Norway

Where did they go?

In the 17th century many Norwegians moved to the Netherlands due to the lumber trade with Norway and so a move to the Dutch colonies was not uncommon. The early Norwegian settlers stayed in New Amsterdam (now New York), the area up the Hudson River and in Fort Oranje (now Albany). Besides upstate New York there was also a Norwegian settlement in Pennsylvania.

With the beginning of the organized emigration from Norway in 1825, the vessels usually entered into New York. Due to a law by the British Government in Canada in 1849, Canadian ports became the first choice for Norwegian emigrants. The Norwegian vessels would carry passengers on the way over and take lumber to Norway on the way back. Close to half a million Norwegians entered the USA via Canada, after arriving at the Canadian port of Quebec.

From Quebec the emigrants travelled by steam vessel to Toronto from where they continued by railway to Collingwood, Ontario on the Canadian shore of Lake Huron. There they boarded another steam vessel to cross Lake Michigan and disembark in Chicago, Milwaukee or Green Bay. Only at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century did the Norwegian emigrants increasingly stay in Canada. In fact many American-Norwegians moved from the US to Canada possibly as a result of WWI, so that in 1921 about a third of all Norwegians in Canada had been born in the US.

The US-American census in the year 2000 revealed that still today the majority of Norwegian-Americans live in the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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Famous Emigrants