International Migrations

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International Migrations


Migrations have been common since the time: immemorial. The tendency to leave the original homes is the outcome of difficulties of life that make life miserable. That is why people belonging to highlands prefer to go towards the low lands. In the same way people from over populated areas like to settle in sparsely populated areas where competition to lead a better economic life is not tough. People also tend to go to the fertile lands where productivity of crops is many Limes more than it is found in the infertile lands. Climatic regions have always induced the people to migrate. Mainly there are five aspects of migration which cause permanent or temporary migration. They are

  • (i) Space aspect
  • (ii) Time aspect,
  • (iii) Cause aspect,
  • (iv) Number aspect,
  • (v) Stability aspect.

    We study the main reason of migrations from one place to another in order to know whether the migration is permanent or temporary and whether the number of immigrants has been insignificant or numerically high.

    Leaving such reasons aside however there are other clear-cut motives for migration.

    Reasons of Migration.

    1. Availability of Land. Agriculturist who cannot make a living in their own country because there is a shortage of land or because their land is too p(x)r, migrate to countries where land is available. This was the motive for many migrations in the past such as that of the Nordemen or Vikings who spread out from their mountainous homeland in Scandinavia, or that of the Magyar pastoralists who moved westwards and settled on the better land in Hungary. It was also the chief motive behind most nineteenth century migrations. The U.S.A., Australia and South Africa were settled by Europeans who were either landless peasants or farmers who wanted larger areas of land instead of small plots.

    2. Availability of Work. Unemployed town-dwellers may migrate to other towns within their own country or to urban centres overseas in order to obtain work. While in the nineteenth century, most migrants to the 'New World' were rural people, in the early twentieth century most were from towns. Workers may also move to countries where they can earn higher wages, for instance Indians or Pakistanis may move to Britain, or Southern European to the industrialized countries of Germany and Switzerland.

    3. Hope of Wealth. Most migrants hope to improve their income and living standard but some hope to 'get rich quick'. Mineral strikes, particularly of gold, have drawn people from all over the world. Hopeful miners are prepared to face grueling conditions in deserts, e.g. in central Australia or polar regions, e.g. the Yukon. The search for the mythical El Dorado or land of gold led the Spaniards and Portuguese to conquer and later to settle in Central and South American in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. South Africa, too, gained population partly because of its gold mines. Many of the cities that grow up in new mineral regions are subject to rapid out-migration when the ore has been exhausted, and there are many ghost town in western U.S.A. which bear witness to this.

    4. Religious Toleration. Where adherents of a particular religion are persecuted or where sects are not tolerated, people may move to escape repression to places where they may safely practice their religion. The movement of Jews to Israel and the huge transfers of population between India and Pakistan at the time of partition in 1948 are modern examples. The early settlers in the U.S.A., whether Catholics in the South or Puritans in New England, left England at times when their branch of Christianity was not tolerated. Within the U.S.A., the Mormons, whose religion is not widely accepted, moved west to found the remote state of Utah.

    5. Political Freedom. People may move to avoid political persecution or may move simply because they are dissatisfied with the form of government in their own country. Thus there has been a steady flow of refugees from communist countries since the war, in Europe and Asia. West Germany, South Korea and Hong Kong have received many of these migrants. Wars cause great numbers of people to migrate. Refugees may flee before an advancing army to avoid subjection to a new regime, to avoid the battle or because their homes and farms have been destroyed.

    6. Forced Migration. While most types of migrations are undertaken voluntarily by people who want to improve their living conditions, some major population movements are effected by force, not for the benefit of the migrants but for the benefit of others. Certain groups may be thought undesirable. Racial, religions or political groups may therefore be forced to leave or criminals may be deported. Examples from the past include the 'transported' prisoners who formed the basis of the colony in Australia. Similarly, prisoners in Russia were often sent to Siberia.

    More recent examples include the forcible movement of Kampuchean towns people to the countryside under the Pol Pot regime, the expulsion of Chinese from Vietnam (the boat people) and the expulsion of Asians from Uganda. Another form of involuntary migration is the forcible movement of slaves. Slave trading was practiced in many areas for centuries, but that which took place in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to provide workers for the plantations of the U.S.A., Latin America and the West Indies was on a very large scale. Negroes captured in West Africa were shipped across the Atlantic in such numbers that they now form a sizable proportion of the population of most American countries.

    7. Push-pull factors: In many cases the reason influencing migration are not clear-cut and a combination of factors induces people to move. Present day rural urban migration in developing countries is governed not only by the pull or attraction of cities but also by the poor incomes, hard conditions or lack of employment, which push people into leaving the countryside.

    Next: Races

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