Nordic Immigrants: Why the Finns Left

Log and tarpaper home for Northern Minnesota family. Found on the Minnesota Public Radio website.

Log and tarpaper home for Northern Minnesota family. Found on the Minnesota Public Radio website.

Finnish immigration began much later in comparison to the other Nordic countries. Finns left largely at the turn of the 20th century in response to increasing Russian hostilities towards Finnish independence.[1] The Finnish struggle for independence reached a boiling point in 1890; after this year, many Finns decided to flee the instability in their homeland. An estimated 230,000 Finns immigrated to the United States between 1890 and 1924 when the National Origins Quota Act greatly curtailed immigration.[2]

The second reason for immigrating was poor farming conditions. In the 1870s, famine and poor farming conditions led to substantial immigration from western Finland, much like the other Nordic countries. Finland lost 10%t of its total population to immigration between 1870 and 1900.[3]

The final reason was U.S. encouragement. Much Finnish immigration was encouraged by the U.S. government and shipping lines. Shipping lines sent agents to Finland with tales of “democracy and prosperity,” and these promises emboldened many Finns to immigrate to the United States.[4]

 1. Introduction 2. Why the Swedes Left 3. Why the Danes Left 4. Why the Finns Left 5. Why the Norwegians Left 6. The Virginia Shipbuilding Corporation 7. Work in Alexandria 8. Living in Alexandria 9. Conclusion 10. Bibliography


 

[1] Library of Congress, Immigration: The Finns,           http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presen            tations/immigration/scandinavian5.html (accessed October 24, 2014).

[2]  Ibid.

[3] Taru Spiegel, The Finns in America, http://loc.gov/rr/european/FinnsAmer/finchro.html    (accessed October 20, 2014).

[4] Ibid.

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