Greek culture area

Greek1 Greek immigration to Texas occurred mainly in the last two decades of the nineteenth century and in the early twentieth century. Coming from a small, thinly populated, agricultural country that had felt the heavy hand of Turkish oppression from the fifteenth through the early nineteenth centuries, the Greek immigrants looked for economic opportunity. According to Theodore Saloutos, they came from “…a land that was scenic and appealing, the possessor of a proud history and traditions, but also a nation of peasants and poverty.” Beginning in the 1870’s, large numbers of Greeks immigrated. They left a rural homeland to seek work in Texas cities where they entered street trades, selling cigars, vegetables, or sweets. Many rose from street-vending to shops after they had saved enough capital. The early Greeks in Texas commonly owned Greek2confectionaries, flower shops, boot-black shops, coffee houses, barber shops, cleaning and pressing shops, and restaurants. Numbering from a handful in the 1870’s to the thousands in 1910, they enriched their adopted homeland with their rich cultural and commercial heritage.

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