The American People
The United States has the third-largest population in the world (in 1990 - 250 millions). The most characteristic for US is its people who come from different parts of the world and have influenced its history and culture.
The Native Americans
The first people how had inhabited America come from Asia (across Bering Strait from Siberia to Alaska). They migrated about 40,000 years ago across North America and south through Central and South America. In fifteenth century Columbus discover America and people who had been living there called ‘Indians’ (by a mistake because he believed he had reached the East Indies). In North America were about 10 million people with different kinds of societies. Since that time the amount of Native Americans have decreased till 1,5 million Indians, one – third of them live on reservations (lands that was set aside for them), others in cities. The main problems of reservations are poverty & unemployment.
Since 1600 the British settled the eastern part of North America. So the culture of that colonist was thoroughly British – with an American ‘twist’ and also was a foundation on which America was built.
African – Americans
From 1620 to 1820 about 8 millions of West Africans were brought to work as a slaves, especially on the American plantations, or large farms, of the South. The Civil War, in the 1860s, ended slavery and establishment equal rights for black Americans. But many states like South passed laws segregating and discriminating against black Americans. The civil rights movement, in the 1950s and 1960s, helped get rid of these laws. Despite the fact of changes, black Americans are still much more likely than white Americans to be poor and to suffer the bad effects that poverty brings. Today about 12% of Americans is black.
The problems in Europe such as poverty, war or discrimination influence on rapidly increase of the number of immigrants coming to US. First immigrants were from northwestern Europe precisely Germany. (For example in the late 1840s widespread hunger resulting from the failure of the potato crop led many Irish people to emigrate to the US.) Many of them became farmers in the Midwest. To this day, German and Scandinavian influence is obvious in Midwestern foods and festivals.
Immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe
From the 1870s to the 1930s 9 million people came from the countries of southern and eastern Europe – for example Italy, Greece, Poland, and Russia – to escape poverty and discriminations. During this period, the US was changing from a mainly agricultural to a mainly industrial country. The new immigrants helped make this chance possible. Most of them settled in the cities and worked in factories. In the 1920s laws of America limited immigrations.
Hispanic – Americans
Hispanics are people of Spanish or Spanish – American origin. Some Hispanics lived in areas that later became part of the US (California, New Mexico). In recent years Hispanic immigration has increased greatly. Within 25 years, they will be the largest minority group.
Asian – Americans
In the nineteenth century, laws limited Asian immigration. Asians also met with widespread discrimination. Since the mid – 1960s they have been a major immigrant group. Many of them have settled in California, Hawaii, New York, and Texas.
Melting Pots and Mosaics
People from all over the world come and adopt the American culture as their own, its why United States are called a ‘melting pot’ or compare to a mosaic. America’s strength lies in its diversity and in the contributions made by people of many different cultures. Diversity of US is needed for people to make sure that everyone has equal opportunity to succeed.
People emigrate because of: