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Migration from Norway to America started in the 1830s. Most of the early emigrants set out for Illinois and Wisconsin, where land was available. Their letters home told stories of success in the New World, and more Norwegians were tempted to leave.
In the 1850s, new land became available for settlement, and many Norwegians moved into Iowa and Minnesota. Norwegian-American journalists in Minnesota were even paid to prepare pamphlets which praised the wonderful climate, the beauties of prairie and woodland and lakes, and the potential riches of the new state. The pamphlets, advertising Minnesota as a ‘glorious new Scandinavia’ were sent back to Norway to attract even more people.
Newcomers usually joined the households of the earlier immigrants. Here they got their first real introduction into the ways and possibilities of America, and they could pick up a few words of English. Later they might establish themselves as farmers or as merchants in the fast-growing Norwegian-American communities in what is now called the Mid-West. More than 150 years later, you can still come across a lot of people and places with Norwegian names in this area.