So Ends This Day
The Portuguese in American Whaling, 1765–1927
Portuguese in the Americas Series
Published by: Tagus Press
416 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.90 in, 49 illus. 11 maps.
- Published: June 2010
In the first half of the nineteenth century whaling was one of the young American nation's most important industries, providing lubricants and illumination as well as baleen, the plastic of its day. So Ends This Day: The Portuguese in American Whaling, 1765–1927 traces the history of the American whaling industry from its seventeenth century beginnings in Massachusetts and Long Island to its demise in the third decade of the twentieth century, while highlighting the role of its Portuguese participants. Their story begins with Joseph Swazey who, in 1765, returned to Martha's Vineyard from an Atlantic whaling voyage; and it terminates with the aborted voyage of Capt. Joseph F. Edwards aboard the John R. Manta in 1927. From a few random crew members in the latter half of the 18th century, these men from the Portuguese Atlantic islands of the Azores and Cape Verde came to dominate the industry in its final decades. Their participation would ultimately determine the principal settlement patterns of the Portuguese in the U.S.: New England, California, and Hawaii. But it led as well to distant communities in such diverse places as Alaska, New Zealand, and the Pacific atolls. It is a story of courage and determination in a far-reaching industry in which many of these individuals advanced to positions of responsibility unparalleled among non-English-speaking immigrants to the United States.
"For far too long the Portuguese contribution to American whaling has been relegated to the sidelines of history. This meticulously researched and well-written study puts the emphasis where it rightfully belongs."—Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex and Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War
"It is gratifying that So Ends This Day not only undertakes a grand historical overview of the Islands' involvement in the blubber-hunting business, but also characterizes many of the individual personalities, events, circumstances, and anecdotes that reveal the complexity of the whaling industry as a whole and the human character of Azorean and Cape Verdean involvement in it."—Stuart M. Frank, author of Dictionary of Scrimshaw Artists and More Scrimshaw Artists: A Sequel Center
"Rich with quotations from logs and journals, lavishly illustrated, and replete with never-before-heard stories, So Ends This Day is a valuable, lovingly researched contribution to the history of American whaling. It memorializes the often unacknowledged Portuguese seamen who traveled the world on Yankee whalers, jumped ship in distant places, and brought a touch of colorful romance to colonies like New Zealand."—Joan Druett, author of In the Wake of Madness: The Murderous Voyage of the Whaleship Sharon and Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World