Cornish diaspora

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The Cornish diaspora consists of Cornish people and their descendants who emigrated from Cornwall. The diaspora is found in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Brazil.

Cornish emigration has been caused by a number of factors, but due mainly to economic reasons and the lack of jobs in the 18th and 19th centuries when many Cornish people or “Cousin Jacks”, as they were known, migrated to various parts of the world in search of a better life. A driving force for some emigrants was the opportunity for skilled miners to find work abroad, later in combination with the decline of the tin and copper mining industries in Cornwall. It is estimated that 250,000 Cornish migrated abroad between 1861 and 1901 and these emigrants included farmers, merchants and tradesmen, but miners made up most of the numbers. There is a well known saying in Cornwall that "a mine is a hole anywhere in the world with at least one Cornishman at the bottom of it!"

The Cornish economy profited from the miners’ work abroad. Some men sent back “home pay”, which helped to keep their families out of the workhouse. As well as their mining skills, the Cornish emigrants carried their culture and way of life with them when they travelled. They formed tight-knit communities, and did not lose contact with either the people or the customs of their home land. Wrestling competitions took place in the new settlements, Cornish Methodist chapels...
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