MANY of the Romantic Poets such as Byron, Shelley and Keats migrated to Italy, for its history, aesthetics and more liberal society. 

The term migration emerged in the 1700s; however, people have been migrating since the establishment of human society.

Large scale migrations were undertaken to escape the Ice Age, wars or religious and political persecution.

Emigrants are those who leave a country, immigrants those who wish to enter a country, settlers occupy a country, establishing their own rules and nomads have no fixed abode. 

A consequence of migration has been the evolution of culture, knowledge, skill and economic development.

The best example would be Greeks who migrated to Southern Europe between eighth and fifth century BC, evolving and spreading  Greek culture not just in Europe but further afield, in the wake of Alexander's conquests.

The transnational Muslim empires [eighth to 11th century AD], the age of discovery and colonial empires [15th-19th century AD], created opportunities for the exchange of cultures and the transmission of knowledge.

Tragic events such as the displacement of people during the French Revolution, Nazi rule, occupation of Palestine, the partition of India and the many world conflicts. equally played a part in the dissemination of cultures.

Religious mystics, such as Sufis traveled to all corners of the world, settling in lands far from their countries of birth.

Voluntary migration is not random. Migrants seek the culture they feel closer to their home, culture they mind feel disconnected with.

Many of the Romantic poets such Byron. Shelley and Keats migrated to Italy, for its history aesthetics and more liberal society.

Some artists such as Paul Gauguin, who migrated to Tahiti, were searching for inspiration. Others such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte or Modigliani gravitated towards the major art  centres of Paris and New York.

For most ordinary people, migration grows out of state of mind, described by the much traveled poet  Robert W. Service:
There's a race of men that don't fit in-
A race that can't sit still-
So they break the heart of kith and kin-
And they roam the world at will. 

TODAY, the West is alarmed with migration, yet, since the 1500, the largest mass migration have been by Europeans who populated the Americas, Canada, Australia and New Zealand reducing local populations to less than three percent.

In much of Africa and the colonised nations, they dominated not by numbers but by wrestling power, so one understand their concern.

And yet again, The World Students Society thanks author Professor Durriya Kazi, University of Karachi.


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