Story: Italians

Leaving Italy for a better life, 1890s

Leaving Italy for a better life, 1890s

In the 19th century, thousands of poverty-stricken Italians left their homeland. This painting portrays a group of emigrants leaving the port of Leghorn (Livorno) in Tuscany. A group of townsfolk from Leghorn were among the first Italians to arrive in New Zealand, responding to New Zealand agent John Glyn’s enticing advertisements. They were not prepared for the hard labour that awaited them, and the experiment failed. Italians settled much more successfully once their own migration chains began.

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Comune di Livorno, Italy
Oil painting by R. Gambogi

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How to cite this page:

Tessa Copland, 'Italians - Leaving Italy', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 29 June 2022)

Story by Tessa Copland, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 Mar 2015