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Immigration Stories: The World Comes to Lowell

Resources to learn about stories of immigrants who settled in Lowell.


In the late 19th and early 20th century, thousand of Portuguese immigrants poured into New England mill cities. In 1900, nearly 18,000 foreign-born Portuguese lived in Massachusetts. Twenty years later, some 50,000 foreign-born Portuguese resided in the Commonwealth, many toiling in cotton and woolen mills in Fall River, New Bedford, Lowell, and Lawrence. Arrivals slowed when Congress enacted restrictive legislation in 1917, 1921, and 1924. Between 1951 and 1960, 19,588 Portuguese immigrants entered the U.S. For the decade 1961–1970, the figure climbed to 76,065, indicating the impact of the end of quotas by nation. From 1971 to 1980, immigration rose to 101,710.

The Portuguese in Lowell