Agriculture and Occupations

Portuguese sailors jumped ship in San Francisco and headed for "gold in them thar hills". Disappointed, they stayed and took up what they knew, like shore whaling, fishing, and small-scale farming. As time progressed and more immigrants arrived, they turned to larger-scale farming of fruits and vegetables, and even dairy. Change came with World War II and the defense industry that began to replace farming with manufacturing jobs. The 1950s saw the transistor industry established, together with Xerox and Stanford University research labs, and the Digital Revolution completed the valley's transition from the "Valley of Heart's Delight" to Silicon Valley.

Click on an article below.

Early Occupations

Some Portuguese immigrants dreamed of gold, but reality set in and they turned to what they knew.

Occupations and Professions

From mom-and-pop storefronts to businesses with hundreds of employees, Portuguese immigrants realized their American dreams.

Agriculture and Fishing

Portuguese immigrants are among industry leaders in farming sectors like sweet potatoes and watermelons. They once dominated the tuna industry from their base in San Diego.


Portuguese have dominated the California dairy industry since its inception.