In Search of a Home: Nineteenth-century Wendish Immigration
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In the previous century, a large portion of the smallest of the Slavonic nations left their German homeland and migrated to three distant continents. George R. Nielsen, in this revised edition of his classic study of Wendish migration, carefully describes the details of immigration and weighs the possible explanations for the exodus, the settlement, and acculturation patterns that resulted. The earliest emigrants traveled to Australia, but despite efforts to encourage unity, they were unsuccessful, and no single, large Wendish settlement was formed. The largest number migrated to Texas, where at Serbin, under the leadership of pastor Jan Kilian, they formed a Wendish community, retaining their own language in church, school, and home. Local agricultural conditions, however, proved too poor to sustain many people, so the Wends of Texas also scattered and eventually lost most of their ethnic distinctiveness. Smaller numbers of Wends migrated to Canada, Nebraska, and South Africa. These Wends generally settled among Germans and were absorbed by the local German communities. This work promises to continue as the standard reference on the overseas resettlement of these distinctive people.
GEORGE R. NIELSEN taught from 1959 to 1997 at Concordia College in River Forest, Illinois. His research and publications have concentrated on ethnic and frontier history.
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