Nursery Rhymes

Norwegian Immigration to America Timeline

Legend tells that Leif Ericson sailed to the North American continent and established a colony called Vinland in 1002 and his expedition included the first immigrants to the US.

However, the first large waves of migrants began in the 1600's and Norwegians travelled with their Dutch allies to the lands of the New World. The History Timeline of Norwegian Immigration to America includes important dates and events in the history of Norway that contributed to the push and pull factors which led to mass immigration from Norway.

Norwegian Immigration to America Timeline
Famous historical events include settlements in Colonial America, the Sloopers, the potato blight, famines and the Great Migration from Norway. The Norwegian Immigration to America Timeline highlights the Push and Pull factors of immigration such as political and religious persecution, wars that occured in Norway together with dates of any natural disasters such as floods, plague, crop failures and famine.

Norwegian Immigration to America Timeline
According to the US Bureau of the Census of 2011 a total of 4,557,539 Americans claimed to be solely or partially of Norwegian descent.

Norwegian-Americans made a significant impact on the culture of Americans and the history of the United States as can be seen in the following timeline detailing these immigrants to America.



The Vikings from the countries of Scandinavia begin their raids.



Norwegian explorer Leif Ericson, the son of Eric the Red, sailed to the North American continent and established a colony called Vinland.



The Christianization of the Danish people by King Olaf II Haraldsson, later known as St. Olaf, ended the age of the Vikings.



Protestant reformation in Norway, initiated by Martin Luther replaced the Roman Catholic religion for the majority of the population.



Norway was closely allied to Holland. The early Norwegian immigrants came across in Dutch ships and settled in the Dutch colony known as New Netherland in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware.



The introduction of the Danish grain monopoly (1735 - 1788) caused severe shortages of grain in Norway that led to famine and conflict.



Crop failures led to a terrible period of famine in Norway which was followed by disease and dire poverty causing thousands of deaths. Norwegians began to look to America as an escape from the devastation, political strife and hunger.



The famine led to the emergence of several pious reform movements.



Farmers in Norway protested against the grain trading restrictions that resulted in a rising and rebellions known as the Strile War, the 'strilekrig'.



The series of famines and rebellions decreased when the grain monopoly ended.



The 'Sloopers' voyage on the 'Restauration' led by Lars Larsen Geilane and Cleng Peerson land in New York. The 'Sloopers' were Quakers and Haugean reformists who emigrated to escape the religious prosecution of the Lutheran state church in Norway.



Cleng Peerson and the 'Sloopers' were admired as they were similar to the Mayflower pilgrims. Many of the 'Sloopers' went on to establish the settlement at 'Norway, Illinois'.



A devastating potato blight hit Norway leading to 50,000 deaths through starvation and disease.



Many poor people from Norway opted to sign contracts for 5 - 7 years as indentured servants. By the end of the 1860s there were more than 40,000 Norwegians in the United States.



The Famine of 1866 - 1868 prompted the first large wave of Norwegian immigrants. Over 110,000 people were forced to leave Norway between 1866 and 1873. Popular places for settlement were New York, Illinois, and Wisconsin.



Author Svein Nilsson (1826-1908) immigrated to America and wrote about the lives and experiences of Norwegian immigrants.



The financial panic of 1873, aka the Long Depression, hit the US and halted the flow of immigrants.



The Great Migration from Norway was prompted by the economic recovery in the US and the swift industrialization. Between 1880 – 1890, 256,068 Norwegians emigrated to the US - more than one-ninth of the total population of Norway.



Between 1881 - 1890 5,246,613 immigrants gained entry to the US and pressure mounted on the government to pass restrictive immigration laws.



The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York Harbor, the landmark for all immigrants from Norway.



The 1891 Immigration Act provided for the regulation of immigration and the inspection of immigrants.



The Ellis Island immigration center was opened where immigrants from Europe, including Norway, were required to undertake to medical and legal examinations.



The Immigration Act of 1924 (Johnson-Reed Act) was passed restricting the number of immigrants to the US



Norwegian Immigration to America has declined from this time

Norwegian Immigration to America Timeline

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