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Intersecting Diaspora Boundaries

Portuguese Contexts


Edited By Irene Maria F. Blayer and Dulce Maria Scott

This collection of essays provides both critical and interdisciplinary means for thinking across diasporic travels within the Portuguese experience and its intersection with other peoples and cultures. The chapters are organized into four sections and offer rich, diverse, and insightful studies that provide a conceptualization of the Portuguese diaspora with special attention to the importance of cross-cultural interferences and influences. Within this framework, and from a variety of perspectives, some of the chapters depict identity-formation paths among Portuguese Jews and Luso-Indians in Australia, as well as the historical, cultural, and literary interplay among Portuguese and other diasporas in Goa, the West Indies, and Brazil. Other chapters analyze Portuguese-American literature and poetry, whereby the intersection of memory, dual identity, and place are meticulously explored. The last section of the book addresses Portuguese writers and poets who lived through (in)voluntary exile or were dislocated to Europe and Asia, and how their diasporic conditions interface with their textualized narratives. Place and memory as means of reconstructing a fragmented existence, in the writings of exiled writers, are also explored. The volume closes with a chapter on Portuguese illegal migration to France. The studies herein open new lines of inquiry into diaspora studies.
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Chapter Five: Behind the Scenes: The Cultural Impact of the Portuguese on Trinidad & Tobago


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Behind THE Scenes

The Cultural Impact of the Portuguese on Trinidad & Tobago



Throughout the 141 years of Madeiran Portuguese migration to Trinidad (1834 to 1975),1 the Portuguese and their descendants have always accounted for less than one per cent of the total national population, remaining a minority group within the wider host society and also a minority within the national European and Euro-Creole community—a minority within a minority. In spite of lower numbers than other ethno-linguistic groups generally, the Madeirans constituted the most significant post-emancipation European and Euro-Creole group, significant both in relative size and in socioeconomic and cultural contributions to their host society. Their numerical significance is supported by the fact that the national census accorded this group a separate census category2 up to 1960, and again in 2010, after a hiatus of 50 years. At their peak in the 1940s,3 Luso-descendants or Portuguese Creoles numbered a few thousand in a population that totalled no more than 600,000 (with the Euro/White population numbering just over 15,000 in total, or under 3% overall). In spite of comparatively low numbers, their sociocultural significance was not to be ignored, with the Portuguese-born and their Luso-Trinbagonian4 descendants having contributed to many spheres of national life, including religion, business, politics, the arts (music, literature, Carnival, film), and a few culinary items.

The ancestors of the modern Portuguese...

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