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Afro portugueses
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Total population

about 150,000[1]

(about 1.4% of Portugal's population)
Regions with significant populations
Lisbon, Porto, Faro
Portuguese, African languages, Portuguese Creole
Predominantly Roman Catholicism,
Sunni Islam and Irreligious minorities
Related ethnic groups
Afro Brazilians, Cape Verdeans in Portugal, Angolans in Portugal

Afro-Portuguese are citizens of Portugal of Black-African descent.


Most Afro-Portuguese migrated from or are descendants from people issuing from the former Portuguese African colonies, (Angola, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Cape Verde and Mozambique), even if very small numbers originate in other Sub-Saharan African countries.

These communities arrived in Portugal after the independence of the African colonies, in 1974–75, and mainly after the Portuguese economic growth of the second half of the 1980s. They should not be confused with the population, overwhelmingly white Europeans born in Portugal, that "returned" from the same colonies immediately after their independence — the so-called retornados (Portuguese settlers and descendants of Portuguese settlers born in former African colonies who relocated to Portugal after independence and in second half of 1980s are also included in this category).

According to the Portuguese Foreigners and Borders Services, in 2006, this is the break-down of Africans legally in Portugal:[2] (see table)

Country Citizens
Angola 33,215
Cape Verde 65,485
Guinea-Bissau 24,513
Mozambique 5,854
São Tomé and Príncipe 10,761
other African 10,154
Total 149,982

Due to the present Portuguese nationality law that privileges Jus sanguinis, most of the Black-Africans in Portugal maintain their respective nationality of origin. In fact, if the nationality law of 1959 was based on the principle of Jus soli, the changes made in 1975 and 1981 changed it to a Jus sanguinis law, thus basically denying the possibility naturalization not only to first generation migrants, but also to their children and grandchildren (only very recently, in 2006, was these situation slightly changed, but still stressing Jus sanguinis). Of course, there are some Afro-Portuguese that have Portuguese nationality, but their numbers are not known, since there are no official statistics in Portugal about race or ethnicity.

The arrival of these black Africans in Portugal, coupled with their difficulty in accessing full citizenship, enhanced, from the 1970s onwards, the processes of ethnic and racial discrimination in Portuguese society (besides the Africans, also targeting Brazilians and Gypsies).[3][4][5] This is the result of multiple factors, from institutional and juridical, to socio-cultural (the construction of stereotypical ethno-racial differences), residential (with the concentration of black migrants in degraded ghettos) and economical (the poorly qualified professional and educational profile of the migrants). These discrimination processes are concomitant with a strengthening of an ethno-racialist view of Portuguese national identity, even in younger generations,[6][7][8][9] coupled with a parallel strengthening of black identity in African migrants, even surpassing national origins.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Quadro de Avaliação e Responsabilização 2008 (QUAR)". Estatísticas 2006 (in Portuguese). Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  2. ^ Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, Estatísticas 2006.
  3. ^ J. Vala et al. (2002), Cultural Differences and hetero-ethnicization in Portugal: the perceptions of black and white people, Portuguese Journal of Social Sciences, 1(2), pp. 111-128.
  4. ^ J. Vala et al. (1999), Expressões dos racismos em Portugal: Perspectivas psicossociológicas, Lisboa, Instituto de Ciências Sociais.
  5. ^ J. Vala et al. (1999), A construção social da diferença: Racialização e etnicização de minorias e Racismo subtil e racismo flagrante em Portugal, in Novos dos racismos: Perspectivas comparativas, Oeiras, Celta.
  6. ^ R. Cabecinhas (2003), Categorização e diferenciação: A percepção do estatuto social de diferentes grupos étnicos em Portugal, Sociedade e Cultura, 5, pp. 69-91.
  7. ^ R. Cabecinhas & L. Amâncio (2003), A naturalização da diferença: Representações sobre raça e grupo étnico, Actas da III Jornada Internacional sobre Representações Sociais, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro/Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, pp.982-1007.
  8. ^ R. Cabecinhas & L. Cunha (2003), Colonialismo, identidade nacional e representações do ‘negro’, Estudos do Século XX, 3, pp. 157-184.
  9. ^ José Machado Pais (1999), Consciência Histórica e Identidade - Os Jovens Portugueses num Contexto Europeu, Lisboa, Scretaria de Estado da Juventude / Celta.
  10. ^ António Concorda Contador (2001), Cultura Juvenil Negra em Portugal, Oeiras, Celta.