Portugal is a country with 10.31 million people, and it is estimated that there are some four million Portuguese abroad, with many being in the United States. The capital is Lisbon, and it’s official language is Portuguese. It has been an independent kingdom since 1143. The political system is a republic. It is a great country. With that saying, my own roots go back to Portugal. My grandmother was born there, and she came to America with her family when she was seven years old, in 1956. People are still coming to America from Portugal today, from 1990 to present it is estimated that 2,792 people came to America from Portugal. Immigration is a very important part of our history. Without it, there would be no America. America is a country where we have a large group of every single country in the world combined. A place where people come to escape the realities of their own country. Immigration is one of the founding principals of America, and American life.
There were many factors for the immigrants from Portugal to be pushed from Portugal and Pulled towards the United States. Socially, the Portuguese left Portugal better educational opportunities for their children. This was and still is a very important factor one would expect from a country, a good educational system. Politically, the Portuguese left Portugal due to the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965. This act caused more Portuguese to come to America. This act removed the quota system based on national origin allowing Portuguese families to reunite with their family already living in America. Also, until about 1820, Portuguese migration was essentially linked to the mercantile and imperial objectives of the Portuguese crown. Economically, the Portuguese left Portugal because leaving offered many opportunities to get Jobs, as America had an abundance of Jobs. If other countries did not have enough jobs, one could always come to America! There was always a job available for somebody. A quote from Fabrizio Moreira says that “The American Dream is that any man or woman, despite of his or her background, can change their circumstances and rise as high as they are willing to work.” If one is not willing to work, there is no way they can make it big in life. Environmentally, the Portuguese left Portugal because In 1957 when the Capelinhos Volcano on Faial Island in the Azores erupted forcing a massive evacuation. This eruption caused an act to be put into place, The Azorean Refugee act. This act set into motion a chain of events that led to the emigration of 175,000 Portuguese to the United States. Reasons for coming to the United States was the Homestead Act, the act encouraged some Portuguese to come to the United States to obtain ownership of land. Therefore, the Portuguese began to arrive in the United States in relatively large numbers around 1870. The act brought around 5,272 people to America. The Expectations of America by the immigrants was that America was a place to escape religious, racial, and political persecution, and that America was the land of economic opportunity. Another expectation was the difficulty of speaking english. In the United States, if you do not know English that is a problem. This is because everything is written, and spoken in English here. The immigrants knew that learning English was important but in reality, it was way more important than they had thought originally. Realities that they faced, when they arrived to America was the lack of money, and their poor literacy skills Once settled in America, immigrants looked for work. Employers often took advantage of the immigrants. Men were generally paid less than other workers, and women less than men In a study it was found that 85 percent of immigrants said it is hard to get a good job or do well in America without learning English. Some immigrants also say that learning English as an ethical obligation. Nearly 65 percent say ‘the U.S. should expect all immigrants who do not speak English to learn it,’
The travel to the United States. Ways to get to the United States is one can go by boat, or on a plane. During the late 1800’s the most popular way was by steamship. By 1870 more than 90% of the immigrants to America arrived by steamship. As ships grew safer, larger, sturdier, and faster ocean crossings became less of a hassle for immigrants. From the middle of the nineteenth century to the late 1950’s nearly 2 million Portuguese left Europe, one of the major countries they went to was the United States Once they arrived to the United States, The greatest number made their homes in New England (especially in Massachusetts and Rhode Island), New York, central California, and Hawaii. The housing and conditions in America. The conditions were described best by Steve Wiegand he said, “the parts of the cities they [the immigrants] dwelled in were usually like something out of a horror movie: Dark, smelly, filthy, and violent”. When Immigrants settled in New York City and other growing cities such as Philadelphia and Chicago. They encountered hostility from the native-born Americans upon arrival, most immigrants had nowhere to turn. This caused them to move into poverty stricken neighborhoods and into neglected buildings known as tenements. Tenements could be defined as buildings really small in size, containing no more than two rooms. With one of the rooms being used as a kitchen, and the other as a bedroom. The construction of the Tenement buildings were usually made of brick and built side by side on narrow streets. As a result, most rooms had only one or two windows, sometimes none. While living in America, the Portuguese were not used to American life. This made them join/ form Social organizations, such as clubs. These clubs would be created where large groups of Portuguese chose to live. One of these clubs, The Portuguese Club of Hartford, has been in existence since 1927. Another club, The Portuguese Cultural Center of Danbury Connecticut, started out as the “Sons of Portugal Club” on Liberty Street, in Danbury, Connecticut in 1924. These clubs were a way for the Portuguese immigrants to come together and not feel so alone, since they were now in a new place. The Portuguese also had activities/ religious celebrations that they celebrated. Some of those celebrations include the Holy Ghost festival. The festival was a feast that is a Catholic celebration that proclaims the faith of the Portuguese and their devotion to the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit. For each of the seven Saturdays leading up to the Feast, known as ‘Domingas,’ a different historical or religious figure is honored. Another feast is the “Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima”. This is a celebration of the days the Virgin Mary appeared to three peasant children near Fatima, Portugal, six times between May 13 and Oct. 13, 1917, and asked for prayers for world peace and an end to World War I, for sinners and for the conversion of Russia. Lastly, “Dia de Portugal” – Although officially observed only in Portugal, Portuguese citizens and emigrants throughout the world celebrate this holiday. The date commemorates the death of national literary icon Luís de Camões on June 10, 1580. These festivals provide an opportunity for young children to experience the culture of their ancestors who immigrated from Portugal. The festivals are famous for good food, laughter, art, and native dances.. Jobs in America, Fishing – A popular occupation in Portugal, when immigrants came to America a lot of them went into the Fishing occupation. (Time Life Books – PURPLE) The Portuguese are known for being very hard workers, this allowed, and still allows them work in various types of jobs, and working environments. (Wohlrabe – GREEN) In 1870 men were recruited to America to work on Whaling ships (Norden – RED) In 1952, 8.7million people worked in manufacturing (thisismoney.co.uk)Around 880,000 people worked in ‘mining and quarrying’ (thisismoney.co.uk). Job conditions In the 1950’s, a nearly 2 million people emigrated from Portugal to around the world, one of those places being the United States (Malheiros – BROWN). During that time, while working there were only 16 vacation days and they worked a 48 hour week. (thisismoney.co.uk) In 1952, 96 percent of men were employed, and 46% of women were employed. (thisismoney.co.uk) Since 8.7 million people worked in manufacturing, it was a large part of the job market. Although, since the 1900’s factory working was improved to make it more safer. Unfortunately, it was not perfect. People were still killed or injured in using machines in the factory, due mostly in part, they still worked long hours in a day (thisismoney.co.uk) . Family Life and gender roles. The father was often the primary income-earner for many families while the mother was expected to care for the home and children. (culturalatlas.sbs.com.au) Women did not get jobs for a certain time, and were talked about if they did decide to seek one if they had children. Family/children’s roles
The Portuguese have traditional views that Children should consider family goals over their own and go to work as soon as possible. Most usually it is the mother who takes care of the Children (Zhou – PINK) Portuguese are very strong family oriented (Zhou – PINK) Common to see 3 or more generations of families living in the same house (Zhou – PINK). Discrimination/prejudice they faced The rise in immigration also increased anti-immigrant feelings, especially in areas where immigrants were fighting with American born citizens for Jobs. As time has progressed we as a nation have gotten more and more accepting of peoples of other ethnicities but despite this fact the Portuguese still face discrimination as an ethnic group. The Equal Employment Office (EEO) continues to address systematic discrimination against people of Portuguese descent. A recent cases the EEO investigated involved a company in Massachusetts that despite having many employees of Portuguese descent, the company denied them any sort of promotion or advancement. Despite being of European descent and therefore being classified as white by the U.S. government the Portuguese have been seen as “colored” by the larger U.S. population for much of their history in this country. Roles today in society. Although a lot of Portuguese people have rather conservative views, more and more women are joining the workforce and leaving their traditional role in the household. (jpadoverportugal) Gender, age, family role changes. The 1976 constitution outlawed discrimination by sex, and abortion and divorce became legal under certain specified circumstances (jpadoverportugal). The Portuguese had a caste system until the The Carnation Revolution of 1974. This revolution which overthrew the authoritarian regime of the Estado Novo, ended the caste system. (freedomhouse.org). In terms of the home atmosphere, home units are usually complex and consist of two-three generations. The women are still primarily involved with childcare and domestic activities, but men do participate. However, a study did show that men are participating more in certain domestic tasks, like shopping and routine household tasks. (Cristina Santos, jpadoverportugal)
Immigration is a very important part of one’s history. If one were to track their history to the beginning they would see that their history goes back from Italy, England, Germany, etc. The most intriguing part is that they are all living in one country now, America. Our background defines us, it is what makes us who we are today. Currently, we see that changing. Our current president wants to put up a wall to stop immigration. Immigration is what America is, there is no way that we can end that principal. The whole thing that people do about hating immigration, and hating immigrants needs to stop. Immigration is very important. It brings new people to America. People with new perspectives, personalities, lifestyles. Who is anyone to try and stop that? Limit that? You cannot have a country without immigration, it is just not possible.