CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL LIBRARIES

Home     Digital Photographs     Genealogy Resources     Special Collections     Search
 
WE THE PORTUGUESE
 

 
                      June 1919, 209 Charles Street.  The 
                      Portuguese neighborhood celebrates 
                      Holy Ghost Sunday, a traditional feast 
                     day. (Donated by the Ferreira Family)

Later Portuguese Immigrants
By the time the second wave of mass immigration from Portugal began, those immigrants who had previously arrived were an integral part of Lowell's multi-ethnic mix, creating a cultural support system comprised of a devout religious community, the neighborhood, Portuguese social clubs, and a substantial number of businesses.  Many Portuguese had friends and family living in the United States by this time and had heard stories of educational and industrial opportunities unavailable to them at home, especially in the Azores.  Yet immigration laws continued to be extremely restrictive until such time as nature took control of the situation.

     Despite the fact that the Azores and Madeira were originally developed due to volcanic and seismic activitity, it had been a considerable amount of time since there had been a catastrophic event. One of the last recorded cases of extreme seismic activity took place in the Azores in 1522, when a hilltop convent in Ponta Delgada, the capitol of Sao Miguel, was swallowed up during a disastrous earthquake, killing 209 nuns.  However, that historic incident pales in comparison to the Azore earthquakes of 1957 and 1958.  In September of 1957, an immense submarine volcano erupted off the western end of the small but densely populated island of Fayal, causing massive flooding and temporarily giving birth to an entirely new island.  Minor earthquakes there continued to terrorize the people for a year following the initial eruption.  This came after several lesser earthquakes had already devastated the islands of Terceira and Sao Miguel in the early 1950s.  Then in February of 1964, another serious earthquake rocked the island of Sao Jorge leaving 25,000 residents homeless.

 
Top Of Page    Previous Page or Next Page