A map showing Boston’s top-five foreign languages spoken at home in 2015.
This map, created by the Boston Planning and Development Agency in 2017, shows the five languages other than English spoken at home in Boston as of 2015. The presence of Cape Verdean (a creole language rooted in Portuguese and African dialects) as one of these top-five languages shows the enduring presence of this community in Massachusetts, and its roots can be traced back to the whaling industry. Whaleships would often seek harbor on the islands of Cape Verde off the coast of Africa to purchase supplies, but also to acquire crew members who were experienced sailors, and who would return with the ships to the US. These Cape Verdeans formed permanent communities on the south shore of Massachusetts as well as in the city of Boston.