Portuguese Footprints -- Rural Landscapes

Rural landscapes throughout California are dotted by hundreds of Portuguese dairy farms.

Years:  1815 — 2020

At the turn of the 20th century, rural landscapes throughout California were dotted by hundreds of Portuguese farms.  From Arcata in the north to Artesia in the south, the Portuguese had settled and begun an enterprise they knew well – dairying.  As the century progressed, many of these farms were subsumed by encroaching cities.  All that is left of the Portuguese farms are the suburbs that replaced them.

Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, the agricultural heartland of the Central Valley still reflects the tremendous impact and importance of the Portuguese dairymen.  Silos, haystacks, and gigantic pole barns punctuate the flat valley floor and reflect the presence of a large number of dairies owned by people of Portuguese heritage.  With a value in the billions of dollars, these mega dairies in California and other western states are milking hundreds of thousands of cows and are still the economic backbone of the Portuguese.

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