Migration in the Tropical World

Philip D. Curtin

in Immigration Reconsidered

Published in print January 1991 | ISBN: 9780195055108
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854219 | DOI:
Migration in the Tropical World

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This chapter locates European and African migration to North America in the long continuum of migrations throughout thousands of years of human history. It connects the geographic locus of migration and the occurrence of slave migration, indenture contracts, and free migration to changing demands for forced and free labor at various stages of regional economic development. Although the United States was certainly a focal point for European migration, and the descendants of Africans are a significant part of its present population, the United States stood on the periphery of the slave trade, and absorbed less than 10% of its product. The great population movements throughout the tropical world and Asia that followed the abolition of the slave trade completely evaded North America. Not until after World War II did movements of tropical peoples from the Third World direct themselves to highly developed regions like North America and Europe.

Keywords: Ellis Islands; tropical world; population movements; North America; European migration; African migration; slave trade

Chapter.  8580 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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