History of immigration to the United States

History of immigration to the United States

Population and immigration 15,000 BC - AD 1500

The first humans in North America are believed to have migrated from northeast Asia, via the Beringia land bridge available during the most recent glaciation. The land bridge was closed when the ice melted about 10,000 years ago. The group of people locked into the Americas at that time developed into most of the various indigenous peoples of the Americas. The Inuit migration occurred separately and later.

Population and immigration AD 1500-1600

European immigration to the current territory of the U.S. started a few decades after Columbus' discovery in 1492 and was mainly composed of Spaniards. The first cities to be founded were Pensacola in 1559 by the Spaniards, Fort Caroline in 1564 by the French, and San Agustín (present-day Saint Augustine) in Florida by the Spaniards in 1565. In the Rio Grande valley, Spaniards founded Santa Fe in 1607-1608 and Albuquerque in 1706. During various wars between England and Spain, San Agustín was sacked several times by English pirates. Spanish Florida's mission system was destroyed by colonial English South Carolina during Queen Anne's War.

Population and immigration AD 1600-1790

The first successful English colony in the present-day United States was established as a barely successful business enterprise, after much loss of life, in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia. Once tobacco was found to be a profitable crop, many plantations were established along the Chesapeake Bay and along the southern rivers and coast.

English Pilgrims established a small settlement near Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620; much larger numbers of English Puritans came to Boston, Massachusetts and adjacent areas from about 1629 to 1640. Basque, French, English and Portuguese fishermen had been fishing off the New England and Newfoundland coast since about 1520, and some small summer fishing settlements/camps long pre-dated Jamestown. Permanent small English fishing settlements from mostly fishing communities in England were established along the Maine-New Hampshire coast starting roughly in 1621. The colonies from Maine to the New York border were the New England colonies.

The Dutch established settlements along the Hudson River in New York starting about 1626. Some of the early Dutch settlers set up large landed estates along the Hudson River and brought in farmers who became renters. Others established rich trading posts for trading with the Indians and started cities such as New Amsterdam (now New York City) and Albany, New York. Starting in about 1680 Pennsylvania was settled by Quakers and other English, German Protestant sects settling initially around Philadelphia and the Delaware River valley. The earlier colony of New Sweden had settled parts of the lower Delaware River, with immigrants of Swedes, Finns and others. Along with New York, New Jersey and Baltimore, Maryland this is normally considered the core of the middle colonies.

The fourth main colonial center of settlement is what is called the western "frontier" in the western parts of Pennsylvania and the South which was settled in the early 1700s to late 1700s by mostly Scots-Irish, Scots and others mostly from northern England border lands. The Scotch-Irish soon became the dominant culture of the Appalachians from Pennsylvania to Georgia. Areas where people reported 'American' ancestry were the places where, historically, Scottish and Scots-Irish Protestants settled in America: in the interior of the South, and the Appalachian region. It is believed the number of Scottish Americans could be in the region of 20 million and Scots-Irish Americans at 27 million.

In 1598, Juan de Oñate founded the San Juan colony on the Rio Grande, the first permanent European settlement in present-day New Mexico. In 1609, Pedro de Peralta, a later governor of the Province of New Mexico, established the settlement of Santa Fe at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The city, along with most of the settled areas of the state, was abandoned by the Spanish for 12 years (1680-1692) as a result of the successful Pueblo Revolt. After the death of the Pueblo leader Popé, Diego de Vargas restored the area to Spanish rule. While developing Santa Fe as a trade center, the returning Spanish settlers founded the old town of Albuquerque in 1706, naming it for the viceroy of New Spain, the Duke of Alburquerque. [ [http://www.newmexico.org/go/loc/about/page/about-history.html New Mexico History] ]

Spanish Texas lasted between 1690 and 1821 when Texas was governed as a Spanish colony separate from New Spain, known as the "Kingdom of Texas". In 1731, Canary Islanders (or "Isleños") arrived to establish what is known today as San Antonio. The majority of the people who colonized Texas and New Mexico in the Spanish colonial period drew their identity from the Spaniards and the criollos. In 1781 Spanish settlers founded Los Angeles.

In the late 17th century, French expeditions established a foothold on the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast. The French colony of Louisiana originally claimed all the land on both sides of the Mississippi River and north to French territory in Canada. Louisiana attracted considerably fewer French colonists than its West Indian colonies did. After the Seven Years' War Louisiana became a colony of Spain. During the period of Spanish rule, several thousand French-speaking refugees from the region of Acadia (now Nova Scotia, Canada) made their way to Louisiana following British expulsion; settling largely in the southwestern Louisiana region now called Acadiana. The Acadian refugees were welcomed by the Spanish, and descendants came to be called Cajuns. Canary Islanders, called Isleños, migrated to Louisiana under the Spanish crown between 1778 and 1783.

The mostly agricultural Southern English colonies initially had very high death rates for new settlers from malaria, yellow fever and other diseases as well as Indian wars. Despite this, a steady flow of new settlers, mostly from central England and the London area, kept the population growing. The large plantations were mostly owned by friends (mostly minor aristocrats) of the British-appointed governors (Sir William Berkeley initially). Many settlers arrived as indentured servants who had to work off their passage with five to seven years of work for room and board, clothing etc. only. The wages they earned went to pay for their passage. The same deal was initially offered to some black slaves, but gradually the term of servitude became accepted in the South as life for them. After their terms of indentures, many of the Europeans settled small farms on the frontier or started small businesses in the towns. The Southern colonies were about 55% British, 38% Black and roughly 7% second or third generation German. By 1780, nearly all Blacks were native born with only sporadic additions of new slaves being brought in.

The initial areas of New England settlement had been largely cleared of Indians by major outbreaks of measles, smallpox, and plague, among them starting in about 1618 (believed to have been transmitted by visiting fishing fleets from Europe). The peak New England settlement occurred from about 1629 to about 1641 when about 20,000 Puritan settlers arrived mostly from the East Anglian parts of England (Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, and East Sussex) [ [http://www.virtualjamestown.org/indentures/england_counties.html England County Boundaries ] ] . In the next 150 years, their "Yankee" descendants largely filled in the New England states.

The New England colonists were the most urban and educated of all the colonists and had many skilled farmers as well as tradesmen and skilled craftsmen among them. They started the first English colonial university in the Americas, Harvard, in 1635 to train their ministers. They mostly settled in small villages for mutual support (nearly all had their own militias) and common religious activity. Shipbuilding, commerce, agriculture and fisheries were their main income sources. New England's healthy climate (the cold winters killed the mosquitoes and other disease-bearing insects), small wide-spread villages (minimizing spread of disease) and abundant food supply resulted in the lowest death rate and highest birth rate (marriage was expected and birth control was not, and a much higher than average number of children and mothers survived) of any of the colonies. The eastern and northern frontier around the initial New England settlements was mainly settled by the descendants of the original New Englanders. Immigration to the New England colonies after 1640 and the start of the English Civil War decreased to less than 1% Fact|date=November 2007 (about equal to the death rate) in nearly all years prior to 1845. The rapid growth of the New England colonies (~700,000 by 1790) was almost entirely due to the high birth rate (>3%) and low death rate (<1%) per year.

The middle colonies' settlements were scattered west of New York City (established 1626; taken over by the English in 1664) and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (established 1682). The Dutch-started colony of New York had the most eclectic collection of residents from many different nations and prospered as a major trading and commercial center after about 1700. The Pennsylvania colonial center was dominated by the Quakers for decades after they emigrated, mainly from the North Midlands of England, from about 1680 to 1725. The main commercial center of Philadelphia was run mostly by prosperous Quakers, supplemented by many small farming and trading communities with a strong German contingent located in several small towns in the Delaware River valley.

Many more settlers arrived in the middle colonies starting in about 1680 when Pennsylvania was founded and many Protestant sects were encouraged to settle there by freedom of religion and good land--cheap. They came by the was about 60% British and 33% of German extraction. By 1780, in New York, about 17% of the population were descendants of Dutch settlers and the rest were mostly English with a wide mixture of other Europeans and about 6% blacks. New Jersey and Delaware had a majority of British with 7-11% German-descended colonists, about 6% black population, and a small contingent of Swedish descendants of New Sweden. Nearly all were at least third-generation natives.

Around 60,000 convicts were transported to the British colonies in North America in the 18th century. [ [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=3614090 Convict Servants in the American Colonies] ] . Because of the notorious Bloody Code, life in 18th century (and early 19th century) Britain was hazardous. By the 1770s, there were 222 crimes in Britain that carried the death penalty, many of which even included petty offenses such as stealing goods worth over five shillings, cutting down a tree, stealing an animal, stealing from a rabbit warren, and being out at night with a blackened face. [ [http://deathpenaltyinfo.msu.edu/c/about/history/history-1.htm History: Early World and American Death Penalty Laws] ] For example, Michael Hammond and his sister, Ann, whose ages were given as 7 and 11, were reportedly hanged at King's Lynn on Wednesday, 28 September 1708 for theft. The local press did not, however, consider the executions of two children newsworthy. [ [http://www.richard.clark32.btinternet.co.uk/hanging1.html The history of judicial hanging in Britain] ] .

The colonial western frontier was mainly settled from about 1717 to 1775 by mostly Presbyterian settlers from northern England border lands, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, fleeing bad times and persecution in those areas. After the American Revolution these same areas in Britain were the first to resume significant immigration. Most initially landed in family groups in Philadelphia or Baltimore but soon migrated to the western frontier where land was cheaper and restrictions less onerous.

While these settlements had differences in detail, they had many things in common. Nearly all were settled and financed by privately organized groups of English settlers or families using private free enterprise without any significant English Royal or Parliamentary government support or input. Nearly all commercial activity was run in small privately owned businesses with good credit both at home and in England being essential since they were often cash poor. Most settlements were nearly independent of trade with Britain as most grew or made nearly everything they needed--the average cost of imports per most households was only about 5-15 English pounds per year. Most settlements were done by complete family groups with several generations often present in each settlement. Probably close to 80% of the families owned the land they lived and farmed on. They nearly all used English Common Law as their basic code of law and except initially for the Dutch, Swedes and Germans, spoke some dialect of English. They nearly all established their own popularly elected governments and courts on as many levels as they could and were nearly all, within a few years, mostly armed, self governing, self supporting and self replicating. This self ruling pattern became so ingrained that almost all new settlements by one or more groups of settlers would have their own government up and running shortly after they settled down for the next 200 years. Nearly all, after a hundred years plus of living together, had learned to tolerate other religions than their own. This was a major improvement from the often very bloody Reformation and Counter-Reformation wars going on in Europe in this period. British troops up until the French and Indian War in the 1760s were a great rarity in the colonies as the colonists provided nearly all their own law enforcement and militia forces they wanted or needed from their own ranks. The American Revolution was in many ways a fight to maintain the property and independence they already enjoyed as the British tried, belatedly, to exploit them for the benefit of the crown and Parliament. Nearly all colonies and later, states in the United States, were settled by migration from another colony or state, as foreign immigration usually only played a minor role after the initial settlements were started. Many new immigrants did end up on the frontiers as that was where the land was usually the cheapest.

After these colonies were settled, they grew almost entirely by natural growth with foreign born populations rarely exceeding 10% (except in isolated instances). The last significant colonies to be settled mainly by immigrants were Pennsylvania in the early 1700s, Georgia and the Borderlands in the late 1700s as migration (not immigration) continued to provide nearly all the settlers for each new colony or state. This pattern would continue throughout U.S. History. The extent of colonial settlements by 1800 is shown by this map from the [great] University of Texas map collection. [http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/united_states/exploration_1675.jpg]

Population growth is nearly always by natural increase but significant immigration can sometimes be seen in some states when populations grow by more than 80% {a 3% growth rate) in a 20 year interval.Fact|date=November 2007

Population in 1790

According to the source, "The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy" by Kory L. Meyerink and Loretto Dennis Szucs, the following were the countries of origin for new arrivals coming to the United States before 1790. The regions marked * were part of Great Britain. The ancestry of the 3.9 million population in 1790 has been estimated by various sources by sampling last names in the 1790 census and assigning them a country of origin. The Irish in the 1790 census were mostly Scots Irish. The French were mostly Huguenots. The total U.S. Catholic population in 1790 was probably less than 5%. The Indian population inside territorial U.S. 1790 boundaries was less than 100,000.

ee also

*Immigration to the United States


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