At a time when our national history is beginning to question its identity, among other shaken certainties, it appears distinctly that the emigration of the Confederates for the overseas countries in the nineteenth century was not limited to some individual adventures of a certain number of personalities who left to contribute, more or less voluntarily, to the influence of Helvetia. It is perhaps less obvious, however, that this vast movement of several hundred thousand Swiss can not be recognized either in some epics of various groups of adventurers.
Even today, many literary - historians? - sing the merits of those who went through the many struggles for life, have succeeded, by their personal qualities, to settle in the New World. These heralds usually forget to mention the human costs of these Darwin alike victories.
In recent years, however, with the arrival of new methodological approaches in Swiss scientific circles and thanks to the sense of relativity of those who do not need to identify with a certain idea of the national past, the history of emigration takes a more analytical and hypothetical turn.
Among the themes of a problematic and globalizing history, emigration is one of the most complex because of its demographic, economic, cultural, political and, above all, mental dimensions. Therefore, our intention was not to elaborate a theory of Swiss migrations, the elements of which are not yet gathered but, more modestly, to help gather the data to help locate the types of emigration, individual and collective. The causes and phases of a secular movement, the destinations of emigrants and their participation, in the countries of adoption, in new collective destinies.
Swiss emigration and colonisation in America
By Gérald Arlettaz