Swedish Immigration to Texas

How did they get here?

Homeland and Push Factors

The homeland of the Swedes was Sweden. There actually weren't many push factors at all for people to leave Texas. Most Swedes were happy with their lives in their homeland. Many of them only immigrated to Texas after much persuasion by Swante Magnus Swenson.

Pull Factors to Texas

Many Swedes wanted to come to Texas for a new beginning. The soil was rich, and the land was good for grazing. Most Swedish Settlements were rural, which gave them land, but near urban areas, for trading. In 1880, there were 364 Swedes in Texas. By 1900, there were over 4,000 Swedish people here. Texas had the most Swedes of any state. Swante Magnus Swenson, a Swedish man, offered to pay for travel expenses of other Swedes immigrating to Texas. This was a pull factor because this made the trip to Texas absolutely free. When the first immigrants came, they were more likely to settle in a rural area, but as time went on more Swedish families settled in cities like Austin, Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Waco.

Culture Highlight

The Swedish culture is very interesting. 7 million of them are Lutheran, out of about 9 million. The Church of Sweden is even Lutheran. (The photo to the right is the Luther's Seal.) The rest of them are of other religions, including just different denominations of Christianity. Their official language is Swedish. This is the most widespread language for the Swedes. The two important minority languages in Sweden are Saami and Finnish. Some also speak Romani. The Swedes believe in being humble, calm, and thanking people for any kindness that others have shown them, no matter how seemingly insignifigant. They belive you should work hard, never brag, and that everything should only be in moderation. Equality is very important in this culture. Family should be your top priority, and children's rights matter very much. People dress conservatively. The clothing isn't ever very flashy. They don't usually wear jewelry, either.

Signifigant Individual

Swante Magnus Swenson was the first Swedish immigrant in Texas. He was a friend of Sam Houston. Sam Houston urged him to go back to Sweden to bring others of his race back. He follow this advice, inspiring many Swedes to immigrate here. He also paid for lots of Swedes' travel expenses, in exchange for them to work on his plantation for a year. He is the reason so many Swedes immigrated.

Did You Know?

♢Most Swedes came to Texas between the years of 1848 and 1910.

♢87% of Swedes are Lutheran.

♢On Swante Magnus Swenson's first trip back to Sweden, only 25 people came back to Texas with him.

♢The majority of Christian Swedes who aren't Lutheran are Methodist.


Swedish is the tenth most popular ethnic group in Texas. Over 160,000 Texans are of some Swedish decent. Texan Swedish is a dialect some people still know to this day. They are the reason for a number of towns' names such as the towns Govalle, Lund, Manda, New Sweden, Hutto, Swedonia, East Sweden, West Sweden, Palm Valley, and Swensondale. They are also responsible for the name of the Bergstrom Air Force Base. These names show just how important Swedes were to Texas, is others were willing to name towns for them.

Final Analysis

Swedish immigration, in the end, was beneficial to Texas. They increased the population. They brought Lutheranism to Texas, making it more diverse. They helped spread Methodism, and the Swedish language. They also helped give names to towns.


Fehrenbach, T. R. Lone Star: The Story of Texas. Needham, MA: Prentice Hall, 2003. Print.

"Narrative Texts: Swedish Texans." Utexas.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. <http://www.utexas.edu/gtc/assets/pdfs/GTC_swedishtexans.pdf>.

Sweden Flag. Digital image. , Flag of Sweden. World Maps, 13 Dec. 2012. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. <http://www.mapsofworld.com/flags/sweden-flag.html>.

MAP OF TEXAS. Digital image. Map of Texas. World Atlas, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. <http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/namerica/usstates/tx.htm>.

Art Leatherwood, "SWEDES," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/pts01), accessed February 12, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

"Sweden - Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette." Kwintessintial.com. Kwintessential, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2013. <http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/sweden.html>.

"Lutheran Symbols and Crosses." Lutheransonline.com. Lutherans Online, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.

Katie Austin

Period 3

Culture Group: Swedish

GT TX History