Washington Post


Mr. James Mooney Investigates Early Portuguese Settlements.

Mr. James Mooney, who has just returned from Indian Territory, where he has
been making a study of the Kiowa tribe for the Bureau of Ethnology, has also
during his career as an anthropologist done considerable work in the way of
investigating the Portuguese settlements along the Atlantic coast of the
United States, a subject about which less is known than most any other phase
of the modern ethnology of America. All along the southern coast there are
scattered here and there bands of curious people, whose appearance, color,
and hair seem to indicate a cross or mixture of the Indian, the white, and
the negro. Such, for example, are the Pamunkeys of Virginia, the Croatan
Indians of the Carolinas, the Malungeons of Tennessee, and numerous other
peoples who in the days of slavery were regarded as free negroes and were
frequently hunted down and enslaved. Since the war they have tried hard by
act of legislature and other wise to establish their Indian ancestry.

Wherever these people are found there also will the traveler or investigator
passing through their region encounter the tradition of Portuguese blood or
descent, and many have often wondered how these people came to have such a
tradition or, in view of their ignorance, how they came to even know of the
name of Portugal or the Portuguese. The explanation is, however, far
simpler than one might imagine. In the first place, the Portuguese have
always been a seagoing people, and according to Mr. Mooney, who has looked
up the subject, the early records of Virginia and the Carolinas contain
notices of Portuguese ships having gone to wreck on the coasts of these
States and of the crews settling down and marrying in with Indians and

Moreover, there are records of Portuguese ships having sailed into Jamestown
Bay as early as 1655, and since then there has been more or less settlement
of Portuguese fishermen and sailors from Maine to Florida. Now it has been
the history of the Portuguese race that wherever they settled they mixed in
with the darker peoples forming the aboriginal populations of the countries
occupied by Portuguese settlers, and this is the reason and cause of the
Portuguese admixture among the tribes along the coast of the United States.

In further proof of this he calls attention to the case of a colony of
Portuguese fishermen who settled on the coast of Massachusetts a few years
ago. These settlers have nothing whatever to do with the white or Yankee
population around them, but are intermarrying and intermixing among and with
the small remnant of the Narragansett Indians who have survived down to the
present day. In short, it has been the history of the Portuguese that
wherever they settled along the Atlantic coast they have intermixed and
intermarried among the remnants of the Indian tribes that were once the sole
proprietors of that region.