The Colony that Rose from the Sea: Norwegian Maritime Migration and Community in Brooklyn, 1850-1910

Norwegian Maritime Migration and Community in Brooklyn, 1850-1910

The Colony that Rose from the Sea: Norwegian Maritime Migration and Community in Brooklyn, 1850-1910 - 0877320861

David C. Mauk, The Colony that Rose from the Sea: Norwegian Maritime Migration and Community in Brooklyn, 1850-1910, © 1997 Norwegian-American Historical Association, Northfield, Minnesota, Hardcover, 272 Pages, 0-87732-086-1


The development of the Norwegian community in Brooklyn was closely tied to the international maritime trade that developed from the 1850s to 1920. In this first book-length study of the immigrant community originally known as the Red Hook district and later as Little Norway, a Norwegian scholar traces its development and its place in the overall scheme of Norwegian emigration to America.

Back Cover - The Colony that Rose from the Sea: Norwegian Maritime Migration and Community in Brooklyn, 1850-1910

From the Inside Flaps

The second in the series of in-depth investigations of urban immigrant life in America’s great cities from the Norwegian-American Historical Association (NAHA), this work continues the correction of the previous rural bias in the historiography of the group. It also contributes to a significantly more multi-faceted view of Norwegian and, indeed, European international migration by focusing attention on an East coast community that developed primarily through the irregular, often illegal immigration of merchant seamen.

Part of a global phenomenon that affected shipping around the world, maritime migration started with desertion and ship-jumping and evolved forms and stages unique in the history of the international movement of labor. During the nineteenth century, deep- sea sailors increasingly searched for better pay and working conditions on other country’s vessels or used seamanship as a way of financing their passage to another country. Consequently, the crews of Atlantic nations’ commercial fleets became the polyglot mixtures of cultures celebrated by Herman Melville in Moby Dick.

Norway rapidly became a major shipping nation after 1850. The Brooklyn “colony” was but the largest of its settlements overseas whose economic, residential, religious, and social life showed a distinctive configuration because they were originally centered on a transient population, and gradually (if at all) became communities dominated by people in more permanent residence.

Various forms of transience, sojourning and chain migration led to distinctive “transplanted” institutions. These branches of old-country organizations arose because people at home wanted to provide religious succor and social welfare for an itinerant, floating workforce of the country’s nationals who were temporarily abroad. After a protracted struggle, the transplanted institutions in Norwegian Brooklyn gave way to an immigrant culture strongly colored by both the traditions of secular cosmopolitanism and pleasure-seeking common among sailors abroad and the teetotalist religious pietism, small-scale entrepreneurship, and independent womanhood characteristic of the southern coastal region of Norway from which the largest group of the colony’s residents came.


  • Chapter 1: The Colony that Rose from the Sea
  • Chapter 2: The Norwegian Background of Brooklyn’s Red Hook Colony
  • Chapter 3: Getting There and Coming Ashore: Maritime Transience, Desertion, and Settlement in Manhattan
  • Chapter 4: One Pattern among Many in Brooklyn’s Complex and Shifting Fabric
  • Chapter 5: Saving Seamen in Babylon: The First Institutions in Brooklyn’s Norwegian Colony
  • Chapter 6: In the Foundry of Change: Coping with the Transformations of the 1880s
  • Chapter 7: Living and Working Together in the 1890s
  • Chapter 8: Our Own Little World: Community Life in Little Norway, 1890—1910 186
    Chapter 9: A Den of Pirates with Many Tales to Tell
  • Appendices
  • Notes
  • Index

List Price: $44.95

Library of Congress Catalog Listing

LC control no.: 97227199
Type of material: Book (Print, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
Personal name: Mauk, David, 1945-
Main title: The colony that rose from the sea : Norwegian maritime migration and community in Brooklyn, 1850-1910 / David C. Mauk.
Published/Created: [Northfield] : Norwegian-American Historical Association : Distributed by The University of Illinois Press; 1997.
Description: xiii, 272 p. : ill., maps; 27 cm.
ISBN-10: 0877320861
ISBN-13: 978-0252024009
Notes: Includes bibliographical references (p. 235-265) and index.
Subjects: Norwegian Americans --New York (State) --New York --History.
Norway --Emigration and immigration --History.
New York (N.Y.) --Emigration and immigration --History.
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) --Emigration and immigration --History.
LC classification: F128.9.S2 M38 1997
Dewey class no.: 974.7/10043982
Other system no.: (OCoLC)37905330
Geographic area code: n-us-ny e-no---
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