Thursday, September 1, 2011

Once Upon A Time In America: The Early Italian Immigrant's Assimilation Experience Part 1 (b)

By Miriam B. Medina

In order to comprehend the role of the early Italian immigrant community in the process of assimilation, some of the aforementioned issues will be examined in this study. Without further delay I would like to start with my narration of "Once Upon A Time in America: The Early Italian Immigrant's Assimilation Experience."


As a result of the Industrial Revolution's effects throughout Europe, the Northern part of Italy developed manufacturing facilities which created an economic boom for the Northern provinces. This meant jobs for the northerners, resulting in less scarcity of commodities and minimized agricultural problems. In the Northern part of Italy, the soil and atmosphere were more favorable than in Southern Italy. The Northerners were more prosperous and more "European" than their Southern counterparts. If the Northern Italian working man could not find work, he would cross the border into the neighboring European countries or sail to Argentina, Brazil or the United States to make money, then return to his homeland and family when he had enough.

Whereas, in the Southern part of Italy, the Southerners that lived in the coastal areas were able to sustain themselves by fishing or via trade. Those that lived inland had to resort to farming to make a living. Since transportation was limited to the interior, and farming was not a dependable source of economic stability, this created severe hardships for the inland population. The elements that contributed to this factor were the harsh environmental conditions that the area was subjected to, including:

1. The scarcity of land worth cultivating
2. Soil erosion
3. Deforestation
4. Lack of sufficient rainfall
5. Overpopulation

There were other problems as well. Disease affected the grapevines, malaria destroyed the lives of many, and natural disasters such as the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried an entire town near Naples, not to mention the 1908 earthquake that contributed to Southern Italy's predicament. So in effect, the Southerners suffered more distress than the northerners.

In part 2 of this 4 part series, we will continue with the historical background of the Italians, many of whom immigrated to America.

With 13 years of research experience, history in all its manifestations is Miriam B. Medina's passion. She loves nothing more than sharing what she learns with everyone. For more insight on today's subject matter, please visit The History Box is a one-stop resource center for writers, journalists, historians, teachers and students.

To be continued: See Part 2 (a)

To contact: or

No comments: