European migrations to the Americas and Australia have often been noted as an important part of world history, but movements to the frontiers, factories, and cities of Asia and Africa have largely been overlooked. This paper will show that migrations to northern and southeastern Asia were comparable in size and demographic impact to the transatlantic flows and followed similar cycles of growth and contraction. These migrations were all part of an expanding world economy, and a global perspective suggests ways in which that economy extended beyond direct European intervention. A global perspective also compels us to extend the traditional ending point for the era of mass migration from 1914 to 1930, and to be more aware of how political intervention has shaped the world into different migration systems and led scholars to wrongly assume that these systems reflect categorically different kinds of migration.Table 1 in this article shows 55-58 million people migrating from Europe to the Americas during this period; 48-52 million from India (c. 30m) and southern China (c. 20m) into Southeast Asia and to European colonies in the Pacific and Indian Oceans; and 46-51 million from Northeast Asia and Russia into Manchuria, Siberia, central Asia, and Japan.
Indians migrated to Malaysia (4m), Ceylon (8m), Burma (15m), and Africa (1m, incl. Mohandas Gandhi), as well as to Mauritius, the Seychelles, and Fiji. Some of the Indians were indentured, but most arrived under labor contracts sponsored by their employer or the colonial authorities. Fewer than 1 million Chinese migrated under labor contracts to Europeans, while many more worked for Chinese employers under various contracts. Most of the Southeast Asian Chinese came from Fujian and Guangdong in South China.
Up to 11 million Chinese traveled from China to the Straits Settlements, although more than a third of these transshipped to the Dutch Indies, Borneo, Burma, and places farther west....Average annual population growth in Southeast Asia, North Asia, and the Americas ranged from 1.45% to 1.72% between 1850 and 1950, while it averaged 0.74% in the rest of the world. If we look at the sources of emigration, annual rates averaged 7-10 per 1000 from Ireland, Norway, and Italy during 1900-1910; and 9-10 per 1000 in South China (Guangdong) and North China (Hebei and Shandong) during the 1920s. (Peak rates reached 22/1000 from Ireland during the famine of 1845-55 and 18/1000 from Iceland during the 1880s.)
Migration into the broad expanse of North Asia is the least well studied of these systems. Small trickles of migrants had moved into central Asia, Siberia, and Manchuria for hundreds of years, but the Qing government's gradual relaxation of restrictions against movement into Manchuria after 1860 and the emancipation of serfs in Russia in 1861 set the stage for more massive migration. Both governments actively encouraged settlement with homesteading policies in the 1880s, each partly inspired by the desire to forestall territorial encroachment by the other. Railroad construction in the 1890s further strengthened the migrant flows. Between 28 and 33 million Chinese migrated into Manchuria and Siberia (most of whom embarked on a short sea voyage from Shandong to the Liaodong peninsula), along with nearly 2 million Koreans and over 500,000 Japanese. Another 2.5 million Koreans migrated to Japan, especially in the 1930s. At least 13 million Russians moved into central Asia and Siberia over this period.
Of course, there were also massive internal migrations into coastal cities in China, to tea plantations and textile mills in India, and into industrial areas of northern Europe.
The end of the transatlantic slave trade led to the increased movement of slaves into western Sudan [Darfur?], the Middle East, and areas bordering the Indian Ocean in the late nineteenth century.... Projects such as the Suez Canal and development of an infrastructure for cotton cultivation in Egypt attracted large amounts of local migration, while Lebanon and Syria experienced some of the highest overseas emigration rates in the world [during 1870-1920]. Over 3 million people also took part in the hajj to Mecca from 1879 to 1938....See also Muninn's recent post on Japanese migration into north China in the early parts of both the 20th and 21st centuries and, more tangentially, Randy McDonald's recent post at The Head Heeb on Diasporas: Shifting Meaning, Real Intentions. Scott Sommers' Taiwan Weblog also has an interesting post on foreign teachers as economic migrants in Taiwan.
In addition to the migration of settlers and workers, some of the traditional merchant diasporas continued to flourish. For centuries before the 1800s, these ethnic networks had been some of the most prominent exemplars of long-distance migration....
Of particular interest are the Sindworkies from the town of Hyderabad in what is now Pakistan. After the 1860s they spread from [Bukhara and] Japan to the Panama Canal and Tierra del Fuego, establishing upscale tourist shops that sold "curios" from around the world and becoming prominent carriers of Japanese trade in the Dutch Indies.