Historical background

First waves of immigrants

The history of US immigration starts with the early settlers on the North American continent in the 1600s following the Age of Discovery. The United States is a nation founded by immigrants with the first immigrant settlements being founded by people from European countries. The first wave of massive migration from Europe lasted until the American Revolution (1775), with most immigrants coming from Britain, Germany, The Low Countries, and France. Most of them became farmers. Gradually, British colonies dominated the area of North America that is now the US. However, it is important to note that America was already inhabited by indigenous people, who were often persecuted, killed, or oppressed by early settlers.

Since the cost of transport to the American continent was high, some immigrants worked as servants until the cost of the journey was paid. Another category of early immigrants were African slaves, who started being brought to the US around 1619. 

Between 1770 and 1830, the immigration rate to the US decreased – mostly as a re...

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