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Diaspora

Wikipedia Reference Information

The term: diaspora (in Greek, d?asp??? "a scattering or sowing of seeds") is used (without capitalization) to refer to any people or ethnic population forced or induced to leave their traditional ethnic homelands; being dispersed throughout other parts of the world, and the ensuing developments in their dispersal and culture.

In the beginning, the term Diaspora (capitalized) was used by the Ancient Greeks to refer to citizens of a grand city who migrated to a conquered land with the purpose of colonization to assimilate the territory into the empire. The original meaning was cut off from the present meaning when the Old Testament was translated to Greek, the word diaspora was used to refer specifically to the populations of Jews exiled from Judea in 586 BC by the Babylonians, and Jerusalem in AD 136 by the Roman Empire. This term is used interchangeably to refer to the historical movements of the dispersed ethnic population of Israel, the cultural development of that population, or the population itself. The probable origin of the word is the Septuagint version of Deuteronomy 28:25, "thou shalt be a dispersion in all kingdoms of the earth". The term was assimilated from Greek into English in the late 20th century.

The academic field of diaspora studies was established in the late twentieth century, in regard to the expanded meaning of 'diaspora'.

History contains numerous diaspora-like events. The Migration Period relocations, which included several phases is just one of many. The first phase Migration Period displacement from between AD 300 and 500 included relocation of the Goths, (Ostrogoths, Visigoths), Vandals, Franks, various other Germanic tribes, (Burgundians, Langobards, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Suebi, Alamanni, Varangians), Alans and numerous Slavic tribes. The second phase, between AD 500 and 900, saw Slavic, Turkic, and other tribes on the move, re-settling in Eastern Europe and gradually making it predominantly Slavic, and affecting Anatolia and the Caucasus as the first Turkic peoples (Avars, Bulgars, Huns, Khazars, Pechenegs) arrived. The last phase of the migrations saw the coming of the Magyars and the Viking expansion out of Scandinavia.

The twentieth century continued to see massive ethnic refugee crises, due to war and the rise of nationalism, fascism, communism and racism (i.e. the Holocaust of over six million European Jews during World war II), as well as from natural disasters and economic collapse. The first half of the twentieth century saw the creation of hundreds of millions of ethnic refugees across Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. Many of these refugees who did not die from starvation or war went to Western Europe and the Americas.

During the Cold War era, huge populations of refugees continued to form from areas of war, especially from Third World nations; all over Africa (e.g., over 50,000 South Asians expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin in 1975), South (e.g., thousands of Uruguayan refugees fled to Europe during military rule in the 1970s and 80's) and Central America (e.g., Nicaraguans, Salvadorians, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Costa Ricans and Panamanians), the Middle East (especially. the Iranians whom left the country to flee the 1978 Islamic revolution), the India (Thousands of former British colonial residents went to the UK after India and Pakistan became independent in 1947), and Southeast Asia (e.g., the displaced 30,000 French colons from Cambodia expelled by the Khmer Rouge regime under Pol Pot). The issue of untold millions of "third world" refugees created more diasporas than ever in human history.

There is talk presently of a New Orleans, or U.S. Gulf Coast "diaspora" in the wake of Hurricane Katrina of 2005, if a significant a number of evacuees do not return.

The complete, up-to-date and editable article about Diaspora can be found at Wikipedia: Diaspora
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diaspora




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