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Inquiry Question

Historical Context




Table of

Locating the Site

Map 1: Finnish speaking population, 1920.
[Graphic] Map 1 with link to higher quality map.

The majority of Finnish immigrants to America from 1860 to 1900 settled in the northern portions of the U.S. where they worked as miners, loggers, or dockhands. Smaller settlements grew up in other states such as New York, Maine, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho.

Questions for Map 1

1. Locate Finland on a world map and then locate the states noted in Map 1 that have larger concentrations of the Finnish population. Note the latitudes of the locations. Why do you think Finnish immigrants to America did not choose to settle in the South?

2. Examine Map 1. Note the location of most Finnish speakers in 1920. Compare the numbers of Finns in Idaho with those in other parts of the nation. In which states are most of the Finnish Americans located?

3. Considering that the largest population of Finns settled in the eastern half of the United States, why did some Finns migrate to Idaho and other western states? (If needed, refer to Setting the Stage.)

4. The cities listed on Map 1 have the ten largest Finnish population concentrations except where the population of the city is less than 1,000. The population in the leading cities of settlement ranged from 1,000-10,000, except in New York City which ranged from 10,001-50,000. Why do you think New York City has the highest concentration of Finnish immigrants? What role did New York City play for America's immigrants?

5. The Finns of Idaho settled on homestead farmlands and in small towns. Examine a map of Idaho and locate Coeur d'Alene and Cabinet, and also the towns of Lake Fork, Cascade, McCall, and Donnelly. Note the elevation and the proximity of national forest lands on your map. What ways of life might the Finns have continued if they lived in a place like Idaho?

Map 1 was adapted from James P. Allen and Eugene J. Turner, We the People: An Atlas of America's Ethnic Diversity (New York: Macmillan, 1988).

* The map on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a high quality version of Map 1, but be aware that the file may take as much as 20 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.



Comments or Questions

National Park Service arrowhead with link to NPS website.