Country of Immigrants (02:34)
The growth of America heavily depended on immigration. Though the largest population of Americans descends from Germans, Americans have ancestors from all over the world.
Early Dutch Migrants (08:26)
The earliest migrants to America were young men in their 20s, searching for social improvements. In the early 1600s, more than 5,000 Dutch migrants traveled to America and settled New Amsterdam, which later became New York City. The colony survived thanks to fur trading.
Religious Persecution in England (02:30)
Colonial numbers grew throughout the 1600s and English migrants settled in Boston and Philadelphia. Many English migrants were families fleeing war and religious persecution.
Early English Migrants (06:41)
Many English migrants were unprepared for harsh conditions on ships and in America. Eventually, the Quakers established a successful colony that grew as more ships arrived from England.
Early Spanish Migrants (08:14)
Early Spanish migrants settled in New Spain, which included Mexico and Texas. By the 1770s, Spanish migrants had introduced cattle and ranching into Texas. In 1779, Spanish ranchers helped provide beef to American soldiers fighting in the revolution.
Early French Migrants (08:10)
In 1790, America passed its first law to limit American citizenship to English-speaking, white residents. The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the country and added a huge number of French-speaking residents. A French medic helped fight yellow fever in New Orleans and became America's first licensed pharmacist.
Oregon Trail (09:28)
The Native American population was greatly decreased by disease and violence after European settlers arrived. In the 1840s, America gave away land in the newly acquired Oregon Territory to those who could get there. More than 400,000 people made the 2,000-mile journey.
Forced African Migrants (08:33)
More than 400,000 Africans were forced to migrate to America through the slave trade. Escaped slaves and the Underground Railroad led to an internal migration to the North and Canada. After the Civil War, slavery was ended, and enslaved people became citizens.
Early Irish Migrants (07:38)
The invention of steam ships and adhesive stamps made communication between America and countries like Ireland much easier. Rising poverty and the Irish Potato Famine caused a million Irish people to move to America.
Gold Rush (09:21)
More than 300,000 migrants from throughout the world traveled to California in 1849 for the Gold Rush. Cities like San Francisco sprung up quickly to support the rapid influx. The American travel industry developed to aid those trying to get there.
Civil War (09:41)
By the 1860s, the North and South had grown into two separate societies. Many German immigrants, who were seeking democracy in America, fought for the Union in the Civil War.
Early Scottish Migrants (06:14)
The Industrial Revolution created a thriving environment for inventors and businessmen. Scottish migrants brought over knowledge of industrial technology. Self-playing organs and pianos changed the idea of home entertainment.
Early Chinese Migrants (11:02)
In the 1800s, America began constructing railroad throughout the country. Thousands of Chinese migrants arrived in the West to build the trans-continental railroad. Though they were the best workers, Chinese migrants were paid less and faced discrimination.
Credits: America: Promised Land - Part 1 (01:13)
Credits: America: Promised Land - Part 1
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