Gott Segne Amerika

 By Josh Fox       

While America hasn’t been the greatest country in the world for long, it’s been attracting immigrants for centuries. Whether it’s because of difficulties in their homelands or the idea of new opportunities, people from all corners of the globe have ventured to America. One country that’s no stranger to this is Germany, with over forty-four million Americans claiming German descent. A good percentage of those people’s ancestors kickstarted their American dreams in Texas.

The history of German immigration to Texas began in 1842 with the establishment of the Mainzer Adelsverein, or “Nobility Society of Mainz”. The Adelsverein was an attempt by German nobles to colonize the Republic of Texas under the German flag. They kept at it for eleven years before ending the campaign due to a large amount of debt. While Germany couldn’t take Texas for themselves, their attempt at doing so did spark decades of immigration to the area.

Between 1850 and 1930, about five million Germans migrated to the United States, peaking between 1881 and 1885 when a million Germans settled primarily in the Midwest and being one of the largest groups of immigrants, overall. During this time period, a large number of German immigrants established their new homes in Texas, primarily the coastal cities of Galveston and Indianola. It’s hard to say if most of those people were also dazzled and astounded by the sight of a ferris wheel, but they were certainly attracted by opportunities for farming that were to be found there; it was something that had long since been a viable career for people. For people not interested in farming, they could go to Houston to get industrial jobs; the brewing industry in Texas was actually founded by German immigrants with this mindset, and by the 1920s, most first-generation German-Americans were all working in oils and chemicals.

As one can plainly see, there’s a longstanding tradition of Germans migrating to Texas. Whether it’s to try and take it over or just to make a living, Germans seem to have always been attracted to the Lonestar State. Either way, it’s certainly something worth thinking about.

References:

Conzen, Kathleen. “Germans.” Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, Belknap

      Press, 1980, p. 407.

Jordan, Terry G. “Germans.” Texas State Historical Association, Texas State Historical

      Association, 15 June 2010, tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/png02.

Oommen, Sheena. “‘Hin’ Nach Texas!’ ‘Off to Texas!’” Cultural Crossraods, Houston Institute

      for Culture, www.houstonculture.org/cr/germans.html.



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