The First Wave: German Immigration to American

Since Columbus introduced (or re-introduced if you prefer) the Americas to Europe, people have come, wave after wave, seeking a new life in the rich new world. America, since its colonial days, has experienced an almost never ending flow of immigrants. There are at least four identifiable time periods in which “waves” of people came from all over the world. There are also “waves” of people who came in mass from a specific country or area. For example, most of the earliest colonists came from England. During the Great Depression people came in droves from all over the Europe and the world. Masses of Irish came during and after the Great Famine. Some of the most overlooked, yet largest waves of immigrants, were the Germans. German Immigration to America: The First Waveexamines those Germans who immigrated during the colonial period.

Germans were among the earliest colonist to the Americas. They are also one of the cultural groups who came in waves of mass migrations repeatedly over the years. 1708 saw the beginnings of the first major wave of German immigration. This book looks into the history of this important immigration event. The book examines why such a large population of Germans immigrated suddenly and in such numbers. The Germans brought with them many important trades and skills. Over the years their contributions to the United States have often go unrecognized but their value was there nonetheless. The book’s introduction comments of the German contribution to this country. It also provides some background to the German area of Europe and introduces the bulk of the book.

Beyond the introduction, this books is actually the compilation of two separate works which examine the German population that made up this “first wave.” The first chapters is a copy of “The German Exodus to England in 1709,” by Frank Reid Diffenderffer. The pages appear as they did in the Pennsylvania German Society Proceedings and Addresses 7 (1897). There are 156 pages in this section, numbered as they appeared in the aforementioned work, pages 247 to 413. The official contents (from the contents page) for the section are listed below. However, the subsections and page titles give a better look into the actual content. Here are just some of the extra titles to look for in this section of the book:

  • German Exodus to England in 1709
  • Inquiry into their Coming
  • Forwarded at the Queen’s Expense
  • Royal Proclamation
  • The Edict of Nantes
  • Immigration Attributed to the Act
  • Catholics Sent Back
  • The Germans Issue an Address
  • Occupations of the Germans
  • Narcissus Luttrell’s Diary
  • Proposals Received from Ireland
  • The Linen Industry Established
  • Thrifty, Hones, and Prosperous

The second work cited is “The German Emigration to America,” by Henry Eyster Jacobs. Jacobs work appeared in the Pennsylvania German Society Proceedings and Addresses 8 (1898), pages 31 to 150. Like the other section of the book, this section’s subtitles add additional insight to the contents not clear from the official contents as listed below. Here are some of the subtitles:

  • Inducement to Settlers
  • Description of the Carolinas
  • Cost of the Voyage
  • Value of Boehme’s Service
  • Contract with Emigrants
  • Hebron Ev. Lutheran Church
  • Covenant of the Palatines
  • Trebecco’s Sermon
  • Piratical Depredations
  • Fatalities on Shipboard
  • Refuge in Prayer
  • Trouble with Governor Hunter
  • Germans at the Front
  • They Secure More Land
  • Mistaken Views
  • Continued Immigration

The books introduction put forth that many Germans indicated “the French ravages in 1707″ as a key reason for leaving Germany. Military aggression in the German states was high at the time Germans began leaving the area in mass. This, and so many other reasons, are explored throughout the pages of this book. Either way, it is clear that Germans were among the first and largest group of immigrants to the United States and with them came vital skills and a heavy cultural influence.


Contents for “The German Exodus to England in 1709″


1. Immigration Begins

2. The German Exodus to England in 1709

3. Causes Leading to the Exodus

4. The Stay in England

5. The German Colony in Ireland

6. Conclusion

7. Cost of Maintaining These Germans



Contents for ” The German Emigration to America”

1. The Effort to Turn German Emigration to South Carolina

2. The Immediate Results of Kocherthal’s Pamphlet

3. The Palatine Emigration to New York

4. On the Ocean

5. In New York

6. To Pennsylvania


Order German Immigration to America: The First Wave from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: HBT0797, Price: $30.38.

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