Swedish Emigration

THE SWEDISH EMIGRATION TO AMERICA.

By Peter Liliequist.


A short description of the swedish emigration to America, to give you help to understand the background. The first "wave" of swedish emigrants to America arrived 1638 to Delaware River to establish the colony New Sweden. At it´s peak there was 600 to 700 settlers with swedish and finnish origin (Finland was at this time part of Sweden). In 1655 the dutch conquered the colony and incorporated it with New Netherlands. Many swedish-americans today are descendants from these early settlers.

The second "wave" of swedish emigrants came to America from 1821 to 1930, with it´s top peak 1870-1900. After the Titanic dissaster 12/4 1912 it nearly stopped. 69 swedes survived the disaster. From 1821-1930 1,3 million swedes emigrated, mainly to USA, but some also to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South America. Nearly a fifth of these, more than 200 000, returned to Sweden, but well over 1 million left their home country for ever. At US Census 1990 4,7 million out of 249 million Americans claimed to have Swedish ancestry, most likely it´s a higher number. Soon there will be more people with swedish ancestry in USA than in Sweden.

Among reasons to leave Sweden there is rationalisation and changes in sharing land laws in farming, misery in the second half of the 1800´s, the fast growing population, public military duty and religious intolerance. Among reasons creating that people wanted to go to Amerika was the availability of agricultural land, availability of work, sucsess stories, emigration propaganda and the letters back home from earlier emigrants. Many swedes also went back to Sweden to bring more of their relatives and friends to America.

The Midwest remained the heartland of the Swedish-American community, but its position weakened in the 20th century: in 1910, 54% of the Swedish immigrants and their children lived in the Midwest, 15% in industrial areas in the East, and 10% on the West Coast. Chicago was effectively the Swedish-American capital, accommodating about 10% of all Swedish Americans, more than 100,000 people, making it the second-largest Swedish city in the world (onlyStockholm had more Swedish inhabitants). Of course there were emigrants from Sweden between these "waves", and also after until today.

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Uppdated by Peter Liliequist. Copyright (c) 1970 - 2017 By Peter Liliequist, Sweden Roots Hunter & Peter´s Web World.

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