America Immigration: Slovenian Immigrants

Figure 1.--For some reason Slovenes came to Cleveland in unprecedentd mumbers. It became the largest concentration od Slovenes outside of Cleveland. Here we see Slovenian boys participting in a Slovenian patriotic display of some kind. Many of these boys would have been born in America, but there parents were relatively recent immigrants. There is a caption reading 'Nastop prostin naj des kega narascaja". We have mo ideahat that means. The computer trnslator tells us, "The appearance of the prostheses should be desirable," which of course can not possibly be what it says. We do know the photigraph was taken August 14, 1921. This would have been aime of excitement among Slovenes as they had funally been freed from the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of the Southern Slavs (Yugoslavia) was being formed.

Slovenia today is a small republic in Central Europe south of Austria. It came under Austrian Hapsburg rule (14th century) and except for a short period during the Napoleonic era remained within the austrian Empire until the disolution of the Empire at the end of the World War I (1918). It became part of Yugoslavia until declaring independence (1991). As a result, of this history, many Slovnees came to America a subjects of the Austrian/Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The first Slovenes to reach America were Catholic missionary priests during the colonial era. Two of the earliest were Fr. Anton Kappus and Fr. Frederick Baraga. Some Slovenes settled in small farming communities in Georgia (1730s), at the time a largely frontier area. The Slovene population was still very small at the time of the Revolution, but a few Slovenes are know to have fought in the American Revolution. Slovene priests built some of the first churches and schools in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and neighboring parts of Canada. At this time Slovenian nationalism was not well devloped and religion was for most their primary identity. Living within the Austrian Empire, many early immigrants were bilingual Slovene-German speakers and heaviky influenced by German culture. The Germans ere the largest immigrant group at the time. Until the 1880s there was a small number of Slovene immigrants to the United States. The number of Slovenes did not change significantly until the post-Civil War flow of immigrants from southern Europe began. America was a largely Protestant country and Catholics were reluctant to emigrate to America. Only the horrors of the Potato Famine drove the first large group of Catholics (the Irish) to America. Rising nationalist sentiment and the increasingly oppresive policies of the imperial powers (Austraian and Russian) along with the spectacular industrial expansion resulted in a major flow of Catholic immigrants to America (1880s-1910s). Among these immigrants were the Slovenes. It is at this time that most Slovene immigrants entered America. For some reasons we do not understand, the Slovenes mostly came in the later phase of this immigrant flow (1905-14). World War I (1914-18) largely ended the Europen immograntvflow, but we we see renewed Slovenian immigration after the War (1919-23) which only ended when Congress curtailed immigration with restrictive quotas. Slovenian immigration is difficult to quantify. Like other European ethnic groups, many were classified from the Empire thet camne from, in this case Austria or were confused with other groups like Italians, Croats, or a general Slavic label. Here Slovenes wre most commonly mislabeled by very few immingration officials had ever heard of Slovenia. More Slovenes arived after World War II, escaping Communism and the Communist arrests following the war. Many immigrant groups often settled in specific areas. For Slovenes, Cleveland, Ohio was espcially important, presumably because many of the first immigrants in the 19th century settled there. Cleveland has the largest population of Slovenians in the world, outside of Slovenia and except for a few cities a larger poplationthan most Slovenian municipalities.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main national origins page]
[Return to the Main U.S. immigration page]
[Return to the Main Polish page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Essays]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[ Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: 1:57 AM 10/30/2017
Last updated: 1:57 AM 10/30/2017