THE ITALIAN EMIGRATION Emigration is a demographic phenomenon characterized by the displacement of large masses of population from one country to another or from one region to another in the same nation. In general, these events are motivated by an imbalance between population and resources. People that were born in places where there are no job opportunities sufficient to permit them to have a good life, they move to places where there are more possibilities of work and good living conditions. Historically, the most important migratory flow was one directed from Europe to the Americas, that had as protagonists, at different times, people of Spain, Scotland, Germany and Italy.
Italians have always been among the leaders of migratory flows. In the last years of nineteenth century, emigrants were 150.000 per year. Between 1906 and 1910, the annual number reached 300.000 units to touch a peak of 880.000 people in 1913. Moreover, Italian emigration, has been one of the most important events that have characterized the history of our country. For this reason we can remember the time when Italy became protagonist of this phenomenon.
We can distinguish four main phases: • 1 The first, from 1876 to 1900 • 2 The second, from 1900 to the First World War • 3 The third, between the two Wars • 4 the fourth, since the Second World War to the ‘60s/’70s
THE FIRST ITALIAN EMIGRATION (1876-1900) Statistics of the Italian Emigration in the late 1800. The emigrants left from: • Calabria - 275.926 - 5,2% • Campania - 520.791 - 9,9% • Emilia 220.745 - 4,2% • Friuli Venezia Giulia - 847.072 - 16,1% • Lombardia - 519.100 - 9,9% • Molise - 136.355 - 2,6% • Piemonte - 709.076 - 13,5 • Sicilia - 226.449 - 4,3% • Toscana - 290.111 - 5,5% • Veneto - 940.711 - 17,9%
ITALIANS WENT TO : • 1861-1870: the first country of destination was France then Germany and Switzerland. • 1871-1880: the first country of destination was France then Germany, Switzerland, Argentina, Brazil and Canada. • 1881-1890: the first country of destination was Argentina, then France, Usa, Canada, Brazil, Germany and Switzerland. • 1891-1900: the first country of destination was Brazil, then Usa, Canada, Argentina, France, Germany and Switzerland. The first phase is characterized by a discrete mass of migration flows. The later one without supervision and protection, made these movements “spontaneus” but not illegal. In this quarter of century, left 5300.000 people: the majority of them were men (81%). Moreover from Northen Italy left many more people.
REASONS • The economic situation (agricultural crisis, birth of the factories in the North and the replacement of artefacts) • The opportunities of enrichment, social economic accomodation, • The transport system that influenced the geographical location • Political factors, in favour or against emigration • Human factors • Overpopulation • Slow economic development • Tax burden ADVANTAGES • The spread of Italian culture • Remittance of money to families DISADVANTAGES • Departure of active forces • Abandonment of traditional jobs • Separation from families • Demographic imbalance
Italian emigrants who left Italy in the late 800 and early 900’s, travelled in terrible conditions, stacked into the cabins of the third class, in the transatlantics which departed from the major Italian ports. One of the most important means of transport of the time was the Transatlantic “Conte Verde”. This beautiful ship was built in 1922, as a twin of the “Conte Rosso”. They could reach a speed of 19 knots and could carry out 2500 passengers divided into three classes, the first class was luxuriously furnished.
THE SECOND EMIGRATION The secondItalianemigrationisknownas “greatemigration”. The mostcoveteddestinationwas America. Since the end of 800’ onwords, millionsofItaliansmostlypeasants, notonlycoming from the South butalso from the North, took the ship to go to USA or to developingcountries and in needoflabour, like Latin America (Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil), Canada, Australia. The first periodofgreatemigrationwasmanifestedbetween the end of 800’ and the beginningof 900’. In the first decenniumof the newcentury, Italy lost more thantwomillioninhabitants. The out- break of the first world war stopped the migratorymovementduring the conflict, but the flow to foreignlandsbeganagainimmediatelyafter the end of the war. Since 1931 therewas a second stop, mainly due to UnitedStatesthat cut down the numberofallowedemigrants and thenalso due to ourgovernmentthatcurbed the emigrationabroad. During the second world war, the stop of the migratory flow was more considerablebecauseItaliancitizenswholived in some foreigncountries, wereconsidered “enemies”. The flow restartedbetween 1946 and 1971, periodwhenitwasrecorded the loss ofentiregenerationsofworkers. Emigrantsdeparted from the portsof Genoa, Napoli and Palermo. The mostimportantdestination in America was New York. ForallItalianemigrants the arrival in USA and the impact with the reality of New York weretraumaticexperiences. Manyofthemhad the mythof New York like the landofhappiness. In reality, New York, was a kindof jungle wheretherewere people withoutscruples. New York wasknownas “Island of the tears”.
THE CONDITIONS OF LIFE AND PREJUDICES In the mostimportant American citieswereborn “littleitalies”, neighborhoodswhereItalianslived. The languagewas the dialectof the differentareas. Italianswereammassed in tenements, where the conditionsof life wereveryprecarious. Italianswereaccused to bedirty, to have a low lifestyle, to benoisy. Calabrians and Sicilianswereconsidered a contribution to the growthofdelinquency. THE CHANGES OF THE IMMIGRATED TRADITIONAL FAMILY Soontherewerechanges in the original culture ofimmigrants. The traditionalItalian family in contactwith the American society enteredintocrisis. First ofall in the school. Immigrants’ sonsunderstood to bedifferent from otherchildren and theystartedtofeelashemed to beItalians. Theirnameswerecripped to sound more English; so nameslike: Michele, Antonio, Giovanni, became: Micheal, Antony, Johnny.