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Trade in Strangers The Beginnings of Mass Migration to North America cover
  • ISBN: 9780271018331
  • ISBN10: 027101833X

Trade in Strangers the Beginnings of Mass Migration to North America

by Marianne Sophia Wokeck

  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Pennsylvania State Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 04/01/1999
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American historians have long been fascinated by the "peopling" of North America in the seventeenth century. Who were the immigrants, & how & why did they make their way across the ocean? Most of the attention, however, has been devoted to British immigrants who came as free people or as indentured servants (primarily to New England & the Chesapeake) & to Africans who were forced to come as slaves. Trade in Strangers focuses on the eighteenth century, when new immigrants began to flood the colonies at an unprecedented rate. Most of these immigrants were German & Irish, & they were coming primarily to the middle colonies via an increasingly sophisticated form of transport. Wokeck shows how first the German system of immigration, & then the Irish system, evolved from earlier, haphazard forms into modern mass transoceanic migration. At the center of this development were merchants on both sides of the Atlantic who organized a business that enabled them to make profitable use of underutilized cargo space on ships bound from Europe to the British North American colonies. This trade offered German & Irish immigrants transatlantic passage on terms that allowed even people of little & modest means to pursue opportunities that beckoned in the New World. Trade in Strangers fills an important gap in our knowledge of America's immigration history. The eighteenth-century changes established a model for the better-known mass migrations of the nineteenth & twentieth centuries, which drew wave after wave of Europeans to the New World in the hope of making a better life than the one they left behind-a story that is familiar to most modern Americans.
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