Migration history in the Americas

Authored by: Donna R. Gabaccia

Routledge International Handbook of Migration Studies

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415779722
eBook ISBN: 9780203863299
Adobe ISBN: 9781135183493


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Most studies of migration focus either on North or South (or Latin) America or on the few countries of the Americas (Canada, Argentina, and the United States) that have made immigration central to their national histories. This chapter offers a very long-term perspective on migrations in the Americas. It draws on world historians (who use archaeological, genetic analysis, and historical linguistics in order to describe prehistoric movements), on historians of the early modern Atlantic and modern era of migrations from Europe and Asia, and on social scientific studies of contemporary migrations. Those studying the most recent of these migrations are far more likely than historians to emphasize their unprecedented size and significance. Historians agree that the origins of recent migrants in the Americas are more diverse than in the past but otherwise view recent migrations as merely the latest phase in much older processes of social, economic, and cultural transformation accompanying human mobility.

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