Frederick Hale


The Danish Colonization Society of 1879, Scandinavian emigration, Danish emigration


The Danish Colonization Society of 1879 (Den danske Kolonisations-Forening af 1879) is one of several organizations which historians have generally ignored. An analysis of it, however, could illuminate further a number of matters pertinent to the general theme of Scandinavian emigration. Essentially, it was an association that intended to assist economically deprived Danes in securing a collective home overseas as well as passage to it at the least possible expense. The Society was short-lived, apparently disbanding a little more than a year after coming into being. Moreover, the only direct evidence of its activity is its truncated biweekly newspaper, Udvandrings-Tidende (Emigration Times). Yet the Society's activity and rhetoric touched on earlier colonization efforts, the rise of Danish socialism, the role of emigration agents, projects to prepare prospective emigrants for their new environment, and other matters of common interest to students of international migration. In the present article I shall discuss the background from which the Society emerged, its activities, and its abrupt demise. By examining more carefully the limited evidence than has hitherto been done, I shall correct certain mistakes in the brief consideration of it in Kristian Hvidt's study of Danish emigration.