immigration, travel, integration, Danish settlement


Although millions accepted the challenge of immigrating to America, that choice required extraordinary courage. Even the initial task of leaving the homeland and traveling to America often took on mythical proportions. Prior to the journey, the immigrant needed to settle his affairs, selling for cash the possessions which could be sold. Having decided to emigrate to the New World, he did not expect to make the long return trip for many years. 1 After gathering a few essential provisions and saying goodbye to his old home, the immigrant and his family boarded a ship for the two-week voyage. Every ship experienced uncertain weather. Countless passengers were threatened by unsanitary conditions, unhealthy food, and even unsafe ships. Many immigrants recorded the same thoughts on reaching America: relief that they survived the crossing, cautious hope that the worst was over, and jubilation about the new land before them.