Asked • 04/22/19

Why was there little nonwhite migration to Europe in the 19th century?

**Migration** -- This may sound like a strange question, but hear me out. The 19th century was an age of massive population migration, perhaps the most significant in history according to this [economic history course](http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/an-economic-history-of-the-world-since-1400.html). Large numbers of Europeans (British, German, Scots, Irish) emigrated to overseas colonies, often despite very hostile conditions. Many Asians also pulled up roots and moved vast distances, despite the efforts of white governments to keep them out. For example, the British transported 3.5 million [Indian indentured laborers](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_indenture_system) to colonies across the world, Chinese immigration played a role in both the California and Australian gold rushes. But despite colonial entanglements all over the world, few Asians, Africans, Middle Easterners, and Latin Americans appear to have reached Western Europe. **Immigration** -- Europe then was an obvious source of wealth and innovation, and regularly hungry for cheaper labor. And yet there was very little nonwhite immigration there, prior to 1945. There were slaves before abolition, some [Chinese communities](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Chinese_immigration_to_the_United_Kingdom) that never rose over a few thousand, and small groups of students from various colonies. Ironically, large scale immigration to Western Europe appears to have only begun after WWII and the end of the colonial empires. **> Why was there little nonwhite immigration of to Western Europe before the postwar era? And are there any examples of larger-scale immigration being explicitly considered or rejected?** I half-expect the answer will boil down to racist paranoia, white workers not wanting competition, and the difficulty of surmounting linguistic and cultural barriers. But, at the same time, that wasn't enough in the U.S. or Australia, and it didn't stop the Irish, Poles, or Jews. Regardless, thanks for your time. --- *(I'd like to add that this question has zero political motivation. I'm an American reading about British, and west European, imperialism in the 19th century, and the question just struck me.)*

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