Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Pioneers, Ploughs, and Politics: New Brunswick Planned Settlements

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Dominion-Provincial Immigration Conference Attracting Immigrants

Danish Immigration
New Brunswick's government leaders looked to northern Europe for potential immigrants, and several factors combined for a positive response from Denmark. Like most European countries, Denmark had experienced rapid population growth throughout the 19th century which put pressure on land. A low infant mortality rate, resulting from better health care, meant that more children survived to adulthood. Therefore, children who failed to inherit the family farm were forced to become farm labourers or servants or to migrate to urban areas in search of work.
In the face of this population shift, employment opportunities in urban areas fell short of the demand. Members of this landless, unemployed group often found the prospect of emigration appealing. Across the sea agricultural land was cheap, if not free, and readily available. In 1864 the land shortage problem increased for Denmark when Austria and Prussia gained control of the border duchies of Schlesvig and Holstein. Social and economic unrest resulting from two recent wars with Germany also encouraged Danes to look for a better life in Australia, Brazil, the United States, and Canada.