Global Migration, 1846–1940

Mass long-distance migrations have been an important part of modern world history, but historians have been slow to acknowledge their global extent. Movement across the Atlantic is recognized as a critical aspect of industrialization and expansion into American frontiers, but migrations that were part of similar demographic and economic transformations in north and southeast Asia are largely ignored. Asian and African migrations, when mentioned, are usually described only as indentured migration subject to the needs of Europeans or as peasants fleeing overpopulation pressures, quite different from the free migrants that transformed the Atlantic world. But migrations across the globe were broadly comparable in size and timing. These similarities are not coincidental. The frontiers of Manchuria and the rice fields and rubber plantations of Southeast Asia were as much a part of the industrial processes transforming the world as the factories of Manchester and the wheat fields of North America. Power and capital were centered in the North Atlantic, but massive migration flows often took place beyond the direct influence of Europe.

From a global perspective, the usual periodization in which the age of mass migrations ended in 1914 is not appropriate. World migration reached new peaks in the 1920s, and the immigration restrictions of the 1920s were also part of much longer trends of regulation, border control, and nationalism that had grown concurrently with migration since the middle of the nineteenth century. In fact, the segmentation of global migration into different systems, which has facilitated the ability to focus only on transatlantic migration and ignore the rest of the world, was as much a consequence of political intervention into migration as of economic processes. Thus, a global perspective on migration provides insight not only into the global reaches of an expanding industrial economy, but also into how this integrative economy grew concurrently with political and cultural forces that favored fragmentation into nations, races, and perceptions of distinct cultural regions.

Overview of World Migration

An overview of the three main circuits of long-distance migration from 1846 to 1940. It is based on immigration, emigration, and customs statistics from around the world (the appendix contains a detailed review of sources). They count mostly ship passengers who traveled in third class or steerage, or people such as migrants from India who were categorized under bureaucratic definitions of “emigrants” or “laborers,” or migrants who registered under officially sponsored colonization schemes such as those from Russia to Siberia and central Asia. Most of the available statistics can be classified according to three main destinations: the Americas, the broad expanse of North Asia stretching from the Russian steppes to Siberia and Manchuria, and a region centered on Southeast Asia but extending across the rims of the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific. The majority of migrants to each destination also came from similar origins, although the column of “auxiliary origins” shows migrant flows from other places.

These classifications are intended to suggest the larger trends and broad comparability of long distance migration around the globe. Nonetheless, the table is highly selective. It does not account for much migration through Africa, western Asia, or within each of the sending and receiving regions. Much of this was short-distance or overland migration for which statistics are not always readily available (although some flows, such as those from Europe to North Africa, are well documented), and will be discussed in the next section.

The transatlantic migrations to the Americas are the best known of these migrations. Over 65 percent of these migrants went to the United States, with the bulk of the remainder divided between Canada, Argentina (which had the largest proportion of foreign-born residents), Brazil, and, to a lesser extent, Cuba. Over half of the emigration before the 1870s was from the British Isles, with much of the remainder from northwestern Europe. As migration increased along with new transportation technologies in the 1880s, regions of intensive emigration spread south and east as far as Portugal, Russia, and Syria. Up to 2.5 million migrants from South and East Asia also traveled to the Americas, mostly to the frontiers of western North America or the plantations of the Caribbean, Peru, and Brazil. Half of this migration took place before 1885, after which the decline of indentured labor recruitment and the rise of anti-Asian immigration laws began to take effect.

Migration to Southeast Asia and lands around the Indian Ocean and South Pacific consisted of over 29 million Indians and over 19 million Chinese. Most migration from India was to colonies throughout the British empire. Less than 10 percent of this migration was indentured, although much of it was undertaken with assistance from colonial authorities, or under some form of debt obligation under kangani labor recruitment systems.[1] Over 2 million Indians also migrated as merchants or other travelers not intending to work as laborers.[2] Migration expanded with the increasing restriction of indenture contracts after 1908 and the abolishment of indenture in 1920. Nearly 4 million Indians traveled to Malaysia, over 8 million to Ceylon, over 15 million to Burma, and about 1 million to Africa, other parts of Southeast Asia, and islands throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

The vast majority of Chinese migrants came from the southern provinces of Guangdong and Fujian. Less than 750,000 Chinese migrants signed indenture contracts with European employers, including 250,000 to Latin America and the Caribbean before 1874, 250,000 to Sumatra from the 1880s to the 1910s, and a smaller number to mines, plantations, and islands scattered throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans (indentured laborers to South Africa from 1904 to 1908 and to Europe during World War I were mostly from north China). Many more Chinese worked for Chinese employers under various forms of contract and debt obligation, wage labor, and profit sharing. Up to 11 million Chinese traveled from China to the Straits Settlements, although more than a third of these transshipped to the Dutch Indies, Borneo, Burma, and places farther west. Nearly 4 million traveled directly from China to Thailand, between 2 and 3 million to French Indochina, over 1 million to the Dutch Indies (for a total of over 4 million if transshipments from Singapore are included), less than 1 million to the Philippines, and over 500,000 to Australia, New Zealand, Hawai’i, and other islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Migration into the broad expanse of North Asia is the least well studied of these systems. Small trickles of migrants had moved into central Asia, Siberia, and Manchuria for hundreds of years, but the Qing government’s gradual relaxation of restrictions against movement into Manchuria after 1860 and the emancipation of serfs in Russia in 1861 set the stage for more massive migration. Both governments actively encouraged settlement with homesteading policies in the 1880s, each partly inspired by the desire to forestall territorial encroachment by the other. Railroad construction in the 1890s further strengthened the migrant flows.[3] Between 28 and 33 million Chinese migrated into Manchuria and Siberia (most of whom embarked on a short sea voyage from Shandong to the Liaodong peninsula), along with nearly 2 million Koreans and over 500,000 Japanese. Another 2.5 million Koreans migrated to Japan, especially in the 1930s. At least 13 million Russians moved into central Asia and Siberia over this period. In addition, up to 1 million northern Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese migrated to a diverse range of destinations, including much of the Americas, Hawai’i, Southeast Asia, South Africa, and Europe.

Global migrations caused a significant shift in the distribution of the world’s population. All three destinations experienced massive population growth, with their populations increasing by factors of 4 to 5.5 from 1850 to 1950. Growth rates in these areas were over twice that for world population as a whole, and about 60 percent greater than in Africa, a region of small net immigration. In comparison, growth rates in the sending regions were lower than world population growth, and less than half of those in the receiving regions. Taken together, the three main destination regions accounted for 10 percent of the world’s population in 1850 and 24 percent in 1950. Southeast Asia grew more slowly than the other two destinations, but that growth took place within a much more restricted area with a much more entrenched native population. From 1870 to 1930 approximately 35 million migrants moved into the 4.08 million square kilometers of Southeast Asia, compared to the 39 million migrants that moved into the 9.8 million square kilometers of the United States.

Emigration rates tend to be uneven within particular regions, with some villages or counties sending numerous migrants while others send hardly any at all. Nonetheless, average emigration rates from different sending regions are broadly comparable. At first glance 19 million overseas emigrants from China or 29 million from India seems like a drop in the bucket compared to the several millions from much smaller countries like Italy, Norway, Ireland, and England. But if we look at regions of comparable size, the rates are very similar. Some of the peak emigration rates ever recorded were an annual average of 22 emigrants per 1,000 population in Ireland during the famine of 1845 to 1855, or 18 per 1,000 from Iceland in the 1880s.[4] Some South Pacific and Caribbean islands probably experienced similar rates. More typical rates in periods of high overseas emigration are 10.8 per 1,000 from Italy, 8.3 per 1,000 from Norway, and 7 per 1,000 from Ireland in the first decade of the twentieth century.[5] In comparison, the average annual overseas emigration rate from Guangdong province in south China, which had an area slightly larger and a population slightly smaller than Italy, was at least 9.6 per 1,000 in the peak years of the 1920s. Hebei and Shandong provinces (sources of migration to Manchuria) had a rate of 10 per 1,000 during that same decade.[6]

Other Flows

Transoceanic migration accounts for only a portion of global migration. Much migration was temporary or permanent movement to nearby cities, towns, factories, mines, and plantations. Other migration took place within the main sending and receiving regions and through places such as Africa and the Middle East, which were at the interstices of the main long-distance systems. Most of these migrations were closely linked to processes that shaped the major long-distance systems, and the three systems delineated quickly blur into a spectrum of overlapping migrations.

The transatlantic migrations could be extended to include over 10 million people who moved to the western frontiers of North America, first primarily across the United States and eventually into the western plains of Canada. This process also spurred the relocation of great numbers of Native Americans and the migration of over 2.5 million Mexicans to the agricultural areas of the southwestern United States in the early twentieth century. The industrial centers of the northeastern United States also attracted over 2.5 million Canadians, and then over 1 million African Americans and Mexicans in the early twentieth century.[7] In other parts of the Americas, great numbers of Andean peoples moved to coastal plantations and cities, and over 300,000 Caribbean peoples migrated to plantations in Central America and Cuba, to the Panama Canal Zone, and to the United States.[8]

Massive internal migration also took place within the major sending regions of long-distance migration. In Europe, migrants from Ire-land traveled to England for work, and from eastern and southern Europe to industrial areas in northern Europe, especially France and Germany. In Russia, migrants moved into the growing cities and southern agricultural areas.[9] Within India they moved to tea plantations in the south and northeast, to the mines and textile-producing regions of Bengal, and to newly irrigated lands and urban areas throughout the subcontinent.[10] In China, they migrated to growing coastal cities, to areas of the Yangtze basin left underpopulated by the Taiping rebellion, and to borderland areas of the northwest and southwest, including overland migration to Burma.[11] Each of these systems involved at least 20 million journeys. Southeast Asia and the South Pacific were also sites of migration, including up to 500,000 Javanese traveling to plantations in Sumatra and the Southeast Asian mainland and over 400,000 Melanesians and Micronesians working on plantations and as seamen throughout the region.[12]

Africa experienced net transoceanic immigration, but at much smaller numbers than other main destinations and from a wider variety of origins. The immigrants included over 3 million French and Italians into North Africa and up to 1 million other Europeans, Syrians, Lebanese, Arabs, Indians, and Chinese throughout the continent.[13] The end of the transatlantic slave trade led to increased movement of slaves into the western Sudan, the Middle East, and areas bordering the Indian Ocean in the late nineteenth century. Labor migration to plantations and mines in southern and central Africa increased through the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as did movement to agricultural areas and coastal cities in western and eastern Africa. Millions of people took part in these movements, some of whom were coerced and many of whom went to work for European enterprises, but many of whom also found independent occupations.[14]

The Middle East and ex-Ottoman lands were also at the interstices of the main long-distance flows described above. Much of the movement in this region was the kind of labor migration that predominated in much of the rest of the world. Projects such as the Suez Canal and development of an infrastructure for cotton cultivation in Egypt attracted large amounts of local migration, while Lebanon and Syria experienced some of the highest overseas emigration rates in the world.[15] Over 3 million people also took part in the hajj to Mecca from 1879 to 1938.[16] This was also an area of massive migration caused by war and politics, a harbinger of the kinds of migration that would become increasingly prominent over the twentieth century. The dissolution of the Ottoman empire and wars with Russia led to an exchange of 4 to 6 million people, with Muslims moving south from the Balkans, Greece, and Russia into Turkey, and Christians moving in the other direction. Around 1 million Armenians were expelled from Turkey to points around the world, and nearly 400,000 Jews moved to Palestine in the early twentieth century.[17] The massive movement of refugees would extend to other parts of Europe in the wake of World War I and the Russian revolution, including the movement of 3 million Russians, Poles, and Germans out of the Soviet Union.[18]

In addition to the migration of settlers and workers, some of the traditional merchant diasporas continued to flourish. For centuries before the 1800s, these ethnic networks had been some of the most prominent exemplars of long-distance migration. Their importance diminished under the economic transformations and new labor migrations impelled by industrialization, but many old and new diasporas continued to play prominent roles at the frontiers of the expanding global economy. Jewish merchant networks were incorporated into the operations of European capital and Armenian merchant networks were decimated by the traumas of genocide. But other diasporas increased in number and spatial extent while maintaining and adapting traditional forms of commercial organization. Chinese merchant networks helped channel Chinese labor throughout Southeast Asia and later established dense networks of shops and services in places as distant as the Amazon rubber groves, South Pacific atolls, and upriver Borneo, not to mention restaurants, corner stores, and laundries that served other migrants in plantations and urban neighborhoods throughout the world. Merchants from India expanded trade networks into central Asia, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Chettiars from southern India followed British expansion into Burma, and Parsis facilitated the India-China trade using some of the capital they earned to establish textile mills in India. Of particular interest are the Sindworkies from the town of Hyderabad in what is now Pakistan. After the 1860s, they spread from Japan to the Panama Canal and Tierra del Fuego, establishing upscale tourist shops that sold “curios” from around the world and becoming prominent carriers of Japanese trade in the Dutch Indies. Other merchant diasporas such as the Hadhramis (from Yemen), Hausa, and Lebanese Christians joined the Chinese and Indians at this interface between expanding industrial enterprises and dispersed individual producers and consumers around the world.[19]

Historical Trends

The broad historical trends of global long-distance migration are traced. The year 1846 is a somewhat arbitrary starting point for this history, chosen for the availability of systematic migration statistics from Europe, India, and Hong Kong. Relatively complete statistics for Siberia and southern China ports other than Hong Kong become available in the late 1870s, and for Chinese migration into Manchuria in 1891. Long-distance and transoceanic migration had been increasing gradually around the world since at least the 1820s.[20] Prior to the nineteenth century, long-distance migration was undertaken primarily by merchants, African slaves, and a relatively small trickle of settlers, agriculturalists, and miners to frontiers throughout the world. Much migration was to nearby frontiers such as hills, forests, and swamps. Many of these settlements were undertaken by independent settlers, but some were massive movements impelled by violence and crisis or sponsored by governments and private companies, such as the repopulation of Sichuan Province in western China after the Ming to Qing transition, migrations into eastern Europe and the Ukraine, and the extensive population movements sponsored by the Ottoman government.[21] In addition, merchants, craftsmen, laborers, and transportation workers made circuits throughout markets and towns in much of Asia, Europe, Africa, and even in a Russia bound by serfdom. Entire villages specialized in skills such as banking, stonemasonry, letter writing, or trade in particular products and sent migrants to ply their trade across the region.[22]

The rise of a global economy centered on European, North American, and Japanese industrialization was the context for increased long-distance migration of settlers and workers. Foodstuffs and resources from frontiers near and far helped supply growing industrial centers, and economic transformations disrupted old migration patterns. Chinese and Indian migration to Southeast Asia increased along with transatlantic migration, took advantage of steamship lines after the 1860s, and opened up mines and agricultural areas in of the jungles of Southeast Asia. The decline of the transatlantic slave trade after the 1820s led to the rise of indentured Asian migration in the 1840s. Indentured migration would reach its zenith in the 1880s, declining just as Asian migration began to boom. Similarly, exiles and prisoners to Siberia declined just as Siberian migration began to increase in the 1880s (dropping from 75 percent in the 1870s to nearly nothing by the 1890s).[23]

Migration rates increased dramatically around the world in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. After the depression of the early 1870s, transatlantic migration boomed and clearly surpassed Asian migration for the first time in the late 1870s, although migration to Southeast Asia soon picked up in the 1880s. Migration to North Asia followed suit in the 1890s. Developments in transportation technology such as steamships and railways in all of these areas facilitated the growth in migration. In turn, increased migration facilitated more industrial expansion, which encouraged more migration. As migration grew, larger portions of migrants to the Americas migrated to industrial occupations and towns rather than frontier homesteading, a pattern that would be followed in North Asia at about a fifteen- to twenty-year delay. Rural populations continued to grow more rapidly than urban ones in Southeast Asia, but the plantations, mines, and rice-growing areas of the region were as much a part of the global economy as North American factories and fields.[24]

Migration in each region ebbed and flowed along with business cycles, climaxing in the years before World War I. Transatlantic migration reached a spectacular peak of over 2.1 million in 1913, and migration to Southeast and North Asia also reached unprecedented peaks of nearly 1.1 million per year from 1911 to 1913. Transatlantic migration was hit hardest by World War I, but recovered to 1.2 million migrants in 1924, after which immigration quotas in the United States severely curtailed immigration from southern and eastern Europe. Asian migration also reached new peaks in the 1920s, with 1.25 million migrants to Southeast Asia in 1927 and 1.5 million to North Asia in 1929. The Great Depression put a stop to much migration, with the significant exception of the command economies of Japan and the Soviet Union where coercion, government promotion, and relatively strong economies produced rates of up to 1.8 million migrants per year into North Asia by the late 1930s.

Migration increased more quickly than world population. Transoceanic (and Siberian) migration in the 1850s amounted for 0.36 percent of the world’s population. It amounted to 0.96 percent in the 1880s and 1.67 percent in the 1900s, then declined to 1.58 percent in the 1920s. Concurrent growth around the world was not coincidental, but linked through an increasingly integrated global economy. It was a world on the move, flowing into factories, construction projects, mines, plantations, agricultural frontiers, and commercial networks across the globe. Coercion and violence played a role in this migration, especially in the mid-nineteenth century and in the 1930s, but the bulk of it was channeled through independent networks of friends, family, and villagers. Ultimately, European, North American, and Japanese industrialization, capital, and military power generated and dominated much of this movement. But migrants around the world were not just carried about by Europeans. They embodied the expanding global political economy.

Beyond the Atlantic

Rudolph Vecoli introduced his edited volume A Century of European Migrations, 1830–1930 with the statement “[w]e need to move beyond the framework of the ‘Atlantic Migration’ … It [has] blinkered us to the global nature of [migration].”[25] He went no further than to articulate this agenda and offered no suggestions about how migration would look different without those blinkers. At the most obvious level, attention to global migration will provide more grist for comparative micro-and macrostudies about the operation of migration networks, the causes of migration, migration’s relationship to economic and demographic change, the role of gender, and integration into local societies. But serious work in this direction will be undertaken only once it is clear that global migrations are broadly comparable, an assumption that is still not well established in migration history. Even scholars who are aware of migration beyond the Atlantic tend to characterize it as directly subject to European expansion and not generated by the same impulses that shaped transatlantic migrations.

It is easy to harvest numerous quotes from state-of-the-field volumes that privilege the uniqueness of the transatlantic system. Many of these assertions are simply statements of quantity, such as Virginia Yans-McLaughlin’s assertion that “[b]y chance or choice, almost half of these world-travelers [world migrants] settled in the United States.”[26] Some of these statements go further and assert that transatlantic migration was categorically different in quality, such as Ira Glazier and Luigi De Rosa’s claim that “[i]t is North and South America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that provide the great stage for the migration drama, where migration assumes extraordinary dimensions. While for the other continents migration was a means of relieving demographic pressure by moving surplus population to regions of lower density, in North and South America the problem was one of providing a labor force to work the vast areas of open land waiting to be brought under cultivation.”[27] Douglas Massey asserted the historical predominance of European migrations as a way to highlight what he believed was the increasingly global quality of contemporary migration: “Although international migrants were not exclusively European, the overwhelming majority came from that continent…. Before 1925, 85 percent of all international migrants originated in Europe, but since 1960 Europe has contributed an increasingly small fraction of emigrants to world migration flows.”[28]

Most of these works do not engage directly with non-Atlantic migrations, and such statements can potentially be dismissed as lack of direct knowledge. But the decision to disregard the rest of the world is still shaped by assumptions about that world, as can be seen more clearly in Pieter Emmer’s comparative work. Emmer categorizes long-distance migration as being intercontinental or not. Thus, he includes Russians who crossed the Ural mountains and French who went to Algeria as intercontinental, but not Chinese who went to Singapore. After counting 5 to 6 million intercontinental African and Asian migrants from 1800 to 1960, he concludes that “[t]he study of migration as part of the process of European expansion and contraction clearly shows that Europeans have participated much more extensively in intercontinental migrations than Africans and Asians.”[29] This distinction then becomes the basis for qualitative judgments. In his essay “Was Migration Beneficial?” he divides global migration into temperate and tropical plantation systems. The tropical system is made up almost entirely of intercontinental Asian and African migration to plantations under conditions of indenture and to white settler nations filled with anti-Asian sentiment, making it easy to conclude that Asians benefited much less from migration than Europeans. He even suggests that it does not make much sense to ask if Asian migration was beneficial “given the relatively small volume of both internal and external migration.”[30]

Emmer’s distinctions may seem crude, but the general assumption that Asian migration consisted almost entirely of indentured labor dominated by Europeans pervades much of the literature. This assumption is somewhat understandable for Indian migration given its relatively tight organization within the British empire and the relatively high level of assisted migration to European-owned plantations. Much more perplexing is the characterization of Chinese migration as indentured and the consistently low estimations of Chinese migration in Western language scholarship ranging from 2 to 8 million.[31] Even the incomplete Chinese numbers in the most widely used source of migration statistics, Ferenczi and Willcox’s International Migrations, account for nearly 8 million Chinese.[32] Most citations, however, tend to draw from other secondary works, eventually leading to studies by Chen Ta, Arnold Meagher, and Chen Zexuan, all of whom were counting only contract labor migration.[33] The projection of these numbers as a complete accounting of Chinese migration is laden with assumptions about the nature of Asian migration.[34]

Dirk Hoerder’s recent attempt at a comprehensive global history of migration, Cultures in Contact, also explains Asian migration primarily in terms of European intervention. His chapter on Asian migration in the industrial age is titled “Asian Contract Labor System (1830s to 1920s) and Transpacific Migration.” It begins with the assertion that “[p]arallel to the voluntary and self-bound migrations in the Atlantic system, the migrations of [Asians] involved a minority of free migrants, large numbers of self-bound migrants, and forced moves,” and over two-thirds of the chapter focuses on indentured migration and European-run plantations.[35] He cites statistics that show high numbers of migration into Southeast Asia and Manchuria, yet he still provides maps in which flows of Indian migrants to the Caribbean are depicted as twice as large as those to Southeast Asia, and twice as large from North China to overseas destinations than to Manchuria (whereas the Manchurian migrations were at least 250 times larger).[36] Hoerder’s explanations of Asian migration are also categorically different than those for European migration. The causes of Chinese overseas emigration include “[i]mperial Chinese maladministration and revolts, overpopulation and natural disasters as well as colonial penetration.”[37] European research (as Hoerder is aware) has consistently argued that the first three causes can rarely be used to explain the establishment of steady migration patterns, and “colonial penetration” is, of course, irrelevant for Europe. This leaves the impression that Chinese do not migrate within the same kinds of networks and by making the same kinds of decisions as Europeans. Similarly, the Manchurian migrations are treated as peasant resettlement driven by overpopulation, with little discussion of the industrial transformations of northeastern Asia. The overall effect is to render Asian migrations of little significance without European presence or despotic Asian regimes to impel them.

Detailed comparative analyses between different migrant flows around the world will certainly provide continued insights into the processes of migration. But such comparisons will not reach their full potential without a revision of the larger assumptions of world history used to contextualize migration. The nearly contemporaneous rise of global migration suggests that non-Europeans were very much involved in the expansion and integration of the world economy, well beyond the direct intervention of Europe. The division of migration into distinct systems often obscures the links between these global processes. As we shall see, a global history of migration must also understand the processes of regulation and intervention by which global migration has come to be segmented into distinct systems, both in perception and in practice.


The late 1920s was one of the high points of global mass migrations. But studies that privilege the transatlantic migrations generally take 1914 to be the end of the age of mass migration. This date makes some sense from the perspective of the North Atlantic, where migration patterns were severely disrupted by World War I and its aftermath. The war produced rigid passport controls and massive refugee streams that were unfamiliar to western Europe (although not to Russia, southeastern Europe, and Asia Minor). Germany severely restricted immigration after the war, the United States erected quotas in 1921 and 1924, and Italy restricted emigration in 1927. It appeared to be a new era of migration control, rigid borders, and nationalistic prejudices.[38]

But it is far from clear that movement was severely diminished within the larger transatlantic system beyond those three (admittedly important) nodes of Germany, Italy, and the United States. Over 2 million workers traveled to France in the 1920s, and migration to Australia, New Zealand, and American destinations other than the United States (and the United States before 1924) resumed levels equivalent to the first decade of twentieth century. Emigration from eastern Europe and Portugal—areas at the expanding periphery of the transatlantic system—even increased during the 1920s.[39] Immigration to the United States from other parts of the Americas also increased to over 150,000 a year, the highest rates ever.[40] It is also unclear that immigration policy was categorically more restrictive. Immigration policy actually grew less restrictive in Canada over the 1920s, while remaining fairly constant in Argentina and Australia.[41]

What seems to be at stake in insisting that 1914 was the end of mass migration is not just the number of migrants, but the belief that a new era of nationalism, rigid borders, and government regulation had taken root. The postwar years are depicted as a break from the regime of free migration in place before the 1920s. But rather than posing a dichotomy of before and after 1914, it would be better to understand regimes of regulation as part of a cumulative process that had been taking place since at least the 1870s. The concurrent growth of migration since the mid-nineteenth century was part and parcel of the expansion of borders and regulation, including numerous projects to encourage, restrict, select, protect, distribute, and monitor migration. Extending the era of mass migration into the 1920s acknowledges both the global scale and the long-term relationship of migration and politics since the early nineteenth century.[42] This also helps provide insight into how different migration systems became segmented across the globe.

“Free” migration was itself a product of government regulation in many instances. The abolishment of the slave trade required intensive government intervention against the activities of private traders and recruiters. The regulation of the Chinese coolie trade in the 1860s and 1870s entailed the collaboration of Chinese and European officials to circumscribe the activities of private recruiters and establish regulatory institutions that assured that each migrant had entered into his contract “freely” and “voluntarily.”[43] The expansion of Indian migration throughout the British Empire was a direct result of this type of intervention. All migration moves through social and political landscapes. The idea of a free migration must always be contextualized in its political context in which certain other processes and interests must also be constrained.

Colonial and national policies toward migrants and natives have also had a significant effect on the size and nature of migrant flows. Chinese migration to colonial Southeast Asia and Siam in the middle of the nineteenth century was inseparable from the enormous revenue farms auctioned out to Chinese entrepreneurs, which were nexi for labor recruitment and settlement of the interior. Later policies that framed natives as rural dwellers with rights to the land and in need of protection from exploitative “alien” Chinese or Indians were crucial in the development of extensive “middleman” networks by Chinese and Indians. In turn, these networks channeled further migration and expanded well beyond direct European influence to create a world densely enmeshed in an expanding global economy.[44] These policies were much different than those in the Americas that treated many (but not all) immigrants as potential citizens, and developed policies of selection, recruitment, and protection to facilitate the realization of this ideal.

Nationalism and the policing of territorial boundaries were also part of the same historical processes that produced migration. Many immigration restrictions and border controls were erected in reaction to immigration, building on the fear of cultural contamination, declining living standards, or political subversion. Leo Lucassen has argued that the rise of mass political participation and the welfare state was most responsible for the perceived need to restrict the entry of migrants who may compete for political resources.[45] But migration also has a positive relation to nationalism and the control of territorial boundaries. The opening and encouragement of migration into Siberia and Manchuria were both partially impelled by the perceptions of the Russian and Chinese governments that these borderlands must be claimed and fortified. Japan and Italy both encouraged overseas migration as a way to expand national interests. The Italian emigrant passport requirements of 1901 were intended to facilitate high-quality migration that was not refused entry at foreign ports, as well as to maintain tabs on young males who were required to perform military service.[46] Emigrant communities have also been important sites for learning and propagating ideals of nationalism and for the reification of a homeland that must be nurtured, fortified, and protected.[47]

Perhaps one of the earliest and most significant examples of migration control has been the cutting off of Asian migration to the Americas and Australia in the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Nearly 50,000 Chinese migrated to the California gold rush from 1851 to 1855. Total migration to California and Australia amounted to 135,000 in the 1850s, perhaps amounting to a quarter of all Chinese emigration. All these migrants were funded and arranged by Chinese capital (albeit transported on European ships) and depended on Chinese mining skills. Chinese were flowing into the same paths as European migrants until international intervention in the coolie trade in the 1870s and anti-Asian immigration laws in the Americas and Australia after the 1880s severely reduced migration to these destinations. Chinese migrants to the Americas declined from 20–35 percent of all Chinese migrants in the 1850s through the early 1870s to 2–5 percent per year after 1890. Half of all Asian migration to the Americas had already taken place by the mid-1880s and was cut off just when Asian migration in general began to boom. The resulting segmentation of migration systems has since framed understandings of Asian migrations as categorically different and less significant than transatlantic migrations. But this segmentation was precisely an example of the kinds of government intervention that continued to accumulate through the 1920s and 1930s.

Some of the larger implications of taking 1914 as a break can be seen in work by Jeffrey Williamson and his collaborators, especially The Age of Mass Migrations with Timothy Hatton and Globalization and History with Kevin O’Rourke. They argue that migration was a critical aspect of globalization in the North Atlantic, contributing to a convergence of wages, living standards, and industrial production across nations. This argument is linked to a periodization in which the late nineteenth century until 1914 was a period of globalization, the period from 1914 to 1950 was one of deglobalization, and the period after 1950 was one of renewed globalization.[48] O’Rourke and Williamson provide evidence that wages and production converged across nations before 1914, but diverged or remained stagnant in the interwar period. They argue that domestic inequalities caused by globalization led to backlash and the erection of barriers against globalization, such as high tariffs and anti-immigration laws, which caused economic divergence and, ultimately, the Great Depression.[49] But they offer little evidence that the flows of globalization actually receded after World War I. Generalizations across the period from 1914 to 1946 can easily show a decline in international trade, capital flows, and migration. A focus on the 1920s, on the other hand, shows flows of trade and capital higher than ever before, and tariff barriers that were little changed from the 1890s.[50] The same is broadly true for migration and its controls.

For Williamson, the lesson based on taking 1914 as an end of globalization is that inappropriate government intervention disrupts the positive effects of globalization, which will tend toward global economic equilibrium if left to its natural course. Backlash against domestic inequalities provokes this inappropriate intervention, and appropriate policies are necessary to remove the factors that provoke this backlash. Of course, this conclusion is based on the analysis of “globalization” in a small segment of the world centered on the North Atlantic. Hatton and Williamson justify their lack of attention to migration in the rest of the world by arguing that labor markets in “what is now known as the Third World … were segmented by discrimination, language, and custom. They were segmented by long distance and high migration cost. They were segmented by the poverty of the Third World labor-surplus areas, areas so poor that potential emigrants would have found it impossible to finance the move to the booming OECD labor markets anyway.”[51] Segmentation due to discrimination certainly seems accurate. Appealing to language and custom is more problematic, given that Hatton and Williamson disregard language and custom in their economically driven analysis of transatlantic migration. The large mid-nineteenth-century migrations from Asia to the Americas also question the assumption that long distance and poverty were factors.

The assertion that migration and trade outside of the Europe-America axis is largely irrelevant to North Atlantic “globalization” implies that the rest of the world could not take part in the positive effects of globalization because of factors that had little to do with the North Atlantic economy or with active government intervention into world migration systems. This reduces Williamson’s thesis to a tautology: globalization had beneficial effects on economies because it took place in areas where economies were strong. But, as we have seen, even if the actual overlap in migrants travelling between major migration systems was small and grew increasingly smaller over time, migration around the world still followed the same broad cycles. We should not be satisfied with a priori assumptions of segmentation and categorical difference across the globe. Segmentation was not a product of natural conditions that divided the world into discrete units, but a structural aspect of the larger global political economy and political intervention.

This, of course, is the argument of dependency and world-systems theories, that global inequalities are the result of positive structural interactions between cores and peripheries. Yet dependency and world-system theorists also highlight economic processes over political intervention in understanding global relationships. They dismiss the relevance of Asian and African migrations in a different way than do more orthodox economists, seeing them as little more than a by-product of the expansion and intervention of Europe, but still categorically different than the transatlantic migrations.[52] They are able to explain only those small portions of non-European migrations that were indentured or otherwise directly subject to Europeans, and leave little means of understanding the broad similarities between global migration patterns.

Migrant Networks

Much recent work on the sociology and history of migration has placed migrants in the context of extensive networks that cross nations and regions.[53] It is at the level of these transnational networks that expand beyond the boundaries of nation-states that we can best perceive social formations that are directly embedded in social processes at a global scale. This is also the level at which global economic patterns are embodied in specific institutions and human activities. Attention to these networks, rather than taking distinct Atlantic and Asian systems or national histories for granted as a fundamental organizing rubric, can provide keys to understanding broad global patterns of migration.

Recent migration scholarship has emphasized the family as fundamental arena of decision making. Families can often be understood as an investment portfolio, sending children and affines to a variety of diversified places and occupations in the hope that one will provide a return on the investment. The specifics of this family economy change in accordance with local family structures, inheritance customs, patterns of land tenure, and changing opportunities to acquire property and status at home and abroad. The experience of migration may also alter the original intentions of the migrant and his family, but few migrants ever make choices only as isolated individuals. Decisions are made in the context of information and assistance obtained from relatives and village members around the world. These networks are also institutionalized as mutual aid societies, labor recruitment enterprises, and dense commercial linkages. These geographically dispersed communities are the social space within which many migrant decisions and activities take place. They produce a social geography that is not congruent with physical geography. A migrant may have more knowledge of distant Penang, Omsk, or Chicago than the nearby market town, because that is where all his uncles and cousins are.[54]

Such networks both create and constrain opportunities. Migration would generally be too expensive and risky without the information, assistance, and opportunities provided by friends, relatives, and other resources available through these networks. It would also be a pointless endeavor without the links to home and family maintained within these networks, through which money, support, and the other fruits of migration could be channeled. But the very strength of these channels also restricts opportunities. It is very difficult for an established network to access new job opportunities and new destinations, even if only rudimentary new skills are necessary and the economic benefits are high. Many migrant elite even had an interest in controlling and limiting information and opportunities, so as to further profit from their position at the nexus of opportunities.

Studies of aggregate nation-to-nation movements can be quite successful at explaining the ebbs and flows of particular streams, but they provide few tools to understand the mechanisms of migration. For example, one village may have a population so devoted to emigration that even the fields are left barren or leased to outsiders, while another village a few kilometers down the road with almost identical conditions may produce no migrants at all. Aggregate models and economic approaches are also hard pressed to explain why migrants may choose to travel to one location when wages and opportunities are clearly superior elsewhere. Why would some Italians choose to work in Montreal when the local French Canadians were looking for better-paying work in New England?[55] In other words, individuals making decisions (the “free” migrants) are the basic unit of most economic and aggregate models, yet those studies have little understanding of the social conditions under which those decisions are made (although scholars who emphasize social networks over economics have difficulty explaining the decline of migration flows).

A map of the world drawn from these geographically dispersed spaces and networks would look much different than the familiar mosaic of geographically discrete territories. They make up a world of complex and overlapping flows and nodes, none of which can be entirely captured within a single national or regional history.[56] Understanding migration simply as relocation from one nation to another tends to create a simplified historical narrative whereby home is conflated with the past, and historical change is identified with integration and settlement in the new land. Each network occupies a distinct niche that articulates with many local histories but has its own specific patterns. To be sure, states, international borders, and local social structures are important aspects of migration history, but they are also just some of many interwoven factors. The means of recruitment, the institutions established by previous migrants, and the ways in which travel, information, money, and opportunities are channeled and controlled are all aspects of migration not reducible to a single location. These processes and institutions are also inseparable from regulation, legal rights, and boundaries. These boundaries erect potential barriers, but they are also a source of opportunity because many migrants make their living precisely by their skills in negotiating these boundaries, managing multiple regulatory regimes, crossing customs and migration obstacles, and operating in spaces that are ultimately subject to no single regulatory regime. Migration itself becomes a source of sustenance and a self-reproducing goal, above and beyond the sending and receiving societies.

Donna Gabaccia’s work on female migration suggests how migrant networks can be understood on their own terms and also at a conjuncture of local and global historical processes.[57] She starts from the oft-noted phenomenon that the proportion of male migrants and the return migration from the United States both rose over the course of the twentieth century as migration moved away from frontier settlement to wage labor in cities and factories. While recognizing the broad applicability of this generalization, she also points out that female migration for all ethnic groups follows the same cycles—linked to business cycles—as male migration. Higher proportions of women also migrated to industrial New England than to the rural West. That is to say, the usual linkage between female migration, family settlement on frontiers, female and return migration may not be accurate. Many female migrants were also wage laborers, just like the men. More specific explanations must be sought.

Gabaccia suggests that the difference in migration demographics over the course of the nineteenth century can be understood also by looking at family structure. Migrants from northern Europe who dominated migration to the United States in the mid-nineteenth century were from areas where nuclear families predominated. Husbands and wives were dependent on each other for economic sustenance, and many women had experience in market activities. Southern and eastern Europeans, who dominated in later migrations, tended to have ideal families that were larger multigenerational units. Women could remain at home as part of a larger economic unit and were also more likely to be involved in subsistence than market activities.

The history of female migration from Ireland offers an even more particular situation, based on historical circumstances. Irish migration was unique in that it maintained nearly equal proportions of male and female migration and very low return rates throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The potato famine encouraged the migration of unusually high numbers of women in the mid-nineteenth century, who got a lock on household service jobs in the United States. This established a pattern of high rates of female migration and permanent settlement in North America that would continue for nearly a century (and was mirrored in short distance migration of women to European cities to work in shops and as household servants).

These specific histories can explain some of the shifts in female migration and return rates, but even northern Europeans tended to produce increasing numbers of male sojourners over the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. No single explanation can account for everything, but multiple explanations highlight the ways in which a single network was shaped by multiple forces, including historical contingencies, patterns set by previous migrants, structural economic relations between different parts of the world, and local cultural forms like family structure.

No single explanation can account for everything, but multiple explanations highlight the ways in which a single network was shaped by multiple forces, including historical contingencies, patterns set by previous migrants, structural economic relations between different parts of the world, and local cultural forms such as family structure.

Attention to the global contextualization of particular networks can also provide insight into larger historical questions. For example, Qiu Liben has insisted on a global perspective on migration, although his main aim is to critique the Sinocentrism of his Chinese colleagues’ accounts of Chinese migration.[58] He asserts that compared to Europeans, Chinese migration had relatively little effect on the world. He points out that the 30 million Chinese and descendants of Chinese that could be found around the world in the early 1990s amount to nothing near the number of descendants of European migrants around the world—indeed, they amount to little more than the European-descended population of Canada alone. Chinese and other Asians did travel the world, he argues, but the story of modern world history is still the story of the Europeans and Western capitalism.

Qiu is unwilling to include migrations to Manchuria into his calculations of total Chinese migration, arguing that this is merely domestic movement that is irrelevant to global comparison. But the current Manchurian population of over 100 million suggests a demographic transition similar to those of European settler colonies in temperate zones. Without these migrations, Manchuria might not be a part of China at all today, but part of Russia or Japan, or an independent nation like Mongolia. Manchuria is best understood as part of the global expansion into temperate frontiers. In contrast, most southern Chinese and Indians migrated to tropical areas within or near well-established native states. The establishment of small family farms on tropical frontiers remains difficult to this day, and most opportunities for migrants have been as laborers and merchants—typical sojourner occupations. When we turn the tables, perhaps only Costa Rica, Cuba, Venezuela, and Colombia are tropical areas with populations of European descent at all comparable to the large populations of Chinese, Indian, and African descent in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean.

Of course, Qiu is talking not only about numbers but also about power. Chinese and Indian merchants, miners, and agriculturalists in Southeast Asia were ultimately subjected to financial, political, and military power concentrated in the hands of Europeans. Chinese did not settle the temperate frontiers of the Americas and Australia in great numbers because they did not have the power to influence government regulations and social opportunities in their favor. Chinese, however, were able to mobilize long-standing commercial and labor recruiting networks to develop a niche as middlemen and businessmen. No broad patterns of migration and settlement should be taken for granted. They are all the product of particular social and economic histories.

Contemporary Migration

After a decline in migration over the mid-twentieth century, the world is once again experiencing a surge in migration. This surge is often claimed to be an unprecedented expansion of mobility, subverting the territorial nation-state and creating bold new transnational spaces.[59] To what extent can these assertions be maintained? Is this an unprecedented wave of migration that challenges national sovereignty in a way that is different from earlier migrations?

Counting people of “migrant stock” is the preferred way of measuring migration by the United Nations and International Organization of Migration. This number is obtained by counting foreign-born peoples in national censuses. It is a very imperfect form of measurement, because some censuses count foreign birth, while others count only foreign residents who have not become citizens, and others merely note racial or ethnic distinctions. This measurement may also count people who have never moved all their lives while international borders have moved around them. Thus, political disturbances and the drawing of borders in South Asia has caused South Asian “migrant stock” to include 20 million individuals over much of the late twentieth century. This accounts for nearly 15 to 25 percent of the world “migrant stock” over this period, even though South Asia is more important as a migrant-producing than as a receiving region.

Alternatively, we can attempt a crude estimate of annual migration flows in the 1990s.[60] Annual migration to the European Union amounted to 1.2 million legal migrants and 400,000 to 500,000 illegals. Migration to the United States averaged 860,000 legal migrants a year and perhaps another 300,000 illegals (still less than the highest numbers of 1912–1913). Migration into Canada, Australia, and New Zealand accounts for another 300,000 each. Over 1 million migrants have gone each year to the Persian Gulf states and Israel. Over 500,000 asylum applications were made each year around the world, often not counted in migration statistics. Other major destinations include Argentina, Venezuela, South Africa, and Japan, and large flows have moved between countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the ex-Soviet republics. A generous estimate of 2 to 3 million migrants a year for these other destinations would give an annual migration of 7 to 8 million a year. With a hypothetical return rate of 40 to 45 percent, this could account for the difference of 55 million migrants found in migrant stock estimates from 1990 to 2003.

Peak transoceanic (and Siberian) migration rates around 1912 and again in the late 1920s reached over 3.3 million a year. Contemporary migration is double to triple that number, but a total of 80 million migrants in the 1990s would account for only 1.5 percent of the population, compared to the 1.7 percent of world population attained by total migration in the decade after 1910. To match early twentieth century proportions, migration in the 1990s would have to average at least 9 million per year—a number that is unlikely but not impossible.

Of course the two numbers are not comparable. The numbers I calculated for 1840 to 1940 mostly count steerage class ship passengers. The numbers for the 1990s include people defined by a bewildering variety of administrative categories, including temporary labor migrants, people planning to stay for more than a year, refugees, and people who may have already resided abroad for decades but only now applied for permanent residence (as is the case in United States statistics). My numbers also count people who would not normally be defined as “international migrants,” such as those who traveled to Manchuria, Siberia, Burma (within the colonial jurisdiction of India), or Kazhakistan (which would now be counted as international migration). But they do not count many migrants within Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa who did cross international borders. Moreover, increased immigration restrictions around the world means that many contemporary long-distance migrants are uncounted because they are illegal.

Despite these difficulties, it seems not unreasonable to assert that the mobility of people intending to stay for a relatively long period of time (more than a year) reached levels in proportion to world population in the 1990s that are comparable to the early twentieth century. But, even if accurate, this still may not be a meaningful comparison. For example, 454 million annual tourist arrivals were counted in 1990, reminding us that temporary global mobility has surely reached unprecedented proportions.[61] In fact, the shifts in categories used to measure migration may be of more significance than the actual numbers themselves. We cannot understand migration without simultaneously understanding the social processes by which they have been produced, recorded, and processed as “refugees,” “guest laborers,” or “illegal aliens.” The new categories (like the high tourist numbers) remind us that the structures of global mobility are constantly changing in the context of both political and economic processes. Volume alone is meaningless if we do not understand the broad patterns and distinctions that shape migration, and have been used to understand, calculate and control migration. Those very borders that define international migration, and the populations inside them which are now seen to be challenged by that migration are themselves the products of previous migration and regulation, much of which has been quickly forgotten.

Appendix: Sources for Migration Statistics

Most of the statistics used, except for overseas migration from South China, are from published sources, which are mostly based on port and immigration statistics. The availability of statistics does not mean the numbers are necessarily reliable. J. D. Gould, “European Inter-Continental Emigration 1815–1914: Patterns and Causes,” European Journal of Economic History 8 (1979): 598–605, and several articles in Imre Ferenczi and Walter Willcox, eds., International Migrations, v. 2, Interpretations (New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1931), discuss the sometimes serious discrepancies between departure and arrival statistics in the transatlantic migrations. I have encountered similar problems with Chinese and Southeast Asian sources. The difficulties of accounting for return and repeat migration further complicate the significance and reliability of any quantitative estimate.

For the transatlantic numbers, Ferenczi and Willcox, eds., International Migrations, v. 1, Statistics (New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1929), p. 172, is used for the years up to 1880, and B. R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics: Europe 1750–1993, 4th ed. (New York: Macmillan Reference, 1998), pp. 129–140, is used for subsequent years. Over 200,000 migrants from Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria are not included , but discussion of this emigration can be found in Robin Cohen, Global Diasporas: An Introduction (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997), p. 95, and Akram Fouad Khater, Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender and the Middle Class in Lebanon, 1870–1920(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).

Numbers for migration from Russia into Siberia and central Asia before 1914 are from Donald Treadgold, The Great Siberian Migration: Government and Peasant in Resettlement from Emancipation to the First World War (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1957), pp. 33–35. Numbers for the period from 1914 to 1927 are more speculative. Estimates can be found in Eugene Kulischer, Europe on the Move: War and Population Changes, 1917–47(New York: Columbia University Press), p. 83; V. V. Obolensky-Ossinsky, “Emigration from and Immigration into Russia,” in Ferenczi and Willcox, International Migrations, v. 1, p. 576; and Treadgold, pp. 236–238. Kulischer (p. 112) offers an estimate of 4.7 to 5 million migrants for the period from 1927 to 1939. This estimate has circulated widely, but archival research may lead to a revision.

Nearly 25 million Chinese to Manchuria after 1891 are counted in Thomas Gottschang and Diana Lary, Swallows and Settlers: The Great Migration from North China to Manchuria (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Center for Chinese Studies, 2000), p. 171, but much overland migration may have passed uncounted. Gottschang and Lary (p. 64) also suggest that up to half a million Chinese moved into Siberia before 1917. Numbers for migration to Manchuria before 1891 are highly uncertain. Migration controls were loosened during the period 1876–1879 because of a famine in North China and 900,000 migrants were estimated in 1876 alone (Gottschang and Lary, p. 47). Anecdotal accounts also mention constant streams of new settlers after 1860. Ge Jianxiong, Cao Shuji, and Wu Songdi, Jianming Zhongguo yimin [Concise history of Chinese migration] (Fuzhou: Fujian Renmin Chubanshe, 1993), p. 478, estimates that 14 million migrants moved to Manchuria from 1860 to 1907, based on population growth. This same method gives them a serious underestimate of 4 million migrants from 1912 to 1930. Migration before the turn of the century likely contained a larger proportion of families and settlers, and a smaller flow could have produced higher population growth. I have used a rather low estimate of about 3.5 million migrants before 1891 for the charts. The actual number could have been as high as 6 to 7 million.

Numbers for Korean and Japanese migration are assembled from Hideo Totsuka, “Korean Immigration in Pre-War Japan,” in Commission Internationale D’histoire des Mouvements Sociaux et des Structures Sociales, ed., Les Migrations Internationales: De la fin du XVIIIème siècle à nos jours (Paris: Editions du CNS, 1980), pp. 263–279; Kulischer, Europe on the Move, p. 86; and Ferenczi and Willcox, International Migrations, v.1, pp. 934–935.

Figures for Indian migration are from Kingsley Davis, The Population of India and Pakistan (New York: Russell and Russell, 1951), pp. 99–100. To estimate distribution between countries, I used Nalini Ranjan Chakravarty, The Indian Minority in Burma (London: Oxford University Press, 1971), pp. 21, 188;Ferenczi and Willcox, International Migrations, v.1, pp. 900–907, 915; and Kernial Singh Sandhu, Indians in Malaya: Some Aspects of Their Immigration and Settlement (1786–1957) (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1969), pp. 373–380. Davis counted only those Indians who left as labor emigrants. In years for which I could assemble fairly complete estimates based on immigration statistics from different countries the numbers were 15 to 30 percent higher than Davis’s estimates. Claude Markovits, “Indian Merchant Networks Outside India in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: A Preliminary Survey,” Modern Asian Studies 33 (1999): 895, suggests that at least 1.5 million commercial migrants could be added to Davis’s numbers. I have adhered to Davis’s estimates in preparing the charts because they offer the most complete and consistent data set, and because so much of the migration to Ceylon and Burma was repeat migration that I thought a low estimate of gross emigration would make the net significance of Indian migration more comparable to the other migration flows.

For emigration from South China ports other than Hong Kong and Macao before 1876, I made estimates based on G. William Skinner, Chinese Society in Thailand: An Analytical History (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1957), pp. 58–59, and on anecdotal reports found in Meagher, pp. 143–145, and Lee Poh Ping, Chinese Society in Nineteenth Century Singapore (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 86, that suggest immigration rates of 10,000 a year to Singapore in the 1840s and 1850s and 20,000 a year in the early 1870s.

Statistics on indentured labor migration from China until 1874 and emigration from Hong Kong from 1846 to 1855 are from Arnold Meagher, “The Introduction of Chinese Laborers to Latin America: The ‘Coolie Trade,’ 1847–1874” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of California at Davis, 1975), pp. 105A, 108A. Hong Kong emigration data from 1856 to 1939 were generously provided to me by Elizabeth Sinn, from her Hong Kong Research Grants Council funded project, “The Impact of Chinese Emigration on Hong Kong’s Economic Development, 1842–1941.” A summary of some of this data is in Elizabeth Sinn, “Emigration from Hong Kong before 1941: General Trends,” in Ronald Skeldon, ed., Emigration from Hong Kong: Tendencies and Impacts (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1995), pp. 11–34. Data for other ports in South China are from the Returns of Trade and Trade Reports of the Chinese Maritime Customs from 1876 to 1928, Lian Xinhao, “Jindai haigang jianji yu Dongnanya huaqiao yimin” [Modern port hygiene and Chinese migrants to Southeast Asia], Huaqiao Huaren Lishi Yanjiu (1997): 10th anniversary: 50–51, for Xiamen (Amoy) from 1931 to 1940 and for Shantou (Swatow) from 1920 to 1934; and Li Zhiya and Huang Yinying, eds., Huaqiao yu Qiaowu Shiliao Xuanji Bian [Selected documents on overseas Chinese and overseas Chinese affairs] (Guangzhou: Guangdong Renmin Chubanshe, 1991), pp. 39, 133–134, for Hainan from 1937 to 1938 and for Shantou from 1937 to 1939. I made estimates based on colonial immigration reports for the remaining missing years in the 1930s.

I used emigration data from Hong Kong and Chinese customs reports as the basis for preparing because they offer the most complete statistical series. They are generally considered to be an undercount because they often did not count emigrants who traveled in Chinese junks and many Chinese tried to avoid medical exams given by customs officers, and I have made additions based on colonial statistics. The reports of the protector of Chinese in Singapore for 1881 to 1939 generally corroborate quite well with Chinese emigration statistics, with the exception of migration from Hainan in the years up to 1902. Skinner’s Chinese Society in Thailand, pp. 61 and 173, gives estimates based on Thai customs reports after 1882 that are up to 30 percent higher than emigration reports. Immigration statistics in the Annual Report of the Philippine Commission and the Annual Report of the Bureau of Customs in Manila from 1899 to 1939 are also up to 30 percent higher than emigration numbers.

Statistics for the Dutch Indies from 1900 to 1938 in Statistisch Jaaroverzicht van Nederlandsch Indië (Batavia) and Departement van Economische Zaken, Volkstelling 1930, v.7, Chineezen en Andere Vreemde Oosterlingen in Nederlandsch-Indië (Batavia:1935) are divided according to a variety of shifting and unexplained administrative categories. I have found it impossible to make them correspond with each other or with migration statistics from China and Singapore. I have thus assumed that most migration to the Dutch Indies has been accounted for by figures from China and Singapore. I have made the same assumption for seaborne migration to Burma.

Numbers for French Indochina are more perplexing. Immigration statistics for Cochinchina (southern Vietnam) from 1879 to 1883 and Hanoi from 1920 to 1924 are in Ferenczi and Willcox, International Migrations, v.1, pp. 154 and 920. Numbers for all of French Indochina from 1923 to 1940 are in Annuaire Statistique de l’Indochine (Hanoi). In only one year (1926) do emigration statistics account for more than 30 percent of immigration statistics. Most migrants probably arrived by junk, as suggested in Charles Robequain, The Economic Development of French Indo-China, trans. Isabel Ward (London: Oxford University Press, 1944): “The rich and well-to-do Chinese travel on big liners like Europeans; but most of the immigrants are crammed together in picturesque, ill-smelling groups on the decks of small boats.” Assuming that many migrants to French Indochina were not counted as emigrants by Chinese customs, I have constructed estimates of Chinese migration to French Indochina based on available immigration statistics, population estimates, and anecdotal evidence that migration rates decreased temporarily after the imposition of immigration restrictions in 1906. See Wang Wen-Yuan, Les relations entre l’Indochine Française et la Chine (Paris: Éditions Pierre Bossuet, 1937), pp. 16–17.


* I am indebted to suggestions and assistance from Jerry Bentley, Jeffrey Burds, Adam Kosto, Greg Mann, Patrick Manning, David Northrup, Pablo Piccato, Qiu Liben, Sam Roberts, Elizabeth Sinn, Anand Yang, Bin Yang, an anonymous reviewer for the Journal of World History, and audiences at the World History Center of Northeastern University, June 2002, the history department at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, July 2002, and the World History Association Conference in Seoul, Korea, August 2002. All remaining errors and poor conceptualizations are solely the result of my own obstinacy in the face of good advice.
1. David Northrup, Indentured Labor in the Age of Imperialism, 1834–1922 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p.65.
2. Claude Markovits, “Indian Merchant Networks Outside India in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: A Preliminary Survey,” Modern Asian Studies 33 (1999): 895, estimates 1.5 million commercial emigrants, but his numbers do not include all Indians that may have been included under immigration categories such as “other than laborers.” See also Markovits, The Global World of Indian Merchants, 1750–1947 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cam-bridge University Press, 2000), p.17; and Kernial Singh Sandhu, Indians in Malaya: Some Aspects of Their Immigration and Settlement (1786–1957) (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1969), pp.373–380.
3. Robert H. G. Lee, The Manchurian Frontier in Ch’ing History (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1970); Donald Treadgold, The Great Siberian Migration: Government and Peasant in Resettlement from Emancipation to the First World War (Princeton, N.J.: Prince-ton University Press, 1957).
4. William Smyth, “Irish Emigration, 1700–1920,” in European Expansion and Migration: Essays on the Intercontinental Migration from Africa, Asia, and Europe, ed. Pieter Emmer and Magnus Mörner (New York: Berg, 1992), pp.51–52; Helgi Skúli Kjartansson, “Icelandic Emigration,” in European Expansion, pp.105–106.
5. Walter Nugent, Crossings: The Great Transatlantic Migrations, 1870–1914(Blooming-ton: Indiana University Press, 1992), p.43.
6. Population data for China is from Thomas Gottschang and Dana Lary, Swallows and Settlers: The Great Migration from North China to Manchuria (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Center for Chinese Studies, 2000), pp.172–173; and Robert Marks, Tigers, Rice, Silk, and Silt: Environment and Economy in Late Imperial South China (Cambridge, U.K.: Cam-bridge University Press, 1998), p.280.
7. Dirk Hoerder, Cultures in Contact: World Migrations in the Second Millennium (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2002), pp. 217, 355–356; Daniel Johnson and Rex Campbell, Black Migration in America: A Social Demography (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1981); Jean Meyer,” Les migrations mexicaines vers les Etats-Unis au Xxéme siécle,” in Les Migrations Internationales: De la fin du XVIIIème siècle à nos jours, ed. CIDMSS (Paris: Editions du CNS, 1980), pp.681–696; Bruno Ramirez, Crossing the 49th Parallel: Migration from Canada to the United States, 1900–1930 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2001).
8. Orlando Patterson, “Migration in Caribbean Societies: Socioeconomic and Symbolic Resource,” in Human Migration: Patterns and Policies, pp. 106–145.
9. Jeffrey Burds, Peasant Dreams and Market Politics: Labor Migration and the Russian Village, 1861–1905 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998); David Moon, “Peasant Migration, the Abolition of Serfdom, and the Internal Passport System in the Russian Empire, c.1800–1914,” in Coerced and Free Migration: Global Perspectives, ed. David Eltis (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2002), pp.324–360.
10. Kingsley Davis, The Population of India and Pakistan (New York: Russell and Russell, 1951), pp.107–123; Arjan de Haan, “Migration on the Border of Free and Unfree Labour: Workers in Calcutta’s Jute Industry, 1900–1990,” in Migration, Migration History, History: Old Paradigms and New Perspectives, ed. Jan and Leo Lucassen (Bern: Peter Lang, 1999), pp. 197–222; Hoerder, Cultures in Contact, pp. 380–383.
11. Ge Jianxiong, Cao Shuji, and Wu Songdi, Jianming Zhongguo yimin [Concise history of Chinese migration] (Fuzhou: Fujian Renmin Chubanshe, 1993), pp.460–492.
12. Lydia Potts, The World Labour Market: A History of Migration (London: Zed Books, 1990), p.71.
13. Imre Ferenczi and Walter Willcox, eds., International Migrations, vol. 1, Statistics (New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1929), p.1028.
14. Dennis Cordell, Joel Gregory, and Victor Piché, Hoe and Wage: A Social History of a Circular Migration System in West Africa (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1996); Philip Curtin, Why People Move: Migration in African History (Baylor, Texas: Markham Press Fund, Baylor University Press), pp. 33–39; Patrick Harries, Work, Culture, and Identity: Migrant Laborers in Mozambique and South Africa, c. 1860–1910 (Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 1994); François Manchuelle, Willing Migrants: Soninke Labor Diasporas, 1848–1960 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1997); Pat Manning, Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental, and African Slave Trades (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 171–178.
15. Akram Fouad Khater, Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender, and the Middle Class in Lebanon, 1870–1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).
16. Nearly 700,000 pilgrims were from the Dutch Indies. Centraal Kantoor voor de Statistiek in Nederlandsch Indie, Statistisch Jaaroverzicht van Nederlandsch Indie 1938 (Batavia), p. 140.
17. Calvin Goldscheider,”Israel,” in Handbook on International Migration, ed. William Serow, Charles Nam, David Sly, and Robert Weller (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990), p. 132–135; Gülten Kazgan, “Migratory Movements in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic from the End of the 18th Century to the Present Day,” in Les Migrations Internationales, pp. 212–213; Justin McCarthy, Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims 1821–1922 (Princeton, N.J.: Darwin Press, 1995).
18. Aaron Segal, An Atlas of International Migration (London: Hans Zell, 1993), p. 56.
19. Linda Boxberger, On the Edge of Empire: Hadhramawt, Emigration, and the Indian Ocean, 1880s–1930s (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002); Philip Curtin, Cross-Cultural Trade in World History (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1984); Christine Dobbin, Asian Entrepreneurial Minorities: Conjoint Communities in the Making of the World-Economy 1570–1940 (Richmond: Curzon, 1996); Markovits, The Global World of Indian Merchants;Adam McKeown,”From Opium Farmer to Astronaut: A Global History of Diasporic Chinese Business,”Diaspora 9 (2000): 317–360.
20. Leslie Page Moch, “Dividing Time: An Analytical Framework for Migration History Periodization,” in Migration, Migration History, History, pp. 41–56, and “The European Perspective: Changing Conditions and Multiple Migrations, 1750–1914,” in European Migrants: Global and Local Perspectives, ed. Dirk Hoerder and Leslie Page Moch (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1996), pp. 115–140.
21. Ge Jianxiong, Jianming Zhongguo yimin, pp. 457–458; Richard Hellie, “Migration in Early Modern Russia, 1480s–1780s,” in Coerced and Free Migration, pp. 292–323; Hoerder, Cultures in Contact, pp. 110–114, 281–287;Leong Sow-Theng, Migration and Ethnicity in Chinese History: Hakkas, Pengmin, and Their Neighbors, ed. Tim Wright (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1997).
22. Hoerder, Cultures in Contact, 288–300; James H. Jackson and Leslie Page Moch,” Migration and the Social History of Modern Europe,” Historical Methods 22 (1989): 27–36; Leslie Page Moch, Moving Europeans: Migration in Western Europe since 1650 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), pp. 25–89; G. William Skinner, “Mobility Strategies in Late Imperial China: A Regional Systems Analysis,” in Regional Analysis, vol.1, Economic Systems, ed. Carol A. Smith (New York: Academic Press, 1976), pp. 327–364.
23. Hoerder, Cultures in Contact, p. 322.
24. Anthony Reid, “South-East Asian Population History and the Colonial Impact,” in Asian Population History, ed. Ts’ui-jung Liu (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 45–62.
25. Rudolph Vecoli,”Introduction,” in A Century of European Migrations, 1830–1930, ed. Rudolph Vecoli and Suzanne Sinke (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992), p. 13.
26. Virginia Yans-McLaughlin, “Introduction,” in Immigration Reconsidered: History, Sociology, and Politics, ed. Virginia Yans-McLaughlin (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 3.
27. Ira Glazier and Luigi De Rosa, “Introduction,” in Migrations across Time and Nations: Population Mobility in Historical Context, ed. Ira Glazier and Luigi De Rosa (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1986), p. 5.
28. Douglas Massey, “Why Does Immigration Occur? A Theoretical Synthesis,” in Charles Hirschman, Philip Kasinitz, and Josh DeWind, eds., The Handbook of International Migration: The American Experience (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999), p. 35.
29. P. C. Emmer, “European Expansion and Migration: The European Colonial Past and Intercontinental Migration; An Overview,” in European Expansion, pp. 3, 10–11.
30. Pieter Emmer, “Was Migration Beneficial?” in Migration, Migration History, History, p. 113.
31. Lynn Pann, Encyclopedia of Chinese Overseas (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 62; Potts, World Labour Market, p. 70; and Walton Look Lai, “Asian Contract and Free Migrations to the Americas,” in Coerced and Free Migration, p. 230. Hoerder, Cultures in Contact, pp. 366–367, 377, and 389, has inconsistent numbers but notes that free migrants are not included in most estimates. Donna Gabaccia has done exemplary work that includes Asians in her comparative analyses of migration to the Americas. In “The ‘Yellow Peril’ and the ‘Chinese of Europe’: Global Perspectives on Race and Labor,” in Migration, Migration History, History, p. 180, she did take a look at Ferenczi and Willcox and offers an estimate of 2 to 10 million, suggesting that less than a third of them were coolies. A figure of 20 million migrants does circulate in contemporary Chinese language scholarship.
32. Tables in Ferenczi and Willcox count 5.5 million immigrants to the Straits Settlements from 1881 to 1915, 3.7 million departing Chinese ports from 1876 to 1901, and 2.4 million leaving Hong Kong from 1900 to 1924.
33. Chen Ta, Chinese Migrations, with Special Reference to Labor Conditions (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1923), gives only scattered numbers. Chen Zexuan, “Shijiu shiji cheng xing de tiaoyue huagong zhi” [The nineteenth century Chinese contract labor system], Lishi Yanjiu (1963), no.1, counts 6 million contract laborers (tiaoyue huagong), but his definition is expansive, including all forms of assisted and debt migration, including migration to California. David Northrup, Indentured Labor, p. 56, counts 386,901 indentured Chinese and 1, 336,030 Indians. He relies heavily on Arnold Meagher, “The Introduction of Chinese Laborers to Latin America: The ‘Coolie Trade, ‘1847–1874” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of California at Davis, 1975), which stands as the most exhaustive archive-based estimate of Chinese indentured labor migration before 1874.
34. Jan and Leo Lucassen,”Migration, Migration History, History: Old Paradigms and New Perspectives,” in Migration, Migration History, History, p. 11, notes that historians of non-European migration tend to focus on coerced migration and suggests that the distinction with free European migration should be broken down. Some of the essays in this volume make valuable steps in this direction, but, like the articles in Eltis, Coerced and Free Migration: Global Perspectives, consider Asian migrations mostly in the context of movement to the Americas.
35. Hoerder, Cultures in Contact, p.366.
36. Ibid., pp.368, 372, 389, 494–495.
37. Ibid., Cultures in Contact, p.12.
38. Kulischer, Europe on the Move; Moch, Moving Europeans, pp. 155–170; Saskia Sassen, Guests and Aliens (New York: New Press, 1999), pp. 85–90.
39. Kulischer, Europe on the Move, p. 152. Kulischer also notes that Siberian migration reversed in the immediate post-revolution years, as local polices were erected against the interests of Russian settlers, but migration resumed familiar eastward patterns by the mid-1920s, facilitated by central directives overriding local policies (pp. 74–84).
40. Mauice Davie, World Immigration: With Special Reference to the United States (New York: McMillan, 1936), p. 208.
41. Ashley Timmer and Jeffrey Williamson, “Immigration Policy Prior to the 1930s: Labor Markets, Policy Interactions, and Globalization Backlash,” Population and Development Review 24 (1998): 743.
42. Jane Caplan and John Torpey, eds., Documenting Individual Identity: The Development of State Practices in the Modern World (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001); Cindy Hahamovitch, “Creating Perfect Immigrants: Guestworkers of the World in Historical Perspective,” Labor History 44 (2003): 70–94; John Torpey, The Invention of the Passport: Surveillance, Citizenship and the State (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Aristide Zolberg, “The Great Wall Against China: Responses to the First Immigration Crisis, 1885–1925,” in Migration, Migration History, History, pp. 291–315, and “International Migration Policies in a Changing World System,” in Human Migration: Patterns and Policies, ed. William McNeill and Ruth Adams (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978), pp. 241–286. For summaries of migration laws, see International Labour Office, Emigration and Immigration (Geneva:1922), and Ashley Trimmer and Jeffrey Williamson, “Racism, Xenophobia or Markets: The Political Economy of Immigration Policy Prior to the Thirties,” NBER Working Paper 5867, 1996, pp. xix–xxxi.
43. Robert Irick, Ch’ing Policy Toward the Coolie Trade 1847–1878 (Taipei: Chinese Materials Center, 1982); Anthony Reid, “Early Chinese Migration into North Sumatra,” in Studies in the Social History of China and South-east Asia: Essays in Memory of Victor Purcell, ed. Jerome Ch’en and Nicholas Tarling (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1970), pp. 289–320.
44. John Butcher and Howard Dick, The Rise and Fall of Revenue Farming: Business Elites and the Emergence of the Modern State in Southeast Asia (New York: St. Martin’s, 1993); Gary Hamilton and Tony Waters, “Ethnicity and Capitalist Development: The Changing Role of the Chinese in Thailand,” in Essential Outsiders: Chinese and Jews in the Modern Transformation of Southeast Asia and Central Europe, ed. Daniel Chirot and Anthony Reid (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997), 258–284; McKeown, “From Opium Farmer to Astronaut”; Carl Trocki, Opium and Empire: Chinese Society in Colonial Singapore, 1800–1910 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1990).
45. Leo Lucassen, “The Great War and the Origins of Migration Control in Western Europe and the United States (1880–1920),” in Regulation of Migration: International Experiences, ed., Anita Buocker, Kees Groenendijk, Tetty Havinga, and Paul Minderhoud (Amsterdam:1998), pp. 45–72.
46. Torpey, Invention of the Passport, pp. 103–105.
47. Adam McKeown, “Conceptualizing Chinese Diasporas, 1842 to 1949,” Journal of Asian Studies 58 (1999): 322–326; Nina Glick Schiller,” Transmigrants and Nation-States: Something Old and Something New in the U.S. Immigrant Experience,” in Handbook of International Migration, pp. 94–119.
48. In a World Bank publication, Williamson goes so far as to call the period before 1914 a “belle epoque,” the period from 1914 to 1950 the “dark middle years,” and the subsequent era a “renaissance.” See Jeffrey Williamson, “Globalization and Inequality, Past and Present,” The World Bank Research Observer 12 (1997): 118.
49. Kevin O’Rourke and Jeffrey Williamson, Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996), p. 286.
50. Paul Bairoch, Economics and World History (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1993).
51. Timothy Hatton and Jeffrey Williamson, The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 249.
52. In addition to Hoerder, Cultures in Contact, which offers a modified world-systems approach, see Edna Bonacich and Lucie Cheng, eds., Labor Immigration under Capitalism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984).
53. Historical and theoretical work on migration networks around the world include Teofilo Altamirano, Presencia Andina en Lima Metropolitana (Lima: Pontificía Universidad Católica del Perú, Fondo Editorial, 1984); John Bodnar, The Transplanted: A History of Immigrants in Urban America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985); Monica Boyd, “Family and Personal Networks in International Migration: Recent Developments and New Agendas,” International Migration Review 23 (1989): 638–670; Madeline Hsu, Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home: Transnationalism and Migration between the United States and South China, 1882–1943 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2000); James H. Jackson and Leslie Page Moch, “Migration and the Social History of Modern Europe”; Ivan Light, Parminder Bachu, and Stavros Karageoris, “Migration Networks and Immigrant Entrepreneurship,” in Immigration and Entrepreneurship, ed. Ivan Light and Parminder Bachu (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1993), pp. 25–49; Jan and Leo Lucassen, eds., Migration, Migration History, History; François Manchuelle, Willing Migrants: Soninke Labor Diaspora; Adam McKeown, Chinese Migrant Networks and Cultural Change: Peru, Chicago and Hawaii, 1900–1936 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001); Alejandro Portes and József Böröcz,”Contemporary Immigration: Theoretical Perspectives on Its Determinants and Modes of Incorporation,” International Migration Review 23 (1989): 606–630; Oded Stark, The Migration of Labor (Cambridge, U.K.: Basil Blackwell, 1992); and Charles Tilly, “Migration in Modern European History,” in Human Migration, pp. 48–72, and “Transplanted Networks,” in Immigration Reconsidered, pp. 79–95. For a general review of migration theories, see Douglas Massey, Joaquín Arango, Grame Hugo, Ali Kouaouci, Adela Pellegrino, and J. Edward Taylor, “Theories of International Migration: A Review and Appraisal,” Population and Development Review 19 (1993): 431–466.
54. J. D. Gould, “European Inter-Continental Emigration: The Role of ‘Diffusion’ and ‘Feedback,'” European Journal of Economic History 9: 294–295; McKeown, Chinese Migrant Networks, pp. 70–76.
55. Bruno Ramirez, “The Crossroad Province: Quebec’s Place in International Migrations, 1870–1915,” in A Century of European Migrations, pp. 243–260. It may also be noted that criticisms of economic models as based exclusively on wage differentials may be attacking straw men. Hatton and Williamson, Age of Mass Migration, for example, develops a complex model that takes networks, population, wage differentials, and commercialization into account.
56. For critiques of national perspectives, see Hasia Diner, “History and the Study of Immigration: Narratives of the Particular,” in Migration Theory: Talking Across Disciplines, ed. Caroline Brettell and James Hollifield (New York: Routledge, 2000), pp. 27–42; Donna Gabaccia, “Is Everywhere Nowhere? Nomads, Nations, and the Immigrant Paradigm of United States History,” Journal of American History 86 (1999): 1115–1134; and Nancy Green, “The Comparative Method and Poststructural Structuralism: New Perspectives for Migration Studies,” in Migration, Migration History, History, pp. 57–72.
57. Donna Gabaccia, “Women of the Mass Migrations: From Minority to Majority, 1820–1930,” in European Migrants, pp. 90–111. See also J. D. Gould, “European InterContinental Emigration: The Road Home: Return Migration from the U.S.A.,” European Journal of Economic History 9 (1980): 41–112; Ewa Morawska,”Return Migrations: Theoretical and Research Agenda,” in A Century of European Migrations, pp. 277–292; and Portes and Böröcz, “Contemporary Immigration.”
58. Qiu Liben, Cong shijie kan huaren [Looking at Chinese from a world perspective] (Hong Kong: Nandao, 2000). He acknowledges that many of his colleagues estimate 20 million overseas Chinese migrants, but prefers an estimate of 10 million (pp. 19, 30).
59. The literature on this topic is vast. Let me suggest only two of the more sustained arguments, Stephen Castles and Mark Miller, The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World (New York: Guilford Press, 1993), and Alejandro Portes, Luis E. Guarnizo, and Patricia Landolt, “The Study of Transnationalism: Pitfalls and Promise of an Emerging Research Field,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 22 (1999): 218–237.
60. Susan F. Martin, ed., World Migration Report 2000 (Geneva: United Nations and World Organization for Migration, 2000); Hania Zlotnik,”International Migration 1965–96: An Overview,” Population and Development Review 24 (1998): 429–468.
61. Zlotnik, “International Migration,” p. 432.

By Adam Mckeown