Portuguese American: Wikis


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Portuguese American
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Mary Astor in Meet Me in St Louis trailer cropped.jpgRamana Sitting.jpg

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Mary AstorRamana Vieira

Total population
1,442,077 Americans
Roughly 0.5% of the US population[1]

Portuguese Speakers
Lusitanics in the United States

Regions with significant populations
California, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, among others.

American English · Portuguese
Portuguese Creole


Roman Catholic

Related ethnic groups

Portuguese (Portuguese Canadian) · Galician and other Spaniards · European American · Brazilian (Portuguese Brazilian & White Brazilian)

Portuguese Americans are citizens of the United States whose ancestry originates in the southwest European nation of Portugal, including the offshore island groups of the Azores and Madeira.

Colloquially, the term is also incorrectly applied to people whose ancestry stems from Portuguese-speaking countries. Such use of the term "Portuguese American" is employed as a synonym to Luso American. Accurately, a Portuguese American denotes any person born in the United States whose family came to the USA from Portugal. Americans and others who are not native Europeans from Portugal but originate from countries that were former colonies of Portugal are not Portuguese American, rather, they are codified as Lusitanic, or simply referred to by their present-day nationalities (Cape Verdean, Brazilian, etc.) although many citizens of former Portuguese colonies are also ethnically Portuguese.



Portuguese people have had a long history in America, which may even be pre-Columbian, although there is lack of solid historical evidence. Navigators, like the Corte-Real family, may have visited the North American shores at the beginning of the 16th century.[2] There is a monumental landmark, the Dighton Rock, in Massachusetts, that testifies their presence in the area. During the Colonial period, there was some limited Portuguese emigration to the present day United States, especially on the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

In the late 19th century, many Portuguese, mainly Azorean and Madeiran, immigrated to the United States, establishing in cities like: Providence, Rhode Island, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Bristol, Rhode Island, New Bedford, Massachusetts, Fall River, Massachusetts, Santa Cruz, California, and San Diego, California. Many of them also moved to the Kingdom of Hawaii prior to its overthrow by the United States.

In the mid-late 20th century there was another surge of Portuguese immigration in America, mainly in the Northeast (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts). There are various Portuguese Clubs, principally in the larger cities of these states, which operate with the intention of promoting sociocultural preservation as venues for community events, athletics, etc. Many Portuguese Americans may include descendants of Portuguese settlers born in Africa (like Angola, Cape Verde, and Mozambique) and Asia (mostly Macau). There were around 1 million Portuguese Americans in the United States by the year 2000.

Some Portuguese surnames have been changed to align with more American sounding names, for example Rodrigues to Rogers, Oliveira to Oliver, Martins to Martin, Silva to Silver, and Pereira to Perry.

A general contribution the Portuguese people have made to American music is the ukulele, which originated in Madeira and was initially popularized in the Kingdom of Hawaii.[3] John Phillip Sousa was a famous Portuguese American composer most known for his patriotic compositions.


Portuguese ancestry in yellow and red. The darker the shade, the larger the population.

Portuguese-Americans are the fourth largest ethnic group in the State of Hawaii, fifth largest group in Rhode Island and the eighth largest group in Massachusetts.[4]


Biggest Communities

Top 3 Biggest Portuguese-American communities in the country (2000 Census) (see also Portuguese American neighborhoods):

(1) Metro Boston area leads the way with 192,017 Portuguese-Americans; (3.3% of Metro population).[5]
(2) Greater New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area with 129,865; (0.6% of total Metro population).[5]
(3) San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area with 121,757; (1.7% of total Metro population).[5]

Cities and towns with large Portuguese-American populations:

Northeast (mostly in New England)





By state

The states with the largest Portuguese populations:

The states with the top percentages of Portuguese:

See also


External links


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