The colors of Sicily

Logo Emigration - (by M.G.) At the luggage deposit at Ellis Island - photo by Lewis Hine 1905

 In the big phenomenon of the emigration, that had a such grat part in the social  social, economic and moral transformation of Italy during the last 80 years, Sicily has come for last.
His emigration in fact is been turned on only after the 1900, but it became quickly intensive, overcoming shortly development phases that elsewhere required much more time. But, before this emigration, there was another one which was turn toward the Tunisia (in the 1870 the 94% of the emigration was Sicilian), the island could be proud of this. 
This emigration taking the movements especially from the West and South parts, she was encouraged from traditional juridical Arabs institutes, that made easy the gradual acquires of the ground, and formed in the near African country an imposing colony of growers owners; and they made flourishing with tenacities job earths for a long time neglected. 
On around 100.000 people of the Italian colony in Tunisia 4/ 5 was of Sicilian origin.
The emigration across the Ocean from the island began to prevail toward the 1885 reaching then a very elevated number of individuals in our century: they were counted 28.838 in the 1900, 106.208 in the 1905, and 127.603 in the 1906
This phenomenon knew then a small decrease, however always staying intense and touching the maximum in the 1913 with 146.061 individuals; after the first world war it restarted with 108.718 leaving in the 1920, subsequently it was come down to modest figures, for general, inside or international causes, and with a balancing between the number of the expatriated and that of the returned ones, while until 1914 the number of the repatriates was limited.
The Sicilian emigration, in the almost totality, addressed to the United States (in the 1920 it was 87%), where as it is known, the nucleuses of Sicilians are important and have also given to the new country eminent personality.
After the second war world, Sicily placed to the second place between the Italian regions, for the emigrants number, following from near the Calabria.
In the period between 1946-48 the Sicilian emigrants for across Oceans' countries was around 21.000, figure then almost reached in the 1950.
The influence of the migratory's movement in Sicily has been undoubtedly remarkable. during some years in which the exodus was more strongly, quite a lot Communes had a diminution of population; in any place presented itself the shortage of hand of agricultural work, provoking the rise of the goods, and there were had momentary diminutions also of the crops. On the other hand there were the advantages of the "replacements" of the emigrants and from the return of the so called "Americans," which became lands owners, introducing an amelioration, also if not so evident, in the way of life of the rural classes.

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This page was last updated on  February 25, 1998
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