Immigration timeline picture

Immigration Policies/Internal Migration

By kgmmko
  • Jan 1, 1000

    Scandinavian Exploration

    Scandinavian Exploration
    Around 1000 AD, some Scandinavian seafarers accidentally came across what is thought to be Newfoundland, the northeastern corner of North America. Sporadic voyages westward ensued in the coming centuries.
  • Period: Jan 1, 1485 to Jan 1, 1530

    Scientific Revolution: European Renaissance

    It was during the European Revolution that the Scientific Revolution came about. It inspired a widespread thirst for exploration and adventure. Subsequently, faster and more stable ships, more advanced technology and map making, and the increased efficiency of the printing press, all fueled an age of discovery and extension of boundaries. Young men who sought gold, God, and glory were often sent by European leaders to conquest territory.
  • Oct 1, 1492


    Sponsored by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Columbus and his fleet of 3 ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, set sail West in search of an alternate trade route with the Far East. He is credited with the discovering of the Americas.
  • Jan 1, 1494


    After the Columbus' monumental voyage and discover, Spanish and Portugese explorers spread into the Americas. They settled many different cities and towns under Spanish influence. Conquistadors such as Magellan and Cortes expanded the riches of Spain while enslaving the and abusing the Native populations they came across. Spain's colonial empire spread into present-day states of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida.
  • Period: Jan 1, 1517 to

    Religious Conflict in Europe

    Beginning in the European Renaissance of the late 15th and early 14th centuries, people began to disagree with the Catholic Church. Martin Luther, a german preacher protested the Catholic Church's doctrines and began the Protestant Reformation as he withdrew from the Catholic Church. The separation thus provoked a series of religious wars in Europe between Catholics and Protestants from 1521-1648.
  • Jan 1, 1524

    French in North America

    French in North America
    The French began there exploration and colonization of North America in 1524. They mainly focused on present-day Canada and upper Northeastern US. They were known for their friendly relationships with Native Americans. They used the Mississippi River to transport traded goods all the way to New Orleans.
  • Jan 1, 1565


    Roanoke was the first ever English settlement in America. It was established by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1565, but mysteriously vanished soon after.
  • Virginia Company

    Virginia Company
    The Virginia Company was established in 1607. It allowed for the settlement of the colony of Jamestown in Virginia because it would provide them with goods not common there. Captain John Smith was put in charge of the colony in order to find gold, spread Christianity, and secure a passage to India.
  • Period: to

    British Colonization in America

    Over this time period, English settlers came to America for religious, economic, or other personal reasons and settled teh 13 original colonies. They were Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
  • Colonial Slavery

    Colonial Slavery
    It has been said that as early as 1619, slaves started being imported from Africa and the West Indies to help support plantations in the southern colonies. The slave trade ultimately led to the Civil War and many years of turmoil in regards to Civil Rights and fighting racism,
  • Plymouth

    Separatists landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620. Before leaving the boat, and knowing they would be outside the control of their mother country (England) or Jamestown, the Separatists (pilgrims) developed the Mayflower Compact to set up a self-government. The Pilgrims were the first people to settle in present day New England region.
  • Hudson's Dutch Colony

    Hudson's Dutch Colony
    The Dutch West India company established a New Netherland in New York in 1623. Henry Hudson originally sailed into the Delaware and New York Bays in 1609, and thus the river was named after him. Manhattan became a bustiling company town for the Dutch during this era.
  • Massachusetts Bay Colony

    Massachusetts Bay Colony
    Puritan's fearing for England's future formed the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1629. In a time often called the "Great Migration", English refugees poured into the colonies in the New World. It has been estimated that over 70,000 people left England for the colonies in the 1630s. John Winthrop, famously coining the phrase "city on a hill" about the city of Boston, was the first governor of this colony.
  • Maryland

    In 1634, Lord Baltimore, aka George Calvert, began Maryland as a safe haven for Catholics in the New World. Many Catholics went to live there in an effort to escape the wrath of the restrictive Protestant government. It was here that the Act of Toleration was passed which claimed tolerance to all Christian religions.
  • Expansion of Slave Trade in Colonies

    Expansion of Slave Trade in Colonies
    The Royal African Company lost its monopoly on the slave trade in 1698. Now many Americans rushed into the Slave Trade. Blacks made up half the population in Virginia, and there were twice as many blacks as there were whites in South Carolina at this time due to the constant importation of them.
  • Proclamation of 1763

    Proclamation of 1763
    In response to Pontiac's Rebellion, the British government issued the Proclamtion of 1763, limiting the colonists freedom. To avoid future bloody encounters with the Indians, teh British ruled that the colonists were not to settle beyond the Appalachian mountains. Many colonists disregarded this Proclamation.
  • State Capitals Migrate

    State Capitals Migrate
    The Continental Congress of 1776 had called colonies to draft new constitutions. During this time period, many state capitals followed the migration of the people and moved westward. These states include New Hampshire, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The shift of the capitals indicates that there was a large internal migration of the people in this time.
  • Population Boom and States Admitted

    Population Boom and States Admitted
    The US Constitution was launched and the United States saw its population boom as it doubled every 20 years with an influx in immigration. America's population stood at 90% rural with 5% living west of the Appalachians. Soon after, in 1791, Vermont became the 14th state and Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio followed soon after that. With the population increasing, more and more internal migration was seen to these new states.
  • Period: to

    Nine Frontier States Join

    Between these time periods, nine new frontier states had joined the original thirteen. There was an explosive expansion of the West which triggered mass internal migration.
  • Period: to

    The March of the Millions (Irish)

    The population continued to double every 25 years, and by 1860, the original 13 states now became 33 states and the American population was 4th in the world. Near 1850, millions of Irish and Germans immigrated to the US. The Irish Potatoe Famine send the Irish fleeing to the US. In the "Black Forties" immigrants mainly came to cities like Boston and New York. The US had adapted to this surplus of immigration. The Ancient Order of Hibernians was established to aid the Irish.
  • The Louisiana Purchase

    The Louisiana Purchase
    Jefferson urged the purchase of Louisiana as it doubled the size of the United States. This purchase was the biggest bargain in history, averaging 3 cents per acre. This event was significant as both parties of government as they changed their philosophical beliefs about the Constitution. The Federalists didnt want the purchase because they foresaw that new lands meant new settlers and new states, which they were right as migration flourished upon this purchase.
  • Battle of Horseshoe Bend

    Battle of Horseshoe Bend
    The Indians were not happy as more and more Americans migrated into their land. There were several battles in which the Indians fought for ownership of their land. At the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Andrew Jackson crushed the Creek Indians. This had effectively broke the Indian Rebellion, and had left the entire area east of the Mississippi open for safe settlement. Therefore, the American people had acquired more land to migrate and settle within, further expanding the US.
  • American Colonizing Society

    American Colonizing Society
    Blacks were transported back to Africa by the American Colonizing Society. As a result, in 1822, the Republic of Libera was founded for blacks to live. Most blacks disliked this, for they had no desire to be placed in a strange civilization after they had been Americanized.
  • The Florida Purchase Treaty

    The Florida Purchase Treaty
    This treaty had Spain cede Florida and claims to Oregon in exchange for Texas. The US had paid $5 million to Spain for Florida. This provided more expansion and in return, immigration and migration continued to blossom.
  • Missouri Compromise

    Missouri Compromise
    Missouri was admitted as a slave state while Maine was admitted as a free state. This compromise established that all new states north of the 36 30' line would be free, and all new states southward would be slave. This effected the United States with internal migration as it distinguished states slave and free.
  • Period: to

    Transportation Surges Migrations

    Steamboats caused an increase in trade by the 1830s, and contributed to the development of Southern and Western economies. The first railroad was introduced in 1828, and by 1860, 30,000 miles of railroad tracks covered the US. Transportation mechanisms had bound the South to the East, the East to the West, and so forth. This allowed internal migration to surge as transportation developed in these years.
  • Indian Removal Act

    Indian Removal Act
    Jackson proposed that the Indians be bodily transferred west of the Mississippi. The act was passed and the Indians were moved to Oklahoma. Several guerrilla warfare was waged but was broken by the US. Many Indians fled deeper into the Everglades of Florida and others moved along to Oklahoma.
  • Period: to

    March of the Millions (Germans)

    1 million Germans poured into the US in this timespan, mainly because of crop failures and the revolution/ War of 1848. Germans had more money than the Irish, and had bought land in the West, specifically in Wisconsin. The German immigration had an enormous impact on the United States.
  • Texas is Recognized as a State

    Texas is Recognized as a State
    Stephen Austin made an agreement in 1823 with the Mexican government to bring about 300 families into granted land to be Mexicanized, but stipulations had been ignorned. Jackson was hesitant to recognize Texas as a state, but did so on his last day before he left office. With this addition brings much internal migration.
  • Oregon Trail

    Oregon Trail
    The Oregon trail was used popularly throughout the 1840s. It was a 2000 mile trail that stretched across America. It was a common route to the state of Oregon.
  • Manifest Destiny

    Manifest Destiny
    James K Polk ran for election for the Democratic party. In 1844. The idea of Manifest Destiny was introduced with this party, which was the concept that the US was destined to expand across the continent to get as much land as possible.
  • Texas Annexed

    Texas Annexed
    Polk became president in 1844. The next year, the government invited Texas to become the 28th state of the Union. Texas was annexed into the Union, and Mexico complained that the Americans had despoiled it of Texas.
  • North of the Rio Grande

    North of the Rio Grande
    As a result of the conclusion of the Mexican-American War, America gained territory from Texas to California north of the Rio Grande. Polk only had to pay 18 million $ for California, which some people felt guilty about, because it should have been 25 million $.
  • Gold Rush

    Gold Rush
    In California, gold was discovered in 1848. Thousands of men flooded to the state.
  • Underground Railroad

    Underground Railroad
    The Underground Railroad took more and more runaway slaves from the South to the North.
  • Califronia Annexed

    Califronia Annexed
    California was admitted as a free state.
  • Kansas Free State

    Kansas Free State
    As a result of becoming a free state, Northerners began to pour into Kansas.
  • Repelled Immigrants

    Repelled Immigrants
    The south repelled immigrants from Europe. These immigrants then went North, which made northern America even richer.
  • Petroleum in Pennsylvannia

    Petroleum in Pennsylvannia
    Petroleum was disovered in Pennsylvania. This caused many people to migrate there.
  • Secession

    The population of the Union decreased when South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas all seceded after the election of Lincoln.
  • Great Sioux Reservation and Indian Territory

    Great Sioux Reservation and Indian Territory
    In the 1860's, the federal government forced Indians into confined settlements. The "Great Sioux Reservation" was located in Dakota Territory, and the Indian Territory was located in Oklahoma. The Indians were not used to outside authority, and the government expected them to hunt and graze their own livestock. The government started oppressing the Indians, because gold was located on their reservations.
  • Homestead Act

    Homestead Act
    The Homestead Act offered 160 acres of land to anyone that would settle it for 5 years, make improvements, and pay a fee. The purpose of this was to increase the population on western land, and provide a stimulus for farms. This act turned out to be unjust, because the land was usually ruined in some way, and many people were forced to give their land back to the government.
  • Blacks finally free

    Blacks finally free
    After the conclusion of the Civil War, reconstruction began. In the south, blacks were now free, and many traveled to different places to find new work or lost loved ones.
  • Transcontinental Railroad Completed

    Transcontinental Railroad Completed
    The completion of the transcontinental railroad was important to the mass migration pushing the frontier line west. The railroad transported goods and people across the country much faster, therefore supporting the peopling of the west. They could have succesful businesses in the west by selling their products to people in the east. As the Americans moved west, the Native Americans lost the little land they had left. In other words, the completion of the railroad affected people everywhere.
  • Admitted States

    Admitted States
    Colorado- Admitted 1876, West experiences population burst. Other states admitted: North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming. Utah was soon admitted in 1896.
    "Sooners" enter illegally in District of Oklahoma. Oklahoma then considered "Sooner State"
  • New Immigration

    New Immigration
    Prior to this time, the immigrants coming to America were collectively, a fairly literate and civilized group. They were accustomed to a similar governing style and understood how to survive in an industrialized city. This characterization seemed to change in the 1880's. The "New Immigrants" were mainly from eastern Europe. Their home countries were incredibly impoverished, and they came to America with hardly anything to build a new life upon.
  • 1st Legislation Restricting Immigration

    1st Legislation Restricting Immigration
    Congress' first legislation to limit immigration was to send paupers, criminals, and convicts back to their old country. It was later followed by the Chinese Exclusion Act.
  • Chinese Exclusion Act

    Chinese Exclusion Act
    This act was the first measure taken by Federal government to limit immigration. It said that no more Chines people could enter the United States.
  • Importation of Foreign Workers Prohibited

    Importation of Foreign Workers Prohibited
    In 1885, US government passed legislation prohibiting the importation of foreign workers. Many factory owners were importing the laborers with the intention of underpaying them. This led to the deflation of wages for native born Americans, so the government tried to stop it.
  • Dawes Severalty Act

    Dawes Severalty Act
    Indians were granted 160 acres of land to each family in the west. This was expected to help Indians adapt to the American culture. If the Indians acted like good white settlers, they were granted citizenship and full ownership of the land.
  • Hull House

    Hull House
    The Hull House was set up by Jane Addams in order to improve city life for immigrants. It was designed to assimilate immigrants through classes and lectures. It was a safe haven for immigrants who had little money and were not capable of surviving in the city on their own.
  • The Vanishing Frontier

    The Vanishing Frontier
    Frontier line is considered no longer evident.
    Soon, the area of Colorado to the Pacific Coat developed into the most urbanized region in America.
  • Hawaii as a Territory

    Hawaii as a Territory
    Hawaii was annexed and given full territorial status in 1900, 2 years after the annexation had been approved by McKinley. Many people migrated to these idyllic islands, in hopes of building it up and "americanizing" it. Missionaries, sailors, and traders, in particularm went to live in Hawaii.
  • Gentleman's Agreement

    Gentleman's Agreement
    There was an overflow of Japanese immigrants into California in 1906. California was segregating Asian students in order to make room for white students. They negotiated the Gentleman's Agreement in which Japan agreed to stop the flow of immigrants into California.
  • Spanish Invasion in Southwest

    Spanish Invasion in Southwest
    In the first 3 decades fo the twentieth century, over a milion Spanish- speaking people crossed the Southern border of America in fleet of Huerta's murderous reign. The terror of his reign caused many Mexicans to escape to America.
  • African American Migration

    African American Migration
    Many African Amerians migrated from the South to the North in order to fill job openings in factories. This inspired much gang violence and racial tensions in cities.
  • Palmer Rounding up Communists

    Palmer Rounding up Communists
    The "red scare" occured between 1919 and 1920. This was a time period when most of America was paranoid about the influence of Communism among the nation. As a result, A. Mitchell Palmer rounded up 6,000 suspected communists, most of which were immigrants. These alledged radicals were often deported on the Buford.
  • Henry Ford and the Automobile

    Henry Ford and the Automobile
    In the 1920s, Henry Ford perfected the assembly line and began mass producing the automobile. People now were able to travel places and enjoy freedom. Highways were built which allowed people to travel more often to exciting places. As a result, populations from less-attractive states dropped rapidly.
  • Sacco and Vanzetti

    Sacco and Vanzetti
    In 1921, two italian immigrants, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were convicted of murder. It wasnt completely proven during the trail, and the two were convicted partially because they immigrants, and at this time anti foreignism was very high.
  • Emergency Quota Act

    Emergency Quota Act
    In 1921, 800,000 Europeans immigrated to the US. The Emergency Quota Act was passed to quell the fears of "100% Americans." Newcomers from Europe were restricted to a yearly quota, in which only 3% of the population of their nationality living in America in 1910 were allowed. This act favored slavs and the southeastern europeans.
  • Four Power Treaty

    Four Power Treaty
    This treaty had bound Britain, Japan, France, and the United States to preserve the status quo in the Pacific. It was created at the Washington Conference (1921-1922). The treaty that was created was significant also as it called for respecting the Pacific holdings of the other countries who signed the agreement, not looking for further territorial expansion, the and mutual consultation with those who signed it in the event of a dispute over territorial possessions. Shows limits in expansion
  • Immigration Act

    Immigration Act
    This act replaced the Emergency Quota Act. The quota was cut down to 2%, and the date was changed to base the population in 1890, when not many europeans lived in America. This act especially slammed the door against Japanese immigrants. As a result, by 1930, more people left America than came here.
  • Dust Bowl

    Dust Bowl
    In late 1933, a prolonged drought hit the states of the trans-Mississippi Great Plains. Tens of thousands of refugees left the Dust Bowl and migrated to southern California. More than a million people had left the states of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri, and headed toward California. San Joaquin Valley had been the main destination for these fleeing farmers mainly for its abundant farm land.
  • Hoovervilles

    Through the early years of the Great Depression, many people were left homeless and had been forced to migrate to "Hoovervilles". This was where homeless people would construct shacks out of anything they could use. These shantytowns sprang up in major cities throughout the US. This is so significant because people were forced to migrate due to the Depression.
  • Resettlement Administration

    Resettlement Administration
    The president set up this administration to remove farmless farmers to better land locations. This administration incresed the amount of internal migration occuring, whereas all farmers who were deserted were cleared out of the Dust Bowl.
  • Black Migration Out of the South

    Black Migration Out of the South
    With the start of WWII, many Blacks left the South to seek jobs in war plants in the West and North. Because of the widespread increase in black population all over the US, racial tension became a National, rather then a regional, dilemma. Blacks entered the armed forces, but in segregated units. Especially after the mechanical cotton gin, over 5 million Blacks headed North to populate the cities. This marked the beginning of Blacks as an "urban" people.
  • Japanese Internment

    Japanese Internment
    In response to increasing conflict with Japan, American officials made the decision to send West Coast-dwelling Japanese to concentration camps. Because of the threat imposed by the Japanese, and the suspicion that there were Japanese spies within America, anyone who was of Japanese decent on the West Coast of America was subject to being sent away. They lived in these massive camps with thousands of other Nisei (2nd generation) and Isei (1st generation) Japanese. They were later released.
  • Bracero Program

    Bracero Program
    With the start of World War II, many Americans who had occupied the work force were now enlisted in the armed forces. America needed more workers to fulfill there positions in order to remain a productive and efficient nation. America arranged an agreement with Mexico to begin a Bracero Program in which the US would bring laborers over the border. These "Braceros" would mainly work in the West, harvesting fruit and grain.
  • Native American Exodus

    Native American Exodus
    During and after WWII, there was a mass exodus of Native Americans off of reservations. Thousands went to work in major cities, while many others entered the armed forces. Some even filled the role of "code-talkers" and supported the US government by translating and writing codes during the War. There was a large population of Native Americans in Southern California.
  • Growth of the Sunbelt

    Growth of the Sunbelt
    From 1945, and for the 30 years ensuing, the population of the Sunbelt, or a 15 state region in the Southern part of the US, greatly increased. The South and Southwest became a new frontier for many at the end of the 2nd World War because of many new modern jobs. Better climate and lower taxes were important factors that attracted citizens to the Sunbelt. By the 1950s, California's population made up one fifth of the nation's population.
  • Middle Class

    Middle Class
    During 1950-1970, the middle class more than doubled.
  • Operation Wetback

    Operation Wetback
    The Mexican government was worried that their illegal immigration to the United States would undercut the Bracero program (a program for legally imported laborers started in World War II). In Eisenhower's effort to cut down the number of illegal immigrants, he returned as many as 1 million mexicans back to Mexico in 1954. It was called operation Wetback becuase of the migrants watery route across the Rio Grande.
  • Suburbs

    White Americans moved from cities to suburbs thoughout 1950-1970. Whites were encouraged by the Federal Housing Authority and the Veterans Administration. The Levitt brother's introuduced a cheap housing plan, that aided this internal migration. By 1960, one in every four Americans lived in the suburbs.
  • Immigration Act of 1965

    Immigration Act of 1965
    Also known as the Hart-Cellar Act, the Immigration Act of 1965 was initiated to allow for more immigrants to enter the US without hinderances. The bill’s significance was that future immigrants were to be welcomed because of their skills and professions, and not for their countries of origin. The act also allowed for a separate number of refugees to be taken into the US.
  • Beringia

    As the Ice Age came to a close, a land bridge, named Beringia, formed, connecting Siberia to Alaska. The bridge remained exposed for about 250 centuries and led to the peopling of the American continents. When the Ice Age was over, the sea level rose, thus eliminating the land bridge. By the time of Columbus' voyage to the Americas, over 72 million tribes and civilizations lived here including the Mayans, Incas, Aztecs, and many more.
    Note: Actual date of occurence= 35,000 years ago