Reasons for Emigration

Besides the political and religious reasons or just being adventuresome many of the early settlers left their homes in the hope of finding a better life in the New World. Only few of them were able to pay for their voyage so that many of the colonists had the Colonial Societies pay for their journey and accommodation. In turn they became indentured servants e.g. on plantations in Virginia and they would usually gain their freedom after a few years. The first African slaves that were brought to Virginia in 1619 were at first considered to be indentured servants, too. As of the 1660s they were considered slaves with no rights or possibilities of ever gaining their freedom.

In 1798, Thomas Malthus published a book with his predictions about how the British population would outgrow the food production. The caused a panic so that for the first time the British government decided to count all people living in Britain. The result of the first census taken in 1801 showed that the population had doubled in the past 50 years. So the government put its efforts into increasing the output by using scientific farming methods which resulted in a cut of jobs for agricultural workers. This resulted in migration patterns were farm laborers moved either to industrial areas or even decided to emigrate to the United State, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. This number increased immensely after 1830.

In England, too, the growth of the population and the industrialization were the main factors for emigration. Particularly the mining and textile industries were hit hard and many of its workers saw their only hope in going overseas in order to escape from poverty and unemployment.

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