Piecing Things Together
Introduction These introductory remarks are not intended to engage those who deny that there is/was a Portuguese diaspora and who insist on reserving the term for the Jewish diaspora brought about by the Babylonian conquest in the seventh century B.C. and by the Romans in 70 A.d. The term diaspora—from the greek diaspeirein ‘to scatter,’ from dia + speirein ‘to sow’—was first used in the Septuagint, the Koine greek version of the hebrew Bible whose translation was begun in the third century and completed in the third decade of the second century B.C. We also do not wish to dwell on comparisons and contrasts between the Portuguese diaspora and other diasporas—the myriad of diasporas throughout human history which include, but are by no means limited to, that of the greeks of the sixth century B.C. and of those in more recent times; or that of the Byzantines in the fifteenth and sixteenth century after the fall of the empire; or the African one due to internal and overseas slavery mainly from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth century; or the Indian (hindu, Tamil, and sikh) from the mid-sixteenth century onwards; or even the diasporas of the last century and a half, some of them with roots in the distant past—experienced by people as diverse as the Chinese, the Irish, the Armenians, and the Vietnamese. Additionally, and with a great deal of legitimacy, some American Indians claim the term diaspora for their forced dispersal from their...
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