06.10.

1683: The First Large Wave of German Immigrants to North America

1683: The First Large Wave of German Immigrants to North America
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 6 October 1683
  • Germantown was founded by 13 German families that had immigrated from the city of Krefeld near the Rhine, Germany. Krefeld is located northwest of Düsseldorf, near Kempen (birthplace of Christian writer Thomas à Kempis).

On this day in 1683, German immigrants founded the first larger German settlement in North America – Germantown, Pennsylvania.

That town has since merged with Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania. Namely, Germantown is located only around 10 kilometers from the historic center of Philadelphia (where the famous Declaration of Independence was signed), and thus is currently a city district of that metropolis.

Germantown was founded by 13 German families that had immigrated from the city of Krefeld near the Rhine, Germany. Krefeld is located northwest of Düsseldorf, near Kempen (birthplace of Christian writer Thomas à Kempis). This area is also located near the current German-Dutch border.

The 13 immigrant families were Quakers or Mennonites by religion. These Christian denominations were subject to prosecution in Europe, and found refuge mostly on the territory of North America, on the territory of what is now the USA. It is not widely-known that today is celebrated as German-American Day in the U.S., in commemoration of the founding of Germantown.

The surnames of the 13 immigrant families were: Theisen, Bleickers, Kürlis, Strepers, Coenen-Heggers, Arets, Simons, Lenssen, Klinken, Lucken, and op den Graeff (three families).

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