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Peopling North America: Population Movements & Migration

Terrestial globe, Shibukawa Harumi, 1690

This tutorial from the Applied History Research Group at the University of Calgary presents a narrative overview of the history of migrations from Europe, Asia, and Africa to and within Canada, the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The site contains seven chronological sections. "Early Migrations to the Americas" covers the prehistoric records and explains the archaeological and anthropological evidence of the spread of humans from Africa to other parts of the world and into North America, as well as the earliest known contacts between Native Americans and Norse settlers of Greenland from the 11th to 13th centuries. "European Migrations to North America" and "European Migrations to Mexico and the Caribbean" discuss the major influences on migration from Europe to the New World, migration patterns, and impact of migration on both the Native Americans and Europeans. "African Migrations to the New World" provides an outline of slavery and the slave trade from the slave systems existing in Africa before European contact, major influences on the slave trade, and the antislavery movement. "Asian and African Labor: Indenture and Beyond" outlines the emergence of Indian, African, and Asian indentured servitude in the British colonies of the Caribbean, the British plantations of Southeast Asia, and the Americas after slavery's elimination in the late 19th century. "The Changing Nature of Migration" covers the shifts in migration patterns from the late 19th century through World War II, a time in which increased nativist sentiment and war caused tighter restrictions on immigration into North America. This period also saw the beginning of the North/South migration in the United States. "Migrations after World War II" examines the global population movements and large-scale migrations caused by war, unrest, and perceived economic opportunity.

The tutorial contains no primary documents, though the narrative is illustrated with more than 50 images, maps, and illustrations of migrants, their lives, and their work. There is a glossary of terms, a bibliography of roughly 150 related scholarly works, and links to 21 related websites. This site is a good background source for undergraduates and teachers studying immigration and colonization.