Off the boat - Histórias de Imigração dos Portugueses na Califórnia

A documentary by Luís Proença, SJ , Off the boat - Histórias de Imigração dos Portugueses na Califórnia skillfully deals with the Portuguese presence in the state of California. The Portuguese in California are a thriving community with a compelling story representing an integral part of the history of this state. Attracted by the Gold Rush, the first Portuguese (mainly from the Azores islands) found their passage to California as crew members aboard American whaling ships. They brought with them an intense desire to succeed in this land of opportunity and consequently, after brief inroads in mining, they  soon pioneered the growth of the California food industry with the settlement of the San Joaquin Valley, first by sheep raising and later by dairy farming, as well as developing San Diego's large tuna fleet.


Such an enticing saga is introduced in this documentary by Professors Donald Warrin and Eduardo Dias, and illustrated by a series of short interviews with community member, among them the late Manuel Ferreira Duarte, author of two splendid books focusing on community achievements. Historical photos dating back to 1860 also add to present fascinating images of early times.

The main features of Portuguese life in California are also documented by vivid scenes of folk dancing, tuna fishing and work at dairy farms. The viewer's attention is also drawn  to current activities in San Jose/Santa Clara, the main Portuguese urban concentration in California, as glimpses of restaurants, gift shops and a newspaper office are presented.

Religion plays a particularly  significant role in the community's every day life, and this aspect is stressed with scenes from the Holy Ghost festival and an impressive view of the interior of San Jose's Five Wounds Church, mainly attended by the Portuguese.



Review by
Prof. Eduardo Mayone Dias
Emeritus Professor

Click on Bio to see a full Biography of Fr. Luis Proenca
Click on Music to hear some samples of some of the music he's produced

Click on Photography to view some of his photographs


All material previous is © 2006 by Fr. Luis Proença, S.J.
Email Fr. Luis