1492, the first immigrants? / 1492, ¿los primeros inmigrantes?

Immigration to the United States has been prominent dating back to colonial times. If we consider an immigrant to be someone who comes to a country to live permanently, then we begin to see the first immigrants come to America in 1607 with Jamestown, and in 1620 with Plymouth. These were the first two true, permanent settlements in America. The people who came to these colonies were mainly from England, and were there for new opportunity, a possible chance at wealth, and religious freedom.

More and more settlements were established as time went on. Future bustling metropolitan areas, like Boston and New York were inhabited within ten years after Plymouth. Boston, in its infancy, in 1633, had a population of about 3,000. Most of these immigrants were Puritan, and were there, again, for religious freedom.

By 1650, there were more than 51,000 people living in the country. Colonists continued to stream in, and populate New England. The immigration to the country, often referred to as the “New Land,” at the time, had just begun.

One hundred years later, in 1750, there were over 1,170,000 people living in America. Now, there were cities that sprouted up like Philadelphia with populations of over 15,000. But the most populated city in America was New York, which had a population of over 27,000. The city was eclectic for its time, and was populated with Dutch, French, English, and German people. About seven percent of the population was black, some of whom were slaves. At this time, the colonies were filled with immigrants from all over Europe. But soon enough these immigrants would become real American citizens.

By the time of the American Revolution in 1776, America’s population jumped to about 2.5 million. After the formation of the colonies into a country, the Naturalization Act of 1795, declared those living in the United States who were merely dwellers in America, would now become naturalized citizens. This act however, only pertained to “free white persons,” who had lived in the country for more than five years; this act, obviously, excluded all minorities living in the United States.

In 1815, there was the lowest number ever recorded of foreign-born citizens living within the United States. In 1815 only 1.4% of the population fit into that category. At the time 1.4% of the entire population was equivalent to 100,000 people. The reason for the number being so low was because most of the immigrants arrived before the American Revolution. At the same time, many immigrants arrived to Canada because they were loyal to the British Crown during the war of independence and as a result fled from the United States once the war ended.

In the 1840’s and 1850’s there was a substantial increase in immigration from Europe. Many Germans went to the United States to escape ongoing revolution in their homeland. The Germans went to the Midwestern United States to become farmers because they had money to buy land. Many Irish immigrants came to the United States as well around this time to escape the potato famine in Ireland. The Irish went to the cities and worked in factories for little money. For this reason, the Irish were met with significant opposition from more established families. The natives believed their jobs were being taken away by these new immigrants. In the 1850’s those opposed to these new immigrants formed the political party, which they named the “Know Nothing Party.” The party’s platform was that they were against all new immigrants. The party had a limited influence for a brief period of time before falling entirely out of favor within a decade.

There were many new immigrants to the United States from Mexico in 1848.The influx of immigrants was the result of the end of the war between the United States and Mexico. When the United States won the war, the country took a lot of new land through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. With the land that included most of the American Southwest came 70,000 new citizens. Many more immigrants arrived in California for the Gold Rush the next year.

From 1861 to 1865 many immigrants fought for the Union in the American Civil War. More specifically 177,000 Germans and 144,000 Irish went to battle for the Union. Many German immigrants fought because they believed that the problem of slavery was very similar to problems they faced and left behind in Germany. Also, most immigrants could not afford the price necessary to receive exemption from the draft.


La inmigración a los Estados Unidos se ha destacado desde el periodo colonial. Si consideramos que un inmigrante es alguien que viene a vivir permanentemente a un país, entonces, vemos que los primeros inmigrantes vienen a Estados Unidos en 1607 con Jamestown, y en 1620 con Plymouth. Esos fueron los dos primeros verdaderos, permanentes asentamientos en los Estados Unidos. Las personas que vinieron a estas colonias eran principalmente de Inglaterra, y estaban allí para una nueva oportunidad; una oportunidad posible a la riqueza, y libertad religiosa.

Para 1650, había más de 51.000 personas en el país. Colonos siguieron llegando a Nueva Inglaterra. La inmigración a la nueva tierra apenas comenzaba.

Cien años después, en 1750 había más de 1.700.000 viviendo en los Estados Unidos. Para este tiempo, ciudades como Philadelphia tenían poblaciones de más de 15.000 personas. Pero, la ciudad con el mayor numero de personas era Nueva York, con una población de más de 27.000. La ciudad tenía personas holandés, francés, ingleses y alemanes. Alrededor de 7 por ciento de la población eran negros, algunos de los cuales eran esclavos. Pronto estas personas se convertirían en ciudadanos.

Durante la revolución en 1776, la población en los Estados Unidos creció ha alrededor de 2.5 millones. Después de la formación de las colonias en una país singular, el Naturalization Act of 1795 declaró que las personas en el país serían ciudadanos.  Esta ley, sin embargo solamente aplicaba a las personas blancas, y en el país por mas de cinco años. Obviamente, esta ley excluyó a minorías.

Para 1815, había un numero menor de ciudadanos nacidos en el extranjero en Estados Unidos. En 1815 solamente el 1.4% de la población estaba en esa categoría. Para este  tiempo, el 1.4% de la población era equivalente a 100,000 personas. La razón por el numero menor era porque muchos de los inmigrantes llegaron antes de la revolución. Al mismo tiempo muchos inmigrantes se fueron a Canadá porque eran leales a la corona británica durante la guerra de independencia. También, muchos alemanes se fueron a Canadá porque había tierra muy buena para crecer cultivos cerca de Ontario.

En los 1840s y 1850s hubo mucha inmigración de Europa. Muchos alemanes venían a los Estados Unidos porque había guerra en Alemania. Ellos iban a la región norte central de los Estados Unidos y se convirtieron en granjeros porque ellos tenían dinero. También muchas personas de Irlanda venían a los Estados Unidos. Ellos venían porque había una hambruna de patatas en Irlanda. Los irlandés venían a las ciudades y trabajaban en las fábricas por poco dinero. Por esa razón había mucha oposición a los irlandés porque los nativos creían que ellos robaban sus trabajos. Los nativos crearon el partido político de “Know Nothing” que estaba en contra de los inmigrantes nuevos en los 1850s. El partido tuvo influencia por un tiempo muy corto.

Hubo muchos inmigrantes de México en el año 1848 ya que fueron el resultado del final de la guerra entre de Los Estados Unidos y México. Cuando los Estados Unidos ganó la guerra, el país obtuvo mucha territorio nuevo con el Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo. Con esta adquisición hubo 70,000 ciudadanos nuevos. El próximo año, muchos más inmigrantes llegaron a California por la fiebre del oro (Gold Rush).

Muchos inmigrantes pelearon con la Unión en la guerra civil de los Estados Unidos;  177,000 alemanes y 144,000 irlandés pelearon. Muchos creían que el problema de esclavitud era muy similar a los  problemas que ellos enfrentaron en Alemania. Muchos inmigrantes tampoco podían pagar para recibir la exoneración de la conscripción.


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