Migration: Crash Course European Historical past #29

published on July 2, 2020

hi I'm John Green and this is crash

course European history so between 1840

and 1914 an astonishing 40 million

people left Europe it was one of the

greatest migrations in human history and

it might seem a little odd because like

after all Europe was leading in

technological and other innovations at

the time

agriculture was thriving railroads were

creating an increasingly dense network

across the continent to move goods more

efficiently and connect people to each

other so why would anyone let alone 40

million people want to leave the most

prosperous region in the world well for

one thing in many European communities

the idea that people could move was new

peasants were less likely to be legally

required to work the land their

ancestors had worked but also Europe's

prosperity was not universal or even

widely shared and so while nations

became richer than ever before many of

the people in those nations were left

out of that prosperity the more things

change role the interest and I'm about

to get political

[Music]

okay so one-third of those 40 million

emigrants were from the United Kingdom

which is surprising because the UK was

becoming a global world power and

perhaps the most prosperous European

nation but you have to remember that at

the time all of Ireland was part of the

UK and in the hungry 40s some 125

million Irish people migrated to avoid

starvation a good example that

inequality often coexists with

prosperity then from 1850 until 1914

Irish people migrated at a rate of

65,000 per year more than two million

additional people among them were two of

my great-grandfather's this Irish

diaspora which stretched from Austria to

India was summarized famously in Irish

expat James Joyce's novel Ulysses when

the character bloom says a nation is the

same people living in the same place

and then a moment later adds or in

different places the Western Hemisphere

was a common destination for these new

migrants as were Australia and New

Zealand the first British immigrants to

Australia were convicts but later the

British government offered large tracts

of land in Australia and New Zealand to

wealthy entrepreneurs land that was seen

as available although in fact it was the

traditional land of Aboriginal people

people also moved in search of work

opportunities especially because

projects around the world needed

laborers once slavery was abolished

European based entrepreneurs and

colonial plantation owners used agents

to comb India and China in particular to

find workers to indenture that is to

bind to a project through a written

contract they would cajole and routinely

lie about working conditions and the

lengths of these contracts women for

instance were often promised jobs as

nurse maids in English households and

then found themselves shipped to

plantations in the Caribbean or the

South Pacific or even to brothels

similarly agents manipulated people in

Scandinavia and Eastern Europe promising

them a golden future and convincing them

to emigrate especially after the global

economic downturn of 1873

thanks to refridge

raishin and a more global market for

meat prices for food and livestock were

declining villages in some areas were

decimated especially in places with

shorter growing seasons like Scandinavia

Seoul and there was supporting fewer and

fewer farmers as food prices declined

between 1886 and 1900 more than 10% of

all Swedes emigrated many went to North

America which is why the pickled herring

is so good in Minnesota the experience

of these emigrants was mixed in some

cases they built strong and prosperous

communities in others they struggled

mightily eventually migration did lose

its luster in Sweden in part because you

know lots of people had left which meant

there was more work opportunities for

the people who remained and in part

because hydroelectric energy yielded

lots of new jobs in national wealth

renewable energy it's the future and the

past in other cases migrants followed

their own family or village networks to

new lands this is how for instance

Sicilian emigration to North America

often worked Sicily had long been

denuded of its trees for Greek shipping

and locals were facing taxation from a

new national government that was

dominated by manufacturers and Finance

ears in the north Sicilian men and some

women migrated whether alone or with

family many to North American towns and

villages where they worked a variety of

jobs a good number returned home after

earning enough to set up a store or

finance a family member's business and

the women who remained after their male

relatives left created clusters and

communities of so-called widows in white

waiting for funds to be sent home or for

their relatives to return so between

1870 and 1890 most of Europe's emigrants

were from prosperous and powerful

countries 47% came from Britain another

18% from Germany but between 1890 and

World War one other regions began to

dominate millions left austria-hungary

and the Russian Empire entire regiments

left in 1907 in order to earn money in

America wrote one observer of the scene

many houses stood empty and in many

others only old women and small children

remained behind in some villages the

entire young generation left home

everyone believed that America was the

promised land a true paradise ah America

where the streets are paved with cheese

am I the only person who remembers the

movie americantale possibly literally

yes did the center of the world just

open is there an American flag stuck

inside of a diet dr pepper cannon there

I'm a little worried this might be

against the rules of how you're supposed

to display the flag and I apologize we

didn't have anything else if you've

watched a lot of crash course you've

seen a lot of this American flag but did

you know that it is not just any

American flag it is the American flag

that our friend and colleague mark was

given when he became an American our

office like so many offices in the

United States has been tremendously

strengthened by immigration and that

shouldn't be a political statement in

the Russian Empire many people left but

especially Jews Christians had assaulted

Jews and their property for generations

and acts called pogroms and after the

assassination of tsar alexander ii in

1881 by political radicals Russians

launched more pogroms the government had

tried integrating their vast empire

composed of more than a hundred

different ethnic groups with a program

called rusev occation but when that did

not work to its satisfaction the

government changed course toward

negative integration vilifying non

Russian ethnic and religious groups

expelling or restricting several of them

Jews were foremost among those groups

one active vilification really stands

out officials in the police department

of the Ministry of the Interior produced

a phony account called protocols of the

Elders of Zion it documented a Jewish

plot entirely concocted by these Russian

officials for a Jewish takeover of the

world and that forgery shows us just how

determined people were to demonize Jews

so that they could be persecuted

expelled and even killed in fact the

protocols spread across Europe and the

world with increasingly disastrous

results and even today it often fuels

anti-semitic conspiracy theories and in

this atmosphere of escalating pogroms

and persecution ukrainians lithuanian x'

poles and others fled the russian empire

at the turn of the 20th century among

them tens of

of Jewish people in contrast non-jewish

ethnic Russians were forbidden to leave

so as in Ireland migration from the

Russian Empire had an ethnic religious

and class dimension that was fostered by

governments and their agents in Hungary

agents searched out Croatians Ukrainians

and other ethnicities often the poorest

in society to sign up for foreign

ventures this was part of Hungary's

attempt to mug your eyes Hungarian

society that is make the population more

culturally Hungarian in austria-hungary

some officials promoted migration but

others were opposed to it and each group

of opponents had their own reasons

military planners saw villages emptied

of potential recruits nationalists

wanted people of their own ethnicity

blocked from leaving their communities

and large landowners often found that

cheap local labour had fled to places

where there were better jobs in 1903 the

government decreed that Hungarian men

would not be allowed to emigrate

although loopholes kept this draconian

law from ever being fully effective

Austria had especially attempted to curb

emigration without much luck and for her

Francis Joseph even sponsored a project

to try to get emigrate to return other

efforts to curb population outflows

focused on the agents recruiting people

to emigrate countries passed laws

against recruiters after 1850 and

brought some of them to trial as illegal

traffickers of women and children and

British reformers even got legislation

passed to check that Chinese and Indians

entering into indentured contracts were

not being enslaved by those contracts

across Europe these agents were often

stereotyped as being Jewish and the

Christian migrants were seen as their

innocent victims and because women might

be drawn into prostitution the supposed

criminal activity of agents was another

reason for chivalrous men to remove not

just women's rights but their mobility

and so you see here how two marginalized

communities become more marginalized by

systems of power all that noted

officials tended to allow those deemed

inferior in one way or another to leave

often even encouraging their departure

for instance the jewish colonisation

association formed in 1891 was allowed

to recruit

across Russia as the Empire implemented

more policies for ethnic purity how

these immigrant voyagers fared varied

widely let's go to the thought-bubble

for most the voyage out of Europe was

grueling even death-defying as border

guards and travel personnel often

stripped them of their already meager

possessions others experienced

additional trauma especially when

epidemics broke out as Jews like the

Irish were increasingly labeled as

slovenly or germ-ridden officials

administered shock remedies in her

autobiography Mary Anton a Jewish

migrant from Belarus to the United

States late in the 19th century

remembered being herded like animals

forced to remove her clothing than a

slippery substance that might be any bad

thing rubbed on her body ending with the

steam of the shower blinding us the

treatment was a sanitary effort but the

way it was administered felt cruel and

dehumanizing others experienced the end

of the journey as traumatic although the

time it took to cross oceans had

dramatically declined because of steam

ships arriving in a big and unfamiliar

coastal city could be profoundly

disorienting people who'd been

accustomed to a rural pace of life we're

now searching for arduous low-level work

where they could be expected to work 10

or more hours per day six or seven days

per week those left behind were also

affected by emigration dear husband Tia

Philip brickowski of Warsaw Poland wrote

in 1893 to her husband in the United

States I don't know what to do from

longing and regret I comfort myself only

that you won't forget me teo Phila

living in poverty and shunned by her

neighbors never again heard from her

husband thanks thought-bubble

I guess after centuries of serfdom and

slavery movement itself was sold as pure

freedom

despite its paradoxes and complexity to

move from rural areas to urban spaces or

from one nation to another or one

continent to another did constitute a

form of Liberty and one that had not

been available to most of those 40

million emigrants ancestors but the

propaganda campaign

that encouraged movement also targeted

certain classes of people as undesirable

to have in a community those suffering

from pogroms or famines were being

further marginalized and often blamed

for their own suffering and for any

other suffering in the community the

Irish were accused of being famous

everywhere for their indolence and

criticized for their cunning brutalized

features they had themselves to thank

for their poverty Mary Anton meanwhile

recalled being spit on by non-jewish

children as well as in during the

pogroms that often began with the trio

of the crosses and the priests and the

mob passing through her neighborhood as

it turns out migration for many was

coercive dangerous and even lethal for

others it was an escape from poverty and

deprivation one Swedish emigrant perhaps

remembering his meager fare of brown

bread and herring celebrated his move to

the United States by saying God saved me

from all that is Swedish except for the

herring one hopes but that perspective

certainly wasn't universal once again

how history looks depends upon where you

are sitting thanks for watching we'll

see you next time

crash course is filmed here in the Jaden

Smith studios in Indianapolis thank you

to jaden smith and indeed all of our

patrons at patreoncom slash crash

course we've got lots about the crash

courses including one about artificial

intelligence that is absolutely

fascinating thanks again for watching

and as they say in my hometown don't

forget to be awesome

[Music]

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