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The European Migration to North America


But gaps in the records, mean that poorest laborers were ... Ellis Island, main immigration point into. USA between 1892-1954. Processed 12 million migrants ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The European Migration to North America

The European Migration to North America
  • North America Themes
  • Term 1, Week 3

Push Factors 1
  • No natural check on European popn since Black
    Death in 14thC
  • Rapid popn growth e.g. Eng popn doubles from 2.5
    to 5m 1500-1600 puts pressures on food resources
    in rural areas, though new agric. techniques
    means no widespread starvation.
  • Encourages migration to urban areas in search of
    food, work, resources, etc. Urban standard of
    living v. low
  • Migration not a new phenomenon, Europeans
    accustomed to economically driven movement.

Push Factors 2
  • Wars forced relocation of large numbers of
    people, especially internal wars, where loyalty
    of every individual mattered.
  • 15thC - the Hundred Years War Wars of the Roses
  • 16thC French civil war Italian wars English
    conquest of Ireland the religious wars in
  • People move to avoid death and destruction of
    homes and livelihoods.

Push Factors 3
  • Religion protestant reformation from 1519, in
    Eng leads to persecution of Caths under
    Elizabeth, and of dissident prots under James I
    in Germany, protestants living under Catholic
    princes and vice-versa were frequently
  • Determination to maintain freedom of religion
    (partly due to reformation) frequently involved
    migration, initially within Europe, ultimately to
    North America where distance increased religious

Pull Factors
  • why America?
  • Seen as vast virgin land, fresh start, safe haven
    from war and persecution etc
  • No problems with overpopn, ec downturns etc,
    offers possibility of quick profit
  • importance of promotional literature - not always

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17thC Migration
  • Sp/Fr cols seen as military or trading posts,
    popns generally adult males, few women or
    families. Not seen as permanent change of
    lifestyle, few intended to stay permanently so
    numbers increased only slowly during the 17thC.
  • Eng cols attracted a continuous stream of c.
    100,000 migrants from England to Virginia
    1607-1700 further 25,000 to NEng before 1642.

  • Historians agree most Virginia migrants sought
    profit and financial reward prospect of free
    land etc
  • contemporary perception that migrants were
    rogues, whores and vagabonds ship passenger
    lists from mid 17thC suggest that the majority of
    settlers were middling sort, ie yeomen farmers
    and artisans. But gaps in the records, mean that
    poorest laborers were probably undercounted, also
    little info on settlers pre 1620.
  • Likely that Virginia migration reasonably
    representative of Eng popn, mainly ordinary
    people, few truly destitute, few rich, many from
    London, as well as west country, midlands and

Problems in Virginia
  • Few women before 1618 effect on society
  • Death rates very high 1607-1624 7,000 migrants,
    only 1,000 alive in 1624
  • Lack of authority, Virginia Co, local governors,
    martial law 1611
  • Indian wars, 1622, 1644
  • Tobacco, introduced 1612, sells at 20/- per lb in
    1620, vast profit potential, over-planted, price
    crash in early 1620s, effect on soil

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New England
  • Settled by dissident religious groups, Pilgrims
    in 1620, Puritans in 1630.
  • Most migrants in family groups, sometimes as
    entire communities
  • Demographically self-sustaining, 25,000 arrive
    during Great Migration of 1630-42, actual popn
    is 40,000 in 1642.
  • Lower death rate, fewer Indian problems, more
    cohesive society than Virginia, more moralistic,
    less liberal
  • Less financial emphasis, most are farmers, some
    merchants, able to have comfortable life without
    seeking riches.

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John Winthrop
Migration to Fr / Sp cols
  • Sp col popn grew slowly Fl 3,000 (1760) N.Mex,
    20,000 (1790) Texas, 2,500 (1790) Calif 2,000
    (1800) much better opportunities in central
    south America 250,000 migrants from Spain
    1500-1600 further 500,000 1600-1700
  • Fr col popn grew slightly faster Canada 80,000
    (1763) Louisiana 9,000 (1760) compare Haiti
    (40,000 in 1790)
  • Neither can match British migration to N.Am

Migration to British Cols to 1776 (1)
  • Eng takes over eastern seaboard by 1750, controls
    all land east of Miss. by 1763
  • Migration mainly English in 17thC, diversifies in
    18thC to include Scots, Irish
  • New colonies leads to recruitment of foreign
    prots eg from Germany, many were religious
    dissidents fleeing persecution eg Huguenots after
    revocation of Edict of Nantes 1683.
  • Migration to Br cols 150,000 by 1680, further
    150,000 1680-1720 another 500,000 1720-1776.
    (250,000 were African)

Migration to 1776 (2)
  • By 1776 about 5 of Eng popn and 10 of Scot popn
    had migrated to America.
  • Forced migration - indentured servitude common
    for whites before 1680, less common after,
    replaced by slave labour, brought direct from
  • Free white migration continued due to ec
    opportunities in America, relative sense of
    political/religious freedom, more social mobility
  • Natural increase swelled popn in Br cols to 2.5m
    by 1776, real melting pot.

European Migration before 1776
19thC Migration
  • Most migrants free not forced, end of slave trade
  • Germany (5 mill) and Ireland greatest sources of
    migrants, esp during famine years of 1840s, up to
    4m Irish lef also 2m from Scandinavia
  • Attraction continued to be large empty nature
    of US, ec opportunity, personal liberty
  • Later 19thC increasing numbers of southern
    Europeans esp Italians Eastern Europeans - 20 m
    from Russia, Poland, etc of which Jews 2m
  • 3 phases 1820-60 5mill 1860-1890 13 mill
    1890-1914 18 mill
  • Further 7 mill went to Canada during 19thC many
    later moved south to the USA

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Statue of Liberty (erected 1886)
  • Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled
    masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched
    refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the
    homeless, tempest-tossed to me.I lift my lamp
    beside the golden door.

Ellis Island, main immigration point into USA
between 1892-1954. Processed 12 million migrants
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20thC/21stC Migration
  • Large number from Asia, esp China (backlash) in
    late 19th/early 20thc Philippines, Japan, Korea
    and later Vietnam
  • Cold War political migration of communist
  • Hispanic migration from Latin America from 1960s
  • 1995-2000 7.5m foreign migrants entered USA (1.5m
    to California, 750,000 to Texas and New York,
    650,000 to Florida) illegal migrants outnumber
    legal migrants by 31
  • Immigrants younger (mainly 25-45) and poorer (30
    on less than 20,000) than rest of popn
  • 2003 33.5m foreign-born residents of USA (11.7
    of total popn)
  • 36.9 from Central America
  • 25 from Asia
  • 13.7 from Europe
  • 10.1 from Caribbean
  • 6.3 from South America

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of residents born outside USA in 2000
Retention of heritage
  • 2000 census
  • 42m German Americans
  • 30m Irish
  • 24m English
  • 18m Mexican
  • 15m Italian
  • 9m Polish
  • 8m French
  • 5m Scottish
  • 4m Dutch
  • 4m Norwegian
  • 4m Scots-Irish
  • 4m Swedish

US popn today
  • c.75 classify themselves as white 63 of whom
    have British/Irish ancestry, and 86 come from NW
  • 14 classify themselves as Hispanic, but might
    also call themselves white or non-white
  • c.13 classify themselves as Black, mainly
    descended from slaves
  • c.4 classify themselves as Asian
  • Less than 1 classify as Native American

  • America seemingly able to absorb large nos of
  • Populations quickly assimilated
  • Migration defining characteristic of America
    throughout its history.