What Are The Migration That Defined The Human...

What Are The Migration That Defined The Human History?

Migrations are a fundamental part of humanity and five of them have defined history

Migration has been a feature of human existence for centuries. The human has always been in constant movement and the migration of humanity has been fundamental in its evolution.

Human beings have always migrated in groups—and as individuals—to seek freedom from war and conflict, to escape hunger and poverty, to find new economic opportunities and employment, to flee religious intolerance or political repression, or even trade and travel to new places. Therefore, there are five migratory movements that defined history.

The First Migration: From Africa to the World

Homo ergaster (or African Homo erectus) may have been the first human species to leave Africa. Fossil remains show that this species had expanded its range to southern Eurasia by 1.75 million years ago. Their descendants, the Asian Homo erectus, spread eastward and settled in Southeast Asia at least 1.6 million years ago.

However, an alternative theory proposes that hominins migrated out of Africa before Homo ergaster evolved, possibly about 2 million years ago.

What there is certainly scientific evidence for is that between 70,000 and 100,000 years ago, Homo sapiens began to migrate from Africa and populate parts of Europe and Asia. Later, they arrived in Oceania using canoes, about 35 thousand and 65 thousand years ago.

In the Pleistocene Ice Age, a land bridge was created that linked Asia and North America (in Alaska) more than 13 thousand years ago. A widely accepted migration theory is that people crossed this land bridge, known as the Bering Strait, and eventually migrated to North and South America.

15th-Century European Colonization

After the European colonization of North and South America, there was a large-scale migration of people from Europe, who settled permanently in these regions. European colonization of the Americas began in the 16th century and accelerated during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Different countries in Europe, including Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, and France, promoted the settlement of their nationals abroad, either because they were fleeing due to religious conflicts or because they were seeking a better fortune in the so-called New World.

This migration helped establish Europe's dominance over much of the world. European settlers often brought new diseases to indigenous communities in colonized regions, decimating those populations. Military campaigns and the growth of settler communities resulted in local communities losing ownership and access to their land. It also brought with it miscegenation and the displacement of indigenous people to remote and isolated places.

Forced Migration: Slavery

The slave trade was one of the largest mass migrations of labor in human history. The first slave ship sailed from Africa to the West Indies in 1550 to meet the need for intensive labor on sugar and tobacco plantations owned by white settlers.

According to historians, more than 10 million Africans were forced to move from Africa to America as slaves. Many died during the journey. African slaves were also vulnerable while awaiting sale and onboard the ships that carried them across the Atlantic.

Experts estimate that as many people died in Africa as were taken out of the country. Today it is estimated that around 40 million people in the Americas and the Caribbean are descended from slaves.

The large-scale slave trade in Africa ceased at the end of the 19th century. Throughout the 19th century, all forms of slavery were abolished by legislation in different countries in Europe, America, and the colonies.

Age of Mass Migration and The American Dream

Historians identify this era as between 1850 and 1914, in which long-distance migration occurred at an unprecedented and exceptionally high rate.

There were three factors that led to the mass migrations. First, the cost of migration dropped dramatically. Second, the benefits of migration increased, that is, it was relatively easy to find work and better living conditions. Third, open border regimes encouraged migration.

During open border regimes, immigrants were attracted by the falling costs of migration and higher wages in the United States. This is what is known as the American dream, which continues to be pursued to this day.

Migrations Due The World Wars

During the 20th century, the two World Wars and subsequent armed conflicts caused millions of people to leave their homes and their countries of origin. The migrations were massive and without much control. It is estimated that more than 30 million were displaced after the Second World War, a number much higher than the 8 of the First World War.

Since the 1970s, the variety of countries of origin and destination has grown substantially. In addition to the traditional immigration receiving countries in the Americas, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, a variety of other countries attract a growing population of migrants. These include countries that have historically been emigration nations such as Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

There has also been an increase in labor migration to newly industrialized countries in Asia such as Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore from poorer countries in Asia such as Burma and Bangladesh.

Likewise, migrations forced by wars and violence continue to occur. Thousands of migrants continue to search for the American dream, while Europe has seen several migratory crises of people coming from Africa and the Middle East.

And in the not-so-distant future, we may see more mass migrations stemming from the consequences of climate change and global warming.

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