Taste of Texas

Danish Immigrants to Texas

Denmark's Flag

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Homeland and Push Factor

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Push Factor

Around the second half of the 19th century is when Danes really started coming to Texas. The reason behind this is that the population grew in Denmark which made transportation harder. Also, during that time period there was a high rate of unemployment. With the jobs that were there, the people got low salaries compared to a century earlier. Finally, there was also trouble acquiring land for immigrants and other residents.

Texas and Pull Factors

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Pull Factors

One of the main pull factors for Danes in Denmark was that Texas had cheap land. They thought of Texas as an opportunity to rebuild their lives. Most of them thought that Texas was a great place for jobs. Some Danish immigrants thought that Texas was also thought of a place for freedom of culture. Immigrants also thought that Texas would have plenty of edible food. They also wanted to send children later on to schools.

Culture Highlight

The Danes had a very creative culture in my perspective. An interesting tradition of the Danes was that when a new house was being built, neighbors helped with the building. After the house was built the owners held a housewarming celebration. The housewarming would happen once the family moved in. On the day that the family/owners moved in there would be a big table of buffet loaded food. The neighbors and owners would eat the food and call it a day of relaxation and pleasure. One of the major food/drink that Danes would have regularly was coffee. A Danish custom would be to eat six meals a day. Before breakfast they would have coffee. In Danevang, Texas they say if Danes got together, at least some of those people will bring a coffeepot. During Christmas it was a tradition to have at least seven different Danish cookies with coffee. Some of the famous Danish pastries were Christmas wreath coffeecakes and rolled Yule logs. The people of Danevang usually come together for every occasion in the community hall. The Danish had diverse branches of Christianity.

The Danes followed most of the same tradition that they had in Denmark. In Denmark, Christmas time would be a lot more decorative around the country unlike in Texas. In Denmark, you have to Baptize or name a child before he/she is turns one year old. Once this happens, there is usually a celebration especially if it is a first born. On January 6th it is said that the three holy kings will come, so everyone takes down their Christmas decorations. Another interesting tradition was that instead of Christmas Eve, they had a holiday called Boxing Day where they ate and ate just like Christmas Day. The Danish people have a natural tendency to eat and party in a group as part of their culture.

Significant Individuals

There were many important Danish individuals that helped Texas. Most of the first Danish Families came to Texas were individuals. One of the first individuals was a painter Charles Zanco. Charles Zanco arrived in the Lynchburg in 1835 during the Texas Revolution. During the time, many people were preparing for war. Before a group of men left to fight against Mexico, Zanco painted a flag which was depicted as a single five pointed star with the word “Independence” beneath it.

Another individual was Captain Peter Johnson who sailed by himself to the Texas coastline. His contribution was being the first Danish pioneer to come to Texas and spurred the action of immigrants in Texas. Yet another individual was Karl Gammel. Karl was an avid reader and bought a box of books. In the year 1877, Gammel started what later became the Oldest Bookstore in Texas. He accomplished this task by buying more book crates.

First, a group of Danish Families settled in northern Lee County and created a settlement in Texas called Little Denmark. Most of the Danish people that created Little Denmark were farmers. After this more people started coming to Little Denmark.

Did You Know

  • Did you know that Santa Claus originated from Denmark?
  • Did you know that pop tarts could be an inspiration off of Danish Kringle?
  • Did you know that there was a city in Lee County names Little Denmark?
  • Did you know that Bluetooth was named for a Danish King? (Harald "Bluetooth" Gormsson)
  • Did you know that Denmark mean Borderlands of the Danes?

Analysis 1

The Danish have affected Texas in many different aspects of life. One of the ways that Danes have affected Texas is realizing that cotton would be the best crops to grow. The reason behind this is that the Danes were having problems with growing their own types of crops. So they then figured that cotton would the best plant to grow for the soil. The Danish also had to let the soil settle for months since the soil was very hard. The Danish have also impacted Texas by bringing their culture and food with them. If they hadn't come, we wouldn't have Danish restaurants in Texas.
There is evidence that Danes are here today, because authentic Danish restaurants should have a Danish store owner. There are not many Danish immigrants here in Texas right now, but there were quite a few in 19th century. You know this because Census said that they were the 10th largest group in Texas.

Analysis 2

Danish haven't changed Texas as much as other groups have. The Danish were more conservative and only talked mainly within themselves. They created communities and settlements together as a group. The Danish culture didn't last long due to major depression of crops and other financial problems. Also, the Danish immigrants didn't know many languages. Majority of them knew German and only some new English well. Therefore, the Danish didn't have much ways of communicating so their diverse ideas and culture didn't last very long. In the future Danish couldn't change Texas since most of them moved to northern and eastern U.S.


Davis, John L. "DANES." DAVIS, JOHN L. TSA, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. <http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ptd01>.

"Denmark Flag." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2013. Web. 11 Feb. 2013.

"Gone To Texas - Immigration of Cultures." Www.texancultures.edu. Institute of Texan Cultures, 1 Feb. 2003. Web. Fall 2012.

Plocheck, Robert. "Texas Almanac." Scandinavian Texans. Texas Alamanac, 10 Sept. 2003. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. <http://www.texasalmanac.com/topics/culture/scandinavian-texans>.

Ramos, Connor. "Research In The Lonestar State." LoneStar Genealogy, Comprehensive Texas History & Genealogy Web Site. LoneStar Genealogy, 2 Feb. 2008. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. <http://www.lonestargenealogy.com/courses/texas/migration.html>.

Simmonds, Tiffany. "El Campo Chamber of Commerce." El Campo Chamber of Commerce. El Campo, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. <http://www.elcampochamber.com/data.asp?ID=6>.

Wolf, Kirsten. "Denmark." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2013. Web. 11 Feb. 2013.


Name: Ashwin K.
Period: 4
Class: Texas History
Culture group: Danish