Greek Immigration in Alexandria, VA

Greek immigrants began arriving in significant numbers in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century.[i] They were part of the large-scale migration from southern and eastern Europe at the time.

“Peoples of Greece had lived for over four hundred years under the yoke of the Ottoman Turk. In 1821, the movement for Greek independence started, and the years following the liberation’s from the Turks were devoted to solving the problems created by the revolution and to rebuilding a young and proud nation.”[ii]

Many Greeks did not leave because they were worried about their homeland. Unfortunately, economic difficulties and political turmoil at home became a primary reason that this ethnic group began to emigrate.[iii] The first group of Greek immigrants were single young men, who came in search of economic success. The desire to better oneself and assist those left behind motivated their departure.[iv] To find economic success, Greeks moved to various areas of the United States. Many of these immigrants came to the United States temporarily and believed that they would return home once they had accumulated enough funds to be financially stable in Greece.[v] Chain migration for Greeks marked the start of permanent residence in the United States. When Greek women came to America, the Greek dynamic changed, families were more rooted and likely to become naturalized citizens. The increase in the numbers of Greek immigrant women, or at least the marriage of Greek men to non-Greeks in America, signaled the start to form homes and communities in the U.S.


The goal of this project is to examine how  the “southern variant theory” affected Greek immigrants in Alexandria. This site studies various regional differences through occupations, religious communities, and fraternal organizations.

Each point represents where a Greek immigrant lived. In the cases of boarding houses, one point lists all the Greek immigrants living in that establishment.

Community Structures


Greek Orthodox Church

Southern Variant



[i] Lonnie Athens, “Old World Immigrants: A Snapshot of a Greek Marriage in New World,” International Review of Qualitative Research, 2008.

[ii] Nicholas J. Rev. Velis, “Greek Immigration as Part of United States History,” Organon 2, no. 2 (January 1971): 43.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Theodore Saloutos, The Greeks in the United States (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press,  1964).