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 Great Migrations

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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Great Migrations   Sat 16 Jan 2016, 05:12

People have been wandering around for one reason or another since they first stood on two legs, and in light of the current numbers of refugees on the move into Europe from both the Middle East and Africa, what other great migrations of humans has there been? For what reasons and how did it effect those already living in the destination areas?
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Great Migrations   Sat 16 Jan 2016, 12:25

Blimey, ID, that's a biggy.

It is ironic however that current immigration from Africa and the Fertile Crescent into Europe so closely replicates the great migrations of the distant past, will it have as transformative effects, I wonder?
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PostSubject: Re: Great Migrations   Sat 16 Jan 2016, 15:45

I am gazing at an interesting book I picked up second hand years ago about migrations across central Europe. Vivid illustrations  explain venal forced gene pool changes along the way. It is, as ferv, says a huge topic but interesting. I might get boring and regurgitate some of the stuff I have to hand.
Invitation to settle was not frequent, I imagine - unless Ghengis Khan trotted in. But that was no guarantee of a peaceful occupation..... and not migration either.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Great Migrations   Sat 16 Jan 2016, 16:02

Indeed, P, and the evidence of violence on the LBK frontier appears to suggest that having a farmer move in next door is no guarantee of a peaceful co-existence either. To be fair though, those neolithic coves seem to have been quite keen on caving in each other's skulls as well, as the 20-40% of skulls, men, women and children, from around Isbister in Orkney with nasty traumatic injuries implies.
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PostSubject: Re: Great Migrations   Sat 16 Jan 2016, 16:07

Yes, I've been thinking on those exact similarities since before the summer last year. There have been lots of articles in the papers liking this current crisis to that of refugees fleeing the Nazis, with accompanying news clippings from the time in which the xenophobic spout almost the exact same justifications for denying refuge to people as those that we are hearing today. So I do wonder if this is a pattern that has been repeated many many times throughout history.

I doubt that there will be any large transformative effects on us as refugees currently only comprise 1% of the European population. It is the assylum seekers who will feel the transformative effects, but then, they are living with that already.

Edit. Oop two crossed posts! This is in reply to ferval's first post above.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: Great Migrations   Sat 16 Jan 2016, 16:14

A slight detour if ID will forgive. Given the evidence for far from peaceful times anywhere in ancient clan lands it is remarkable that fine craftsmen ever made anything, yet we had heaps of exquisite pieces  that must have taken time and reasonable security to produce......I assume such production figures in assessing  fits and starts in timelines.
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PostSubject: Re: Great Migrations   Sat 16 Jan 2016, 17:36

Yes but in societies where all those pretty things were the token of status and gift giving and exchange were the main ways of securing loyalty from one's own retinue and negotiating with possible enemies, craftsmen were very valuable indeed and it must have been well worth protecting one's own and grabbing rather than slaughtering those of a rival.

Sorry, ID, off at a tangent again.
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PostSubject: Re: Great Migrations   Sun 17 Jan 2016, 10:27

Our digressions should not undermine the scope of this thread so I throw into the following into weave. A migration with serious consequences is the Helvetian decision to migrate families - about 350 000 people - from 'Switzerland' to Iberia. Being of Germanic 'Celt' origin of growing numbers and unwanted  there by the  resident tribes, the planned migration alarmed many. Though their stated intent not to interfere with anyone on their route, Caesar saw them as a threat to Narbonese - or so he claimed. Rome saw no reason to interfere but  Caesar did. His forced march to hound the Helvetii  (90 miles a day in difficult terrain) led to a major battle and then mopping up the stragglers, of whom a few managed to get back home. It also led to Caesar using the opportunity to set his sights on the rest of Gaul. The full picture is a fascinating tale. Mass migration still alarms.
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: Great Migrations   Sun 17 Jan 2016, 11:26

Ach there is no harm in digressions. Meanderings, wanderings and migrations are all in keeping with the theme. Smile As feval and P have said, it is a huge topic which can accommodate much.
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PostSubject: Re: Great Migrations   Sun 17 Jan 2016, 12:53

Is it true that the Bantu (Xhosa, Zulu etc) did not reach what is now South Africa until after the Dutch had established themselves at the Cape, and that they displaced or dispossessed the !San and Griqua etc?
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Great Migrations   Sun 17 Jan 2016, 13:46

One man's migration ...

It is certainly true that both the Afrikaans and British version of South African history makes that claim, Gil. The Bantu version itself is probably more historically accurate in the sense that it describes a semi-nomadic set of populations in the area which had been in and out in terms of great numbers over centuries preceding European arrivals. Migrations, one might say, but in the sense that semi-nomadic non-arable populations are seen as migrants more by those settled in the areas into which they arrive than in the sense that they ever had one eye on "settling" there themselves. The European carve-up of Africa often forced such people to acquire a sense of indigenous belonging to particular geographical areas well in excess of what their own culture demanded. Much like what happened in North America too in many cases.

Likewise there has always been a huge question mark over Caesar's account of the Helvetii, especially in light of the fact that even by his own admission it was only those locals already on his payroll who ostensibly "complained" at the time. The Romans were generally good at watching and analysing extraterritorial developments that might lead to a sudden mass migration, especially in later years, but even in Caesar's time the whole "suddenness" and "surprise" element of the alleged Helvetian migration struck people back home in Rome as a little suspicious. The entire incident might well have rested on exaggerated assessments (for Caesar's own political reasons) of what was actually a long established movement of semi-nomadic people down from the highlands in winter months. The make-up of the "migration" and its distinct lack of military assistance suggests this might indeed have been the case. Maybe that year the movement was more concerted and numerous than usual, but even if that was the case there is certainly little evidence of alarm justifying their massacre outside of Caesar's own claims, and even within his recorded claims there is tacit admission that he still had to do a lot of persuading - both among the locals and back in Rome - before he could commence his massacres.

In terms of numbers and potential for inflicting misery on local populations some of the biggest migrations in recent centuries have been those of the British, Spanish, Portuguese and French. The British one in particular has had far-reaching and arguably catastrophic results globally which have been analysed in the past as we all know - yet rarely with an admission that they represent migrations at all. It seems the term "migration" is laden with implication which the worst offenders, when in a position to write the history of their conduct, prefer simply to ignore and avoid.
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PostSubject: Re: Great Migrations   Sun 17 Jan 2016, 13:58

@nordmann wrote:
One man's migration ...

The British one in particular has had far-reaching and arguably catastrophic results globally which have been analysed in the past as we all know - yet rarely with an admission that they represent migrations at all. It seems the term "migration" is laden with implication which the worst offenders, when in a position to write the history of their conduct, prefer simply to ignore and avoid.

How very true. Even just in neighbouring France the members of the British community tend to call themselves "ex-pats", but for the vast majority of us, whether young or old, working or retired, or whatever, (and I include myself in this) we are better described as "economic migrants" ... a rather laden term just at the moment, but in truth that is what we are.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Great Migrations   Sun 17 Jan 2016, 14:33

Indeed and another aspect of nordmann's post that struck me was what seems to be a universal distrust and fear of nomadic people from within the settled community, even when those nomads are from the same ethnic group.
Do you remember the outcry and scare stories from the usual suspects about 'New Age Travellers'? My daughter had friends amongst them and there were some really terrible stories about what was done to them, mostly by police and landowners, it wasn't just in the Battle of the Bean Field that they, and their animals, were appalling treated.
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PostSubject: Re: Great Migrations   Sun 17 Jan 2016, 16:01

@nordmann wrote:
In terms of numbers and potential for inflicting misery on local populations some of the biggest migrations in recent centuries have been those of the British, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

In terms of numbers, the Irish migration in recent centuries dwarfs that of the French. With regard to the 'potential for inflicting misery on local populations' then this is a subjective issue. The word 'potential' seems key here. My experience of Irish people in England, for example, has generally been positive.

Quote :
The British one in particular has had far-reaching and arguably catastrophic results globally which have been analysed in the past as we all know - yet rarely with an admission that they represent migrations at all. It seems the term "migration" is laden with implication which the worst offenders, when in a position to write the history of their conduct, prefer simply to ignore and avoid.

This is slightly puzzling because it's not clear from it how migration is somehow an offence. This needs expanded upon perhaps.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Great Migrations   Sun 17 Jan 2016, 16:20

@Vizzer wrote:
The word 'potential' seems key here. For example my experience of Irish people in England has generally been positive.

Key indeed. For example it can be (and sometimes is) argued that from the subjective viewpoint of native Americans the Irish share in culpability along with other Europeans for the extinction of their culture, their rights and all too often their lives. Potential doesn't even come into it, just as the mitigation of pressing economic need as proposed in defence of mass Irish immigration at the time plays little role in that assessment of their impact.

Migration transcends mere "offensiveness" when its perception as a real threat to the welfare and autonomy of the native population of the target area is confirmed through subsequent events. When the immigrants arrive in a position of power the potential for each is compounded tremendously. Yet for the same reason such events are rarely judged historically in those terms as they are normally recorded by the stronger party in the equation. In terms of population movement however such transfers can numerically exceed those which typify migrations in their more usual analysis (pertaining to economic or political refugee movement), and the term migration is therefore conspicuous in its absence from that analysis which is then applied.
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