Thursday, October 14, 2010
Coming to America
The earliest German immigration to American came in the form of individual Germans among the Dutch who, in 1620, settled New Amsterdam - which later became New York. They were predominately from peasant backgrounds or were people who had worked in cottage industries. Some were also soldiers of the Dutch West Indies Company, carrying on an already long tradition of German mercenary soldiers. Later, in the seventeenth century, William Penn made a tour of German in 1677 to recruit immigrants for his colony of Pennsylvania. Religious toleration in Pennsylvania was a special attraction to those Germans whose religion differed from that of their respective established churches in their regions of Germany. Pennsylvania thus attracted the first sizable German communities in America, largely from the Rhineland region.