Hungarian Immigration To Canada Essay

2186 words - 9 pages

Hungarian Immigration to CanadaIt will soon be three decades since Hungarian Canadians celebrated the centenary of their beginnings in Canada. Following the advent of the first Hungarian immigrants in the Canadian West in 1885, the group has sustained many transitions and transformations. It has matured from mere small, rural communities of peasant immigrants into a highly urbanized, socially and culturally assorted ethnic group found in all walks of life across Canada. In term of numbers, Canadians of Hungarian origin have risen from a few thousand, at the turn of the century, to over 300,000 by the time of the 2006 census.The arrival of the major waves of Hungarian immigrants to this country can be divided into three chronological periods: 1885-1914, 1921-1940, and 1949-1956. The earliest stretch can be delineated by the establishment of Hungarian colonies on the prairies by peasant settlers; their motives fuelled by discontent with the lack of agrarian reform in Hungary and hopes for economic prosperity in the West. The second phase of immigration, the interwar period, can be characterized by the arrival of a more socially diverse group of newcomers driven by unwanted post-World War I social and political vicissitudes and facilitated by the relaxing of Canadian admission regulations opposed to restricted American quotas. Clear determinants of the last and greatest wave are political upheavals stemming from repercussions of World War II and Canada's generous refugee acceptance policy in the midst of mayhem.Rationalization of Hungarian immigration to Canada and mere emigration in general can only be consummated by the examination of a broad spectrum of social and economic factors relevant to the context of each phase. This is what I shall attempt to do with respect to each period of immigration studied. Regarding the differences among the three immigration periods, it appears justified to review post 1880 Hungarian immigration to Canada in terms of the three period identified.Pre-1914 ImmigrationEven a decade into the 20th century, Hungary was still chiefly predial land. Economic and social questions and quandaries were those of an agrarian society undergoing steady industrialization. Hungary's burgeoning industrial sector did not provide opportunities for the masses of unskilled agricultural wage-earners, leading to the widespread consideration- and often acceptance- of emigration as a transient solution to their increasingly insecure economic positions among these individuals. Though improving the economy of certain regions, industrialization negatively affected economic and social conditions in areas lacking the potential for rapid economic development. Migration was frequently chosen by the lower classes of less fortunate districts as the fix to their disadvantaged situations. The destination of these migrants could be another part of Hungary or another country in Europe but as time went on it became most frequently the New World.With...

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