AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
Portuguese of 17th Century Virginia
The shame of African enslavement is the 800 pound gorilla in American history. The recently popular but wholely undocumented attempts to link early hispanic surnames to Angolan ancestry badly obscures the history of the Portuguese in colonial Virginia.
The limiting factor has been the lack of surnames in the records of early Portuguese. It is unlikely that we will never know the surname of the Portuguese who lived with the Saponi Tribe as the Indian trade spread to the frontier, or those of the Portuguese sailors who were servants of the trader Robert Page.
In early Norfolk, between 1640 and 1650 several Portuguese are mentioned - "a Portingall called by the name of Tawney", "Anthony a Portungall", and "Manuell ye Portugesse"- who fathered a child by Ann Watkins. Marra Mello, who changed his name to Mills, may be another. The history of these servants may parrallel that of "Simon (Lovina)a Turke".
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