The Spanish were a powerful people who were descended from the Visigoths, the Vandals and Germanic tribes in Europe who were conquered by the Romans and then the Moors. The first written records relating to the Christianization of Spain date from the 5th century and the Roman Catholic religion was established in the country. Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century (1469), following the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabel of Castile and the Spanish Age of Exploration began when Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. In 1494 all of the lands in the New World were claimed by Spain and the Spanish Immigration to America soon followed.
History of Spanish Immigration to America: Religion
The history of the early Spanish Immigration to America was dominated by their Roman Catholic religion. Many were fanatical about their religion and the notorious Spanish Inquisition was an example of this. The idea of spreading the Catholic faith to heathen races was seen as a primary reason for the Spanish Explorers, including the Conquistadors, to undertake voyages of discovery.
History of Spanish Immigration to America: The Reasons for Spanish Immigration to America
Why did people want to leave Spain and why did they want to move to America? Spanish Immigration to America was prompted by the opportunities offered by the establishment of the Spanish colonies in America known as New Spain (Nueva España). The reasons for the early Spanish Immigration to America was the desire to expand the Spanish Empire and the prestige of Spain, the conversion of 'savages' to the Catholic faith, exploitation of the natural resources of the New World, especially gold, silver and spices and new opportunities for trade. In later years Spanish Immigration to America was prompted by the desire for religious and political freedom, escape from poverty and wars and employment opportunities offered in the United States. Also refer to Examples of PUSH and PULL Factors of Spanish Immigration.
History of Spanish Immigration to America: New Spain (Nueva España)
The history of the early Spanish Immigration to America was dictated by the colonies of New Spain (Nueva España) between the time periods of 1519 to 1821. Early Spanish Immigration to America was initiated by the discoveries of the great explorers in the service of Spain starting with Christopher Columbus. The massive area claimed by New Spain remained under Spanish control until 1821. The first Spanish settlement was in Florida, followed by other colonies in areas now known as New Mexico, California, Arizona, Texas, and Louisiana. These new lands in America were initially claimed for Spain by the Spanish Explorers who therefore played a major role in the Spanish Immigration to America.
History of Spanish Immigration to America: Spanish Explorers
Mention of the names and discoveries of the famous Spanish explorers explain the history of the early Spanish Immigration to America and the growth of New Spain in the continent of North America, including Mexico.
1492: Christopher Columbus discovers America in 1492
1513: Vasco Nunez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama and claimed the Pacific Ocean for Spain
1517: Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba lands on the Yucatan coast in Mexico
1518: Juan Ponce de Leon explores Florida
1519: Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes founded Veracruz in Mexico and Pedro de Alvarado explores other areas of Mexico
1519: Cortes enters Tenochtitlan and captures Montezuma in Mexico
1524: Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon enters the East Coast of America from 1524 to 1527
1527: Panfilo de Narvaez explores Florida from 1527 to 1528
1527: Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca explores the South West area of America from 1527 to 1536
1533: Fortun Jimenez lands on the lower Baja California peninsula
1539: Hernando de Soto explores Florida & South East United States between 1539 and 1542
1540: Francisco Vazquez de Coronado explores Arizona and New Mexico from 1540 to 1542
1542: Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo explores upper California in Ensenada (in Baja California)
1565: Pedro Menendez de Aviles continues exploration of Florida from 1565 to 1567
1769: Spanish settlement begins in Alta California.
Spain became extremely powerful in the world due to its conquest in South America and the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire (1519 to 1521) and the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire in 1532.
History of Spanish Immigration to America: European Super Powers
The history of the early Spanish Immigration to America is marked by the race of the European super powers in Europe to grab lands in America. Spain controlled the south Atlantic coast, Mexico and the islands of the Caribbean. The British and the Dutch controlled the northern Atlantic coast and New France covered the areas surrounding the St. Lawrence river and the entire Mississippi River Valley. Spain made the first conquest and Spanish-Americans are therefore the longest-established European group in America. Spanish Immigration to America, in particularly New Mexico, provided a strong foothold for the Spanish which they were determined to maintain. Colonists from England and Russia then began to make inroads into California and the French began to move into the lower Mississippi Valley. These intrusive movements led Spain to dispatch soldiers and missionaries into Mexico's northern frontier.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1500's and 1600's: Spanish Expansion into America
Between 1568 and 1587 Spain made every effort to establish Catholic missions in what is now the Southern United States including Georgia and South Carolina between 1568 and 1587. Their expeditions extended into areas of northern Mexico that are referred to as the "Spanish Borderlands" which eventually became the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. The Spanish adopted a specific system to settle the "Spanish Borderlands" of the northern frontier. Their objectives were to spread the Catholic religion and start religious missions, establish military installations (presidio) and to found towns (the pueblos).
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1500's: Spanish Florida
The history of the early Spanish Immigration to America started in 1565 with the first settlement at St. Augustine, Florida. The vicinity of St. Augustine was first explored by the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, who claimed the region for Spain. The settlement at St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles who led about 1,500 soldiers and colonists to the colony. St. Augustine was intended to be a military colony and a base for further colonial ventures and served as the capital of Spanish Florida for 200 years. The Spanish destroyed the French in the area, commanded by Jean Ribault, in the Florida Massacre. The first child of European descent, named Martín de Argüelles, was born in the settlement in 1566, 21 years before the English settlement at Roanoke Island in Virginia Colony. The Spanish established missions throughout the colony to convert Native American Indians to Catholicism, a pattern that would be repeated throughout the Spanish colonies of New Spain.
History of Spanish Immigration to America: The Californias - Alta California and Baja California
Spanish Immigration to America started with the Jesuit missionaries in California. Alta California, meaning Upper California, was originally a province and territory in New Spain which later became a territory in independent Mexico. The Spanish colony of California was eventually divided into Alta ("Upper") and Baja ("Lower") California. In 1533 Fortun Jimenez began the exploration of lands on the lower Baja California peninsula. He was followed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo who explored upper California in Ensenada in 1542. Jesuit missionaries were the first Spanish to settle in Baja California and colonists followed in the late 1500's. Spanish settlement in Alta California started much later in 1769 and following their system of colonization the military pathed the way to founding the first missions and presidios. At this point colonists were recruited and sent north to help establish the civilian towns (pueblos) at San Jose in 1777 and Los Angeles in 1781. The Spanish territory of Alta California was eventually ceded to the United States on 2 February 1848.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1500's: New Mexico
Spanish Immigration to America moved on to the Spanish colony of New Mexico. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado led the first Spanish army into New Mexico in 1540. However, it is Juan de Onate, leading 500 people from Mexico City, that first colonized the territory now called New Mexico, in 1598. The explorations of Juan de Onate extended from the Colorado River to the plains of Kansas. Juan de Onate established his headquarters in San Juan Pueblo and then San Gabriel. The Colonial Life of the Spanish colonists was hard due to the climate and hostilities with the native residents. There were frequent clashes between the Zuni and the Spanish soldiers and settlers. By the beginning of the 1600's the Spanish population in New Mexico had reached 3000.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1600's: Plague and Famine
Throughout the 1600's Spanish Immigration to America continued at a small but steady rate. However there was a significant increased in the 1670s and 1680s as plague and famines hit Spain. The levels of Spanish Immigration to America returned to the former rates in the early 1700's.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1700's: Spanish Louisiana
Spanish Immigration to America took another turn in 1762 when Spain acquired French Louisiana and New Orleans. Great Britain and France had been embroiled in the French Indian Wars (1688-1763) for 75 years but in 1762 French defeat was inevitable. The British had just gained control of Canada and rather than allowing French Louisiana to go to the British they made a secret agreement with Spain (the Spanish and French were allied against the British). The secret agreement was made between King Louis XV of France and King Charles III of Spain on November 13, 1762 and called the Treaty of Fontainebleau. The French Indian Wars was finally ended with the 1763 Treaty of Paris. In the Treaty of Paris the colony of Louisiana was divided into two parts - the eastern half was ceded to Britain and the western half and New Orleans was kept by France. Also under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, Spain traded Florida to Great Britain in exchange for control of Havana, Cuba - the Spanish also knew they would gain western Louisiana as it its compensation for Florida due to its secret agreement with France. The cession of Louisiana to Spain was eventually revealed in April 1764 and New Spain took control of territory west of the Mississippi River basin, plus New Orleans.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1700's: The American War of Independence
Spain was allied with France and viewed the America Revolution as an opportunity to weaken the British Empire. Spanish aid was supplied to Americans in the 13 colonies throughout the conflict, provided some military assistance during the conflict and raised money to fund the payroll for the Continental Army. Colonists who considered themselves Spanish-Americans fought in the American Revolutionary War against the British. Following their victory in the American War of Independence (1775 - 1783), and the support of the Spanish in the conflict, the United States returned Florida to Spain in 1783 allowing Spain to reoccupy Florida.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1700's and 1800's: The Spanish Empire
The acquisition of Louisiana and the return of Florida consolidated the Spanish empire in the North American continent. The Spanish territory of New Spain completely encircled the Gulf of Mexico, stretching west from Florida to the Pacific Ocean, and north to Canada west of the Mississippi River. There were many destinations immigrants could chose from during the Spanish Immigration to America. About 200,000 Spanish colonists migrated to the new world and founded many settlements in America. Important Spanish settlements had been established including Sante Fe, Albuquerque, San Francisco, El Paso, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Jose, Monterey, and Los Angeles.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1700's and 1800's: The Louisiana Purchase
Spanish Immigration to America had been successful due to the colonies and settlements that had been established in New Spain but the Spanish Empire started to collapse in the 1800's. The powerful French ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte, forced Spain to return the Louisiana Territory, which included the area now known as Nebraska, to France. The secret Treaty of San Ildefonso was signed on October 1, 1800 by which Spain returned the territory of Louisiana which France had ceded to Spain in 1763. Napoleon decided to capitalize on his new acquisition in America and to concentrate his military conquests to Europe. Napoleon Bonaparte therefore agreed to sell the Louisiana Territory to America. The Louisiana Purchase was made on April 30, 1803 by which 828,000 square miles of land was sold by France to the United States for 15 million dollars.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1800's: The United States acquires Florida
The Florida colonies had been returned to Spanish control in 1783, although many American settlers also lived in Florida. The American settlers became increasingly concerned that Spanish Florida had became a refuge for runaway slaves and fugitive Native American Indians, smugglers, and kinds of criminals. In 1810, the American settlers in West Florida rebelled, declaring independence from Spain but no action was taken by the US until 1818 when General Andrew Jackson mounted a raid into west Florida. The US Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams demanded that Spain either controlled the inhabitants of Florida or cede it to the United States. Spain's power had grown weak in the New World other Spanish colonies were rebelling against Spanish rule. At the same time Spain also faced threats from Europe. Spain was unwilling to make further investments in Florida and feared that the territory would be taken by force. As a result the Spanish sold Florida to the U.S. for $5,000,000. The Adams Onís Treaty between the United States and Spain took effect on July 17, 1821. According to the terms of the Adams Onís treaty, the United States acquired Florida, and, in exchange, renounced all its claims to Texas. Spain retained possession of California and New Mexico that included lands of modern Nevada, Utah, Arizona and sections of Wyoming and Colorado. But Spanish Immigration to America in the Florida colony had ended.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1800's: The Mexican War of Independence
Spanish Immigration to America was further halted in the 1800's by widespread rebellion against the stern Spanish rule. The Mexican War of Independence began on September 16, 1810 and ended 11 years later on September 27, 1821. The Creoles, Spanish colonists born in the new world, and the Mexicans resented the Spanish control and fought fiercely for independence from Spain. The Mexican War of Independence ended with the Treaty of Cordoba and Mexico was declared an independent empire. The military commander Agustín de Iturbide was proclaimed as Emperor of Mexico. With these developments, Texas became part of an independent Mexico. Between 1811–1812 Famine devastated Madrid killing 20,000 people and Spanish Immigration to America increased at this time as many fled to safety.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1800's: US Acquisition of California and Texas
Spanish Immigration to America continued to decrease as conflicts between Americans and Mexico began to erupt. The Bear Flag Revolt of 1846 was launched by American settlers against Mexico in Alta California which led to the California Annexation by the United States. Similar conflicts erupted in Texas over border disputes. On March 1, 1845 the United States Congress then passed a "Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States". The Mexican American War, also known as the Invasion of Mexico broke out on April 25, 1846 which was fought in Texas, New Mexico, California and Central, Northern and Eastern Mexico. The Mexican American War ended in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in which Mexico was forced to abandon claims to Texas, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. The United States paid just $18,500,000 for this massive and extremely valuable addition to its territory and Spanish Immigration to America ceased to what had been once known as the territory of New Spain. U.S. citizenship was extended to approximately 60,000 Mexican residents of the New Mexico Territory and 10,000 living in California. An additional 2,500 foreign born California residents also become U.S. citizens.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1800's: The Carlist Civil Wars in Spain
New Spain had been destroyed but Spanish Immigration to America continued as the Carlist Civil Wars in Spain (1833–1876) caused chaos and brutal warfare in Spain. The majority of Spanish immigrants were from the Basque ethnic group who were persecuted after their rebellion was defeated. Spanish immigration to America was minimal in the early 1800's - 2,616 in 1820–1830, 2,125 from 1831–1840, 2,209 from 1841–1850 and then suddenly Spanish immigration to America jumped between 9,298 from 1851–1860 as the persecution of the Basques increased still further.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1800's: La Gloriosa
The Glorious Revolution (La Gloriosa) took place in Spain in 1868, resulting in the deposition of Queen Isabella II. The atmosphere in Spain was characterized by profound political and social instability and violence that led to the establishment of the First Spanish Republic in 1873. Between 1861 - 1870 Spanish Immigration to America totaled 6697.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1800's: Ellis Island
Immigration to America had been unrestricted up to the late 1800's but the levels of immigration to the United States had grown to such massive numbers that the US government introduced restrictive immigration laws and procedures. Ellis Island Immigration Center (1892 - 1954) was opened in Upper New York Bay serving as an inspection station for immigrants from different countries in Europe. Spanish Immigration to America from 1892 were then taken to the Ellis Island Immigration Center for medical and legal inspection before they were allowed entry into the United States.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1900's: Poverty in the 1900's
From 1900 to 1925, Spanish immigration to America increased drastically - 27,000 from 1900 to 1910 and 68,000 from 1910 to 1920. The levels of unemployment in Spain, especially amongst the rural community, led to poverty and destitution and Spaniards looked to America for a better way of life. Many settled in Connecticut and New Jersey. Large Spanish communities sprang up in the cities, the Industrialization of America had created many job opportunities. New York City had a particularly large number of Spanish immigrants. Areas around New York and communities in New Jersey and Connecticut were also Spanish American centers. Additional restrictive immigration laws were introduced including a quota system to restrict the number of immigrants from a given country.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1900's: Fascism and Franco
A significant wave of Spanish immigration to America occured when dictator Francisco Franco came to power ending the Spanish Republic. The Spanish Civil War was fought from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939 and intellectual political refugees fled into exile in the United States. The Nationalists led by General Francisco Franco were victorious and Franco ruled Spain for the next 36 years, until his death in 1975. There was dire poverty in Spain for over 20 years following the Spanish Civil War that prompted this wave of Spanish immigration to America.
History of Spanish Immigration to America in the 1900's: The 1965 Hart-Cellar Act
The last significant wave of Spanish Immigration to America started in 1965 with the passing of the Immigration and Nationality Act, also known as the Hart-Celler Act. The law was an extremely important landmark in U.S. immigration history as it abolished nation-of-origin restrictions and the number of immigrants from Spain rose dramatically. Between 1961 and 1990 over 100,000 Spanish immigrants entered the United States. According to the US Bureau of the Census of 2000 a total of 2,187,144 Americans claimed to be solely or partially of Spanish descent, it is no wonder that Spanish-Americans have made a significant impact on the culture of Americans.
History of Spanish Immigration to America Facts Sheet and Timeline for kids
Important facts about the history of Spanish Immigration to America and US laws that effected the migrants from Spain are contained in the following Facts Sheet and history timeline.
Spanish Immigration to America Facts Sheet and Timeline for kids
Fact 1: 1492; Christopher Columbus discovers America and all the lands are claimed for Spain
Fact 2: 1519: The Spanish conquer the Aztec Empire (1519 to 1521)
Fact 3: 1532: Spain conquers the Inca Empire in 1532.
Fact 4: 1533: Fortun Jimenez explored the lands on the lower Baja California peninsula, followed soon after by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo
Fact 5: 1500's: Spanish explorers claim lands in Mexico and on the south Atlantic coast
Fact 6: 1540: Francisco Vasquez de Coronado commanded the first Spanish army into New Mexico
Fact 7: 1565: The first Spanish settlement is established at St. Augustine, Florida
Fact 8: 1568: The Spanish begin to establish missions in Georgia and South Carolina
Fact 9: 1598: Juan de Onate colonizes the territory now called New Mexico
Fact 10: 1762: The secret Treaty of Fontainebleau in which France gave Louisiana, as well as New Orleans to Spain
Fact 11: 1763: The Treaty of Paris ends the French and Indian Wars. Spain cedes Florida to the British but gains western Louisiana
Fact 12: 1764: The cession of Louisiana to Spain is finally revealed
Fact 13: 1769: Spanish settlement began in Alta California and colonists established San Jose in 1777 and Los Angeles in 1781.
Fact 14: 1775: Spain supports the American colonists against the British in the War of Independence (1775 - 1783)
Fact 15: 1783: The United States returns Florida to Spain
Fact 16: 1800: Spain is forced to return the territory of Louisiana to France in the Treaty of San Ildefonso
Fact 17: 1803: 828,000 square miles of land was sold by France to the US for 15 million dollars in the Louisiana Purchase
Fact 18: 1819: The Adams Onis Treaty gave Florida to the U.S. and set out a boundary between the United States and New Spain (now Mexico)
Fact 19: 1821: The Mexicans won their independence from Spain
Fact 20: 1833: The start of the Carlist Civil Wars in Spain (1833–1876)
Fact 21: 1846: California and Texas was annexed by the US and the Mexican-American War broke
Fact 22: 1848: The Spanish territory of Alta California and New Mexico was ceded to the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Fact 23: 1868: The Glorious Revolution (La Gloriosa) took place in Spain and emigrants fled to America
Fact 24: 1891: The 1891 Immigration Act provided for the regulation of immigration and the inspection and deportation of immigrants.
Fact 25: 1892: The Ellis Island immigration center was opened where immigrants from Europe, including Spain, were subjected to medical and legal examinations
Fact 26: 1907: The 1907 Immigration Act consisted of a series of reforms to restrict the number of immigrants and established the Dillingham Commission whose report led to further stringent and specific immigration restrictions.
Fact 27: 1911: The Dillingham Commission report was issued
Fact 28: 1921: The 1921 Emergency Quota Act used of quota system to restrict the number of immigrants from a given country
Fact 29: 1924: The Immigration Act of 1924 restricting the number of immigrants further
Fact 30: 1936: The Spanish Civil War broke out following the rise of Fascism as the dictator Francisco Franco came to power
Fact 31: 1965: Nation-of-origin restrictions were abolished by the Hart-Celler Law
Push and Pull Factors of Spanish Immigration to America for kids
For specific examples and a list of political, economic, environmental and social reasons and push and pull factors of Spanish Immigration to America refer to:
Push and Pull Factors of Spanish Immigration