%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
People & Life Ways
Riches, Ranching & Railroads
(1850-1900)

Azorean-Portuguese Immigrants (Portuguese)

Click the phonograph to hear the passage in Portuguese.

Many of the Portuguese emigrants to Nevada came from the Azore Islands.  The Azores are a group of nine islands in the Atlantic Ocean.  The people of the Azores worked as farmers and fishermen.  It was hard to make a good living and many Azoreans left their islands.  Some came to the United States and settled in the New England area, working in factories and as fishermen.  Other Azore islanders continued on to the American West looking for gold and silver.

Most of the Azorean-Portuguese who came to Nevada became farmers and ranchers.  Many of their descendants still live and work in the farming communities of Fallon, Lovelock, and Yerington.  The cultural traditions have been kept alive, even in a new land.  One of the most important religious holidays, the Holy Ghost festa, or Pentecostal festa, is still celebrated.  This celebration commemorates Queen Isabel of Portugal.  During a famine in the 13th century, the queen prayed for relief for the starving people, and ships full of food appeared in the harbor.  It is said that she walked barefoot through the town to pray at the church and give thanks for the miracle.

In Nevada towns with Azorean-Portuguese descendants, the miracle is remembered every year with a procession, the crowning of a queen, and a large communal meal in the community or parish hall.
 

Reader: Rosa De Avila
 

Photo Credit:
Rose De Avila