Friday, July 24

United States Immigration: Basic History that You Must Know

United States immigration has always been interesting to many historians. It can be recalled that the first indigenous people crossed the ice bridge connecting Asia to North America some 12,000 years ago yet it wasn’t until the end of the 15th century that Europeans entered the country’s borders. The French and Spanish were the first to establish settlements while English and Dutch followed soon after and founded their first permanent colonies. 

Many immigrants that came to United States were in search for greater economic opportunity while Pilgrims in the early 1600s arrived in search for religious freedom. It was during the 17th to 19th centuries when thousands of African slaves were delivered to United States in forceful manner. Humiliation and discrimination were reported to increase after the imports of the blacks. The first significant federal legislation restricting immigration was the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Ellis Island opened up and became the country’s first federal immigration station. Individual states regulated immigration then after. In 1965, new laws ended the quota system that favoured European immigrations. And today, most of the country’s immigrants are coming from Asia and Latin America. 

Since the foundation of United States, immigration laws have been reformed. The change was based on the needs of the time but political agendas were assumed to influence the amendments. 

Why Early People Migrate to United States? 

a. Indentured Servants Young people were paid for their passage to United States by working for a household for a certain number of years. This labour system was widely practiced in the 18th century in the British colonies in North America and elsewhere. It was expensive for Europeans to cross over to the American Colonies and this was one of their easy techniques to obtain passage. When the contract ends, the servant is free to work on his own. The system gained success that it claimed half of the white immigrants in the 17th and 18th century as indentured servants. Although some people voluntarily indentured themselves, others were found kidnapped in European cities and forced to serve in United States. Convicts were also shipped across the Atlantic for the same purpose. 

b. Economic Opportunity United States was the perfect place for cheap land and freedom of enterprise during the colonial period. Farmers, tradesmen, fishermen, shipbuilders and craftsmen are secured with work. There was an independence of resources and the trade among colonies and indigenous peoples have produced massive improvement. 

c. Religious Freedom Early people migrate to United States to preserve their religious identity. Some were quick enough to migrate to prevent persecution in Europe. Immigrants wanting to preserve the purity of their spiritual views were free to live their lives the way they wanted. Today, United States is packed with numerous religious institutions which is a testament of the freedom that was enjoyed so many decades ago. 

Who were the major immigrants in United States? 

Apart from British and Asians, another large group of immigrants who arrived in the country were the black slaves from West Africa. They were among the early slaves in America who were forced to indentured servitude. From 20 African servants in 1619, the number increased to 7,000 by 1680 and tremendously escalated to 700,000 by 1790. It was during 1808 when the American congress outlawed the importation of salves to the United States. However, no law has ever stopped their imports. Although there were no exact estimates made, it is believed that 500,000 to 650,000 Africans were shipped to America for slavery between the 17th and 19th centuries, a big population to consider. People from Northern and Western Europe began to flock to United States around 1815 to 1865. About 1/3 of the population was from Ireland which suffered a great famine in the mid-19th century. At around 1820 and 1930, the number of Irish immigrants was estimated to reach 4.5 million. Joined the Irish immigrants were the Germans. Their population was estimated to reach 5 million in the 19th century. Many of them were found buying large portion of farms in many major cities such as Milwaukee and St. Loius. 

The influx of newcomers to United States has posed unwanted competition for jobs and discrimination for due to religious beliefs. Anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic American Party tried to trim down the wave of people coming in into the region but it was until during the Civil War that United States has experienced depression that resulted to the slowdown of immigration. 

United States: Future Immigration Condition 

During the last century, US government had left immigration policy to individual states but the ever-increasing influx of people has never stopped. President Benjamin Harrison opened up the Ellis Island in New York to serve as the federal immigration station. Around 12 million immigrants were admitted to United States through the Ellis Island in between 1892 - 1954. During the rapid industrialization and urbanization (1880 – 1920), about 20 million immigrants were admitted however, the peak year for admission of new immigrants was during 1907 where 1.3 million people entered the country legally. 

Today, the majority of United States immigrants are from Asia and Latin America rather than Europe. 

Bio: this article is brought to you by, a professional US visa agency.

Sunday, May 10

Renting an Apartment in Barcelona

Post courtesy of Apartment Barcelona

Why choose an apartment?

With more space and homely touches, along with the possibility of saving some pennies and sleeping larger groups together under one roof, more and more visitors are choosing holiday apartment rentals in Barcelona rather than hotel stays. In terms of the apartments available in and around the city, the variety of accommodation is vast and there is indeed something to suit all tastes.

Where to stay?
Barcelona boasts an amazing choice of different neighbourhoods, each with its very own personality, allowing you to really make the most of your visit to the city and find exactly what you need. From apartments overlooking the sandy beaches and those found at the heart of lively nightlife to those with a more local feel surrounded quirky cafés or chic stores, you’re sure to find the ideal area for you.

If what you enjoy most is basking in the Mediterranean sun, then Barceloneta is the perfect choice for you. The vibrant seafront, lined with sandy beach bars, local hangouts and amazing seafood restaurants along with the area’s proximity to the city centre make this an ideal spot for those wanting to combine the metropolitan with the surf.

Dating back to medieval times, the beautiful, maze-like neighbourhood of El Born is one of Barcelona’s oldest areas and today wows visitors with its wonderful monuments, fashionable boutiques, and enticing bars and restaurants. The area is home to some of the city’s most best loved attractions including the Picasso Museum, Santa María del Mar basilica and Santa Caterina Market.

Crazy about Gaudí? Love classic architecture? If so, then Eixample is the ideal place for you. The area is home to some of the most renowned architectural works in Europe including the amazing Casa Batlló, weird and wonderful La Pedrera and the towering Sagrada Familia. Eixample boasts endless and glamorous turn of the century buildings which today house swanky stores and up-market restaurants.

At the top end of Eixample lies the cute, quaint area known as Gràcia. Originally a separate village from Barcelona, it has a distinctive Catalan atmosphere, and is today filled with charming restaurants, arty cafeterias, and locally-owned boutiques. With plenty of local students and young residents, this area comes alive at night, with a trendy laid-back bar scene.

For a true taste of Barcelona’s dramatic past, you’ll need the incredible Gothic area. Nestled between El Raval and El Born, the neighbourhood offers guests a first-hand experience of the rich and fascinating history of this buzzing city. Characterised by small, winding alleyways and beautiful medieval architecture, renting an apartment in the Gothic Quarter will surely transport you back in time. The neighbourhood is home to plenty of tourist attractions including the Barcelona Cathedral, Plaça Reial and the government buildings of Catalonia in Plaça de Sant Jaume.

Apartments in Barcelona come in endless shapes and sizes all across the city and are able to cater to all needs. So whether you’re looking for a child-friendly apartment with a pool, a spacious six bedroom rental for a large group, or a super-stylish studio for one, you’re sure to find the perfect accommodation for you.

Apartment Barcelona

Apartment Barcelona is an online apartment agency with more than 1000 apartments to rent in Barcelona for both short and long-term stays, as well as apartments for sale. The Tripadvisor-recommended agency offers a large variety of rentals, from luxury apartments to studios, and from beach apartments to Ramblas apartments. For more information, visit

Sunday, April 19

Exploring Spain’s Neighbour - Four Top Lisbon Experiences

Spain and Portugal have a great deal in common with architecturally magnificent romantic cities, picturesque beaches, clear blue oceans and an endless supply of beautiful people. We have spent time providing the reader with everything they would want to know about the hustle and bustle of Barcelona, but what about a short skip across the border and into the wonderful Portuguese capital of Lisbon? Here are four experiences that make Lisbon well worth the visit.

1. Comfy Accommodation

Although there are many luxurious hotels available, if it is the true Portuguese experience that you are after, why not spend your nights in one of the many cosy cottages that are spread across the land. These warm guest houses offer visitors a chance to achieve the Portuguese housetrip experience and the traditions that come along with it.

2. Lisbon Zoo

With over 2000 animals on show at this beautiful zoo, this is definitely a must-see for people of all ages. It is easy to lose track of time here, spending hours enjoying the weird and wonderful creatures that call this planet their home. Two of the most popular attractions, that see people flocking from all over the world to enjoy, have to be the extremely rare White Tigers, as well as the majestic Mountain Gorillas.

3. Amphibious Hippotrip Tour

If you are the type of person that believes city tours are for boring old-timers, then you have obviously never heard of the exciting Hippotrips. What may begin as a simple city tour quickly turns into something straight out of a James Bond film, as your tour vehicle darts off straight into the heart of the River Tagus. This amphibious excursion provides a memorable way to learn all there is to know about this beautiful city.

4. Castelo de São Jorge

Close your eyes and think about the most luxurious looking fairy tale castle that you can imagine. The image that you have in your mind right now is probably pretty close to what the amazing Castelo de São Jorge looks like. If you think this structure is mind-blowing from a distance, just wait until you have a chance to experience the mesmerising 360 degree views of the city below, from atop the massive castle walls.

Tuesday, March 3

The Top 5 Architectural Masterpieces of Barcelona

Barcelona is Europe’s capital of architecture. From modernist wonders to gothic palaces, the city has some of the best buildings you’ll find anywhere. Anyone who loves architecture takes a pilgrimage to Barcelona at least once in their lifetime. 

You don’t need to be an expert to appreciate and be enthralled by what Barcelona has to offer architecturally though. Maybe you’re just visiting the city and are looking to take in some cultural goodness.

 I’d recommend taking a holiday to Barcelona just to explore its architecture, as there’s nowhere else on Earth like it. Find a cheap place to stay, like one of the Housetrip apartments, and then walk the city and see its buildings. There are many more but here are my top 5 buildings you should see next time you’re in Barcelona.  

Santa Maria del Mar (1384)

The Santa Maria del Mar is perhaps the finest example of Catalan Gothic architecture in Barcelona. It’s a beautiful, medieval church built in the 14th century. It is quite rare for buildings from this period to be so visually striking in their specific character. 

The interior is an incredible sight to behold. The outside might give the impression that the church is relatively small and cramped. But once you step inside you’re hit by the enormity and spaciousness of the place.


Casa Vicens (1880s)

Among the first buildings ever built by the great architect Antoni Gaudi, Casa Vicens was originally made for a rich family. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

The building is very unusual, the shape is asymmetrical and looks very different depending on where you stand to look at it. It’s made of stone and brick, and is decorated with coloured ceramic tiles. It’s weirdness has a strange charm.  

Casa Amatller (1900)

As the name suggests, Casa Amatller was built as a family home for the Amatller family at the very start of the last century. It was designed in the Modernisme style of Barcelona at the time. It is situated in Illa de la Discordia, the area known for its strong modernist architecture. 

The building was designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, who was one of the country’s greatest architects alongside Antoni Gaudi.

Palace of Catalan Music (1908)

The Palace of Catalan Music (Palau de la Música Catalana) was commissioned by the Orfeó Català choral society. The society wanted to start a new cultural movement aiming for a rebirth of Catalan art. 

There are no straight lines on the building; it’s all modernist curves and wonderfully dynamic shapes. It is still used for musical concerts to this day. It’s a building that is both beautiful and functional, true to the original notions of modernism.  

Barcelona Pavilion (1929)

The Barcelona Pavilion (Pabellón Alemán) was designed by a German architect; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It was a pioneering building as it was incredibly simplistic and minimalist. It’s all flat lines and smooth surfaces. 

It was made for the opening of the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona. It’s now considered a cornerstone of contemporary architecture.