Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Vincent Cannato

Second Advisor

Heidi Gengenbach

Third Advisor

M. Gloria de Sa


This thesis analyzes the actions of the Polícia Repressiva da Emigração Clandestina (PREC), which operated from 1896-1911, and its attempts to stem illegal emigration from the Azores. It argues that the PREC was ineffective in because of circumstances beyond its control, including economic need, military conscription, societal support for emigration, and ultimately an inability to arrest operators of the network that supported clandestine emigration. By using the correspondence of the PREC and the American consulate offices, both located in the Azores, this study builds upon the existing Portuguese emigration research and broadens the scholarship related to Azorean emigration to the US during the specific time period of 1896-1911. It demonstrates that the ineffectiveness of the PREC was a result of the Portuguese government’s unwillingness to address the root causes of illegal migration.


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