Books written by pioneers/settlers about their experience


Ad Honorem
May 2016
Makes sense. BTW, is the Portuguese that these documents are written in easily understood by present-day Portuguese people? Did Portuguese significantly change over the last 500 years?
No, the Portuguese didn’t change to a point that is not recognizable. If not any Portuguese at least any Portuguese history student should be able to read a document with 500 years or even 700 years.

Thank you very much for this information, Tulius! Anyway, how many Spaniards actually settled in the Philippines? Also, how many Portuguese actually settled in Sub-Saharan Africa?
The number of Peninsular settlers in the Philippines was quite low until the independence of the colonies in America. It is not easy to point numbers since all were considered Spanish. But the numbers grew after the 1820’s decade. Even so the situation was quite different from Cuba or Puerto Rico were the number of Peninsulares settlers was considerable. Until there the Philipines were under the control of Nueva España and the arrivals were from Acapulco, Spanish either Peninsulares, American Indians or Mestizos. Mostly priests, military men and government officials. I read That they could be some 75000 peninsulares, mostly males (Archbishop Census, 1894). Most of the Spanish migration had America as a destiny, not Asia.

An online source (in Spanish):

As for the Portuguese there were some 200.000 in Angola and 80.000 in Mozambique when the colonial war begun. As in the Spanish case, America and not Africa or Asia, had been the biggest migration target for the Portuguese, even after Brazil’s independence. Since the late of the 19th century there were between 1000 and 2000 new Portuguese settlers in Africa per year. This change drastically in the decades of 1960 and 1970, in 1960 the migration was 14.896 people. Don’t know the numbers for Guinea and the other Colonies. Since 1907 there was no need of passport to go to the Portuguese Africa to support new settlers. We must recall that the Portuguese population in Europe was always quite low, only reaching the 9 or 10 million in the 20th century. So this was a huge colonization effort.

In 1975 with the decolonization between 500.000 and 800.000 people returned to Portugal. They were called the “retornados”. Mostly were European Portuguese but in this number we also must count also Portuguese black Africans that fought in the Portuguese army and their families. Even if in some places like the ”Commandos Africanos” in Guinea they were abandoned and shot by the new independent regime.

Source: SAMPAIO, Thiago Henrique. Portugal em África: a política de emigração para as colônias (1890 – 1974) [online]. In: CESP, Vol. 3, No 6, 2014. (in Portuguese).
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Ad Honorem
May 2016
Maybe a bit off topic, but the Spanish (Galician) poetess Rosalía de Castro wrote in the late 19th century a poem in Galician-Portuguese about the huge impact that the migration to Cuba had in the Galician society. It is called "¡Pra a Habana!"/”To Havana!”

That poem was partially later adapted by the Portuguese musician and singer Adriano Correia de Oliveira, as a protest song against the dictatorship of the “Estado Novo”, influenced by the style of the Fado of Coimbra (typical song of the students in the University of Coimbra). It is known as “Cantar de Emigração” / “Song to the Emigration”:

Canto V:

“Éste vaise i aquél vaise,
e todos, todos se van.
Galicia, sin homes quedas
que te poidan traballar.
Tes, en cambio, orfos e orfas
e campos de soledad,
e nais que non teñen fillos
e fillos que non tén pais.
E tes corazóns que sufren
longas ausencias mortás,
viudas de vivos e mortos
que ninguén consolará.”

Rough translation:

“This one parts, the other one too
and everyone, everyone is gone.
Galicia stayes without men
that can cut your bread.
In return you have orphans
You have fields of solitude.
You have mothers who do not have children
Children who have no father.
You have Hearts that suffer
Long mortal absences.
Widows of the living and dead
That no one will console.”
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