Emigration and immigration

In the year 1825 the very first ship carrying immigrants sailed from Stavanger to New York. This group of 52 people established the first Norwegian immigrant settlement in America. Ten years passed before the next emigrant ship sailed, but it marked the beginning of a big migration.

Read more about emigration here

The travel

Norwegian emigrants who left for America between 1815 and 1930 traveled by boat. There were many so-called "America Lines" – both Norwegian and Foreign shipping companies – that sent ships across the Atlantic that were full of Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Irish, and English emigrants.

Read more about the travel here

When they got to America, the Norwegian immigrants quickly understood that their new life was not just ‘a walk in the park,’ meaning it would not be as easy as they might have hoped, or as rich as some people had written home about. They came to a huge continent, and the opportunities were many. But distances were great, and making a new life posed many problems for them, too.

Read more about coming to a new land

Letters from America

Norwegians who left for America wrote many letters home to their families to tell them about the long trip, the place they came to, the journey westward, and what life was like in the new country. They wrote about work, farming, family, people they met, and about homesickness. It is pretty easy to see that they missed their families a lot!

Writing home

Utskriftsversjon Utskriftsversjon

Logg inn