Portuguese Ethnicity in Puerto Rico

According to a chronology, made available by the Library of Congress, in 1593, “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.”

A similar account is made in Porto Rico: History and Conditions Social, Economic, and Political by Knowlton Mixer, Macmillan, 1926: “Some men brought their wives, most of them married Natives. These troops never left the Island and were the originals of the Portuguese names of many of Puerto Rico’s oldest families.”

Who were these men? What does “Natives” mean in this context, does the author mean Indigenous women, or women born on the Island to Europeans?

As part of the Puerto Rican diaspora, it never crossed my mind that I may be anything other than one third Spaniard, Indigenous and African since we have been indoctrinated to believe this makeup is how all of us came to be.

From what I can tell by analyzing my mother’s Ancestry.com’s ethnicity estimates, my mother inherited 14% Portuguese ethnicity, from one parent, from whom she also inherited Jewish, Basque and Spanish. Which is interesting, considering that my maternal grandmothers were sisters. The only Portuguese I have been able to document on my tree, are un tal Diego Perez, and of course, Christobal (Christoforo Columbo) Colon’s lineage.

Does anyone know the identity of these men or where there could be more information about them?

Spread the love

More Articles for You

Curating Caribbean Heritage: A List of Must-Read Books

This is how I honor and celebrate the diversity and richness of the islands and their cultural diasporas, reflecting on …

Spread the love

On Growing up in East Harlem: Italian (Barese) and Puerto Rican Heritage

I was thrilled to chat with podcaster, and fellow author and family historian Bob Sorrentino earlier this month. During our …

Spread the love

Food Culture: The Best Podcast for “Top Chef” Fans

The food we eat, how we eat and prepare it is so intricately tied to our culture, our heritage and …

Spread the love

The “Frida In Her Own Words” Documentary Is Phenomenal

This lyrical animation inspired by her unforgettable artwork, drawn from her diary, revealing letters, essays, and print interviews for the …

Spread the love

Reading Haiti: 5 Books to Explore Its History and Culture

Edwidge Danticat is one of Haiti’s most celebrated authors. Her notable works include “Breath, Eyes, Memory,” “Krik? Krak!,” and “The …

Spread the love

Finding Relief: 5 Books to Help Manage Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain can be challenging, but there are resources available to help navigate this journey. Whether you’re looking …

Spread the love