EMIGRATION TO AMERICA - Events - Tenerife

Emigration to America

Emigration to America
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The threat of famine and the promise of a better life for their families pushed many Canarians to seek a more promising future on the American continent in the 18th century. In 1726 a group of the island's families founded Montevideo, shortly after which other Canarians founded San Antonio in Texas. Canarian ports had traditionally been the link between Europe and America, which meant that the New Continent always represented a window of hope for the islanders.

Both legal and illegal immigration went on until the 1960s, with the main destinations being Venezuela, which was fondly named "the eighth island", and Cuba. Many Latin American countries were in need of agricultural labour to populate empty regions, but in Cuba the main focus was on replacing slaves with paid workers from Europe. The popular belief in the Canary Islands that the friends and relatives who had emigrated were getting rich and would come back as "wealthy Indians" boosted these migratory flows.