Bennington Banner
August 3, 1966

When the Pilgrims came ashore on Plymouth rock from the Mayflower in 1620, the Indians were tossing Portuguese words around as though they owned them, which indeed they did, since the words were in their language.

This is the newest debunking fruits of scientific scholarship. It debunks the commonly held view that the Pilgrims were the first whites to step ashore in New England and the first colonizers in that time hallowed part of the United States.


It puts Americans of Mayflower descent in the position  Americans of Italian descent were in last fall when scientific scholarship produced documentary evidence that American had been discovered by Vikings long before Columbus set sail on his "discovery" voyage in 1492.

The new fruits show the Portuguese got into what are now the New England states at least a century before the Pilgrims arrived, and in numbers large enough to interface the native language with Portuguese.  However, Mayflower Americans took at least the first impact with the utmost calm.

Mrs. Kathryn Schneider, executive secretary of the New York state branch of the Mayflower Society said Mayflower Americans have never claimed their ancestors were the first whites and first colonizers in New England.

The Pilgrims themselves had some inkling other than whites had preceded them.  She cited the writings of William Bradford, second governor of the Plymouth Rock colony.  Anyhow, precedence is of no importance, she said.  What was important to her were the advanced views the Pilgrims brought with them--- that all men are equals and women are the equals of men.

The producer of the new fruits is Dr. Manuel Luciano Da Silva, physician amateur archaeologist, linguist, and a New Englander, although no of Mayflower descent (he practices medicine in Bristol County, Rhode Island). His research showed he languages of the New England Indians contained many Portuguese words and Portuguese names had been attached to rivers, lakes and other places before the Pilgrims came.  The Indian chief who befriend the Pilgrims was Massasoit (from that word is derived Massachusetts).  But it was a title, Da Silva said.  The chief's name was Ossanaquina, which in Portuguese means "glory to the king."


Massasoit's brother's name was 100 per cent Portuguese."  It was Quadequina. The Narragansett Chief was Quinapin, and Maines's was Amenquina while Massasoit's minister of war, said Da Silva.
He recalled that Portuguese navigators colonized over much of the world in the 15th and 16th Centuries.  In 1501 Gaspar Cortereal set sail for North America. when he had not returned to Portugal a year later, his brother, Miguel, led a rescue expedition.  Neither was hear from again.

The circumstantial evidence is they and their crews were the first white colonizers in New England-but in what was the Portuguese way.  That was to 'mingle freely' with the natives, "motivated by missionary zeal or by a real sense of brotherhood or perhaps simple promiscuity."

Six generations separated them from the arriving Pilgrims. By then the Portuguese had made their mark- on Indian blood lines as well as Indian languages.  Da Silva published his scholarship fruit in the journal, "Medical Opinion and Review."

More Reading on this subject;

Dighton Rock --- Does it contain the name of Gaspar Corteral's brother Miguel and he date 1511? 

White Indians and Portuguese Language ---  Portuguese Pilgrims and Dighton Rock,
Dr. Manuel Luciano Da Silva