Scandinavian immigration to the United States and Canada

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					Scandinavian immigration to the
   United States and Canada

  English in the United States and
  SoSe 2006
  Katariina Laitinen
 Most Scandinavian immigrants to North America from
  Norway and Sweden
  - 1830-1930: two and a half million emigrants from the
  Nordic countries (5 % of the European total)
 Many immigrants travelled via Britain; several hundreds
  of the passengers who died on Titanic were Swedes or
  Finns (3rd class tickets)
 3.7 % (11-12 million people) of U.S. residents have
  Scandinavian ancestors
  - Scandinavians represent about 6% of the white
  population in the USA and more than 25% of the white
  population of the Upper Midwest
 160.000 Americans speak a Scandinavian language at
         Reasons for immigration
 Poverty, unemployment, political conditions at home
 Religious reasons:
  - persecution (Quakers in Norway)
  - converts (Mormons in Denmark)
 Similarity of climate (especially in Canada)
 employment possibilities
  - America had “abundant natural resources and a lack of
  work force”
                Swedish immigration
 Between 1846-1930 1.3 million (20%) of the Swedish population left
  the country
United States (1840-1910): Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa,
  Nebraska, Illinois
 In the beginning of the 20th century, Minnesota had the highest
  ethnic Swedish population in the world after the city of Stockholm
 8 million Swedish-Americans today
  - over half a million still speak the language
Canada: Western Canada from northern Ontario to British Columbia
  1st wave from the end of the 19th century until WW1
  2nd wave between the World Wars
  3rd wave since the 1950s
 300.000 people in the Swedish-Canadian community west of Lake
  Superior, primarily in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver
  - 20.000 Swedish speakers
            Norwegian immigration
 Between 1825 and 1925, more than 800.000 (about 1/3
  of Norway's population) Norwegians immigrated to
United States (1850-1920s): Wisconsin, Minnesota, the
 More than 4.5 million Norwegian-Americans today
  - mostly live in the Upper Midwest or in the Pacific states
  of Washington, Oregon, and California
Canada (same time): Alberta, Saskatchewan
 360.000 Canadians of Norwegian ancestry today
    Danish and Icelandic immigration
 Denmark: Utah, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and
 Between 1820 and 1920 over 300,000 immigrants came
  from Denmark
  - Mormon recruits had a fertile soil in Denmark, because
  there was a freedom of religion >> converts
 Danes were the least cohesive group of Scandinavian
  immigrants and quickly disappeared into the melting pot

 Iceland: southern Manitoba (“New Iceland”), Minnesota,
  Utah, Wisconsin, Washington, Saskatchewan, Nova
 During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thousands
  of Icelanders emigrated to North America
              Finnish immigration
United States
 The Great Migration of Finns 1870-1930 >> over
  300.000 immigrants from Finland
  - 1867 severe crop failure in Finland >> migration via
  Norway to United States
 most Finnish emigrants were from impoverished rural
  regions of Ostrobothnia, but also from Northern Savonia
  and Thorne Valley
 The US set up quotas to Finnish immigrants in the 20s
  >> immigration to Canada instead
 80 % of Finnish immigrants in America went to the
  United States, 20 % to Canada
 Most immigrants young, unmarried men
  - later more immigrants were married and the whole
  family moved to the new country
 Destination: Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin
  - strong Finnish-American culture in Duluth and Detroit
  - in Hancock, Michigan still bilingual street signs
 another Finnish community in Lake Worth, Florida
 Americans of Finnish origin 800.000
  - actual Finnish speakers 20.000-50.000
 Finns started coming to Canada in the early 1880s, the
  flow continued to the middle of the 20th century >>
  80.000 immigrants
 Destination: Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec
 Number of Finnish-Canadians today: 114.000 (2001)
 the largest concentration of Finnish Canadians in
  Thunder Bay
     Reasons for Finnish emigration
 many emigrants from impoverished rural areas
  - Finland, a Grand Duchy of Imperial Russia, excluded
  from the industrialisation process
 Many traditional professions lost their meaning
 Unemployment was rising because of population growth;
  not much land left to cultivate
 The eldest son inherited the farm, and younger siblings
  had to earn their living elsewhere
 1899: a campaign for Russification of Finland
 Earlier migrants sent letters to home and encouraged
  new people to go
 Professional recruiters were employed by mining and
  shipping companies
    Attitudes and influences at home
 The officials disapproved emigration at first, because
  there were worries on its influence on the Finnish
  - also some newspapers frowned upon the phenomenon,
  while others supported it
 Change in the structure of the population
  - lower birth rate and a great number of old people
 Eased the pressure at the job market
 The immigrants sent money and packages home
  - products that were hard to get in Finland
 Returning immigrants brought their earnings and new
  inventions to Finland
            Life in the new country
 Men worked in mining, construction and the forest
  industry; women as maids
  - Finns had to settle with less-skilled jobs, because they
  had more problems with the English language than other
 Newly arrived Finns quickly became involved in political
  organisations, churches, athletic clubs and other forms
  of associational life
 Most Finnish migrants had planned to stay only a few
  years in North America, but only about 20 % returned
  - 10.000 Finns returned to Soviet Union in the 1920s-30s
  for ideological reasons
 In some cases the immigrants started learning English
  already in the home country (Danish Mormons)
 Finns had more problems with English than other
  - In many immigrant families the parents spoke Finnish
  and the children English (learned in school)
 religious, social, and cultural activities in the mother
  - organizations: Dansk Broderskab (Danish
  Brotherhood), Vasa Order of America (Swedish)
 Periodicals in the native language
  - Danish-Norwegian newspaper “Bikuben” (The Beehive)
  in Salt Lake City
  - Finnish-Canadian weeklies “Canadan Sanomat”
  ‘Canadian News’ in Thunder Bay and “Vapaa Sana”
  ‘Free Speech’ in Sudbury
  Suomi College (Finlandia University)
 Located in Hancock, Michigan
 Founded by Finnish immigrants
  in 1896
  - the only college founded
  by Finns in the United States
 provides a college education
  in a Christian environment
 Education rooted in liberal arts
 Offers degrees in Fine Arts,
  Business Administration,
  Finnish, History, Nursing,
  Social Science, English etc.
 Finnish-American Heritage Center (FAHC)
 At Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan
 offers a variety of exhibits, lectures, plays, musical
  programs and community events
 the Finnish American Historical Archive has the largest
  collection of Finnish-North American materials in the
  - includes genealogical resources, information about
  Finnish culture, artifacts, and North America's largest
  collection of Finnish-American artwork
 annual events: Finnish Independence Day, the City of
  Hancock's Heikinpäivä festival, the university's Nordic
  Film Series
    Famous Finnish-Americans and -Canadians

   Renny Harlin (director)
   David Lynch (director)
   Matt Damon (actor)
   Christine Lahti (actress)
   Jessica Lange (actress)
   Pamela Anderson (actress)
   Gus Hall (U.S. Communist Party leader)
   Aileen Wuornos (serial killer)
                   References (19.06.06) (19.06.06)
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   (23.06.06) canada-map.html (26.06.06) distributors.htm (26.06.06)
(26.06.06) (26.06.06)

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