Contemporary Age

The Contemporary Age is understood as the period between the French Revolution (1789-1799) and the present day.

However, it is important to emphasize that this Eurocentric chronology of history silences the Revolution of Santo Domingo (Haiti), where, between 1791 and 1803, the black Jacobins rose victoriously against slavery and the colonialism of the French Empire, consolidating themselves as the First Black Republic.


In 16th February 1821, a bill was introduced authorizing Jews (sometimes called Black Jews) and Moors to return to Portugal, with all the privileges and rights that medieval legislation had once guaranteed them. Portugal thus reopened itself to the return of the Jewish community. Return already started at the end of the 18th century. Coming from Gibraltar, Morocco and other regions, some families established residence on the Portuguese mainland and on the Islands. Several commercial firms started activity. Until 1851, hundreds of individuals justified the existence of their own synagogues and cemeteries.


September 19, 1761 | Prohibition of the Introduction of New Enslaved Persons into the Metropolis

May 25, 1773 | Free Womb Law

December 10, 1836 | Prohibition of the Trafficking of Enslaved Persons in all Domains of the Portuguese Empire

February 27, 1869 | Abolition of Slavery in all Domains of the Portuguese Empire.



ALEXANDRE, V. (1991). Portugal e a abolição do tráfico de escravos (1834-51), Análise Social XXVI (111), p. 293-333.

LAHON, D. (1999). O Negro no Coração do Império. Uma memória a resgatar – Séculos XV a XIX. Lisboa: Ministério da Educação. Secretariado Coordenador dos Programas de Educação Multicultural.

MARQUES, J.P. (2004). Portugal e o fim da escravidão: uma reforma em contraciclo, Africana Studia 7, pp. 137-161.

MARQUES, J.P. (2001). Uma cosmética demorada: as cortes perante o problema da escravidão (1836-1875), Análise Social XXXVI (158-159), pp. 209-247.

MARQUES, J.P. (1999). Os sons do silêncio: o Portugal de Oitocentos e a abolição do tráfico de escravos. Lisboa: Instituto de Ciências Sociais.

MENDES, A. A. (2016). “Escravidão e raça em Portugal: uma experiência de longa duração”. In Myriam Cottias et Hebe Mattos (dir.), ESCRAVIDÃO E SUBJETIVIDADES no Atlântico luso-brasileiro e francês (Séculos XVII-XX) Marselha: OpenEdition Press.

MINISTÉRIO DA MARINHA (1889). Memória acerca da Extinção da Escravidão e do tráfico de escravatura no território português. Lisboa: Ministério da Marinha.


Berlin Conference and partition of Africa by European colonial powers. Conference initially conceived by Portugal following the proposal of the pink map and the annexation of territories by the British between Angola and Mozambique.


Portuguese emigration to Africa was around 2000 emigrants per year and rarely represented 6% of the total. In this migration to Africa and South America were Portuguese of African origins born in Portugal.
The vast majority of emigrants – 59% of men and 87% of women were illiterate. They were looking for better living conditions and to save money to start a family; children of widows or foundlings, in desperate situations they managed to get a godfather to pay for their passage to Brazil; ruined farmers sought to escape proletarianization; poor boys, aspiring brides of superior status, ambitious men. The fascination of the prestige of the few Brazilians who returned rich, bought farms, built palaces, acquired commendations and distributed patacas to poor relatives, led the Portuguese to emigrate!
Many blacks found themselves in a situation of semi-slavery in the first half of the century. They lived mainly in Lisbon, Porto and Setúbal, cities where they worked in domestic services. Their number decreased and they were replaced by Galician labor in some regions such as the Mokambo neighborhood in the city of Lisbon. They also served as street whitewashers in houses or as bullfighters in the arenas.

1939 to 1945 – World War II

Lisbon was the exit door of Europe at war. People of many nationalities such as British or Germans settled here and many Jews sought to obtain travel visas.

1960 to 1970 – Wave of Portuguese emigration

Wave of Portuguese emigration, motivated by the crisis in the agricultural sector, the inability of the economic sectors to absorb the rural population that abandoned the fields, political repression by the dictatorship and the escape from the colonial war. Coming of migrants or refugees from former African colonies.

1974, April 25th | Revolução dos Cravos

Carnation Revolution initiated by African leaders who wanted the independence of countries still under colonial rule. The very message/music at the beginning of the revolution in Portugal takes place in the area of the country with the greatest revolutionary spirit and the fight against labor or slave exploitation in the region with a strong African presence, which is the Sado Valley, and more specifically the city of Grandola, who is a brunette in the song due to her strong African ancestral presence. Peak in the next 10 years of African migrations in large numbers to Portugal.

1975 | Refugees from colonial wars, economic migrations

2001 | Cimeira de Sevilha (2001)

2004 | Cimeira de Haia e Criação da Agência Europeia de Gestão da Cooperação Operacional nas Fronteiras Externas (FRONTEX)

2007 | Cimeira Europa-África de Lisboa



3 de Outubro 2013 | Tragédia de Lampedusa

5 de Fevereiro 2015 | Jovens do Bairro da Cova da Moura (Amadora, AML) são sequestrados e torturados no interior da esaqudra de Alfragide (AML)

11 de Julho 2017 | Dezoito agentes da Esqaudra de Alfragide são acusados de crimes de racismo, tortura, injúria e falsificação de documentos. 


Refugees from civil wars, socio-economic migrations, migrations from other diasporas on the American continent (north, center and south)