Are you planning to immigrate to the US? If so then you might be inspired by history related to some of the first immigrants to the US. In fact, even though some immigration dates back over two centuries ago the reasons people immigrated were often similar to today. Some people wanted to have more political and religious friends. Meanwhile, others wanted more opportunities and a better quality of life for their families. Here’s a historical account of the different main eras of US immigration:
The first immigrants to the region that’s now classified as the United States started arriving about 20,000 years ago. Scientists believe the first immigrants were from Asia and crossed the Bering Straits. They then lived in the region for thousands of years. The Vikings then arrived at the Americas around 1000. The large European migration to the Americas started five centuries later.
The first European immigrants who traveled from Europe to the New World had to survive 2-3 months of overcrowding, sea-sickness, disease, and limited food. However, they had the hope of owning land and political/religious freedom so they were still motivated to complete their journey to the Americas. As a result, many Europeans kept immigrating to the US.
Then by the end of the 1500s, the Spanish were settled in St. Augustine, Florida. By the early 1600s, the British were settled in Virginia and New England, and the Dutch in New York/New Jersey, and the Swedes in Delaware.
There were indentured servants who traveled with the first British settlers. They were willing to work 4-7 years without pay in order to get a ticket to the American Colonies and the New World. There were even 50,000 convicts you were relocated from English jails to the New World.
By the mid-1700s the British colonies had become the most successful ones in North America. One drawback for the Old World was that several skilled laborers were leaving for the Americas. Some English politicians wanted to ban all immigration to the Americas but it was already very popular among Europeans who were looking for a better life.
The United States earned its freedom from England in 1776. In a short time, the young country had started to become a place where many Europeans wanted to move to in order to have more political and religious freedoms. In fact, they’re still some of the main reasons people throughout the world still want to move to the US today.
The first US Congresses couldn’t do very much to affect immigration since the states had the power to handle the issue. However, Congress banned the slave trade following 1808 and also set rules for US naturalization.
The US Congress passed the nation’s first naturalization Act in 1790. It stated that any “alien” who was defined as a free white person, could become a US citizen. Immigration to the US was low during the first years of the country. An average of 6,000 people moved to the US every year. This figure increased later as time continued and is significantly higher today.