Just to clear up the history a little bit...

1.  The Canaries never belonged to Portugal in any way that left a significant 
genetic imprint, and what Portuguese claims to the Canaries existed comprise a 
distinct historical episode from the 60-year period of Spanish control of the 
Azores (and of Portugal and the rest of the Portuguese Empire).

Yes, Maciot de Béthencourt purported to sell the lordship of Lanzarote to Henry 
the Navigator in 1448, and yes, the pope (briefly) recognized the Canaries as 
being Portuguese.  But Castile never accepted that, and the Castilian settlers 
didn't, and the local Guanche peoples didn't.  There was never a big wave of 
Portuguese settlers, and by 1459 the last of what Portuguese were there were 
successfully booted out of the Canaries -- so no opportunity to leave a big 
genetic imprint.

The Treaty of Alcáçovas in 1479, between Portugal and Castile, finally settled 
definitively that the Canaries belonged to Spain (and that the Azores, Madeira, 
Cape Verde islands, and future discoveries to the south all belonged to 
Portugal), but again, the only real period of some degree of settlement by 
Portuguese had ended already in 1459, just eleven years after the purported 
sale to Henry.  

Which isn't, of course, to say that there aren't some Portuguese-descended 
people in the Canaries, from various immigrants during or after that period of 
disputed ownership, just that (a) I've never seen, in the studies of the 
Canaries' gene pool that I have read, any reference to a significant Portuguese 
gwnetic contribution there, and (b) between that and the known history of 
settlement in the Canaries, it seems unlikely to me that much -- if any -- 
Portuguese ancestry in the Puerto Rican population arrived in Puerto Rico via 
the Canaries.

2.  The period of the Iberian Union (1580-1640), the so-called "Babylonian 
captivity" of Portugal, when a Spaniard sat on the throne of Portugal and the 
two parallel empires were ruled by shared kings, is a completely distinct 
historical episode from the Portuguese claims on the Canaries in the 1400s.  

And Occam's razor suggests that it is the Iberian Union that was most likely 
responsible for the Portuguese ancestry found in the Spanish colonies of the 
Caribbean (and other Spanish colonies).  During this period, it is known, there 
was significant Portuguese migration to Spanish colonies in the Americas.  For 
example, at one time a full one-tenth of the population of the Spanish colony 
of Santo Domingo (i.e., Hispaniola, the island next to Puerto Rico, now shared 
by the Dominican Republic and Haiti) was Portuguese.  See 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_(Jan)_Rodriguez#Biography

3.  As a little bit of a tangent, but leaping off from the topic of 
luso-descendants from the Spanish Caribbean, allow me to put in a quick plug 
urging all of us who are luso-descendants in the  USA to do a better job of 
claiming as one of our own (even if we have to share him with several other 
heritages and communities) Juan Rodríguez a.k.a. Jan Rodrigues a.k.a. João 
Rodrigues, whose Wikipedia bio I linked to above for the assertion that 1/10 of 
the Dominican population of that time was Portuguese.  

If you're not familiar with him, please check out the full bio at the link, but 
in a nutshell:  He was born in Santo Domingo as the son of a Portuguese sailor 
and an African woman, and went on to play an important role in early New 
Netherland's relations with Native Americans and in the acquisition and 
settlement of Manhattan.  He is claimed as the first European-descent resident 
of what became NYC, the first African-descent resident there, the first Latino 
there, and the first Dominican there...  

He's all of that, but he's also the first luso-descendant there (and maybe 
anywhere in what ultimately became the thirteen original states of the USA).  
Such a fascinating and accomplished life, too.


David da Silva Cornell
Miami, FL

Researching the following surnames and places:
 
Faial - Furtado, Terra, Furtado da Terra (unknown freguesia(s), but signs point 
to Pedro Miguel)
 
Flores - Freitas, Lourenço, Coelho (unknown freguesia(s))
 
Pico - Silveira Cardoso, Macedo, Machado, Pereira Madruga, Ferreira, 
Cardoso, Cardoso Machado, Vieira, Bettencourt, Dutra, Castanho, Homem, 
Goulart, Quaresma, Moniz, Barreto, Silveira, Pereira, Álvares (all Lajes do 
Pico)
 
S. Jorge - Silva, Botelho, Azevedo, Cardoso (Urzelina); Silva, Azevedo, 
Cardoso (Santo António in Norte Grande)

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