German Americans

German American Heritage Month – more info

About: Since their arrival at Jamestown in 1607 along with the English, Germans have been one of the three largest population components of American society. When Columbus arrived in America in 1492, he did so in the name of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, that is, with the entitlement of the Habsburgs who also ruled Germany as part of the Holy Roman Empire. It was a German cosmographer, Martin Waldseemüller, who suggested that the New World be designated “America.”

German immigration began in the seventeenth century and continued throughout the postcolonial period at a rate that exceeded the immigration rate of any other country; however, German immigration was the first to diminish, dropping considerably during the 1890s. Contrary to myth, the first German immigrants did not originate solely in the state of Pfalz. Although emigrants from Pfalz were numerous from 1700 to 1770, equally high percentages came from Baden, Württemberg, Hesse, Nassau, and the bishoprics of Cologne, Osnabrück, Münster, and Mainz. During the American pre-Revolutionary War period, immigrants came primarily from the Rhine valley, an artery that gives access to the sea. German emigration during this period was almost exclusively via French or Dutch ports like LeHavre or Rotterdam.

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