See Immigration into Italy.)
Ship passenger lists, passport registers, emigration proceedings, citizenship papers, registration of foreigners, and similar migration documents can prove a vital link in tracing an individual back to Portugal. Such records may contain the individual's full name, age, civil status, birthplace, former residence, destination, and sometimes race or nationality. [1][2]

Immigration to Portugal[edit | edit source]

  • An estimated 800,000 Portuguese returned to Portugal as the country's African possessions gained independence in 1975.
  • Since the 1990s, along with a boom in construction, several new waves of Ukrainian, Brazilian, Lusophone Africans and other Africans have settled in the country. Romanians, Moldovans, Kosovo Albanians, Russians and Chinese have also migrated to the country. Portugal's Romani (gypsy) population is estimated to be at about 40,000.
  • Numbers of Venezuelan, Pakistani and Indian migrants are also significant. It is estimated that over 30,000 seasonal, often illegal immigrants work in agriculture, mainly in the south where they are often exploited by organized seasonal-worker's networks. The workers sometimes get paid less than half the minimum pay established by law. These migrants who often arrive without due documentation or work-contracts, make up over 90% of agricultural workers in the south of Portugal. Most are Indo-Asians, from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Thailand. In the interior of the Alentejo there are many African workers. Significant numbers also come from Eastern Europe, Moldova, Ukraine, Romania and Brazil.
  • In addition, a number of EU citizens, mostly from the United Kingdom or other northern European countries, have become permanent residents in the country (with the British community being mostly composed of retired pensioners who live in the Algarve and Madeira).[3]

Emigration from Portugal[edit | edit source]

  • Historically, Portugal has one of the highest emigration rates in the world. The trend reaches back to the 15th century, when Portugal began overseas exploration and colonization.
  • Many Portuguese individuals moved to colonies in Africa, South America, and Pacific archipelagos.
  • In the twentieth century, a large number also settled across the United States, drawn by the shipping trade in New England, California, and Hawaii.
  • The vast majority of Brazilians have Portuguese ancestry.
  • Some major Portuguese emigrant communities are covered in detail here. There are, however, many more, smaller communities around the world. See [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_people "Portuguese People", in Wikipedia, for a listing of and links to articles about those.
Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png One option is to look for records about the ancestor in the country of destination, the country they immigrated into. See links to Wiki articles about immigration records for major destination countries below. Additional Wiki articles for other destinations can be found at Category:Emigration and Immigration Records.

Records of Portuguese Emigrants in Their Destination Nations[edit | edit source]

Portuguese Americans[edit | edit source]

United States Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Portuguese

  • According to the United States Census from 2000, there were 1,176,615 Portuguese-Americans, the majority being of Azorean descent.
  • Portuguese people have had a very long history in the United States, since 1634.
  • During the Colonial period, there was a small Portuguese immigration to the present-day U.S., especially to the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
  • By the early 19th century, New Bedford had become the center of whaling in America. Whalers would frequently stop in the Azores to recruit crew members for help.At the end of their voyage, they docked in New England, where crew members often settled as immigrants.
  • In the late 19th century, many Portuguese, mainly Azoreans and Madeirans, emigrated to the eastern U.S., establishing communities in New England coastal cities, primarily but not limited to Providence, Bristol, Warwick and Pawtucket in Rhode Island, and Taunton, Brockton, Fall River and New Bedford in Southeastern Massachusetts. Another part of Massachusetts that attracted many Portuguese immigrants was Northern Massachusetts, most notably Lowell and Lawrence. In addition, Many Portuguese immigrants also went to nearby Southern New Hampshire.
  • A small number of Portuguese immigrants settled in the city of Boston. These Portuguese immigrants mainly settled in East Boston and North End. In addition, Many Portuguese immigrants also went to Cambridge and Somerville.
  • A Portuguese community existed in the vicinity of the Carpenter Street Underpass in Springfield, Illinois, one of the earliest and largest Portuguese settlements in the Midwestern United States.
  • On the West Coast in California there are Portuguese communities in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Cruz, the Central Valley, the dairy producing areas of the Los Angeles Basin, and San Diego, in connection to Portuguese fishermen and settlers emigrating to California from the Azores.
  • There are also connections with Portuguese communities in the Pacific Northwest in Astoria, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, and British Columbia, Canada as well.
  • After World War II, there was another wave of Portuguese immigration to the country, mainly in the northeastern United States (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maryland), and also in California. Many were fleeing the right-wing dictatorship of Antonio Salazar.
  • Many Portuguese Americans may include descendants of Portuguese settlers born in Africa (like Angola, Cape Verde, and Mozambique) and Asia (mostly Macanese people), as well Oceania (Timor-Leste).
  • In 1957–58, the Capelinhos volcano erupted on the Azorean island of Faial, causing massive destruction from lava and smoke. The U.S. responded with the Azorean Refugee Act, making 1,500 visas available to the victims of the eruption.[4]
Portuguese Hawaiians[edit | edit source]
  • In 1878, Portuguese migration to Hawaii began with laborers from Madeira and the Azores to work in the sugarcane plantations. (Sugarcane had been the mainstay of the economy in Madeira and the Azores for over 400 years, and most of the population was involved in one way or another in the sugarcane industry.) By the end of 1911, nearly 16,000 Portuguese immigrants had arrived.
  • Labor contracts paid for the migration of entire families. This was enticing for families looking to migrate without the means or the desire to migrate in stages.
  • Prior to independence in 1975, many Cape Verdeans emigrated to Hawaii from drought-stricken Portuguese Cape Verde, formerly an overseas province of Portugal. Because these people arrived using their Portuguese passports, they were registered as Portuguese immigrants.
  • By the end of 191,1 almost 16,000 Portuguese had arrived. Many Portuguese later emigrated to the mainland United States, particularly California, in search of equality and opportunity. Though many left, many stayed and by 1910 Portuguese residents made up 11.6% of the population of Hawaii.
  • A large amount of mingling took place between Chinese and Portuguese in Hawaii. There were very few marriages between European and Chinese people with the majority being between Portuguese and Chinese people. [4][5]
Personal Names[edit | edit source]
  • As with other immigrants that arrived in America, several Portuguese surnames have been changed to align with more American sounding names, for example Rodrigues to Rogers, Oliveira to Oliver, Martins to Martin, Pereira to Perry, Moraes or Morais to Morris, Magalhães to McLean, Souto to Sutton, Moura to Moore, Serrão to Serran, Silva to Silver or Sylvia, Rocha to Rock (or Stone), Madeira or Madeiros to Wood, Pontes to Bridges, Fernandes to Frederick, Costa to Charlie, Emo or Emos to Emma and Santos to Stan.[4]

Portuguese Angolans[edit | edit source]

Angola Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Portuguese

  • The Portuguese colony of Angola was founded in 1575 with a hundred families of colonists and four hundred soldiers.
  • Many Portuguese settlers married native Africans resulting in a mixed-race (mulato, later generally called mestiço) population.
  • Angola was declared a formal Portuguese province in the 19th century, but only in the early 20th century did the mainland government allow large-scale white emigration and settlement to Angola and its other provinces.
  • In 1960, Angola had up to 172,000 Portuguese settlers. The majority of whom came from rural agrarian backgrounds in Portugal who saw engaging in commerce in Angola as one of the few means of upward social mobility available to them.
  • As the Angolan war of independence began in 1961, triggering off a late colonial development of Angola, there was an influx of Portuguese military personnel, as well as civil servants and other people.As a consequence, the number of Portuguese living in Angola went up to about 350,000. This number would have been higher, had a significant part of the settlers not left for other countries, especially Namibia, Brazil, South Africa and the United States.
  • When the Salazar regime in Portugal was abolished by a military coup in Portugal, in 1974, and independence was granted to the colonies by the new government, whites overwhelmingly left Angola after independence in 1975. Most of them went to Portugal, where they were called retornados and were not always welcomed, while others moved to neighboring Namibia (then a South African territory), South Africa or Brazil, or United States. It is estimated that around 250,000 left the country in 1975 and by 1976 only 30,000 to 40,000 remained in Angola.
  • After Angola abandoned in 1991 the socialist regime adopted in 1975, many Portuguese Angolans returned to Angola. Due to Angola's economic boom, which started in the 1990s, an increasing number of Portuguese without previous attachment to Angola have migrated to Angola for economic reasons, most importantly the recent national economic boom. As of 2008, Angola was the preferred destination for Portuguese migrants in Africa.Portuguese nationals numbered an estimated 120,000 in 2011, reaching about 200,000 in 2013.[6]

Portuguese Brazilians[edit | edit source]

Brazil Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Portuguese

  • After 1530, the Portuguese started to settle in Brazil in significant numbers.
  • From 1500, when the Portuguese reached Brazil, until its independence in 1822, from 500,000 to 700,000 Portuguese settled in Brazil, 600,000 of whom arrived in the 18th century alone.
  • In the 18th century, large waves of Portuguese settled the country, in the wake of the discovery of gold in the region of Minas Gerais.
  • In the early 19th century, Brazil was mainly composed of people of three different origins: the indigenous inhabitants, the Portuguese and their descendants, the Africans and descendants, and, naturally, people of varying degrees of "racial" mixture.
  • Maria Stella Ferreira Levy suggests the following periodization of the process of immigration to Brazil:
  • 1820–1876: small number of immigrants (about 6,000 per year), predominance of Portuguese (45.73%), with significant numbers of Germans (12.97%);
  • 1877–1903: large number of immigrants (about 71,000 per year), predominance of Italians (58.49%);
  • 1904–1930: large number of immigrants (about 79,000 per year), predominance of the Portuguese (36.97%);
  • 1931–1963: declining number of immigrants (about 33,500 per year), predominance of the Portuguese (38.45%).
  • Between 1820 and 1876, 350,117 immigrants entered Brazil. Of these, 45.73% were Portuguese, 35.74% of "other nationalities", 12.97% Germans, while Italians and Spanish together did not reach 6%. The total number of immigrants per year averaged 6,000.
  • From 1877 to 1903, almost two million immigrants arrived, at a rate of 71,000 per year. Large numbers of Europeans, especially Italians, started to be brought to the country to work in the harvest of coffee.
  • From 1904 to 1930, 2,142,781 immigrants came to Brazil. Italian immigration had, at this stage, a drastic reduction: in this period they were only 19,000 annually. The Portuguese constituted 38% of entries, followed by Spaniards with 22%. A number of Jewish immigrants arrived in the 1920s.[7]

Portuguese Canadians[edit | edit source]

Canada Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Portuguese

  • During the 1950s, a large number of immigrants from the Azores and Madeira, fleeing political conflict, moved into the downtown core of Canada's major cities such as the area of Portugal Village in Toronto, Ontario and further west along Dundas Street to Brockton Village. The stretch of Dundas Street passing through Brockton Village is also known as "Rua Açores". From the 1970s, increasing numbers of Brazilians moved into this area.
  • The Toronto suburbs of Brampton and Mississauga contain large Portuguese communities.
  • Montreal has the second most populous number of Portuguese immigrants with an estimated 47,000. Most started immigrating in the 1960s and settled in the Le Plateau-Mont-Royal mainly around Saint Laurent Boulevard and Rachel Street. Many Portuguese stores and restaurants are located in Little Portugal.
  • Hamilton, Ontario also has a solid Portuguese community concentrated in the downtown core around Barton and James Street and nearby the St. Mary's Roman Catholic church.
  • London, Ontario's significant Portuguese community is concentrated in the east end and south end of the city, with Portuguese restaurants and shops situated on Hamilton Road.
  • Recently, a number of Canadians of Goan heritage have opted to pursue Portuguese citizenship they are entitled to through their heritage as a result of Goa being an overseas province of Portugal till 1961, thus adding to the Portuguese Canadian population in Canada.
  • British Columbia has around 35,000 Portuguese-Canadians, concentrated in the Lower Mainland (Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, Delta, Coquitlam). Other centers for Portuguese immigrants and their descendants are Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Victoria, and the Okanagan Region where many are fruit farmers. Many are of Azorean heritage.[8]

Portuguese Luxembourgers[edit | edit source]

Luxembourg Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Portuguese

  • Although estimates of the total Portuguese Luxembourg population vary, in 2013 there were 82,363 people in Luxembourg with Portuguese nationality. They constitute 16.1% of the population of Luxembourg, making them the largest group of foreigner citizens living in the country. Prior to 1975, Cape Verdean immigrants were registered as Portuguese immigrants from the overseas province of Portuguese Cape Verde.
  • From 1875 onwards, Luxembourg's economy relied upon the immigration of cheap labour of mostly Italians to work in the country's steel mills and to counter the natural demographic decline of the native Luxembourgish population. The mid-1960s saw the arrival of the first Portuguese guest workers (including Cape Verdeans, who also had Portuguese citizenship). At the time, Portugal was ruled as a nationalist authoritarian conservative regime, and an economic downturn coincided with the so-called 'Academic Crisis' and deteriorating conditions in Portugal's colonies to put further pressure on many young Portuguese people to emigrate.
  • The two countries signed a treaty in Lisbon in 1970 to allow family unification.
  • When Portugal entered the European Economic Community in 1986, Portuguese citizens were to be guaranteed the same rights to the labor market as Luxembourgish citizens.[9]

Portuguese Mozambicans[edit | edit source]

Mozambique Emigration and Immigration – Wiki page with additional larger databases which also include Portuguese

  • Portuguese explorers turned to present-day Mozambique and two other PALOP nations (Angola and Guinea-Bissau) to bring black slaves to Portugal before bringing them to work for their plantations in their Latin American province, the present-named Brazil.
  • The first permanent Portuguese communities in the region were established in the 16th century. The whole region was divided into prazos (agricultural estates), to be populated by Portuguese settler families in the 17th century. *Mozambique was declared a Portuguese province by the 19th century.
  • By the early 20th century, the mainland government permitted more white emigration and settlement to the region, and Mozambique had 370,000 Portuguese settlers.
  • It was during this time that António de Oliveira Salazar led Portugal, in which several thousands of Portuguese citizens fled to other countries, especially neighboring Rhodesia and South Africa as well as Brazil and the United States.' *Blacks and some mestiços and whites revolted against Portuguese rule in 1974.
  • The return to liberal democracy in Portugal led to the independence of its overseas colonies in 1975. By July 1975 around 80,000 Portuguese Mozambicans were left in the country from around 250,000 that lived in the country in the early 1970s. Of the 80,000 only around 10,000 opted for Mozambican citizenship instead of Portuguese citizenship.
  • Large numbers of Portuguese residents emigrated shortly after, most of them to Portugal, where they were called retornados, while others moved to neighboring Malawi, Rhodesia, or South Africa, and/or Brazil and the United States.
  • When the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries was founded in 1996, many Portuguese and Portuguese Brazilians arrived for economic and educational aid to Mozambique. Many more Portuguese settlers returned from Portugal, it is estimated by the Mozambican embassy that about 6,000 returned.[10] *Portugal - Emigration and immigration

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Portugal,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1986-1999.
  2. Jorge Malheiros, "Portugal Seeks Balance of Emigration, Immigration," in Migration Policy Institute, http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/portugal-seeks-balance-emigration-immigration/. Visited 7 June 2017.
  3. "Portugal: Immigration", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portugal#Immigration, accessed 28 May 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Portuguese Americans", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_Americans, avvessed 30 May 2021.
  5. "Portuguese immigration to Hawaii, in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_immigration_to_Hawaii, accessed 30 May 2021.
  6. "Portuguese Angolans", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_Angolans, accessed 30 May 2021.
  7. "Immigration to Brazil", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_to_Brazil, accessed 18 May 2021.
  8. "Portuguese Canadians", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_Canadians, accessed 31 May 2021.
  9. "Portuguese Luxembourger", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_Luxembourger, accessed 30 May 2021.
  10. "Portuguese Mozambicans", in Wikipedis, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_Mozambicans, accessed 31 May 2021.