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

The Italian at a Glance

Becoming Italian Back in December 2020, I started a new research project on Instagram, @ItalianAtAGlance to curate and share some …

Spread the love

Dale! The Diasporican Cookbook

Illyanna Maisonet is an amazing writer. I’ve followed her online and read her deeply personal newsletter for years. As a …

Spread the love

Understanding The Children’s Train by Viola Ardone

Based on a true events, with more than 5,922 ratings on Goodreads, when I saw The Children’s Train, by Viola …

Spread the love

Searching the 1950 Census: Things I didn’t Know about East Harlem & Vito

I always thought 2nd Avenue was expansive. I have fond memories of playing in the open “pompa” – Spanglish for …

Spread the love

Frida on Chestfeeding: A Study in Empathy and Deep Customer Understanding

Really well done Frida Mom! This is how you resonate with your audience. Author Literanista Spread the love

Spread the love

La Brega: A Podcast About the Puerto Rican Experience

In the past several years, I’ve suffered a lot of loss, besides the turmoil of the pandemic, my mother, my …

Spread the love