Where did they go?

North America & Canada

The decline in the mining industry in Cornwall sent large number of men to the US which settled in the mining regions of Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. Trade unions of declining industries oftentimes helped to pay for the emigration of their members to America.

The majority of English immigrants in America continued to work as farm laborers while other ethnic groups such as the Irish and Italians mainly took on jobs in the industry. One of the few exceptions is the group of well trained textile workers who settled in mill towns in Massachusetts in places such as Fall River, New Bedford and Lawrence.

As the land in the New England States was not as fertile the English settlers worked with grain mills and lumber mills. The agricultural work was much easier in the Southern Colonies where the plantations where thriving due to excellent fertility of the grounds and due to the slave work. Products such as tobacco, rice and indigo made many residents and farmers in the South very rich.

Australia & New Zealand

After the discontinuation of the transportation of prisoners to the North American Colonies due to the American Independence War, the first Penal Colony was established in Australia in Botany Bay, New South Wales in 1788. Thousands of convict – often together with their wives and children – were sent out to Down Under.

Free settlers were often financially supported by emigration societies particularly in the mid-19th century. Noteworthy are the large numbers of Scottish emigrants which were assisted by the Highland and Island Emigration Society (1851-1859).

During the 1850s the increase in emigration numbers are also partially due to the gold fever and hence emigrants hoping to find their fortune. Otherwise the emigrants found work on farms, in the developing industries as well as in building the railways.

The British immigration in New Zealand really began after 1840 when it became a British Colony. It has not been a penal colony and the “early” settlement took place in the 1820s by other European emigrants. The new settlers needed land which was in turn aggressively purchased from the Maoris, this lead to a number of wars between the settlers and the natives. In 1861 gold was discovered in New Zealand and this had an immediate impact on the immigration numbers: The population increased from 99,000 in 1861 to 256,000 in 1871. With increasing population the necessary infrastructure needed to be put in place and so laborers were recruited in England and Northern Europe to build roads and railways.

South Africa

The first British subjects settled in South Africa when in 1806 the Cape of Good Hope was ceded from Holland to Britain. The settlement was supported by an assisted emigration program in 1819: Following a three month sailing the first settlers arrived in 1820. With the discovery of gold and diamonds the emigration to this British colony increased particularly from 1870 onwards.

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Famous Emigrants