Top 10 Biggest Migrations In History

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When a large group of people moves from one geographical location to another, the world faces a phenomenon of mass migration. Mass migrations were

not rare events in 15th, 16th, 19th and early 20th centuries. However, even nowadays citizens of countries have to flee from their motherlands because of wars, political regimes, economic conditions, and so on. We created a list of 10 biggest migrations in history.

 

10. The Huns’ Barbarous Invasions

The Huns’ Barbarous Invasions

The nomadic tribe of the Huns lived in a region near the Caspian Sea. The tribe’s name remained in the history because of their barbarous attacks on the regions surrounding the Roman Empire, which triggered the Great Migration, or “Wandering of the Nations” between 376 and 476 AD. The Great Migration involved Goths, Vandals, and Alans, who weakened the Roman Empire. 

9. Atlantic Slave Trade

Atlantic Slave Trade

During the period between 15th and 19th centuries, traders were transporting slaves from West Africa to the New World and Americas. The slaves had to work on coffee, cocoa, sugar, cotton and tobacco plantations, constructions, silver and gold mines, fields, and in the homes or rich people as servants. Slave trade was one of the biggest migrations in history, where humans were transported to foreign lands and sold on local markets to become someone’s property. 

8. Puritan Migration

Puritan Migration Top 10 Biggest Migrations In History

Puritan migration to New England took place from 1620 to 1640, when English settlers, mainly Puritans, were migrating to Massachusetts and the island of Barbados. While in England, the settlers felt threatened by King James I and later King Charles I, being on the verge of a religious conflict. Puritans fled, looking for a place where they can practice their religion freely. 

7. California Gold Rush

California Gold Rush Giant Migration

The period between 1848 and 1855 is known in the U.S. as California Gold Rush. The rush started when James W. Marshall found gold at Sutter’s Mill in California. When people in neighboring areas heard the news, they rushed to California in search for gold. The amount of those “gold-seekers” soon reached 300,000 of Americans, Europeans, Australians, Asians and Latin Americans. 

6. African American Migration

African American Migration Biggest In History

The Great Migration of African Americans happened in the period between 1910 and 1970 when around six million blacks migrated from South to North. They were moving out of Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and 10 other Southern States, going to Northeastern, Midwestern and Western states. This African American migration became one of the biggest migrations in history and led to urbanization of the black population. 

5. New Great Migration

New Great Migration USA Massive

The New Great Migration is a reverse process of what was happening with African Americans between 1910 and 1970. This new period of the U.S. migration, starting from 1965 and going on in the present day, shows migration patterns change, with African Americans leaving Northeastern and Midwestern United States and going to the South. The “New South” attracts the black population with family ties and lower costs of living. The migration showed the results very quickly, and in 1975 statistics already showed seven southern states to be the main black migration receivers. 

4. Partition of India

Partition of India Migration Map

From 1858 to 1947, India was under the rule of the British Crown. Muslims have coexisted with Hindus and Sikhs for a long time, but this changed after India was partitioned in 1947. The British left, and India split into two independent countries: India and Pakistan. This event triggered a mass migration of Muslims to West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and Hindus and Sikhs to India. Violent attacks between the two nations followed, and by the end of migration in 1948, thousands of people were killed. 

3. The Soviet Union Population Transfer

The Soviet Union Population Transfer

Population transfer in the Soviet Union between 1920 and 1951 is an example of a forced mass migration. The goal of the transfer was to fill ethnically cleansed territories and transfer labor force into underpopulated areas. According to statistics, this forced migration triggered the movement of around 6 million people, killing around 1.5 million in the process. 

2. Mexican Migration

Mexican Migration Biggest Migrations In History

Starting from the early 20th century, Mexican population began migration to the United States, the reasons being the State’s need of labor force and Mexico’s political unrest. Even though throughout the years, American immigration laws have experienced changes, Mexicans remain the largest immigrant group in the country. Compared to 1980, when Mexican population counted to 2.2 million, the number rise to 11.6 million in 2013. 

1. Syrian Refugee Crisis

Syrian Refugee Crisis Biggest Migration

Syrian refugee crisis takes the first place on our list of biggest migrations in history. It is an ongoing crisis and an example of a war as a driver of mass migration. The number of refugees who fled from Syria and neighboring countries to Europe by September 2015 reached 158 million people, according to CNN, and this number makes almost a half of the population of the entire United States (most of the 158 million refugees are not in Europe but countries surrounded it). European countries debate on how to resettle the refugees who come to Europe by both land and water.

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