Portuguese in the United Kingdom
36,555 (2001 Census)
107,000 (2013 ONS estimate)
|Regions with significant populations|
|London, East Anglia, South East England, Channel Islands, Bermuda|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Portuguese in the United Kingdom (also known as Portuguese Britons or the British Portuguese community) is a term that refers to British citizens and residents of the UK who are connected to the country of Portugal by birth, descent or citizenship.
History and settlement
The New Christians, who had converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism to avoid persecution but many of whom continued to practice their previous faith, began to migrate in small numbers to Britain in the late 15th century. As a result, by 1550 there were approximately 100 Portuguese Jews in London. Because England's religious status was unsettled at the time, the community remained secretive. The community centred around the Anes family, who provided a physician, Rodrigo López, to Queen Elizabeth. The community was expelled in 1609, although some members were able to remain. In the 17th century, more Portuguese Jews fled to England from the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions. Many of these came from the Canary Islands. With the readmission of Jews to England, from 1656 onwards the community was able to practice its beliefs. The Bevis Marks Synagogue, constructed in 1701, has traditionally been attended by members of London's Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community. Fried fish, which forms part of the classic British dish of fish and chips, was introduced to Britain by Jewish migrants fleeing Portugal and Spain.
Some Portuguese emigrated to the UK in the 1950s and 1960s, when guest workers left Portugal for other Western European countries in search of employment opportunities. However, the scale of migration to the UK during this period was small in comparison with Portuguese migration to France and Germany. Some Portuguese migrated to the UK in the 1960s and 1970s, when Portugal was amongst the poorest countries in Europe. Young males also left Portugal at this time in order to avoid being conscripted to fight in the Portuguese Colonial War. More siginficant migration flows did not start until the late 1990s, and conincided with a significant rise in the Portuguese unemployment rate in the early to mid-2000s. While different sources disagree on the total size of the Portuguese population of the UK, they agree that there has been a significant increase in migration from Portugal since 2000.
The 2001 UK Census recorded 36,555 Portuguese-born people resident in the UK. More recent estimates by the Office for National Statistics put the figure at 107,000 in 2013. The 2011 Census recorded 88,161 Portuguese-born residents in England and Wales. The censuses of Scotland and Northern Ireland recorded 1,908 and 1,996 Portuguese-born residents respectively. Other sources estimate the Portuguese community to be larger, with the editor of a Portuguese-language newspaper putting the number of Portuguese passport holders in London alone at 350,000. According to academics José Carlos Pina Almeida and David Corkill, writing in 2010, estimates of the Portuguese population of the UK range from 80,000 to 700,000.
Almeida and Corkill report that the Portuguese-speaking groups in the UK are characterised by diversity of country of origin. Research published in 2007 found that approximately 30 per cent of Portuguese nationals registered with the consulate in London were born outside of Portugal, with six countries of birth featuring prominently: Angola, India (which took over the former Portuguese territories of Goa, Daman and Diu in 1961), Mozambique, Brazil, South Africa and Macau (those associated with Macau before China took over in 1999 or those with such a parent are eligible for Portuguese citizenship). Almeida and Corkill argue that many migrants from these countries lived in Portugal before migrating onwards to the UK, and note that Portugal's European Union accession in 1986 "permitted those colonial subjects who possessed a Portuguese passport to gain entry to other member states", including the UK.
|East of England||12,161|
|North East England||646|
|North West England||3,858|
|South East England||12,430|
|South West England||5,592|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||2,345|
Of the 88,161 Portuguese-born residents of England and Wales recorded by the 2011 census, the vast majority were living in England. The English region with the largest concentration of Portuguese-born residents was London, accounting for almost half of the total England and Wales population. The South East had the second-largest concentration, closely followed by the East of England. Within London, the largest concentrations were in the boroughs of Lambeth (6,992 Portuguese-born residents) and Brent (3,076). Vauxhall in Lambeth is a "long-standing hub for the Portuguese community". Outside of London, Norfolk was the county with the largest concentration (3,418 Portuguese-born residents). Within Norfolk, 1,455 Portuguese-born people were living in Breckland, which includes the town of Thetford, which has been noted for its large Portuguese population.
According to the 2011 Census, Portuguese is the tenth most commonly spoken language in England and Wales, with 133,453 speakers. A study undertaken in 2000 found that Portuguese was the 14th most common mother tongue amongst school children in London. There is also a small community of Kriolu speakers in Greenwich. Kriolu is a Portuguese-African creole language originating in Cape Verde.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics show that in the three months to June 2008, 82.8 per cent of working-age Portuguese-born men were in employment. The figure for women was 68.8 per cent. The unemployment rate was 7.4 per cent for men and 9.8 per cent for women. 10.5 per cent of Portuguese-born men and 23.8 per cent of Portuguese-born women were economically inactive (this figure includes students, carers and the long-term sick, injured or disabled).
National data on the educational performance of Portuguese pupils is not available because official ethnicity statistics do not differentiate between different European groups, but some local authorities have started to collect data with which to monitor pupil performance in more detail. Data from Lambeth schools "indicate Portuguese pupils were the lowest attaining groups compared to the national average of White British, African, Caribbean, Indian and other ethnic minority groups". Data collected by the Institute for Public Policy Research from local authorities in England that collect data using extended ethnicity codes shows that, in 2010–2011, the proportion of Portuguese pupils gaining 5 A*–C grades including maths and English at GCSE was 45.9 percentage points below the England mean of 56.9 per cent. Studies have attributed this relative underachievement to factors including "lack of understanding of the British education system, difficulties in speaking English, poor school attendance, poverty, interrupted prior education, negative teacher perceptions, poor school to home liaison and lack of exposure to written language". The research evidence from Lambeth shows that Portuguese pupils with poor English fluency perform poorly in educational terms, but that those who are fluent in English actually perform better than national averages.
Culture and community
Media for the Portuguese community in the UK as well as the Portuguese-speaking community has a strong presences, these include several newspaper publications, radio stations and television channels.
- as notícias, launched in 2006 aimed primarily at Portuguese nationals living and working in the UK. With a circulation of around 50,000 and being available in 60 locations nationwide, it is likely to be the UK's main Portuguese newspaper.
- ZON TV Satélite, a package of 130 channels (36 of which are in Portuguese) is available throughout the UK at a similar cost to the UK based cable networks.
- meo satélite, a similar package as ZON TV Satélite, but focused more on sports, children's programming and Portuguese programming.
- RTP Internacional, international feed of the Portuguese public broadcaster, RTP.
- Rede Record, although a Portuguese-language channel, it is aimed primarily at the Brazilian community in the UK. It can be found on Sky channel 801.
Famous Portuguese Britons
The list below includes British born people of Portuguese descent and Portuguese born people who have become British citizens.
- David Ricardo - British political economist whose Portuguese-Jewish family migrated to London from Amsterdam
- Frederick Cardozo - WWII soldier and SOE veteran.
- James Calado - Racecar driver.
- Grace Aguilar - Novelist and writer.
- Antonio Fernandez Carvajal - Merchant and first naturalized Jew in England.
- Moses da Costa - 18th-century banker.
- Joan of Acre - Daughter of King Edward I of England and Queen Eleanor of Castile.
- Rodrigo López - Physician to Queen Elizabeth I.
- Sir Basil Henriques - Author and Philanthropist, fought in World War I. Later became a magistrate and was knighted.
- Manuel II of Portugal - the country's last king, who lived in Britain in exile.
- Constance of York, Countess of Gloucester - Countess.
- George Pereira - Explorer, soldier, writer, and diplomatist.
- Nadia Almada - Big Brother winner.
The list below includes Portuguese immigrants and expatriates in the United Kingdom, who are not official UK citizens, just residents.
- José Mourinho - Football manager of Premier League club Chelsea.
- Nani - Footballer for Premier League club Manchester United.
- Little Portugal, London
- Brazilians in the United Kingdom
- Portuguese diaspora
- Portuguese people
- Portuguese Australian
- Portuguese Canadians
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- New paper for Portuguese in Britain
- TV Cabo
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