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Greek Immigration

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Information about Greek Immigration
Education

Published on January 24, 2008

Author: Renzo

Source: authorstream.com

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Aspects of Greek Society in the 20th Century:  Aspects of Greek Society in the 20th Century Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora People have been moving in and out of Greece since the beginning of recorded time. Greek diaspora is one of the most striking aspects of the Greek history. A great wave of colonization went out between 750 and 500 BC. Greek culture spread all around the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The main reasons for colonies were population pressure at home and the desire for outposts close to the sources of valuable products. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora In 1767, some 500 Greeks landed on Florida’s Atlantic coast. In post-Independence Greece and until 1940s, people generally left Greece as emigrants and came into it as refugees. The War of Independence left southern Greece devastated and under populated. The suppression of insurrections in 1821-2 in Thessaly, Epirus and Macedonia sent the first wave of refugees to the southern Greek insurgents. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora Most of those refugees were Armatoloi (men who were used as policemen by Turkish authorities). They were unused to any employment other than paid armed service and most of them practiced brigandage. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora The only newcomers in this initial period who could be described as immigrants were Germans who followed King Otto. Wealthy Greek merchants of the diaspora generally refrained from settling in the newly-independent kingdom. Athens at the time of Otto:  Athens at the time of Otto Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora The Asia Minor Catastrophe (1922) probably had no equal in the history of the Greek nation. The French historian Driault justifiably considers it as the worst disaster Hellenism suffered since the fall of Constantinople in 1453. About 1.075.000 refugees fled Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace to seek shelter in Greece. With them came another 150.000 refugees from Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania. Thus in the period of one year the population of Greece increased by about one million to reach 6.010.000. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora The greatest increase in population was registered in the two main rural centers: Athens and Thessaloniki. In 1920 Athens had 453.000 people (8,19% of the total). Thessaloniki had 170.000 people (3,4% of the total). In 1928 Athens had grown to 802.000 (12,92% of the total). Thessaloniki had grown to 250.000 (4% of the total.) At that time these two cities contained 16.92% of the population in the country, i.e. more than 50% of the urban population. Many other towns went through similar changes. Kavala grew by 18%, Serres by 104%, Xanthi by 103%, Drama by 92%, and Alexandroupolis by 72.5%. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora No plans or any rehabilitation program existed for these people. For the Greek authorities, the feeding and housing of these people was a major problem compounded by the adverse outcome of the war. Nevertheless, the refugee tents were gradually replaced with new settlements (shacks), while the newly formed Committee for the Rehabilitation of Refugees was making every effort to secure permanent accommodation facilities. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora NEW YORK TIMES, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1922 Page 1, Col. 1 TURKS PROCLAIM BANISHMENT EDICT TO 1,000,000 GREEKS By EDWIN I. JAMES. Copyright, 1922 by The New York Times Company. Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES LAUSANNE, Dec. 1.--A black page of modern history was written here today. Ismet Pasha stood before the statesmen of the civilized world and admitted that the banishment from Turkish territory of nearly a million Christian Greeks, who were two million only a few short years ago had been decreed. The Turkish Government graciously allows two more weeks for the great exodus. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora Here, in the beauty of the Winter sunshine of the Swiss Alps, diplomats have been for ten days talking political problems with the Turks, treating them as equals. Massacre and bloodshed seemed far away. But today a change took place, and a new light was thrown on the situation. The facts are not new: the world knows the Turks' cruelty and massacres. But the way their crimes were presented this afternoon came like a clever stage effect. As an audience may change from smiles to tears, the diplomats here seem to have had their souls touched today as Lord Curzon unfolded the sinister story of the fate of the Greeks in Asia Minor; and today's events cannot but fail to have an important effect on the final settlement. In all probability no treaty will be written at this session, and in two weeks the conference will be adjourned, it is believed, to meet again in a month or six weeks. In the meanwhile the Turks will have time to think things over and become more reasonable or face the consequences. Today's meeting was scheduled under the simple heading: "Exchange of Prisoners." The delegates rolled in luxurious automobiles to the old chateau. They left it two hours later with solemn faces. Within the ancient walls the shades of murdered thousands had poured to have their say. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora The names of their new townships often recalled the places they came form, e.g. “New Smyrna”. They brought their own clubs and organisations with them and founded a great number of migrant organisations. AEK Athens, founded in 1924 and famous for its football and basketball teams, is among the best-known. AEK stands for Athletic Club of Constantinople. The social and cultural traditions of the immigrants were different in many ways from those of the inhabitants of Greece, but also from each other: Pontic Greeks, Greeks from Thrace, Central-Anatolian Greek Orthodox and former inhabitants of the West Coast and Smyrna could not be regarded as a single community. For many the first years were a time of extreme hardship and large numbers of immigrants re-emigrated to France, Britain and the United States. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora On the other hand, the integration and indeed survival of the immigrant groups was helped by the fact that they contained a relatively high proportion of skilled professionals, from shippers to bankers, from hazelnut, tobacco and raisin traders to railway engineers and hotel and restaurant owners. This allowed them to become a dynamic element in the economy. To give only the most famous example: Aristotle Onassis was one of those born and bred in Smyrna, where his father ran a tobacco-exporting business. After the 1922 defeat he rebuilt his family’s tobacco business from Argentina, after which he returned and, through his connection with the Livanos shipping family from Chios, built a shipping empire of his own and reputedly became the world’s richest man. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora Immigration to U.S. Although a few Greeks immigrated to the United States during the 1800's, it was not until the last decade of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th that they began to arrive in large numbers. Ultimately, between 1900 and 1920 about 350,000 Greeks came to America as part of the flood of East European immigrants. The majority of these early immigrants were single young men who came from the southern peninsula of Greece known as the Peloponnesus. Others came from Macedonia in northern Greece and from the Aegean and Ionian Islands. Following the Immigration Act of 1924, the number of Greek arrivals drastically fell and did not rise again until the 1950's. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora Greek Immigration to the U.S. has been overwhelmingly male. During 1890-1900, one of the decades of the most intense immigration, only four women arrived for every 100 men. Those who emigrated at this time often did so to earn money to repay family debts, provide dowries for their sisters, and return to Greece with sufficient funds to live comfortably. Famous Greek Americans:  Famous Greek Americans Business Jim Geanopoulos, CEO of 20th Century Fox (recently honored by Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce) Christos Cotsakos, CEO E*Trade Ted Leonsis, AOL, Washington Wizards Peter Karmanos, CEO Compuware, owner of Carolina Hurricanes & billionaire philanthropist William Stavropoulos, Chairman & CEO Dow Chemical Corp. Philip Christopher, Executive Vice President, Audiovox Corporation Dr. Roy P. Vagelos, former Chair of Merck & Co. Dr. George N. Hatsopoulos, founder and Chairman Emeritus of Thermo Electron, Founder and Chairman and CEO of Pharos, LLC Dr. Constantine Papadakis, President Drexel University Famous Greek Americans:  Famous Greek Americans Sports / Entertainment Jennifer Aniston, actress, "Friends" Telly Savalas, late actor, "Kojak" Rita Wilson, Hollywood producer ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding") Johny Unitas, NFL legend Bob Costas, NBC sports caster Nia Vardalos, My Big Fat Greek Wedding Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award-winning actress Billy Zane, actor, "Titanic" John Stamos, actor, "Full House" and "Cabaret" George Stephanopoulos, ABC "This Week" Helene Alexopoulos, prima ballerina, NYC Ballet Arianna Huffington, author and commentator Melina Kanakerides, actress, "Providence" Thalia Assuras, CBS Network reporter Pete Sampras, tennis world champion Ted Philips, President of Chicago Bears Milt Pappas, 1954 Orioles Eric Karros, LA Dodgers, 1990 Rookie of the Year Alex Carras, actor & former football player Alex Spanos, San Diego Chargers, Philanthropist, Billionaire Famous Greek Americans:  Famous Greek Americans Government George Tenet, CIA Director Spiro T. Agnew, former U.S. Vice President Michael Dukakis, former Governor of Massachusetts George Argyros, U.S. Ambassador to Spain Mike Bilirakis, U.S. House of Representatives (FL) George Gekas, U.S. House of Representatives (PA) Olympia J. Snowe, U.S. Senate (ME) Paul Sarbanes, U.S. Senate (MD) Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora Emigration was encouraged by post-war Greek governments as a way of solving the problems of poverty and underemployment', with the most favored destination being West Germany, 'although large numbers also went to Australia, Canada and elsewhere'. Migration of Greeks to Australia was now on a much larger scale. Between 1947 and the early 1980s almost 250 000 Greeks entered Australia in the category of 'permanent and long-term arrivals'.    Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora At the time of the 1991 Census there were in Australia 136 028 persons who were born in Greece, and a further 151 082 persons born in Australia, with at least one Greece-born parent. Since the late 1950s the Greek population has been. and continues to be, the second largest (after the Italians) non-English-speaking-background group in Australia. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora The older image of Greece was one of a small country located at the strategic crossroads of global conflicts. It was poor, isolated, surrounded by dangerous and revisionist neighbors, internally divided, and heavily dependent on competing for influence with the presence of great powers. The Balkan Wars (1912-13), the two World Wars, the Asia Minor catastrophe and the two great schisms of the 20th Century (Monarchists versus Republicans, and Communists versus Nationalists) have left deep scars on the psyche of Greeks over 50. Occupation, the civil war, economic underdevelopment, and heavy flight of immigrants were the order of the past. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora After 1974, Greece has evolved rapidly and can be classified as a country belonging to the zone of the advanced and the privileged. According to the UNDP Human Development Report, 1998, Greece ranks 20th (among 174 nations) on the quality of life index. Concurrently, the accession to the European Union  in 1981 has served to improve and consolidate - qualitatively and quantitatively - Greek society, economy and policy. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora A striking reversal of the pattern of Greece as a refugee solely for the Greeks. Greece has become attractive to a long list of people who would never before have considered Greece even as a place of transit. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora The great majority of the newcomers are economic refugee from Albania and other eastern European countries. Almost 400,000 mostly illegal Albanian economic refugees, an estimated 10% to 20% of the Greek work force, live at the margins of the society, playing hide and seek with the authorities, trying to elbow out other contestants in the field of ill-paid work, robbing each other of their meager earnings and contributing to an increase in crime. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora The Greek State was not prepared to accept such an enormous influx of migrants. Besides, Greece had never experienced such a phenomenon before. In the period 1991-1998, there was no concrete migration policy, as the country was still considered to be a net "exporter" of population Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora Greece has been affected by the flourishing of organized crime (drugs and arms trafficking) in neighboring Albania. Drug trafficking in particular has developed at an alarming rate in the last ten years across the entire region of Russia, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Balkans. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora In two separate incidents, Albanians hijacked Greek buses. The first of these incidents occurred on 29 May 1999, when an Albanian man brandishing a Kalashnikov and a hand grenade hijacked a Greek inter-city bus. The man took the passengers and the driver hostage and drove the bus. to Albania, where he and a passenger were killed when the Albanian police stormed the bus. A month later another Albanian tried to hijack a bus but was thwarted by the Greek police. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora Other Groups Of the total number of immigrants 15% of women and 3.9% of the men come from Bulgaria. Polish immigrants are also numerous, especially in the Athens region. They also overstay their visas, although many have come to Greece in the 1980s as political refugees. Their number is hard to estimate, but it ranges between 30,000 and 100,000. Apart from the aforementioned groups, there are immigrants, legal and illegal, from other countries as well. They have come to Greece from Romania, Yugoslavia, Pakistan, India, the Philippines, Turkey, and Iraq. Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora:  Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora When the first waves of immigrants came to Greece in the early 1990s, they found themselves between the good will and the cautiousness of the population. Some were trying to help them make a new start living in Greece, providing financial aid and accommodation. Others were quite reserved towards immigrants. As the numbers of immigrants kept rising, especially in urban areas, the cautiousness grew and living conditions worsened. Immigrants would find accommodation in poor areas, along with their peers and compatriots. Sometimes, they would even move in with them in very small apartments until they could find an affordable place of their own

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