Croats in the USA

The history of Croatian-American relations began in the 16th century when Croatian sailors worked in Spanish service. This was followed by increasing overseas migration. Mass emigration to the United States began at the end of the 19th century, between 1890 and World War I. It is estimated that 500,000 Croats emigrated from Croatia to the United States during this period. But the journey to the “promised” land was not survived by every traveller. Travellers have dealt with various diseases, epidemics, storms and frequent pirate attacks. Getting to the US coast was a great success, but life was not ideal. The settlers were initially employed in coal mines, ironworks, railways and road network construction. These were all mostly strenuous physical jobs. They had to make money in order to survive so that they did not have time to study. For the most part, only the second or third generation was provided with a higher education and a better living standard. Over time, migration has increased. From World War II to the 1970s, it is estimated that about 45,000 Croats immigrated to the United States. The USA is definitely the most significant immigrant country of the Croats. It is estimated that about 1,200,000 Croats and their descendants live there today. The largest Croatian communities are located in and around Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, San Pedro, San Jose, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. By establishing communities, such as the Croatian Fraternal Union, expatriates nurture Croatian traditional customs, and members fight for their greater rights, thus attempting to retain at least part of the native-born culture. Unlike the older population, the younger generations, the offspring, are increasingly adapting to American culture by adopting it. They assimilate into society and become an integral part of it, thereby losing part of their Croatian identity by moving away from their roots.

Read more: Croats outside Croatia