Escaping Dictatorship: The Portuguese Migration to France

Escaping Dictatorship: The Portuguese Migration to France
The story "Escaping Dictatorship: The Portuguese Migration to France" details how, during the 1960s and 1970s, many Portuguese fled to France to escape the oppressive Salazarist regime, war, and poverty. Portugal's dictatorship enforced strict censorship and limited education, while France offered economic stability and job opportunities in the post-WWII reconstruction era. This migration was a chance for many Portuguese to envision a better future.
Video Duration: 
Isabella Werner
Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Hi my name is Isabella and I have been conducting research on the Portuguese migration to France.

In this video, I'll guide you through the story behind the Portuguese migration to France. 

During the 1960’s and the 1970’s, Portugal experienced a significant wave of migration to France, with nearly 10% of its  population relocating there.  It became the largest foreign community in France at the time! 

But why did the Portuguese have to leave? 

Essentially they were fleeing war, dictatorship and poverty.   At this time the nation was under the Salazarist dictatorial regime, (1933-1974) a regime that maintained strict control over the nation. 

It was known for persecuting opposing political ideologies and creating a censorship system for the press, books and other information that was passed on to society. 

It idolized a simple, rural lifestyle and feared the advancement of modern economics.  Education wasn’t seen as a priority., it was mainly limited to privileged elites, while lower classes couldn't afford to sacrifice their children’s work or salary.  On top of that Additionally, while other countries were starting to let go of their colonies in Africa, Portugal was holding on tightly to theirs, which led to a long and difficult conflict known as the Colonial War. 

With the War, young men over the age of 16 were banned from leaving the country, so they began fleeing the country illegally en route to France. 

But why France? 

France, in contrast, offered economic prosperity and stability. Following World War II, the country was undergoing reconstruction, so it required an unqualified labor force for heavy industries and public works, so it  began importing foreign workers in large numbers. 
For many portuguese France was a promise of jobs, a chance to escape hardship and envision a future for their families. 

As we look back, let's embrace the lessons from the past and stand united against dictatorial regimes. 
With this video I hope to highlight the need to be compassionate and accepting of immigrants, who have endured significant challenges to get to where they are. 

Let’s remember: We need them as much as they need us!  


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