Turkish Americans

Turkish American Heritage Month – October, more info

About: Starting with the 1860s, the last generation of the disintegrating Ottoman Empire which got tired of the wars and poverty, discovered America with some help from missionaries. The very first Turks stepping onto the New World were mostly from Elazığ’s Harput town. At those times, Turks were not settling down into the nowadays popular states such as New York and New Jersey; rather they were settling in states such as Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Michigan. Most of them were employed in railroad constructions, steel mills, and shoe and leather factories. In general, most of them were single without family, and their biggest challenge was marriage. Since they had difficulty finding Muslim girls, they mostly chose German and Irish wives. Among the married ones, a few brought their wives with them. Some of them returned back answering Atatürk’s call to return to the motherland or due to the economic recession experienced in U.S. during the 1930s.

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