Norwegian Americans: HistoryEdit This Page

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Norwegian Americans (Norwegian: norskamerikanere) are Americans of Norwegian descent. Norwegian immigrants went to the United States primarily in the later half of the 19th century and the first few decades of the 20th century. There are more than five million Norwegian Americans according to the most recent U.S. census, and most live in the Upper Midwest. With the exception of Ireland, no single country contributed a larger percentage of its population to the United States than Norway.

Organized Norwegian immigration to North America began in 1825, when several dozen Norwegians left Stavanger bound for North America on the sloop Restauration (often called the "Norwegian Mayflower") under the leadership of Cleng Peerson. To a great extent, this early emigration from Norway was borne out of religious persecution, especially for Quakers and a local religious group, the Haugianerne. The ship landed in New York City, where it was at first impounded for exceeding its passenger limit. After intervention from President John Quincy Adams, the passengers moved on to settle in Kendall, New York with the help of Andreas Stangeland, witnessing the opening of the Erie Canal en route. Most of these immigrants moved on from Kendall, settling in Illinois and Wisconsin. Cleng Peerson became a traveling emissary for Norwegian immigrants and died in a Norwegian Settlement near Cranfills Gap, Texas, in 1865.

 Settlements:
The majority of the pioneer immigrants, the socalled "Sloopers," assisted by the kindly services of American Quakers, went to Orleans County in western New York state and settled in what became Kendall Township. In the mid-1830s the Kendall settlers gave impetus to the westward movement of Norwegians by founding a settlement in the Fox River area of Illinois. A small urban colony of Norwegians had its genesis in Chicago at about the same time.

Immigrant settlements now stood ready to welcome Norwegian newcomers, who, beginning in 1836, arrived annually. From Illinois, Norwegian pioneers followed the general spread of population northwestward into Wisconsin. Wisconsin remained the center of Norwegian American activity up until the Civil War. In the 1850s Norwegian land seekers began moving into both Iowa and Minnesota, and serious migration to the Dakotas was underway by the 1870s. The majority of Norwegian agrarian settlements developed in the northern region of the so-called Homestead Act Triangle between the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers. The upper Midwest became the home for most immigrants.
Immigrant settlements now stood ready to welcome Norwegian newcomers, who, beginning in 1836, arrived annually. From Illinois, Norwegian pioneers followed the general spread of population northwestward into Wisconsin. Wisconsin remained the center of Norwegian American activity up until the Civil War. In the 1850s Norwegian land seekers began moving into both Iowa and Minnesota, and serious migration to the Dakotas was underway by the 1870s. The majority of Norwegian agrarian settlements developed in the northern region of the so-called Homestead Act Triangle between the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers. The upper Midwest became the home for most immigrants.


 

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  • This page was last modified on 11 October 2010, at 17:17.
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