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by Jean Anderson
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A View of Santo Amaro - S. Jorge Island

Azoreans to California
A Passionate People's Immigrant Song

                             "Sometimes when I am working in the fields,
                               I reach down and get a handful of good clean dirt.
                               It feels warm in the palm of my hand.
                               I let it dribble through my fingers and I feel as if
                               I had just shaken hands with all my ancestors."
                                 (Tony Jerome, C. 1900s, Turlock)

By Robert L. Santos

Part I

From Old world way station to New World home. The Azores, uninhabited until the age of discovery, were settled shortly thereafter by immigrants primarily from Portugal and Flanders. These immigrants in turn would immigrate again. They had fled Europe in the first place because of plagues, war, starvation, crime, rebellion and overpopulation. The New World was looked to as a place of hope and of refuge for the teeming thousands of tattered and struggling European peasants. The Azores provided Portugal with additional land where it could send a few criminals, a few rebels, a few adventurers and a few capitalists to serve the motherland. Some of the Portuguese migrants stayed in the Azores; others left for new lands when opportunity called - or when conditions on the islands forced them off.

Azoreans left the archipelago throughout its 500 years of history for much the same reasons as Europeans left Europe. First went those venturesome spirits touched by wanderlust. Soon, however, overpopulation on the islands led to starvation and lack of employment. (In 1640, there were 100,000 people in the Azores.) The land tenure system on the islands allowed no opportunity to better oneself, there were many natural disasters to fear, the Portuguese government's mandatory military conscription for 14-year-olds caused thousands of young men to flee and, finally, the discovery of gold in California lured thousands more from the islands.

When Portugal had some of her colonial lands taken away by other European nations, most frequently the Dutch, those Azoreans who joined Portuguese forces to retake these lands saw the wealth of these other colonies. Evidently, more
opportunities awaited elsewhere. Toward the end of the 17th century, for example, many Azoreans left to mine for the gold discovered in Brazil. Azoreans also gained a window to the land just west of their doorstep when ships from Britain's American colonies began to stop at the Azores, which contact greatly increased when the United States was an infant nation. Mass immigra tion to the United States followed in three major waves: 1800-1870,1870-1930 and 1957 to the present.

Beginning in the 1830s, the Azorean economy staggered and many islanders faced starvation. Potato rot and grape fungus hit; the famed wine at the island of Pico was reduced to a trickle and orange blight struck in 1877, cutting the production by two-thirds. Drought occurred and recurred, further punishing a starving people. This short poem captures the feeling:

     The land is poor, the children swarm, our fields lack seed:

     Our cradles fill, - a double harm:

     God sends drought upon the farm and a mouth to feed.

Yankee whaling provided a means for the young Azorean male both to seek opportunity beyond the share cropping land system and to escape the yoke of mandatory mili tary service. Whaling ships stopped at the Azores to take on supplies as well as Portuguese sailors. The Azorean teenager would find a way to secretively hoard the ship and leave the islands, hoping to return again after accumulating some wealth.

In 1880, when a new Portuguese law required that $300 be deposited for any male of military age leaving the country legally, stowing away on a whaling ship became even more common, and soon other types of ships cruised the Azores to "steal Portuguese" (i.e., looking for illegal immigrants to steal away to the United States). A traveler out of Boston, on the ship Surprize, witnessed such activity in the early 1870s:

     About nine in the evening a brilliant light, the concerted signal, appeared, flashing at intervals on St. George [Sao Jorge Island]. We stood in, and at about ten a light shone out suddenly close to the ship, and a boat was soon vaguely discerned.

     As they came up, "Is this an American ship?" was the hail.


     Then they pulled alongside and boarded us, bringing four passengers. At one o'clock A.M. another boat came up with four more passengers, and informed us that several were waiting for us on the other side of St. George ...although they have slipped down steep ledges and sometimes swim several yards through the suff to the boats, as the sea is often too high to allow a boat to land. An English brig had taken off eight from that side a few days  before our arrival.

Another ship, Jehu, would pick up Azoreans who lit fires on the shore:

     It was now calm, the moon near the full; and soon the expected beacon-flame was seen blazing at intervals at Calheta on St. George. We ran in and showed our light in the rigging, and about eleven a large launch appeared bringing thirteen passengers, including several women and children. This completed the number we could get from St. George, full twenty less than promised.

If the young male Azorean worked his passage to the United States on a whaling ship, the voyage could sometimes last two or three years. In later years, though, the Azorean and his family might be passengers on a steamship: sometimes a benefactor would pay their way; in other cases the immigrants had agreed to pay back their fare once they had worked and saved.
Steerage passage on a steamship in 1900 cost $10-$15 -- two to three weeks' wages in the United States at that time.

For the Azoreans, immigration was a family affair. As soon as the immigrant saved up enough money, he would send for his family, usually one member at a time. Some immigrants would return and bring others back with them to the United States. One descendant recalls that "My grandfather made several trips to the Azores and each time he would bring someone else back."

By 1919, there were approximately 300,000 people in the Azores while there were 100,000 Azoreans in the United States.
Every Azorean family and village was affected by immigration.

Unlike earlier American immigrants, the Azoreans were not seeking religious freedom, political liberty or release from incarceration: they were drawn by economic opportunity, and were willing to work hard to achieve it.

One group of Portuguese immigrants who did come to the United States seeking reli- gious freedom did not come to America by way of the Azores: the Portuguese Jews. Many Sephardic Jews from Portugal fled persecution and came to the colonies.
Mathias de Sousa, one such Jew, arrived in Maryland in 1634, becoming the first documented Portuguese to live in the colonies. In 1654, 23 Sephardic Jews arrived in New Amsterdam fleeing persecution in Brazil. These Jews and other Jews in the area formed what became known as the "Portuguese Nation."

In 1733, 40 Portuguese and Spanish Jews left England and settled in Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. In 1752, Lisbon-born Aaron Lopez, who'd been baptized Catholic but proclaimed his true religious identity once he got to Newport, Rhode Island, helped build Americas first Jewish synagogue at Newport. Lopez also founded the sperm whale oil industry in the United States and had 30 ships in his fleet. He got his crews from the Azores --the first documented Azorean settlers in the United States -- and operated out of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Serving their newly-adopted nation.

Immigrant Portuguese and Azoreans felt strongly about their adopted country. John Paul Jones had 28 Portuguese aboard his ship the Bonhomme Richard, 11 of whom died in the battle with the British ship Serapis. Peter Francisco, a Portuguese, served in the Continental Army. A monument in Greensboro, North Carolina, commemorates his effort, reading: "strongest man in the Revolutionary armies." Francisco was an orphan who lived in Patrick Henry's uncle's home. He was shopkeeper, blacksmith, planter and eventually a wealthy country squire. Francisco also became a friend of Lafayette and accompanied him in his 1824 visit touring the United States.

Many Portuguese settled in Louisiana about 1800 and joined the French pirate Jean Lafitte in attacking British shipping. At the Battle of New Orleans toward the end of the War of 1812, there were Portuguese with "Old Hickory," and when Oliver Hazard Perry fought the great sea battles on Lake Brie, Portuguese sailors fought with him.

Later, in 1866, John Phillips, born on the Azorean island of Pico, became an American hero by riding 236 miles to Fort Laramie in a blizzard, through Indian country, to bring help to Fort Kearney's besieged Army troops. He received a U.S.
Congressional award with this accolade: "In all the annals of heroism in the face of unusual dangers and difficulties on the American frontier, or in the world, there are few that can excell in gallantry, in heroism, in devotion, in self-sacrifice and
patriotism, the ride of John Phillips."

The strong young Azoreans who came to the United States in whaling ships first settled aroung the New Bedford area of Massachusetts, and eventually sent for their loved ones. When whaling was on the decline, the Azoreans gravitated toward New Bedford's textile mills and the fishing banks nearby. Though many Azoreans remained in New England, the youths were lured ever westward by new opportunity. Some went to California on whaling ships and soon were in the gold fields. But long before this, of course, the Portuguese had even earlier connections with California during the age of discovery.

The Portuguese in Old California. The world-traveling Portuguese were the first Europeans to step on California soil. João Rodrigues Cabrilho, employed by Spain but Portuguese by birth, was on a voyage of discovery when he sighted San Diego
Bay on September 28.1542. He had sailed from Navidad in New Spain with two ships and with Portuguese sailors in his crew.
From San Diego, he continued up the coast, stopping at the channel islands, then put ashore in the Ventura area, and sailed to Monterey Bay, discovering it on November 16th. Unfortunately, Cabrilho fell and broke a bone which became infected. He died onJanuary 3, 1543, and was buried on the channel island of San Miguel. Bartolome Ferrelo replaced Cabrilho as captain,and he explored the California coast to the Oregon border.

The next Portuguese to set foot on California was the pilot Nuno da Silva, captured by Sir Francis Drake in January of 1578.
Many nations employed Portuguese pilots; they were the world's finest: Drake's crew acknowledged Silva's ability as pilot of the Golden Hind, as noted by John Walton Brown in his thesis "Portuguese in California."

It was June of 1579 when the Golden Hind, piloted by Silva, stopped just north of San Francisco to repair the ship. A year later, California became a possession of Portugal, albeit indirectly. In 1580, Phillip II of Spain seized the Portuguese throne
when it was vacated after the death of the Portuguese king, and for the ensuing 60 years all Portuguese and Spanish possessions, including California, were under one king.

Two Portuguese Franciscan missionaries, Fray Francisco de Nogueira and Fray Rufino, were the next Portuguese to see California. They were traveling on a ship commanded by Pedro de Unamuno, sailing from Macao, a Portuguese possession
then temporarily under Spain. On October 18, 1587, they anchored in Morro Bay. Fray Nogueira went ashore as a member of a landing party that explored 15-18 miles into the interior. Another landing party, with Fray Rufino along, fell into a fight with some California Indians. The former landing party came to their rescue, and everyone fled to the ship with their wounded.

Another Portuguese under the employ of Spain was Captain Sebastião Rodrigues Cermeno, sailing from the Philippines. He sighted Cape Mendocino on November 4, 1595 and on November 7th went ashore to claim the land for Spain, naming the
anchorage San Francisco Bay (later Drake's Bay). He sailed on down the coast to Monterey Bay, Morro Bay and the channel islands.

Deserting ship was not uncommon: voyages were long and rigorous, and many captains were tyrants. Two Portuguese deserted from the ships of Captain George Vancouver when, during his voyage around the world, he stopped at San Francisco in 1792.

Some historians believe that the Spanish might have lured them away, coveting their skills. In any case, two Portuguese deserters stayed in the area for two years, and were fined $281.33 each for room and board.

In general, the Spanish feared losing control of California but did allow foreigners to stay if they would convert to Catholicism, marry into one of the Spanish Californio families, raise their children Catholic and, interestingly, not teach the English language.
Perhaps less wisely, the Mexican government that took California from Spain in the early 19th century was less demanding of foreigners who chose to stay.

California's first recorded Portuguese settler was Antonio Jose Rocha, who had jumped ship but was encouraged to stay because of his blacksmith and carpentry skills. Further, he was Catholic, somewhat akin to the Spanish, being Portuguese, and fit well into Mexican California. By 1815, Antonio was in Los Angeles and had a blacksmith shop.

In 1821, Rocha built El Molino, the old mill, for the missionaries at Mission San Gabriel. He also constructed the building that
would later be the first headquarters of

Los Angeles county and city governments. Rocha married Maria Josefa Alvarado, the daughter of a prominent Californio family, and had five children. He got a land grant in 1828, 4,600-acre Rancho La Brea, where he raised cattle. A generous
man, Antonio allowed the public to use the tar from his La Brea tar pits to roof their houses. He and his family moved to Santa Barbara in the 1830s, and he died sometime shortly after that. Early Californian J.J. Warner said about Rocha that

     He was a pious man, quite a favorite with all the priests, a very industrious man, and one of the most respectable and esteemed citizens of Los Angeles from the time of my first acquaintance with him in 1831 until the time of his death.

Hubert Howe Bancroft lists five Portuguese who were pioneers in California before 1830. Rocha was one; the second was Manuel de Dios Pasos, a Brazilian who arrived at Monterey in 1822 at the age of 18. According to the census records, Dios Pasos was a hunter and was living in Santa Barbara in 1836, then in Los Angeles in 1845.

The third Portuguese pioneer, Joaquin Pereira, was only 20 when he arrived in Santa Barbara in 1826, on a Mexican ship that was wrecked, stranding him. He became a vaquero and lived in Santa Barbara. Joaquin once confided to a judge that he was a member of a group of 150 men under the leadership of José Antonio Carrillo who planned to attack Santa Barbara some time in August 1840. Cartillo was arrested and released; Pereira was never heard of again.

California's next Portuguese settler was Jordan Pacheco, who arrived in California in 1829 from San Blas at the age of 47, and settled in Los Angeles. He married Maria de Jesus Lopez and raised a family. He was a tavern keeper with assets valued at $4,500, according to the 1850 census.

The fifth and last Portuguese settler in Bancroft's pioneer list was Manuel de Oliveira, who came to California in 1829 at the age of 25. He married Micaela PolIorena and had four children. He became the chief steward at Mission San Gabriel, but was removed when problems arose under his authority.

There were at least seven Portuguese who came to California after 1830 and before the American conquest of 1846, and probably many more, but Portuguese immigrants swiftly anglicized their names, disguising their true origin. Foreign contacts with California at this time continued to be primarily through trade and whaling vessels. In the early 1840s, there were about 5,000 foreigners in California, a number of whom were Portuguese (such as those identified in Thomas Larkins' business ledgers in Monterey).

Whaling and the gold rush. Years before the gold rush in California, Yankee traders plied the California coast purchasing hides and tallow for the New England market. Though American whaling ships had been in the Pacific as early as 1787, it was 1819 when the first New England whaler stopped at Hawaii, and Bancroft lists nine American whaling ships in California ports in 1825. While in San Diego in 1830, the American ship Cyrus ordered 1,500 barrels coopered for whale oil, contributing to that city's commerce.

The California coast was busy with whaling and trading: in the 1840s, American traveler William Heath Davis saw 40 whaling ships in San Francisco Bay at one time. The whalers would remain in port four to six weeks, taking on provisions from the ranchos on the eastern side of the bay and doing necessary repairs. Down the coast, whaling ships in Monterey Bay hunted the humpback whale. Nearly all of these Yankee ships carried Azorean crew members who were working to pay for their passage to New England. Like so many other sailors, some of the Azoreans jumped ship to seek opportunities in California. A far higher percentage of crewmen would soon desert their ships after news of the gold discovery in the American River.

In 1848, great schools of bowbead whales were found in the Arctic near Alaska. Once the Yankee whaling fleet heard of this finding, the long arduous trek around the Horn to Alaska began, and San Francisco, like Honolulu, became a major port for the Pacific whalers. At first whaling ships would anchor at Richardson's Bay (Sausalito), in the northwest comer of San Francisco Bay, but shortly the great number of abandoned gold rush ships cluttered up the berthing area. This jingle was popular on the docks of New Bedford, Massachusetts:

     Who jumps ship may go to prison

     But all the gold he gits is hisn

The cry of gold brought not only whalers but also the whole world to California. As far away as Oporto, Portugal, a pamphlet appeared in 1849 announcing the gold discovery in California, titled "Information and Suggestions Extracted from Official Documents Concerning California and Her Gold Mines," but revealing more about California than just her gold:

     A country teeming with gold and precious metals necessarily attracts a great multitude of people, as indeed we see. Moreover this has an excellent climate, a soil of incomparable fertility, and occupies a geographical position well suited for it to become the Universal Emporium of the Trade of Asia and Europe. These innumerable throngs of people which are flocking into California from every quarter of the globe are entirely employed in the exploration of gold, they lack even the most indispensable comforts of life although they have plenty of gold to buy them. So long as those mines continue to produce gold in such abundance and so easy to extract (and they are  said to be inexhaustible) the people will not apply itself to any other labor, and for this reason the country will be for many years the best market for European products.

This unabashedly exaggerated promotional piece appealed not only to those souls already stricken by gold fever but also to merchants and farmers, of which mainland Portugal and the Azores had plenty.

San Francisco Bay filled with abandoned ships of all kinds, their crews and officers in the gold fields seeking instant wealth.
Ship shortages were talked about even as far away as the Azorean island of Faial, which already had sons in the gold fields.
The following letter, preserved by Roxana Dabney in her 1900 compilation of her family records in Faial, is dated October 11,1849, and is information coming from a trade merchant:

     "We send you this time a vessel which does not command our unqualified admiration, but the demand for vessels is far greater than the supply; the late accounts having revived to a certain degree the "California emigration mania.
     The question is beginning to pass from mouth to mouth, "what is to become of all the vessels sent to San Francisco?" Of course the old ones will lay their bones there, or on the way thither, but so many new ones have gone that there must be a time when they will all return or at least a large proportion; what then will become of the owners and ship builders, who are now reaping a golden harvest?"

Between 1850 and 1860, the number of Portuguese in California jumped from 109 to 1,560, 804 of whom were mining gold in the state's foothill counties. Portuguese were numerous at Shaw Flat and Columbia in Tuolumne County, and at Auburn in Placer County. Their numbers were also notable at Cathay's Valley in Mariposa County; 31 in Klamath County in 1860 and, that same year, eight Azoreans and nine other Portuguese were in Shasta County.

The Siskiyou County mining camp of Hawkinsville, three miles south of Yreka, still had 175 Portuguese in 1880, 70% of whom were still mining. The Yreka Journal ran this 1868 story headlined, "Portuguese Coming:"

     "We learn that about 140 Portuguese are shortly coming to this country from the Portuguese Islands and other counties in this State, including a number of women and children. The Portuguese at Hawkinsville are already making preparations for them by holding a miners meeting tomorrow to regulate size of claims. Several of them intend securing ranches also, and the prospects are that a very large portion of out county population will consist of Portuguese, who seem to be a very industrious and hard working class."

Obviously, communication lines were open among the Portuguese in the mines, those elsewhere in California and in the Azores- a network connecting countrymen with countrymen, and providing information helpful in the immigration process and settlement.
The article also shows that the Portuguese were well-received.

In New England, the Portuguese and Azoreans were primarily interested in whaling, fishing and textiles, whereas in California their interest in whaling and fishing was minor as compared to their interest in gold mining and agriculture. Because gold mining, in most cases, did not pay off, many Portuguese soon redirected their efforts toward the traditional Azorean occupation of

And so the Portuguese began settling in the Sacramento Valley, Mission San Jose, San Leandro, Oakland and Castro Valley.
These fertile lowlands were well suited to the type of farming the Azorean knew best, intensive farming. Typically, the Portuguese immigrant would work for wages for awhile, then rent land, and then finally buy land. Soon he would send for his
family to come and join them.

The Portuguese in 1880: "Sea legs into plow legs." In 1880, 84% of the Portuguese living in California would be found in rural areas, with 82.6% of that group owning or operating farms. Of the entire California Portuguese population, only 9.1% were in mining and just 4% in maritime occupations.

In Where Opportunity Knocks Twice, Forrest Crissey wrote:

     "Today you may visit whole sections of the Pacific slopes peopled by these Por tuguese islanders, and listen to scores of personal stories of how sea legs have been trained into steady plow legs, and of the individual transformation of ocean wanderers into plodding farmers who are disinclined to stray any farther from their homes  than they can drive with their own teams.''

In 1880, California's North Coast had 219 Portuguese, 87% of whom lived in Mendocino County with 66 working in the lumber industry. In the North Central California area 549 Portuguese worked in Shasta, Siskiyou and Trinity counties as miners and farmers.

In the Sierra Nevada counties 831 Portuguese were primarily employed as miners or in farming. But by far the greatest percentage of California's Portuguese - 75% --lived on the Central Coast and were primarily employed in intensive farming. In
the East Bay, their skill and industry constituted such a strong presence that Jac London referred to it in his novel Valley of theMoon, to be noted later

In the Sacramento Valley, 11% of the state's Portuguese worked in farming, fish ing and general labor Merritt Township in Yolo County alone had 218 Portuguese, Portuguese lived throughout the San Joaquin Valley, with the greatest concentrations in Fresno, Kern and Stanislaus counties. These Portuguese worked in farming or animal husbandry. Half of Fresno County's 449 Portuguese were sheep herders.

Very few Portuguese lived in Southen California - roughly, 163 - and those who did were in Los Angeles and Sant Barbara counties employed as whalers, fishermen and laborers.

Shore whaling and "the devotion o fisher folk. " Shore whaling in California conducted just as it had been in the Azores began in Monterey in 1851, initiated by either Captain Davenport or Captain Joseph Clark (nee Joao Machado). But not until 1854 was a company formed, described in the March 14, 1855 edition of the Sacramento Daily Union:

     "During the year a number of Portuguese whalers have established themselves at Monterey Bay for the purpose of captuting such whales as are indigenous to the coast. They caught 5 grays, 9 hump-backs, four killers; six were lost; the crew was paid $438 each for its work from April to September"

In 1855 another company was formed of 17 Portuguese and, over three years, took in 800 barrels of oil. In 1858, Davenport formed another company that had harpoon guns and so was able to take in 600 to 1,000 barrels of oil annually for several years. In 1865, Monterey's whaling companies merged into one, forming a crew of 23 men, which took in $31,000 worth of oil and bone the first four months!

As was the Azorean custom, a shore whaling company divided their earnings: 1 barrel of oil in 35 went to the boat steerers, coopers and ship keepers; 1 barrel in 50 went to the oarsmen and blubber carriers; and the owner of the whaleboats got the rest. Most boats cost $500 each. An exceptionally good day's kill could bring $3,000 to $4,000.

Each shore whaling company consisted of a captain, one mate, a cooper, two boat steerers and 11 men. There were always two boats out, so that if, as often happened, a whale smashed one, the survivors had a boat in which to return to shore. Each boat took a crew of six, leaving four men on shore to work shifts in scanning the horizon for whales and tending the boiling blubber in the trypots. The boat crews got their signal from the shore flag as to where the whales were located.

Between 1850 and 1880, 17 shore stations operated intermittently along the California coast, at, for example, Crescent City, Half Moon Bay, Carmel Bay, San Simeon, Portuguese Bend, San Diego Bay and more. Nearly all of the whalers were Azoreans.

Edwin C. Starks of the California Fish and Game Commission wrote this while investigating the station at Moss Landing, Monterey Bay:

     "Nearby are the try works, sending forth volumes of thick black smoke from the scrap- fire under the steaming caldrons of boiling oil. A little to one side is the primitive storehouse, covered with cypress boughs ... on the crest of a cone-shaped hill, of the shapeless mass of mutilated whale, together with the men shouting and heaving the capstans, the screaming of gulls and other sea fowl, mingles with the noise of the surf about the shores, and we  have a picture of the general life at a California coast whaling station."

As for the men, Albert S. Evans recorded this in his travel journal in 1873 while visiting Pigeon Point station, six miles south of Pescadero: "These men are all 'Gees' Portuguese from the Azores or western Islands. They are a stout, hardy-looking race, grossly ignorant, dirty and superstitious. They work hard, and are doing well in business."

"Superstitious" was indeed apt for these men who had to fight the thrashing cetacean at sea, underlined by the following passage from Anne B. Fisher's biography of Robert Louis Stevenson, who spent some time in Monterey. The city's pavements had whale bones imbedded in them as a religious offering for the whalers' survival. Stevenson once walked with Joaquin, a Portuguese whaler, to the local church, and the whaler said:

     "Nearby are the try works, sending forth volumes of thick black smoke from the scrap- fire under the steaming caldrons of boiling oil. A little to one side is the primitive storehouse, covered with cypress boughs ... on the crest of a cone-shaped hill, of the shapeless mass of mutilated whale, together with the men shouting and heaving the capstans, the screaming of gulls and other sea fowl, mingles with the noise of the surf about the shores, and we  have a picture of the general life at a California coast whaling station."

I see, Stevenson nodded and looked on the beauty at his feet. Perhaps a fisher for words can someday honor the Saint by telling all the world about the devotion of fisher folk who come to the Mission At Carmel Bay station, Charles M. Scammon
described the residences of the shore whalers in his classic work on whaling. The picture is that of subsistence farmers living as they had in the Azores:

     "Scattered around the foothills, which come to the water's edge, are the neatly whitewashed cabins of the whalers, nearly all of whom are Portuguese, from the Azores or Western Islands of the Atlantic. They have their families with them, and keep a pig, sheep, goat, or cow prowling around the premises; these, with a small garden-patch, yielding principally corn and pumpkins, make up the general picture of the hamlet, which is paradise to the thrifty clan in comparison with the homes of their childhood."

Azorean Antone Silva (née Antone Carvalho) was a whaling ship captain who settled in San Leandro with his wife. They had a 13-acre farm along Chicken Lane for which he paid $1,340 in 1861. He planted cherries and apricots, and prospered. Later his three children changed their name to Oakes (Carvalho in Portuguese), from which Gakes Boulevard drew its name.

Kanaka Road and Chicken Lane. Just as New Bedford was the "Portuguese capital of the East," San Leandro was certainly the "Portuguese capital of the West." In San Leandro as early as 1852 there were Portuguese in the poultry boating and fishing businesses. In 1851, Anthony Fountain (né Antonio Fonte) was taking milk from Oakland to San Francisco by boat. In 1860 there were 240 Portuguese living in San Leandro and Hayward, one of whom was Antonio Rogers, born in Faial as Antonio Soares. He worked as a whaler until 1895, when he settled on Chicken Lane in San Leandro. In 1870, it is estimated, there
were 4,000 to 5,000 Portuguese living in that area.

Many of San Leandro's Portuguese lived on one of two) colorfully named streets:
Chicken Lane (later Dutton Avenue), where most early Azoreans settled and raised chickens and followed other agricultural pursuits, and Kanaka Road, where Portuguese from Hawaii had settled. Later, when fruit trees were planted on a large scale, Kanaka Road became Orchard Avenue.

The story of the many Portuguese who came from Hawaii between 1890 and 1910 to Kanaka Road as well as to other communities around San Francisco Bay is interesting. The Portuguese first arrived in the Hawaiian Islands (then the Sandwich Islands) in 1794. Antonio Silva, arriving in 1828, brought sugar cane agriculture to the islands and the Portuguese John Elliot de Castro became King Kamehameha's friend, adviser and physician.

This longing for the homeland is the Azorean saudade that is, nostalgia buried deep in one's soul. The Hawaiian musical instrument, the ukelele ("jumping mosquito" in Hawaiian), was a Portuguese adaptation first made in 1877 by Portuguese cabinet maker Manuel Nunes, similar to the small Madeiran guitar called the cavaquinho.

Azoreans jumped ship when the whaling vessels they were aboard pulled into Hon olulu for supplies and repair By 1870, there were about 400 Portuguese living in the Hawaiian islands.
  Read Part II