Yankee Baleeiros: The Shared Legacy of Lusophone and Yankee Whalers

Publication Date: 2015

Yankee Baleeiros celebrates the interwoven Luso-American stories of the Azorean, Cape Verdean, and Brazilian communities to the United States from early immigration in the 18th century through the latter half of the 20th century.

Yankee Baleeiros enhances and reframes the meaning of becoming American amidst the social construction of unjust racial politics, the strength of community identity, and importance of cultural innovation.

The U.S. Census data suggests that 3 million people in the U.S. self-identify with Portuguese, Cape Verdean or Brazilian an­cestry. These distinct cultures are linked historically through heritage, language, and the pursuit of opportunity afforded by the international network of Yankee whaling, with the Port of New Bedford as the major gateway to the American Dream.

The Greater Providence, R.I.-Fall River-New Bedford corridor is home to the largest Portuguese-American community in the U.S. One of the largest Brazilian populations in the U.S. lives in the Greater Boston area. Large Lusophone (Portuguese speaking) communities thrive in the North­east, California, Florida and New Jersey.

It was on whaling voyages during the 1800’s that Azorean and Cape Verdean mariners first interacted with and often joined American whalers from New Bedford. On the other side of the Atlantic, Brazil also became an influential Lusophone connection through the industry of commercial whaling.

Yankee Baleeiros explains how the Lusophone (Portuguese speaking) migration is integral to the Ameri­can story. See how distinct cultures and communities who share similar languages are linked by maritime commerce as well as by similar motivations for coming to the United States.

Last modified: May 24, 2016