June 24, 2010

Indians in Portugal


The Portuguese people have for hundreds of years formed Europe’s most ethnically and culturally homogenous nation. To be sure, there are various ethnic influences on the population by region, with a Celtic influence in the north, and Arab influence in the south. But these influences are only that, and do not form boundaries.

However, post-colonial Portugal has become more like the rest of Europe in its ethnic composition. Although, even now, compared with neighboring Spain, for example, Portugal’s is a far less complex situation.

The biggest ethnic minority now is African: mainly from the former colony of the Cape Verde Islands. It is estimated to number about 200,000. The majority of Portuguese Africans lives in the greater Lisbon area – mostly in circumstances considerable less comfortable than those in general of the Caucasian population.

Another sizeable ethnic minority in Portugal is Indian. There are estimated to be about 60,000 in Portugal –mainly in greater Lisbon and Porto, but in Algarve, Coimbra, Guarda, and Leiria, too.

Many Gujaratis came from Mozambique once Portuguese rule ended there in 1974. They formed the Gujarati vanguard, Gujaratis from India also immigrating to Portugal from the 1980s. While Mozambique Gujaratis are typically successful in business, it tends to be the Gujaratis from India who are involved in bigger enterprises, mostly trade and commerce, as well as manufacturing and the hospitality industry.

Goa was given independence from Portugal in 1961. Indians in Goa were already at the top of the socio-economic pyramid there and it was they who immigrated to Portugal in considerable numbers. Mozambique also had a sizable population of ethnic Goans, who typically held administrative positions, many of whom immigrated to Portugal in 1974 with the granting of independence.

Nevertheless, while Indians are in evidence in Lisbon (see photo above) and other cities, there is little in the way of obvious Indian businesses, least of all Indian restaurants of which, sadly, there is a dearth.

Hotels in Portugal - Booking.com
Budget Hotels - Portugal
Budget Hotels - Spain
Hotels in Portugal - Agoda

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