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Eastern and Southern Europe in the medieval time period?

Eastern and Southern Europe in the medieval time period?

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What were Eastern and Southern Europe like in the medieval period? Did Southern and Eastern Europe have knights and castles like Western Europe? I've never heard for example of Italian knights in the crusades. All I know that eastern Europe was under Byzantine influence for a long time. Specifically I'm looking for information on Romania in the 15th and 16th centuries?

Confining my answer to the area around modern-day Romania (IOW: The north-east Balkans).

In the beginning of the middle ages, this area was sort of a borderland between the territory of the Huns and of Eastern Roman Empire. It kept this state for another hundred years after the mid 6th century, except that the Huns were replaced by the Avars, and the Eastern Roman Empire became what we know today as the Byzantine Empire. At the end of this period, Slavic tribes began to move into the depopulated Balkans in large numbers.

By the mid 7th century, a (likely Turkic) tribe, the Bulgars, were defeated by the Khazars and driven into this area. At first Avar vassals, these Danube Bulgars eventually threw off the yoke, and set up their own empire in the area, known as the First Bulgarian Empire. At its height in the late 9th century, it encompassed nearly all of the Balkans, save the coastal Byzantine areas. This is also the period when the Slavs got their alphabet (and thus literacy in their own languages became a possibility again) and when the people of Balkans were converted to (mostly Eastern Orthodox) Christianity.

After this the Bulgars went into a long period of decline, during which their territory got slowly squeezed out between the Byzantines and the Patzinak Turks. By the mid 11th century, the borders of the two met on the Danube. Not much later another Turkic tribe, the Cumans, took over the Patzinak's territory. They held it until the Mongols arrived in the late 13th century, and took it over.

Meanwhile south of the Danube, in the early 13th century the Venetians convinced the leaders of the 4th Crusade to expend their efforts within the Byzantine Empire itself, essentially dismantling the Empire. This allowed the Bulgarians to reassert themselves in the area south of the Danube. This second Bulgarian Empire lasted until the end of the 14th century.

At that point, all of the Balkans south of the Danube was conquered by the Turks. The area immeditately north of that was being run as the Principality of Moldavia (with chiefly Vlach nobility) from the mid 14th century until it was also conquered by the Turks at the very end of the 15th.

That pretty much brings us into the modern era.

Italy was one of the key participants, money and and troops provider for the crusades. Italian mercenaries, the Condottieri were employed throughout Europe. Italy was the leading producer of body armor in Europe (followed by Germany). Politically Italy was fragmented into rivaling city-states and the papal area, time to time subjected to the Holy Roman Empire.

Middle Ages

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Middle Ages, the period in European history from the collapse of Roman civilization in the 5th century ce to the period of the Renaissance (variously interpreted as beginning in the 13th, 14th, or 15th century, depending on the region of Europe and other factors).

When did the Middle Ages begin?

The Middle Ages was the period in European history from the collapse of Roman civilization in the 5th century CE to the period of the Renaissance (variously interpreted as beginning in the 13th, 14th, or 15th century, depending on the region of Europe and other factors).

What was the role of Christendom?

After the dissolution of the Roman Empire, the idea arose of Europe as one large church-state, called Christendom. Christendom consisted of two distinct groups of functionaries: the sacerdotium, or ecclesiastical hierarchy, and the imperium, or secular leaders.In theory, these two groups complemented each other, attending to people’s spiritual and temporal needs, respectively. In practice, the two institutions were constantly sparring, disagreeing, or openly warring with each other.

How long did the Migration Period last?

The Migration Period was a historical period sometimes called the Dark Ages, Late Antiquity, or the Early Middle Ages. The period lasted from the fall of Rome to about the year 1000, with a brief hiatus during the flowering of the Carolingian court established by Charlemagne.

What were the major artistic eras of the Middle Ages?

Romanesque art was the first of two great international artistic eras that flourished in Europe during the Middle Ages. Romanesque architecture emerged about 1000 and lasted until about 1150, by which time it had evolved into Gothic. Gothic art was the second of two great international eras that flourished in western and central Europe during the Middle Ages.Gothic art evolved from Romanesque art and lasted from the mid-12th century to as late as the end of the 16th century in some areas.

What socio-economic system is perceived as characteristic of the Middle Ages?

Feudalism designates the social, economic, and political conditions in western Europe during the early Middle Ages, the long stretch of time between the 5th and 12th centuries. Feudalism and the related term feudal system are labels invented long after the period to which they were applied. They refer to what those who invented them perceived as the most significant and distinctive characteristics of the early and central Middle Ages.

A brief treatment of the Middle Ages follows. For full treatment, see Europe, history of: The Middle Ages.

The term and its conventional meaning were introduced by Italian humanists with invidious intent. The humanists were engaged in a revival of Classical learning and culture, and the notion of a thousand-year period of darkness and ignorance separating them from the ancient Greek and Roman world served to highlight the humanists’ own work and ideals. It would seem unnecessary to observe that the men and women who lived during the thousand years or so preceding the Renaissance were not conscious of living in the Middle Ages. A few—Petrarch was the most conspicuous among them—felt that their lot was cast in a dark time, which had begun with the decline of the Roman Empire. Indeed, Petrarch would provide something of a founding statement for the humanists when he wrote, “For who can doubt that Rome would rise again instantly if she began to know herself?”

In a sense, the humanists invented the Middle Ages in order to distinguish themselves from it. They were making a gesture of their sense of freedom, and yet, at the same time, they were implicitly accepting the medieval conception of history as a series of well-defined ages within a limited framework of time. They did not speak of Augustine’s Six Ages of the World or believe in the chronology of Joachimite prophecy, but they nevertheless inherited a philosophy of history that began with the Garden of Eden and would end with the Second Coming of Christ. In such a scheme, the thousand years from the 5th to the 15th century might well be regarded as a distinct respectable period of history, which would stand out clearly in the providential pattern. Throughout European history, however, there has never been a complete breach with medieval institutions or modes of thought.

The sack of Rome by Alaric the Visigoth in 410 ce had enormous impact on the political structure and social climate of the Western world, for the Roman Empire had provided the basis of social cohesion for most of Europe. Although the Germanic tribes that forcibly migrated into southern and western Europe in the 5th century were ultimately converted to Christianity, they retained many of their customs and ways of life. The changes in forms of social organization they introduced rendered centralized government and cultural unity impossible. Many of the improvements in the quality of life introduced during the Roman Empire, such as a relatively efficient agriculture, extensive road networks, water-supply systems, and shipping routes, decayed substantially, as did artistic and scholarly endeavours.

This decline persisted throughout the Migration period, a historical period sometimes called the Dark Ages, Late Antiquity, or the Early Middle Ages. The Migration period lasted from the fall of Rome to about the year 1000, with a brief hiatus during the flowering of the Carolingian court established by Charlemagne. Apart from that interlude, no large political structure arose in Europe to provide stability. Two great kingdoms, Germany and Italy, began to lose their political unity almost as soon as they had acquired it they had to wait until the 19th century before they found it again. The only force capable of providing a basis for social unity was the Roman Catholic Church. The Middle Ages therefore present the confusing and often contradictory picture of a society attempting to structure itself politically on a spiritual basis. This attempt came to a definitive end with the rise of artistic, commercial, and other activities anchored firmly in the secular world in the period just preceding the Renaissance.

After the dissolution of the Roman Empire, the idea arose of Europe as one large church-state, called Christendom. Christendom was thought to consist of two distinct groups of functionaries: the sacerdotium, or ecclesiastical hierarchy, and the imperium, or secular leaders. In theory, these two groups complemented each other, attending to people’s spiritual and temporal needs, respectively. Supreme authority was wielded by the pope in the first of these areas and by the emperor in the second. In practice, the two institutions were constantly sparring, disagreeing, or openly warring with each other. The emperors often tried to regulate church activities by claiming the right to appoint church officials and to intervene in doctrinal matters. The church, in turn, not only owned cities and armies but often attempted to regulate affairs of state. This tension would reach a breaking point in the late 11th and early 12th centuries during the clash between Emperor Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII over the question of lay investiture.

During the 12th century a cultural and economic revival took place many historians trace the origins of the Renaissance to this time. The balance of economic power slowly began to shift from the region of the eastern Mediterranean to western Europe. The Gothic style developed in art and architecture. Towns began to flourish, travel and communication became faster, safer, and easier, and merchant classes began to develop. Agricultural developments were one reason for these developments during the 12th century the cultivation of beans made a balanced diet available to all social classes for the first time in history. The population therefore rapidly expanded, a factor that eventually led to the breakup of the old feudal structures.

The 13th century was the apex of medieval civilization. The classic formulations of Gothic architecture and sculpture were achieved. Many different kinds of social units proliferated, including guilds, associations, civic councils, and monastic chapters, each eager to obtain some measure of autonomy. The crucial legal concept of representation developed, resulting in the political assembly whose members had plena potestas—full power—to make decisions binding upon the communities that had selected them. Intellectual life, dominated by the Roman Catholic Church, culminated in the philosophical method of Scholasticism, whose preeminent exponent, St. Thomas Aquinas, achieved in his writings on Aristotle and the Church Fathers one of the greatest syntheses in Western intellectual history.


Medieval Europe Time Period. The time period between 400 ce and 1400 ce. In europe, the medieval period stretches from the decline of the roman empire in the west, around 450 ad, to the start of the renaissance in the later 15th century.

The medieval times for europe, from the 400 ad till 1400 ad, are often labeled as the dark ages. Medieval history timeline medieval times encompass one of the most exciting and bloodthirsty periods in english and european history. The time period between 400 ce and 1400 ce. One task of a medieval bishop was to make sure that church holidays were celebrated at the right time, especially movable how widespread was literacy in classical greek in europe during the medieval period? Calais is the only english possession on continental europe 1455:

The Medieval Clotheshorse: Roger Wieck on the Fashion . from d3vjn2zm46gms2.cloudfront.net The high medieval era is the period of time that seems to typify the middle ages best. Calais is the only english possession on continental europe 1455: This is a list of such named time periods as defined in various fields of study. At the same time, the church was mostly exempt from taxation. While the medieval warm period saw unusually warm temperatures in some regions, globally the planet was cooler than current conditions.

Calais is the only english possession on continental europe 1455:

During the middle ages, europe was attached frequently by vikings or norsemen who were powerful men who could command large fighting forces and were the. Many paleoclimatic studies of the last 2000 years frame their results in terms of commonly employed terms such as the medieval warm period and lia. During this time, there were key advances in society following the rule of charlemagne, christianity spread throughout europe which served as a unifying force for the continent. The categorization of the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time is called periodization. What happened to western europe after the fall of the roman empire? A timeline giving details of the most important and significant historical periods of the world including dates and locations. The middle ages were the period of time in europe that spanned approximately 850 years from the fall of the roman empire in 476 to the renaissance feudalism was a type of government social pyramid in medieval europe. The time period before the renaissance was the middle ages, or medieval period. All the events are represented on the interactive timeline and can be visualized. The medieval times for europe, from the 400 ad till 1400 ad, are often labeled as the dark ages. In this pyramid, the crown is at the top, nobles were …show more content… Created by brandon keel ⟶ updated 4 sep 2018 ⟶ list of edits. Learn about government, gender roles, castles the period was one of human expansion, centralization and great political upheaval and violence, resulting in the foundation of many modern.

The time period between 400 ce and 1400 ce. One task of a medieval bishop was to make sure that church holidays were celebrated at the right time, especially movable how widespread was literacy in classical greek in europe during the medieval period? The period is noted for famine (1315) and the black death (1347) which decimated the population of europe and resulted in peasant revolts. The categorization of the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time is called periodization. During this time, there were key advances in society following the rule of charlemagne, christianity spread throughout europe which served as a unifying force for the continent.

Late Middle Ages - Wikipedia from upload.wikimedia.org Middle ages, they say, incorrectly implies that the period is an insignificant blip ordinary people across europe had to tithe 10 percent of their earnings each year to the church What event (and date) marks the official beginning of the middle ages? This was in part due to. The black death, preceded by famine and overpopulation, wiped out at least a third of europe and marked the end of the prosperity that had characterized the high medieval era. Created by brandon keel ⟶ updated 4 sep 2018 ⟶ list of edits.

Many or most towns in medieval western europe were the seats of bishops of dioceses.

This time period has begun after a turning point also, medieval europe led to a well known utopian period of rebirth identified as the renaissance. This timeline gives a chronological listing of all historical time periods from prehistory to present day. The following is a timeline of major events from the 5th to 15th centuries, loosely corresponding to the old world middle ages, intermediate between late antiquity and the early modern period. The period is noted for famine (1315) and the black death (1347) which decimated the population of europe and resulted in peasant revolts. What do you mean how tall it is? And the start of the renaissance in the 14th century. The early middle ages, the high middle. In this pyramid, the crown is at the top, nobles were …show more content… The black death, preceded by famine and overpopulation, wiped out at least a third of europe and marked the end of the prosperity that had characterized the high medieval era. In europe, the medieval period stretches from the decline of the roman empire in the west, around 450 ad, to the start of the renaissance in the later 15th century. The high medieval era is the period of time that seems to typify the middle ages best. The period of european history which we call medieval is usually regarded as consisting of the thousand years or so between the fall of the roman empire in the west (in from about 1350 to 1500 the period of the late middle ages was a time of transition, seeing the emergence of modern europe. The time period before the renaissance was the middle ages, or medieval period.

The period is noted for famine (1315) and the black death (1347) which decimated the population of europe and resulted in peasant revolts. A timeline giving details of the most important and significant historical periods of the world including dates and locations. During the middle ages, europe was attached frequently by vikings or norsemen who were powerful men who could command large fighting forces and were the. Many paleoclimatic studies of the last 2000 years frame their results in terms of commonly employed terms such as the medieval warm period and lia. The categorization of the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time is called periodization.

West Civ Project. Iheoma: Three examples of Charlemagne's . from www.metmuseum.org A medieval and early modern central european germanic empire, which often consisted of hundreds of separate germanic and northern italian states. While the medieval warm period saw unusually warm temperatures in some regions, globally the planet was cooler than current conditions. The late middle ages or late medieval period was the period of european history lasting from ad 1250 to 1500. Medieval times was a historic time period in european history, it didnt have a height. Medieval history timeline medieval times encompass one of the most exciting and bloodthirsty periods in english and european history.

Many paleoclimatic studies of the last 2000 years frame their results in terms of commonly employed terms such as the medieval warm period and lia.

Learn about government, gender roles, castles the period was one of human expansion, centralization and great political upheaval and violence, resulting in the foundation of many modern. The high medieval era is the period of time that seems to typify the middle ages best. In this pyramid, the crown is at the top, nobles were …show more content… Manorialism was widely practiced in medieval western europe and parts of central europe, and for peasants, daily medieval life revolved around an agrarian calendar, with the majority of time spent the period saw major technological advances, including the adoption of gunpowder, the invention of. The late middle ages or late medieval period was the period of european history lasting from ad 1250 to 1500. This is a list of such named time periods as defined in various fields of study. The medieval period lasted for around 1,000 years. And the start of the renaissance in the 14th century. In the history of europe, the middle ages or medieval period lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. The period of european history which we call medieval is usually regarded as consisting of the thousand years or so between the fall of the roman empire in the west (in from about 1350 to 1500 the period of the late middle ages was a time of transition, seeing the emergence of modern europe. Germanic kingdoms unite under charlemagne 1. The medieval warm period spanned between the 10th and 15th centuries, and corresponded with warmer temperatures in certain regions around the world. Johann gutenberg prints the first of his bibles on his new printing press 1455:

The period lasted from the. This time period has begun after a turning point also, medieval europe led to a well known utopian period of rebirth identified as the renaissance. This was in part due to. During this period, a number of major upheavals reshaped europe permanently, established christianity as its major. The medieval warm period spanned between the 10th and 15th centuries, and corresponded with warmer temperatures in certain regions around the world.

From the battle of hastings to the signing of magna carta, find a timeline of the most important dates and significant milestones of the medieval period military campaigns against the moors in spain and mongols and pagan slavs in eastern europe have now also been recognised by historians as part of. During the middle ages, europe was attached frequently by vikings or norsemen who were powerful men who could command large fighting forces and were the. This time period has begun after a turning point also, medieval europe led to a well known utopian period of rebirth identified as the renaissance. The renaissance marked a rebirth of arts and culture that celebrated the classics of ancient greece. The overall medieval period is divided into three time periods

This timeline gives a chronological listing of all historical time periods from prehistory to present day. The medieval warm period was approximately 1 °c warmer than present, and the little ice age 0.6 °c cooler than present, in central greenland. In this pyramid, the crown is at the top, nobles were …show more content… A timeline giving details of the most important and significant historical periods of the world including dates and locations. This was in part due to.

Source: images.reference.com

The categorization of the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time is called periodization. And the start of the renaissance in the 14th century. In europe, the medieval period stretches from the decline of the roman empire in the west, around 450 ad, to the start of the renaissance in the later 15th century. The early middle ages, the high middle. The medieval warm period spanned between the 10th and 15th centuries, and corresponded with warmer temperatures in certain regions around the world.

A medieval and early modern central european germanic empire, which often consisted of hundreds of separate germanic and northern italian states. The time period before the renaissance was the middle ages, or medieval period. All the events are represented on the interactive timeline and can be visualized. The medieval period lasted for around 1,000 years. The renaissance marked a rebirth of arts and culture that celebrated the classics of ancient greece.

This timeline gives a chronological listing of all historical time periods from prehistory to present day.

This is a list of such named time periods as defined in various fields of study.

The renaissance marked a rebirth of arts and culture that celebrated the classics of ancient greece.

The period is noted for famine (1315) and the black death (1347) which decimated the population of europe and resulted in peasant revolts.

Source: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

A medieval and early modern central european germanic empire, which often consisted of hundreds of separate germanic and northern italian states.

World 1000 BCE

Game-changing innovations are appearing which will lead to massive population growth, greatly expanded trade, wider access to education, and other major advances.

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World history in 1000 BCE - ancient civilizations under attack

The Middle East and the Aegean

The past few centuries have seen the ancient civilizations of the Middle East and the Aegean experience steep decline – in some cases, such as the the Hittites, complete collapse, and others, such as Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia, significant weakening.

The eclipse of the leading Middle Eastern states has allowed new nations to come to the fore, notably the Phoenicians and the Israelites. In their brief flowering as leading powers they make a big mark, playing a central part in the development of the alphabet and the rise of the first great monotheistic religion of world history.

The camel is being domesticated about now, probably in Arabia. This will open up trans-desert trade routes, and will give rise to the nomadic Bedouin lifestyle.

At the same time, a civilization, made possible by irrigation, is emerging in the southern tip of Arabia.

This period also sees the spread of iron-using technology, which will have a decisive impact by allowing agricultural productivity to greatly increase. Originating in the Middle East, in the course of time all regions of the Eastern Hemisphere will be affected by this.


By this date, peoples right across the central Asian steppes have become fully nomadic in their lifestyle. This shift is linked to a change in their mode of warfare. Mounted archery has replaced fighting in chariots. The superior flexibility and mobility which horseback riding gives has ensured that the days of war chariots are numbered. Over the coming centuries mounted archers will displace chariots in the Middle East, and light mounted troops will become a feature of classical European and Chinese armies.

The Cimmerians dominate the region north of the Black Sea, and other Indo-European peoples inhabit eastwards into central Asia. Further east, however, the ancestors of the Huns, Mongols and Tartars have adopted the nomadic lifestyle of the steppe and begun their rise to prominence.

In the Middle East, Indo-European speakers move down into Iran, where they will become known to history as the Medes and Persians. In northern India they continue to expand, calling themselves the Aryans and establishing their proto-Hindu culture.

Indo-European peoples have continued to expand in Europe. The Italici give their name to the Italian peninsula further north, in central Europe, Gauls, Teutons (Germans and Scandinavians) and Slavs are beginning to divide into separate peoples. The upheaval that this process involves may be linked to the invasions which so affected the old centers of civilization in western Asia and the Aegean.

South East Asia and Oceania

South East Asia continues to experience two waves of migration, both originating in southern China a millennia or more before. The people of the western migration are settling down in the mainland parts of the region as the Mon and Khmer peoples, while the eastern migration has continued to settle the coasts and islands, where they will be known as the Malay peoples.

The eastern branch of the latter migration has moved eastward into the Pacific. Here, crossing huge ocean distances in their small canoes, they have by now reached the islands of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. They are the ancestral Polynesians.


In Africa, cattle-herding and farming have probably reached as far south as the Great Lakes region by now.

The Americas

The Americas have seen a further expansion of farming. In Central America, the first civilization of the Western Hemisphere has arisen, that of the Olmecs. In South America, intensive trade links between the high Andes and the coastal plains of Peru are creating a single cultural area. In North America, irrigation farming is already becoming established in the dry south-west of the present-day United States. Further east the Adena culture is emerging in the Mississippi valley, starting a tradition of mound-building which will last for two and a half millennia.

Dig Deeper

For details of the different civilizations, click on the relevant timeline above.

More ‘Dig Deeper’ links may be found in the regional maps. To access, click on the markers in the world map.

Dark Economy

Another common characteristic associated with the Dark Ages is the relative lack of monumental architecture. Towns and cities no longer built large new stone structures. And the slow deterioration of Roman infrastructure such as aqueducts likely had an effect on quality of life in cities, Gautier says.

Populations of major cities like Rome and Constantinople shrank in this period. But Gautier believes rural life may have actually improved, especially in the largely bucolic British Isles. During the Roman period, farmers would have had to pay regular taxes to support the empire and local cities. But as administration fell apart, the tax burden likely diminished.

“The cities and the towns were smaller. It was less necessary for farmers to produce and work a lot in order to feed the cities,” Gautier says.

But Ward-Perkins says that archaeological evidence does suggest some scarcity of resources and goods for common people. “The other way it might be dark is just the lack of evidence, which is probably a symptom of economic decline,” he says. By 450, the evidence of simple day-to-day items such as new coins, pottery or roof tiles largely disappeared in many parts of Europe, and wasn’t found again until roughly 700.

Historic mating patterns of ashkenazi jews

i’ve hinted around a few times now that i think — going by some things that i’ve read — that the historic mating patterns of ashkenazi jews (i.e. whether or not they married close cousins and/or practiced uncle-niece marriage) were quite different between western vs. eastern ashkenazis. quoting myself:

“wrt ashkenazi jews: i *strongly* suspect (but Further Research is Required TM ) that there are two mating pattern histories here — western vs. eastern ashkenazi jews. western ashkenazi jews have, i think, avoided close cousin marriage since the medieval period almost to the same degree as the rest of western europeans. eastern ashkenazi jews — the ones in poland/russia — did not. again, i’m not at all sure about this — this is just what i’ve gleaned from my readings so far. (i will be posting on this one of these days.)

“where western ashkenazi jews differ from the rest of the western european populace is that they were not squeezed through the manorialism meat grinder. in that regard, they must’ve experienced some different selection pressures during the medieval period.”

i first came across this idea — quite a while ago now — in my favorite book, Why Europe?, by medieval and family historian michael mitterauer. he says on pg. 72:

“We find it difficult to comprehend today just how preoccupied the era [the middle ages] was with the fear of incest — and not only in the various Christian churches but in Jewish circles as well.”

he references himself on that — “Christentum und Endogamie” in Historisch-anthropologische Familienforschung — but i haven’t read it yet. one of these days, i just might order it from amazon…and dig out my german-english dictionary.

“Unlike Christians, Jews were free to marry cousins and nieces in the Islamic East, first-cousin marriage among Jews was the norm.[38] In the Rhineland, however, such marriages were somewhat of an exception. This difference may be deduced from the universally accepted Communal Ordinance (*Taqqanah*) proposed by Jacob Tam, the most imposing Jewish authority of his day (d. 1171), on the return of the dowry should the bride die without issue during the first year of marriage. Fathers, the ordinance propounds, should not lose both their daughters and their wealth in one blow.[39] If most marriages had been between first cousins, the respective in-laws, who would also have been siblings, would normally have found ways of resolving issues of money among themselves without the need for legal sanctions. The Responsa (*consilia*) literature, too, legal questions and answers pertaining to actual litigations, supports this conclusion. Responsa may represent exceptions, but they are useful in terms of their specifics or when their decisions reflect precendent or common practices. Thus, in one case, an executor, who was (it should be stressed for its own importance) not a relative of the deceased, married his ward to *his* brother.[40] The brothers of the bride protested, not because she had been married to a non-relative but because they were concerned with the suitability of the match. Had marriage between cousins been the rule, it is doubtful that an executor, especially one who was not a relative, would have dared to violate it.[41]”

so, stow doesn’t have hard-and-fast data on marriage types here — he’s making a deduction — but i think it’s a good one. what i find particularly persuasive is the fact that the family type of these medieval rhineland jews was primarily nuclear (or stem). in other words, according to stow, just like the broader western european population, medieval rhineland jews did *not* have clans. and that seems to be the general pattern: the more outbreeding, the smaller the family size.

fast forward to the nineteenth century (yes, that is an unacceptably large gap), in alsace-lorraine, the consanguinity rate amongst jews was 2.3% (whether that was first and second cousins or just first cousins, i don’t know) [see this post]. that is a very low rate by any standards. in comparison, though, the consanguinity rates for protestants in the region was 0.2% and for catholics it was roughly 1%, so the jewish cousin marriage rate was higher.*

if we move slightly to the east to what i infer must’ve been (at the time) the province of hohenzollern, we have these figures from steven m. lowenstein [“Decline and Survival of Rural Jewish Communities” in In Search of Jewish Community: Jewish Identities in Germany and Austria 1918-1933, footnote 44 on pg. 241]:

“In Hohenzollern, there was an 11 percent rate of marriage to relatives (5 percent to first cousins) among Jewish couples who died before 1922 of those still alive in 1922, the rate had increased to 22 percent (16 percent to first cousins). These rates were several times as high as the rates for Christian marriages. See Wilhelm Reutlinger, ‘Uber die Haufligkeit der Verwandtenehen bei Juden in Hohenzollern und uber Untersuchungen bei Deszendenten aus judischen Verwandtenehene,’ Archiv fur Rassen- un Gesellschaftsbiologie 14 (1922): 301-303, quoted by Marion Kaplan The Making of the Jewish Middle Class: Women, Family, and Identity in Imperial Germany (New York, 1991), p. 273 note 206.”

so, higher cousin marriage rates in this region amongst the cohort closest to the alsace-lorraine group above — 5-11% versus 2.3% (remembering that that latter figure might be just first cousins). and much higher rates post-1922, the author argues because jews were leaving the german countryside during this time period, so potential marriage partners were becoming scarce. still, while a 16% first cousin marriage rate is high for northern europe, it’s not even close to the 30%+ first cousin marriage rates in sicily in the 1960s! and the earlier 5-11% rate may have been more “normal” — hard to tell — Further Research is Required TM .

if you thought all that was vague, the info for jews in eastern europe is even less clear. (>.<) it's basically just anecdotal evidence — a lot of people saying that cousin marriage was very common in eastern european ashkenazi communities. i wrote a whole post about it: jewish mating patterns in nineteenth century russia. this quote is from Jewish Marriage and Divorce in Imperial Russia [pgs. 25-27]:

Although data on consanguineous marriages in Russia are lacking, contemporaries claimed that they were ‘very common,’ largely because of the narrow circle of eligible partners for any given class of Jews. This geographic endogamy impelled one Jewish observer to write that ‘the expression “Kol Yisrael ahim” or “all Jews are brothers” is true in this sense, that Jews [who] belong to one strata of society and reside in one area, always find out that they are related when discussing their family backgrounds.’ The strategy of marrying relatives was particularly pronounced in small towns. It was due to concerns about family lineage, as well as to restrictions on geographic mobility (i.e., legal restrictions on residency, poor communications and transportation, and the high costs for travel).

“That observation indeed finds confirmation in the metrical records. These archival materials are unusually complete for Korostyshev, a small town in Kiev province with 2,657 Jewish residents in 1847. Unlike many Ukrainian towns where the metrical records were destroyed during World War II, Korostyshev preserved metrical books from the mid-nineteenth century to 1915, thus representing some of the most complete runs of Jewish metrical books in the entire Ukraine. Significantly, they reveal that most residents married locally — that is, to people from Korostyshev or, at most, from nearby villages and towns (Zhitomir, Berdichev, and Radomysl’). Still more striking were the marital bonds between small family networks — for example, the countless marriages among the Fuksmans, Gershengorens, Trakhtenbergs, and Ratners (all of whom lived in Korostyshev or nearby Zhitomir). Another network included the Vinikurs, Tsiponiuks, and Abrumovichs this cluster overlapped with a group that included the Kagans, Umerskiis, and Peigers. And so on until, several decades later, many Korostyshev residents were distant or even close relatives. Devorah Baron’s description of small shtetl families was indeed perspicacious: ‘In our little town, families joined together by marriage ties often resembled well-fitted but separate sections of garment all that was needed was the skillful hand that would join the seams.’”

in the late nineteenth century, russian-jewish leaders tried to do something about all this cousin marriage (these reformers were inspired by all the talk about the dangers of inbreeding generated by the darwins and galton, just as the japanese were) [pgs. 27-29]:

“In the late nineteenth century, Jewish reformers castigated this consanguinity as detrimental to family health. The developments in contemporary medicine (especially eugenics and clinical psychiatry) had a profound impace on public discourse as physicians joined in, the debate on Jewish marriage became increasingly medicalized. ‘Owing to heredity,’ warned the ‘Evreiskii meditsinskii golos’ (The Jewish medical voice), ‘all physical defects appear in the offspring with particular force, since the definciencies of both parents are aggregated. Invoking Western science, Jewish physicians ascribed the increased rate of ‘nervous disorders,’ such as hysteria, epileptic seizures, imbecility, and insanity, among the Jewish in Russia to their pernicious inbreeding.

“Samuel Gruzenberg (1854-1909), who held a degree from the Medical-Surgical Academy in St. Petersburg, publicized a series of essays in an influential Jewish journal. Representing the views of the medical establishment, he warned parents that ‘nervous illness’ and hereditary diseases, such as blindness, deafness, and muteness, posed a threat not only to the immediate offspring but also to subsequent generations. Endogamous unions, he declared, also produced a large population with unhealthy ‘national physical features’ — namely, ‘a short [body], weak muscles, and especially … a high level of nervousness.’ Citing a study on army conscripts, he noted that nearly half of the Jewish recruits failed to meet the physical requirements and exhibited ‘extreme forms of the Jewish physical type.’

“It was no accident that Gruzenberg cited the Jewish recruit to demonstrate the evil of consanguineous marriages: the physiognomy of male offspring greatly concerned reformers. In contrast to the modern ideal of man, who displayed ‘virility, proportion, and self control,’ the asthenic Jewish conscript embodied all the traits of the effeminate Jew so despised in European society. Whereas Jewish society had long associated a pale, slender Jewish body with Torah scholarship and edelkayt (nobility), reformers now scorned this model as passive, cowardly, and feminine, a clear indication that the reforemers had embraced the new European construction of masculinity. The inbreeding affected not only the body but the mind: ‘Moral sickness and physical sickness were thought to be identical — the latter leaving an imprint on the body and face….’

“[T]his public debate did not reduce the frequency of consanguineous marriages….”

so, from all of this medical hysteria, i am guessing that the historic cousin marriage rates among jews in eastern europe were much higher than those in the west — at least in the nineteenth century.

sephardic jews have historically had much higher rates of consanguineous marriages than ashkenazi jews — up to 20% in some places according to joseph spitzer [pg. 160]. see also this post: jewish endogamy on mallorca. same with mizrahi jews — for example, the rate of consanguineous marriages among iranian jews in 1991 (first and second cousin plus uncle-niece marriages) was 25.4%.

it seems to me that jews — wherever they have lived (outside of judea/israel, i mean) — have generally copied the broader population’s mating patterns. in medieval western europe, they avoided close cousin marriage and, according to mitterauer, were very worried about incest in the same way that the rest of western europe was at the time. in eastern europe, though, they appear to have married their cousins with greater frequency, probably down through the centuries not unlike the rest of eastern europeans. in the nineteenth century, however, some eastern european jews began to be influenced by ideas on outbreeding coming from western europe. sephardic jews had high cousin marriage rates, just like southern europeans. and jews in north africa and the middle east have extremely high cousin marriage rates — same as the rest of the populations in those places. (for more on the histories of mating patterns in each of these regions, please see links to posts below ↓ in left-hand column under the “mating patterns in” series.)

long-term outbreeding (since the middle ages) of western ashkenazi jews would fit with the genetic evidence which indicates that ashkenazi jews are not inbred (see razib’s posts here and here). all the apparent historic cousin marriage of eastern ashkenazi jews would not fit with that. i’d like to see the genetic data (runs of homozygosity) for ashkenazis parsed out between eastern and western europe to see if any differences can be detected. my guess is that they should be there (there should be more roh in russian jews than in german jews), but i could be wrong.

so, the reasons i think that western european jews must’ve avoided close cousin marriage over the long-term, whereas in contrast eastern european jews did not, are:

– the scanty historic data (i will dig around for more of that)
– the somewhat supportive genetic data
– the circumstantial evidence suggesting that jews have tended to copy the mating practices of their host populations
– and that, by the high middle ages, western european jews did not have clans but, rather, had nuclear (or stem) families.

as i mentioned in my self-quote at the start of this post, though, european jews did not experience whatever selection pressures were connected to the bipartite manorialism of medieval europe. one of the things that i think was selected for via the manor system was the late marriage practices (i.e. delayed gratification) of northwest “core” europeans. western ashkenazi jews, on the other hand, continued to marry very young right into the early modern period, perhaps because they were never manorialized.

(yes, this is me gearing up to respond to professor kevin macdonald’s recent post On the HBD Chick Interview. i’ve got a couple of other “prep” posts i’d like to do first, though, before i get to my response. stay tuned! (^_^) )

*i also have some data for jewish cousin marriage rates in nineteenth century england, but shortly after writing that post, i decided that those data need to be disregarded. see this post for my reasons why.


Summary and lessons

The ethnic origins of Ashkenazi Jews have fascinated researchers for over a century [53, 54]. The availability of dense genotypes for hundreds of AJ individuals, along with the development of new analysis tools, demonstrated genetic relatedness between AJ and other Jewish groups, and suggested Europe and the Middle-East as putative ancestral sources [4–8, 24]. Here we attempted, for the first time, to create a detailed portrait of the admixture events experienced by AJ during their dwelling in Europe. To this end, we used previously generated genome-wide array data for AJ, European, and Middle-Eastern populations (Table 1), as well as a variety of current and newly developed population genetics methods.

Before discussing the historical implications of our results, we point out two general lessons that emerge from the analysis. The first is that AJ genetics defies simple demographic theories. Hypotheses such as a wholly Khazar, Turkish, or Middle-Eastern origin have been disqualified [4–7, 17, 55], but even a model of a single Middle-Eastern and European admixture event cannot account for all of our observations. The actual admixture history might have been highly complex, including multiple geographic sources and admixture events. Moreover, due to the genetic similarity and complex history of the European populations involved (particularly in Southern Europe [51]), the multiple paths of AJ migration across Europe [10], and the strong genetic drift experienced by AJ in the late Middle Ages [9, 16], there seems to be a limit on the resolution to which the AJ admixture history can be reconstructed.

The second lesson is the importance of evaluating the results of off-the-shelf tools using simulations when studying closely related populations. When simulating relatively old (≈1k years ago) Middle-Eastern and European admixture (particularly Southern European), we found many tools to be of limited utility (see, e.g., the section on Alder, f-statistics, and TreeMix and S1 Text sections 1 and 2 on LAMP and PCAMask). Further, while we eventually were able to extract useful information off RFMix’s local ancestries, the raw results were not very accurate: the accuracy per SNP was only ≈70%, the mean segment length was more than twice than expected, and the variance of the ancestry proportion per chromosome was overestimated. When jointly analyzing LAI and IBD sharing, the inferred proportion of IBD segments that were either not IBD or had a random ancestry assignment was as high as ≈35% ((1-λ) in Methods), although fortunately, we were able to account for that in our model. We note, though, that problems of this nature are not expected for recent admixture events between more diverged populations.

Historical model and interpretation

Our model of the AJ admixture history is presented in Fig 7. Under our model, admixture in Europe first happened in Southern Europe, and was followed by a founder event and a minor admixture event (likely) in Eastern Europe. Admixture in Southern Europe possibly occurred in Italy, given the continued presence of Jews there and the proposed Italian source of the early Rhineland Ashkenazi communities [3]. What is perhaps surprising is the timing of the Southern European admixture to ≈24–49 generations ago, since Jews are known to have resided in Italy already since antiquity. This result would imply no gene flow between Jews and local Italian populations almost until the turn of the millennium, either due to endogamy, or because the group that eventually gave rise to contemporary Ashkenazi Jews did not reside in Southern Europe until that time. More detailed and/or alternative interpretations are left for future studies.

Recent admixture in Northern Europe (Western or Eastern) is consistent with the presence of Ashkenazi Jews in the Rhineland since the 10 th century and in Poland since the 13 th century. Evidence from the IBD analysis suggests that Eastern European admixture is more likely however, the results are not decisive. An open question in AJ history is the source of migration to Poland in late Medieval times various speculations have been proposed, including Western and Central Europe [2, 10]. The uncertainty on whether gene flow from Western Europeans did or did not occur leaves this question open.


The historical model we proposed is based on careful weighting of various methods and simulations, and we attempted to account for known confounders. However, it is possible that some remain. One concern is the effect of the narrow AJ bottleneck (effective size ≈300 around 30 generations ago [9, 16]) on local ancestry inference and on methods such as TreeMix and f-statistics. We did not explicitly model the AJ bottleneck in our simulations, though a bottleneck may have been artificially introduced since the number of independent haplotypes from each region used to generate the admixed genomes was very small. However, as we discuss in Methods, this is not expected to affect local ancestry inference, since each admixed chromosome was considered independently. Another general concern is that while we considered multiple methods, significant weight was given to the LAI approach however, this may be justified as the LAI-based summary statistics were more thoroughly matched to simulations. Another caveat is that our estimation of the two-wave admixture model is based on heuristic arguments (the multiple European sources and the differential ancestry at IBD segments), and similarly for the admixture dates. The IBD analysis itself relies on a number of assumptions, most importantly that the error in LAI and in IBD detection is independent of the ancestry and that most of the moderately long IBD segments descend from a common ancestor living close to the time of the bottleneck (see S1 Text section 4 and S7 Fig).

A general concern when studying past admixture events is that the true ancestral populations are not represented in the reference panels. Here, while our AJ sample is extensive, our reference panels, assembled from publicly available datasets, are necessarily incomplete. Specifically, sampling is relatively sparse in North-Western and Central Europe (and particularly, Germany is missing), and sample sizes in Eastern Europe are small (10–20 individuals per population). In addition, we did not consider samples from the Caucasus (however, this is not expected to significantly affect the results [5]). We also neglected any sub-Saharan African ancestry, even though Southern European and Middle-Eastern populations (including Jews) are known to harbor low levels (≈5–10%) of such ancestry [49, 56]. Generally, bias will be introduced if the original source population has become extinct, has experienced strong genetic drift, or has absorbed migration since the time of admixture. Additionally, a reference population currently representing one geographic region might have migrated there recently. We note, however, that as we do not attempt to identify the precise identity of the ancestral source, but rather its very broad geographic region, some of the above mentioned concerns are not expected to significantly affect our results. Additionally, as we show in S1 Text section 3, our pipeline is reasonably robust to the case when the true source is absent from the reference panel. We note, though, that there may be other aspects of the real data that we are unaware of and did not model in our simulation framework that may introduce additional biases. Finally, we stress that our results are based on the working hypothesis that Ashkenazi Jews are the result of admixture between primarily Middle-Eastern and European ancestors, based on previous literature [4–8] and supported by the strong localization signal of the ME source to the Levant. Strong deviations from this assumption may lead to inaccuracies in our historical model.

Future work

The admixture history of Ashkenazi Jews thus remains a challenging and partly open question. To make further progress, the natural next step is to use sequencing data. Whole-genomes are now available for several European populations (e.g., [57]) as well as for Ashkenazi Jews [9] and some Middle-Eastern groups [58]. The accuracy of LAI is expected to increase for sequencing data, as also noted for other analysis tools (e.g., [59]). Additionally, whole-genomes will make it possible to run analyses based on the joint allele frequency spectrum of AJ and other populations. In parallel, denser sampling of relevant European and Middle-Eastern populations (mostly from Central and Eastern Europe) will be required in order to refine the geographic source(s) of gene flow.

Beyond data acquisition, we identify three major methodological avenues for future research into AJ admixture. First, any improvement in the accuracy of local ancestry inference will translate into improved power to resolve admixture events. Second, methods will have to be developed for the inference of continuous and multi-wave admixture histories (e.g., [35]) under LAI uncertainty. At the same time, inference limits will have to be established for events temporally or geographically near, as we began to develop here (S1 Text section 6 see also [40]). Finally, one may use the signal in the lengths of IBD segments shared between AJ and other populations and within AJ to construct an admixture model (e.g., as in [60]), provided that we can reliably detect shorter segments than is currently possible.

Eastern and Southern Europe in the medieval time period? - History

    (d-maps.com) (in Russian) (American Geographical Society Library Digital Map Collection) (David Rumsey Map Collection) (WHKMLA) (Library of Congress) (A. F. Marx, 1907, in Russian) (oldmapsonline.org)
    (T. I. Ponka, K. C. Savruscheva, Otechestvennaja Istorija) (N. N. Polunkina, ed., Istorija Rossij, 2004) (P. Magocsi, Historical Atlas of Ukraine, 1987)
  • Rus (XIIth-XIIIth Centuries)
  • Russian States, 1223
  • Western Russian Lands (in Lithuania), XIIIth-XVth Centuries
  • Principality of Moscow, 1300-1340
  • The Growth of Russia in Europe, 1300-1796 (William Shepherd, Historical Atlas, 1926)
  • The Formation of the Russian State (XIVth-XVIth Centuries)
  • East Europe in the first half of the 16th century (Vladimir Nikolaev)
  • East Europe in the second half of the 16th century (Vladimir Nikolaev)
  • East Europe in the first half of the 17th century (Vladimir Nikolaev)
  • East Europe in the second half of the 17th century (Vladimir Nikolaev)
  • Historical Map of Siberia (XVIth-XVIIth Centuries)
  • Russo-Polish War, 1654-1667
  • Russia at the Beginning of the 17th Century
  • Tsardom of Rusia in the 17th Century (Vladimir Nikolaev)
  • Economic Development of Russia in the 17th Century
  • Russia, 1695-1763 (T. I. Ponka, K. C. Savruscheva, Otechestvennaja Istorija)
  • Great Northern War (1700-1721) (Vladimir Nikolaev)
  • The Northern War (1700-1721) (T. I. Ponka, K. C. Savruscheva, Otechestvennaja Istorija)
  • Russia and Scandinavia (Stielers Hand-Atlas, 1891)
  • Russia, 1725 (The Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912)
  • Russian Territorial Expansion, 1725-1795 (The Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912)
  • Russian Involvement in the Seven Years War (T. I. Ponka, K. C. Savruscheva, Otechestvennaja Istorija)
  • Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774 (T. I. Ponka, K. C. Savruscheva, Otechestvennaja Istorija)
  • Russo-Turkish War, 1787-1791 (T. I. Ponka, K. C. Savruscheva, Otechestvennaja Istorija)
  • The War of 1812: The Invasion of Napoleon (N. N. Polunkina, ed., Istorija Rossij, 2004)
  • The War of 1812: Napoleon’s Defeat (N. N. Polunkina, ed., Istorija Rossij, 2004)
  • Central Russia, The War of 1812 (The Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912)
  • Russian Campaign of Napoleon, 1812 (Samuel Gardiner, School Atlas of English History, 1914)
  • Battle of Borodino, August 26, 1812 (N. N. Polunkina, ed., Istorija Rossij, 2004)
  • Area of Legal Jewish Settlement in Russia in 1825
  • Development of Capitalism in Russia in the Second Half of the XIXth Century
  • Crimean War, 1853-1856 (N. N. Polunkina, ed., Istorija Rossij, 2004)
  • Crimean War, 1853-1856
  • Ethnographic Map of the European Russia, ca. 1860
  • Carte ethnographique de l’Empire de Russie, 1862 (Eckert & Kiepert)
  • Russo-Turkish War, 1877-1878
  • European Russia, 1898: Races and Religions
  • Map of the Western and Southern Slavs (Rittich, ca. 1880)
  • European Russia, 1916: The Railways System
  • Russia, 1920 (Asprey’s Atlas of the World, 1920)
  • Russia in Europe and Caucasia, 1920 (Leslie’s New World Atlas, 1920)
  • Western Russia, 1920 (Asprey’s Atlas of the World, 1920)
  • The Independent Far Eastern Republic, 1920-1922
  • The Soviet Union, December 1922
  • Soviet Union, 1922-1939: The Industrialisation
  • Soviet Union - Administrative Divisions, 1939
  • Soviet Union, 1939: The European Republics
  • Soviet-Finnish War, 1939-1940: Terrain and Communications
  • Soviet-Finnish War, 1939-1940: Troop distribution
  • Soviet-Finnish War, 1939-1940: The War Situation about 30 December 1939
  • Soviet-Finnish War, 1939-1940: The War Situation about 14 March 1940
  • Soviet Union, 1939-1945: The Railways System
  • German-Soviet Partition of Poland, September 1939
  • Soviet Union, 1940: The European Republics
  • Soviet Union, 1941: An Ethnic Map
  • A German Plan for the Partition of the Soviet Union, 1941
  • Soviet Union - Administrative Divisions, 1974
  • Soviet Union - Administrative Divisions, 1981
  • Soviet Union - Administrative Divisions, 1984
  • Soviet Union - Administrative Divisions, 1989
  • Russia - Autonomous Divisions, 1992
  • Russia’s Ethnic Republics, 1994
  • Ethnic Russians in the Newly Independent States, 1994
  • Russia - Autonomous Areas, 1996

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Eastern European Immigrants in the United States

Of all Jewish immigrants to the United States from 1886 to 1914, forty-four percent were women, far more than for other immigrants groups arriving during the heyday of mass immigration. The more than two million Jews from the Russian Empire, Romania, and Austria-Hungary who entered the United States in the years 1881 to 1924—when the American government imposed a restrictive quota system—came to stay. Only 7 percent chose to return to Europe, as opposed to about 30 percent of all immigrants. Jewish immigrants intended to raise American families. Ashkenazi (European) Jewish culture and American values as conveyed by social reformers as well as by advertising, and the economic realities of urban capitalist America, all influenced the position of women in immigrant Jewish society in America. Jewish immigrant women shared many of the attributes of immigrant women in general, but also displayed ethnic characteristics.

Immigrant Jews, both female and male, arrived in America with considerable experience of urban life in a capitalist economy. Unlike many other migrants to America’s shores, they had not been peasants in the old country. In the northwest section of Russia’s Pale of Settlement, the western provinces to which Jews were restricted, they accounted for 58 percent of the total urban population. In the Pale as a whole, Jews constituted thirty-eight percent of those living in cities or towns, though only 12 percent of the total population. Similarly, more than a third of the population in urban communities in Galicia were Jews, as were twenty percent in Romania’s provincial capitals. Women worked alongside men, supporting their families primarily through petty commerce, selling all kinds of produce in the marketplace, and also through artisan trades such as shoemaking and tailoring. In the small number of traditional families where husbands devoted themselves to studying Torah she-bi-khetav : Lit. "the written Torah." The Bible the Pentateuch Tanakh (the Pentateuch, Prophets and Hagiographia) Torah , women bore the major responsibility as breadwinners for their families.

Settling primarily in the cities of the East Coast, in crowded, tenement-filled districts that were often called “ghettos,” many Jewish immigrants worked in the burgeoning garment industry, in shops often owned by descendants of an earlier immigrant wave of Central European Jews. Others took advantage of their commercial background in the market towns and cities of Eastern Europe to become peddlers, hoping that their entrepreneurial skills would lead to prosperity. Although immigrant Jewish males arrived in the United States with less cash than the average immigrant, they inserted themselves into the economy largely as skilled workers and peddlers, while most newcomers began their working lives in America as unskilled laborers.

Even though the mass migration of Jews from Eastern Europe was a “family migration,” the process of leaving the Old World for the New often temporarily disrupted families. Jews engaged in chain migration, in which one member of an extended family secured a place in the new country and then bought a ticket for siblings so that they could settle in America. Oftentimes, married men set out in advance to prepare the way economically and planned for their wives and children to join them once they were settled. Sometimes the delay in reuniting the family stretched into years, compelling women to raise their children alone and to take on the full responsibility of arranging a transoceanic voyage. The outbreak of World War I, for example, left Rachel Burstein with her three children in the Ukrainian town of Kamen-Kashirski while her husband labored in America, having returned there from a prolonged visit with his family that began in 1913. Only after six and a half years of separation did Rachel and her children succeed in reaching Ellis Island, where they were quarantined for two weeks, before coming to their final destination of Chelsea, Massachusetts. Hershl, now Harry, Burstein made no effort to meet them at Ellis Island or at the train station in Boston. As their daughter, Lillian Burstein Gorenstein, then age twelve, wrote in her memoirs years later, “On both sides were lines of people waving. … No one waved to us” (169).

Once settled in America, women and men worked together to sustain their families. Because Jewish men were more successful than other immigrants in earning enough to support their households, albeit with the help of their teenage children, fewer married immigrant Jewish women worked outside the home than all other married American women, immigrant or native. Immigrant families could not survive, however, on the father’s wages alone. Until they had children old enough to enter the labor market, women had to supplement their husbands’ wages while caring for their households. They did so by working at home, taking in piecework and especially cooking and cleaning for boarders. In fact, more immigrant Jewish households had boarders than any other immigrant group. A 1911 governmental study found that in New York City, for example, fifty-six percent of Russian Jewish households included boarders, as compared with seventeen percent of Italian households. Other Jewish women assisted their husbands in “mom and pop” stores—grocery stores, candy stores, cigar stores—which were generally located close to the family’s living quarters. Mothers ran back and forth between their customers in the store and the food cooking in their ovens, balancing their conflicting responsibilities. In most official documents, these women appear simply as housewives, but their labor was crucial to the family economy.

Almost all the women worked, of course, but their work patterns depended on their domestic obligations. Married women had full responsibility for managing the household, and the obligations of mothers were particularly heavy. Indeed, women and men alike assumed that wives would quickly develop skill in stretching their husband’s wages their role as baleboostehs [efficient housewives]—shopping, cooking, and cleaning—complemented their husbands’ role as breadwinners.

Some energetic immigrant Jewish women contributed to the family economy by becoming entrepreneurs. Female pushcart peddlers were a familiar sight in immigrant neighborhoods. As the sociologist Louis Wirth wrote in his 1928 book The Ghetto, “In accordance with the tradition of the Pale, where the women conducted the stores … women are among the most successful merchants of Maxwell Street [in Chicago]. They almost monopolize the fish, herring and poultry stalls” (236). Other women provided the initiative for their families’ economic success. One immigrant woman in New York City, for example, put her skills at bargaining and cooking to work in running a restaurant, whose profits were invested in real estate. In the early 1890s, Sarah Reznikoff, mother of the writer Charles Reznikoff, persuaded a garment manufacturer to give her the opportunity to show what fine ladies’ wrappers (loose dresses) she could sew at home. She soon persuaded him to hire as her partner her cousin Nathan, who later became her husband. Sarah made the decisions about hiring and firing workers. She convinced Nathan to become a foreman, in charge of eighty-six machines. When her husband’s fortunes failed years later, when their children were in school, she learned how to make hats and established a successful millinery business into which she brought her husband and brother. That business sustained the family while the children were growing up. Although she clearly had more business sense than her husband, she was content to recede into the background once she had laid the foundation for a family enterprise. No such reluctance to take center stage characterized Anna Levin, who immigrated to Columbus, Ohio, in 1914. She began by selling fish in a garage. Within a decade, her store, which now also sold poultry, fruits, and vegetables, was so successful that her husband gave up his carpentry work to join her in the business.

Yet, varied household responsibilities filled most women’s daily routines, even those women involved in business. With fewer grandmothers and aunts available than was the case in the home country, and with mandated public education that kept older children at school, child care was burdensome. Keeping a crowded tenement flat clean and orderly in a grimy industrial city required much scrubbing. Laundry for the family had to be managed in cramped indoor conditions in cold-water flats. Limited family budgets forced housewives to spend hours circulating among stores and pushcarts looking for the best bargain. Literature written by the children of immigrant women praised their self-sacrifice as well as their capacity to cope with economic hardships, sometimes sentimentalizing the mothers in the process of acknowledging the difficulties of their lives. The critic Alfred Kazin typifies this view of the immigrant Jewish mother:

The kitchen gave a special character to our lives: my mother’s character. All my memories of that kitchen are dominated by the nearness of my mother sitting all day long at her sewing machine. … Year by year, as I began to take in her fantastic capacity for labor and her anxious zeal, I realized it was ourselves she kept stitched together. (66–67)

Many autobiographies and oral history interviews as well as fictional accounts have also commented on the central role played by mothers in the emotional life of the family.

Before marriage, most adolescent girls and young women worked to contribute to their families’ support. Like their fathers and brothers, they found jobs in the garment industries, especially the ladies’ garment trades. Because the wage scale and division of labor were determined by gender, immigrant daughters earned less than their brothers. Working full-time in garment shops, they earned no more than sixty percent of the average male wage. They worked in crowded and unsanitary conditions in both small workshops and larger factories. Their hopes for improving their economic circumstances lay in making an advantageous match, while their working brothers aspired to save enough to become petty entrepreneurs. Moreover, immigrant sons occupied a privileged place in the labor market in comparison with their sisters. In New York in 1905, for example, forty-seven percent of immigrant Jewish daughters were employed as semiskilled and unskilled laborers only twenty-two percent of their brothers fell into those ranks. Conversely, more than forty-five percent of immigrant sons held white-collar positions, while less than twenty-seven percent of their sisters did. The roles and expectations of daughters within the family also differed substantially from those of their brothers. Even when they were working in the shops and contributing to the family’s income, girls were also expected to help their mothers with domestic chores.

The gendered expectations regarding work and the lower salaries that women earned made mothers particularly vulnerable when no male breadwinner could be counted upon. Women were more likely to be poor than were men. Widows with small children and few kin in America found it impossible to earn enough to feed and house their children. Wife desertion, sometimes referred to as the poor man’s divorce, became more frequent than in Europe. The Jewish Daily Forward, the most popular American Yiddish newspaper, printed the pictures of deserting husbands in a regular feature called the “Gallery of Missing Husbands.” The separation of families in the migration process and the poverty of immigrant workers spurred husbands to abandon their families. The personal and cultural divide between husbands and wives who had immigrated to America at different times occasionally became too wide to bridge.

Jewish philanthropic associations in the early 1900s spent about fifteen percent of their budgets assisting the families of deserted wives, and still more on the families of widows. Jewish communal leaders responded to these social problems not only through direct provision of charity, but also by establishing the National Desertion Bureau to locate recalcitrant husbands and orphanages to house poor children. No more than ten percent of residents of orphanages in the immigrant period were actually orphaned of both parents rather their surviving parent was unable to care for them. The case of the family of Rose Schneiderman , the labor leader, was typical. After the death of her tailor husband from the flu, Rose’s pregnant mother was compelled temporarily to place her two sons, and briefly Rose, in New York’s Hebrew Orphan Asylum while she cared for her newborn infant.

Despite the differential they experienced in wages and social mobility because they were female, young immigrant women reveled in the freedom that wage-earning work conferred. As one proudly declared years later in an interview, “The best part was when I got a job for myself and was able to stand on my own feet” (Krause 296). Although immigrant daughters were expected to hand over most of their wages to their parents, and to accept this obligation to their families, they also developed a sense of autonomy, as they decided what small portion of their wages to keep back for their own needs. Like other urban working-class girls, they took advantage of the leisure-time activities that the city made available: dance halls, movies, amusement parks, cafes, and theater. Their sense of autonomy, reinforced by their participation in the labor force, extended to courtship and marriage. The custom of chaperonage disappeared in America, perhaps because the parents of young immigrants often remained behind in Europe, and young immigrant men and women considered it their right to choose their own spouses.

The years spent at work between the end of formal schooling and marriage contributed to the Americanization, and particularly the politicization, of immigrant daughters. Young Jewish women preferred to work in larger factories, where they came in contact with a more varied work force than in smaller shops and where they experienced a female community of their peers. Most importantly, they participated in the labor movement that became a powerful force within immigrant Jewish communities. In fact, their activity helped to shape the nascent Jewish labor movement, as young women activists, demonstrating in picket lines, repeatedly confronted the authorities.

Young immigrant women and immigrant daughters were reared with the sense that the world of politics was not reserved for men alone. Although the public religious sphere of the Jewish community had been closed to women in Eastern Europe, they participated in the public secular sphere of economic and political life. Radical socialist movements like the Bund were not as egalitarian as their rhetoric suggested, but they did recruit women as members. Unlike the women of some ethnic groups who were closely supervised by their men folk, immigrant Jewish women attended lectures and political meetings alone and often discussed the issues of the day. Gentile observers commented that Jewish working women were not concerned simply with their own tasks or skills. With confidence in their right to act politically, they demonstrated a great interest in labor conditions in general and in the left-wing political movements that addressed working-class problems. The immigrant Jewish community, particularly through the Yiddish press, validated their political involvement, providing support for female-led Term used for ritually untainted food according to the laws of Kashrut (Jewish dietary laws). kosher meat boycotts and rent strikes as well as for woman suffrage.

Although the male Jewish leaders in the nascent garment industry unions, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, did not accept women as their peers and discriminated against those who sought leadership roles, women in fact galvanized the Jewish labor movement. In the years immediately before World War I, the union movement achieved the stability that had eluded it until then, largely due to women worker militancy. The Uprising of the 20,000 , the massive 1909 strike of women in the ladies’ garment trade, initiated a period of successful labor activism among Jewish workers. Women took their place on the picket lines and suffered arrest along with their male colleagues. Female activists such as Rose Schneiderman, Pauline Newman , Fannia Cohn , and Clara Lemlich Shavelson , along with others, devoted themselves to the cause of improving the economic conditions and the status of workers. They helped to introduce concern for workers’ education and recreation into the American labor movement. Jewish women probably contributed more than a quarter of the total increase in female members of all labor unions in the United States in the 1910s.

The political interest and sophistication of young immigrant Jewish working women continued even when they quit the garment workshops upon marriage. Within immigrant Jewish communities, older women with families engaged in political activity on the local level. From the 1890s through the 1930s, they spoke out and demonstrated on issues that directly affected their roles as domestic managers. When Margaret Sanger opened a birth control clinic in the heavily immigrant Jewish neighborhood of Brownsville, Brooklyn, Jewish housewives thronged to it, even though dispensing birth control information was then illegal. They organized boycotts in response to rising meat prices and conducted rent strikes to protest evictions and poor building maintenance. When New York state held elections on female suffrage in 1915 and 1917, they canvassed their neighbors, going from house to house to persuade male voters of their moral claim to enfranchisement. Because they had fewer institutional affiliations than men, women often have been omitted from scholarly examination of the Jewish community. Yet women found in their neighborhoods, in the streets and stoops where they spent their days, a sense of community that nourished their political activity.

Although immigrant Jews kept their children in school longer than other ethnic groups, they invested more heavily in the education of their sons than their daughters. McClure Magazines 1903 story of Bessie, a department store girl with a brother in City College of New York, was not atypical. This family strategy made sense when women’s labor force participation was tied so closely to their marital status. But it also frustrated the dreams of many immigrant girls who had defined the freedom of America as the opportunity of studying as long as they liked.

As immigrant Jewish families prospered, they kept children of both sexes in school. The youngest in the family usually had the best chance of getting an education, irrespective of gender. Mary Antin , a precociously successful immigrant who wrote her autobiography at age thirty, recognized her privileged experience in comparison with her older sister’s. As she noted in The Promised Land, “I was led to the schoolroom, with its sunshine and its singing and the teacher’s cheery smile while she was led to the workshop, with its foul air, care-lined faces, and the foreman’s stern command” (199). Even for the children of the most successful immigrants, however, social mobility was gendered. Sons went to college to become doctors or lawyers, while daughters attended normal school to become teachers. Of course, most immigrant sons did not even graduate from high school in the years before World War I they became businessmen. Most immigrant daughters entered the world of white-collar work as saleswomen or commercial employees. They became schoolteachers in large numbers only in the interwar years, and only in a city like New York that allowed married women to keep on teaching. When they married, they became housewives, although the Depression compelled many to find employment, at least temporarily.

Because traditional Jewish culture valued education, and because their need to go to work thwarted their aspirations for attending high school and perhaps college, many immigrant Jewish women chose to supplement their meager formal education by taking advantage of free public evening classes and lectures organized by settlement houses, unions, and Yiddish cultural organizations. They saw in education the key to the freedom that America symbolized. As one woman who arrived in America as an adolescent in 1906 reminisced in her old age, “I told my parents, ‘I want to go to America. I want to learn, I want to see a life, and I want to go to school’” (Kramer and Masur 8). Sociological studies conducted both before World War I and in the 1920s documented the disproportionately large numbers of immigrant Jewish women in evening courses. In Philadelphia in 1925, for example, seventy percent of night school students were Jewish women. Many immigrant Jewish women, therefore, had the opportunity to acquire the secular education of which they had been deprived by a combination of economic conditions and governmental discrimination in their countries of origin. But many found that the straitened economic circumstances of their lives prevented them from achieving their dream. As one woman who arrived in America as an adolescent before World War I reflected years later, “I always wanted education. I never got it” (Weinberg 167).

Women had even fewer opportunities for Jewish education. The traditional exemption of women from formal Jewish study continued in the American immigrant community. Although only a quarter of immigrant Jewish children received any Jewish education, the situation of girls was particularly bleak. A 1904 study found that on the Lower East Side, there were 8,616 male students in traditional Jewish supplementary schools, but only 361 girls. In 1917, the situation had improved one-third of the students enrolled in Jewish schools in New York City were female. But they received a more meager education than their brothers, often limited to Sunday school. A handful of girls did receive excellent Jewish education as well as training to be Hebrew teachers, as educational reformers like Samson Benderly found that they could introduce innovations more easily in schools for girls than in schools for boys. Only as Jewish communal leaders became aware that the Jewishness of the children of the immigrants could not be taken for granted, however, did they focus on the education of girls. Since middle-class Americans considered women to be more sensitive to religion than men and expected mothers to teach moral values to their children, Jews soon realized that the Jewish education of girls was critical to the transmission of Jewish identity to the younger generation.

The public space of the immigrant synagogue, as was the case in Eastern Europe, was reserved largely for men. We still know little about the religious practice of immigrant women in America. Women’s religious expression seems to have remained domestic. As so much Jewish observance is home-centered, immigrant housewives were responsible for the Jewish ambience of the entire household. Even in families whose traditional observance had lapsed, women prepared a special family dinner for Friday evening and made sure that appropriate foods were available on Jewish festivals.

Despite their political activity and secular knowledge, immigrant Jewish women were generally perceived by social reformers, both gentile and Jewish, to be obstacles to the successful Americanization of their families. Since they typically spent their days in their own households, they were presumed to be transmitters of Old World values. Recently, historians have revealed a far more complex role for women in the adaptation of immigrant Jews to American conditions.

Immigrants took the first steps toward becoming American when they put on ready-made American clothes. Working in garment factories and therefore familiar with the latest fashions, which changed more dramatically in ladies’ than in men’s wear, young women were often the first to outfit themselves in American styles and influenced the entire household’s clothing purchases. But dressing well did not mean spending a fortune. Jewish women became adept shoppers and learned how to put together a fancy outfit at little expense. As immigrants experienced upward social mobility, a wife’s clothing and jewelry signified the family’s success. Women purchased more than the family’s clothing. As domestic managers, they did most of the household shopping. As new consumer items became available and their husbands achieved economic success, Jewish women had numerous opportunities to select American merchandise, ranging from Uneeda Biscuits to parlor furniture, all widely advertised. Mass marketers used the Yiddish press to target Jewish housewives as consumers, perhaps aware of Jewish men’s relative economic success compared to other immigrant workers. Because of their long experience with the marketplace in Eastern Europe, and the cultural value of shrewd bargaining as a marker of the successful baleboosteh, immigrant Jewish women apparently became effective consumers. They introduced large numbers of American products into their homes, making them more American in the process.

American Jewish social reformers, the middle-class and highly acculturated descendants of earlier waves of immigration, recognized the potential of immigrant women as agents of assimilation, but felt that they needed to be directed to exert appropriate influence on their families. The social reformers impressed on immigrant mothers the values of cleanliness, social order, and class deference in order to turn them into good Americans. The eagerness with which Jewish social reformers embraced this task resulted from their realization that gentile Americans were unlikely to distinguish between different types of Jews. The new immigrants were so numerous and visible in their Yiddish-speaking ghettos, so conspicuous in their radical politics, that they threatened to displace the prosperous, respectable German Jewish banker or merchant as the representative Jew in the popular imagination. In short, they worried that immigrant foreignness would provoke antisemitism. For American Jewish social reformers, teaching appropriate gender roles to the immigrants from Eastern Europe involved curtailing what reformers considered the “deviant” behavior of immigrant women by making them Americans on the middle-class model.

Social reformers particularly feared disreputable behavior on the part of women as likely to contaminate the reputation of all Jews. This led Jewish women reformers to focus on the disturbing issue of Jewish prostitutes and, to a lesser extent, Jewish pimps. Although relatively few Jewish women were involved in prostitution, the fact that 17 percent of women arrested for prostitution in Manhattan between 1913 and 1930 were Jewish prompted serious concern. Furthermore, Jewish prostitutes and pimps were a stock-in-trade of purveyors of antisemitism. Similarly, reformers recognized the presence of unwed mothers among immigrants as a sign of family breakdown. When the National Council of Jewish Women addressed these issues by stationing a dock worker at ports of entry to protect immigrant Jewish women and girls traveling alone from procurers, or by establishing the Lakeville Home for Unwed Mothers, they sought to ameliorate the situation of unfortunate women. Male-dominated Jewish organizations seemed to be motivated as much by concern for the prevention of antisemitism as by the victimization of Jewish women. For all Jewish social welfare providers, evidence of women’s deviant behavior shook one of the foundation stones of the Jewish claim to moral superiority, the reputation of the Jewish family for unblemished purity.

Jewish social reformers shared the prejudices of their class. They sought not only to train women for their domestic roles as respectable wives and mothers. Because they were dealing with their social inferiors, they also aimed to teach their clients that workers should respect their “betters” in the middle class and that women should defer to men. The Clara De Hirsch Home for Working Girls , which was at the same time a boarding house and a vocational school, limited its training to marketable skills that were also of use to women as homemakers, such as hand and machine sewing, dressmaking and millinery, even though it recognized that its working-class clientele would have to support themselves through wage labor and would benefit economically by learning diverse skills. The girls at the school resoundingly rejected the home’s program in domestic service. Unlike the directors of the institution, they did not presume that their class status was fixed they thought America promised middle-class comfort to all who worked hard. They also shared a Jewish disdain for domestic service, which was culturally devalued by Jewish migrants from both Central and Eastern Europe. The Hebrew Orphan Asylum went even further than the Clara de Hirsch Home. The asylum supervised discharged adolescent girls and discouraged them from seeking employment, such as working as waitresses or salesgirls in department stores, that might lead to immorality. Although the Educational Alliance, the largest Jewish settlement house in New York City, could not control its clientele as did the residential facilities, it devised programs to inculcate appropriately American behavior in youth. The alliance provided different recreational programs for boys and girls. Boys were encouraged to join competitive athletic teams whose success in meets with other settlement houses might refute the stereotype of Jewish males as weak and cowardly. A similar program did not exist for girls. Instead, they were taught housekeeping and cooking so that they might, in the words of the institution’s 1902 annual report, “cultivate a taste for those domestic virtues that tend to make a home-life happier and brighter” (Educational Alliance 21).

Immigrant Jewish writers of Yiddish-language advice manuals also appear to have recognized the influence of wives and mothers on the members of their families. Their books addressed a primarily female audience and focused on issues assumed to fall within women’s domain, such as child rearing, fashion, table manners, and birth control. As Chaim Malitz noted in his 1918 book entitled Di Heym un di Froy [The home and the woman], “Take away the mother from the home, and there remains no home” (41). Ironically, male purveyors of advice literature singled women out for attention, because they felt women had not yet succeeded in their task as agents of Americanization. Yet the authors acknowledged that women were the family members most likely to introduce middle-class standards of behavior and taste into their homes. Women could transform their husbands and children into Americans.

Oral history interviews and memoirs suggest that immigrant women, in fact, used their domestic position to mediate between home life and the public world of school, work, and recreation. Daughters, in particular, have commented upon how their mothers supported their aspirations and desires for independence and education. Women’s fiction, too, often depicts immigrant mothers as wielding their influence, not always successfully, to mitigate a father’s rigid religious traditionalism that would deny their daughters freedom to choose a spouse or to go off to study. Some historians and cultural critics lament what they perceive as a transfer of power within the immigrant Jewish household from the father to the mother, but they share with those who write positively about the immigrant mother a recognition of her centrality in her home.

Women who immigrated to America from Eastern Europe discovered their lives stamped by the economic, social, and cultural impact of their migration. Although the cultural tradition the immigrants brought with them permitted women more autonomy than was the case among other immigrant groups, economic circumstances constricted Jewish women living on the Lower East Side. Moreover, Americans’ understanding of success in America limited women’s aspirations. Americans assumed that if a married woman engaged in paid work, she was not appropriately feminine, and her husband was a failure. This meant that volunteer social work became the main outlet for the creative energies of Eastern European immigrant Jewish women who enjoyed the luxury of leisure time and sought meaningful work. These Eastern European immigrant women followed a similar path of an earlier generation of women who founded Jewish women’s organizations like Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women. Eastern European immigrant women also set up a host of local organizations, ranging from day nurseries to maternity hospitals to old-age homes. Hopes that immigrant women had harbored for themselves were often transferred to the younger generation. As Sarah Reznikoff concluded in her memoir, “We are a lost generation. … It is for our children to do what they can” (99).

Primary Sources

Antin, Mary. The Promised Land. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1912 (Reprint, 1969).

Educational Alliance. Annual Report of 1902.

Gorenstein, Lillian. “A Memoir of the Great War, 1914–1924 (In Memory of my beloved brother, Morris).” YIVO Annual 20 (1991): 125–183.

Kramer, Sydelle and Jenny Masur, eds. Jewish Grandmothers. Boston: Beacon Press, 1976.

Marcus, Jacob Rader, ed. The American Jewish Woman: A Documentary History. New York: KTAV Publishing House, 1981.

Reznikoff, Sarah. “Early History of a Seamstress.” In Family Chronicle, edited by Charles Reznikoff. London: Norton Bailey, 1969.

Schneiderman, Rose, with Lucy Goldthwaite. All for One. New York: P.S. Eriksson, 1967.

Secondary Sources—Books

Baum, Charlotte, Paula Hyman, and Sonya Michel. The Jewish Woman in America. New York: Dial Press, 1976.

Bristow, Edward. Prostitution and Prejudice: The Jewish Fight Against White Slavery, 1870–1939. New York: Schocken Books, 1983.

Ewen, Elizabeth. Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars: Life and Culture on the Lower East Side, 1890–1925. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1985.

Friedman, Reena Sigman. These Are Our Children: Jewish Orphanages in the United States, 1880–1925. Waltham, MA: University Press of New England [for] Brandeis University Press, 1994.

Glanz, Rudolf. The Jewish Woman in America: Two Female Immigrant Generations, 1820–1929. Vol. 1, The Eastern European Jewish Woman. New York: KTAV and National Council of Jewish Women, 1976.

Glenn, Susan A. Daughters of the Shtetl: Life and Labor in the Immigrant Generation. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990.

Heinze, Andrew. Adapting to Abundance: Jewish Immigrants, Mass Consumption and the Search for American Identity. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

Hyman, Paula E. Gender and Assimilation in Modern Jewish History: The Role and Representation of Women. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995.

Joselit, Jenna Weissman. The Wonders of America. New York: Hill and Wang, 1995.

Kazin, Alfred. A Walker in the City. Boston: Harcourt, 1951.

Kessner, Thomas. The Golden Door: Italian and Jewish Immigrant Mobility in New York City, 1880–1915. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.

Orleck, Annelise. Common Sense and a Little Fire. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

Raphael, Marc Lee. Jews and Judaism in a Midwestern Community: Columbus, Ohio, 1840–1975. Columbus, OH: Ohio Historical Society, 1979.

Smith, Judith E. Family Connections: A History of Italian and Jewish Immigrant Lives in Providence, Rhode Island, 1900–1940. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985.

Weinberg, Sydney Stahl. The World of Our Mothers. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988.

Secondary Sources—Articles

Hyman, Paula E. “Gender and the Immigrant Jewish Experience in the United States.” In Jewish Women in Historical Experience, edited by Judith R. Baskin (1991), and “Immigrant Women and Consumer Protest: The New York Kosher Meat Boycott of 1902.” American Jewish History 70, no. 1 (1980): 91–105.

Kessler-Harris, Alice. “Organizing the Unorganizable: Three Jewish Women and Their Union.” In Class, Sex, and the Woman Worker, edited by Milton Cantor and Bruce Laurie. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1977.

Krause, Corinne Azen. “Urbanization Without Breakdown: Italian, Jewish, and Slavic Immigrant Women in Pittsburgh.” Journal of Urban History 4, no. 3 (1978): 291–306.

Kuznets, Simon. “Immigration of Russian Jews to the U.S.: Background and Structure.” Perspectives in American History 9 (1975): 35–124.

Sinkoff, Nancy B. “Educating for ‘Proper’ Jewish Womanhood: A Case Study in Domesticity and Vocational Training, 1897–1926.” American Jewish History 77, no. 4 (1988), 572–599.

Eastern and Southern Europe in the medieval time period? - History

CHAPTER 14: Mesozoic Era Geology

2. Tectonics of eastern & southern North America, northern Europe dominated by extensional tectonics:

(a) Opening of the Atlantic Ocean

(b) Formation of Triassic rift grabens along eastern North America

(c) Opening of the Gulf of Mexico

3. Major tectonic events along western North America dominated by compressional tectonics:

(a) Terrane collision in northern California and Nevada during Permo-Triassic

(b) Formation of Andean-style volcanic arc complex along the western margin

(c) Accretion of exotic terranes along the western margin.

4. Era of warm climate, high sea-level and large continental seaways flooding as much as 1/3 of the earth’s total continental area.

5. Following the Permian extinctions, marine life underwent profound change:

(a) Seas dominated by bivalves, gastropods and echinoids.

(b) Appearance of sea reptiles.

(c) Shell-crushing predators like crabs and lobsters.

(d) Large variety of ammonites

7. Appearance of flowering plants during the mid-Cretaceous

8. End of Mesozoic marked by a mass extinction possibly caused by a major asteroid impact and/or massive volcanic eruptions.

1. Figure 14.2 : Traces the migration of South Pole positions during the early Paleozoic when Gondwana and Euramerica were separate and each had its own polar track. During Carboniferous time (C), Gondwanaland and North America collided and joined. From there, both had the same polar track. By Permian time (P), the Pangea super-supercontinent was completely assembled. Pangea remained assembled until breakup began during early Mesozoic time (M). Light dashed arrows record seperation of different continents since then.

2. Figure 14.4a : Pangea began to break up near the end of the Triassic period (

215 Ma) when North America and Africa began to separate.

3. Late Triassic to Early Jurassic rifting eventually disrupted the connection between North Africa and Europe. Also during this period, several microcontinents broke away from northern Gondwanaland and eventually collided with southeastern Asia.

4. The Indian Ocean began to open around Middle Jurassic time as evidenced by major transgressions in eastern Africa and Madagascar.

5. India separated from Africa and Australia during the Late Jurassic.

6. Figure 14.4b: The Late Cretaceous (

7. South America broke away from Africa during the mid-Cretaceous.

8. Australia separated from Antarctica near the end of the Cretaceous.

Extensional Tectonics and Opening of the North Atlantic

1. Figure 14.5: The Newark rifts are a series of trough-like features of Late-Triassic-age which extend along the eastern coast of North America. The Newark rifts are filled mostly with thick sequences of non-marine clastic sedimentary rocks interspersed with basaltic dikes and lava flows. These rift-filled deposits can exceed 6 km in thickness. Formation of the Newark Rifts is attributed to initial opening of the North Atlantic.

2. Figure 14.3: The early break-up of Pangea was initiated by heating and doming of the lithosphere, followed by rifting and sea-floor spreading.

3. Stretching of the Pangean crust initiated Triassic faulting accompanied by basaltic volcanism. The faulting broke up the crust into a series of isolated blocks that formed horst and graben structures. Rivers eroded upraised fault blocks and deposited gravel and sand as broad alluvial fans within the adjacent down-faulted rift basins.

4. The rift basins (including the Newark Rifts), in addition to experiencing volcanism, accumulated thick deposits of red-colored, nonmarine clastic sediments derived from erosion of uplifted fault-blocks. Lakes formed in the central parts of the basins, some accumulating organic-rich muds that eventually became source rock for petroleum.

5. Figure 14.8: As the breakup of Pangea continued, the Newark Rifts eventually became isolated from the growing ocean basin to the east.

Ocean Basins and Aulacogens

1. Figures 14.5: Unlike Newark type basins, marginal rifts continued to expand and were soon flooded by the invading sea. In warm regions such as the early Gulf of Mexico, evaporites were initially deposited by the invading seawater. This was followed by establishment of a broad continental margin as the ocean basin widened.

2. During Jurassic time, the Gulf of Mexico and North Atlantic Ocean Basins continued to grow. By the end of the Jurassic, normal marine conditions were established in the North Atlantic and Tethyan fauna migrated from Eurasia into the Gulf of Mexico.

3. In Europe, evaporites were deposited in the North Sea rift during Permian and Triassic time. The North Sea eventually became fully marine during the Jurassic.

4. Figure 14.6: During Cretaceous time, chalk (microscopic calcareous skeletons of pelagic organisms) was deposited widely over northern Europe and locally in southeastern North America during major transgressions. Chalk deposits usually are confined to the deep-ocean basins, but sea-level rise during the Cretaceous caused chalk deposition to spread into continental seaways.

Early Mesozoic History of the North American Craton

1. Figure 14.10: The ancestral Rocky Mountains in Colorado and New Mexico, which formed during Pennsylvanian time, were largely eroded by Triassic time and were almost completely buried by non-marine sediments. Highlands and portions of lowlands were covered by immense forests as evidenced by petrified logs found today in the rock record (e.g. Petrified Forest National Monument in Arizona).

2. An immense alluvial plain, stretching from the highlands westward to the Cordilleran Sea, was inhabited by amphibians, early dinosaurs and various other reptiles.

3. Along the western margin of the craton, Triassic non-marine red sediments graded westward into marine gray shale and limestone. Marine lagoonal and tidal flat deposits are common and attest to periodic transgressions. The thickest section of these marine strata occurs in southeastern Idaho, where nearly 1000 meters of Lower Triassic sediments accumulated.

4. The upper Triassic formations in western North America consists mostly of continental deposits transported by rivers flowing westward across the immense alluvial plain. There were also upland source areas in present day Nevada, Arizona and Utah here sediments were eroded and re-deposited as the sandy Moenkopi Formation and pebbly Shinarump Formation.

5. The Chinle Formation consists largely of shale which, when eroded away, exposes petrified tree trunks in the Petrified National Monument in Arizona. The Painted Desert of Arizona is mostly developed in Chinle Rocks. The Upper Triassic Wingate and Lower Jurassic Navajo sandstones are remnants of ancient desert sand dunes and are beautifully exposed in the walls of Zion Canyon in southern Utah.

6. During the Mesozoic, a steeply dipping subduction zone existed along the western margin of North America. Entire sections of volcanic arcs, fragments of distant continents and pieces of oceanic plateaus were carried to the western margin as well.

7. Triassic rocks of the far western part of the Cordillera included great thicknesses of volcanic material and graywacke sandstone, presumably derived from an island arc.

8. During the Triassic Period, limestone deposition predominated within the Tethyan seaway and encased fossils of clams, snails, crinoids, reef corals and calcareous algae.

1. Figure 14.12 : Beginning in Early Jurassic time, the western seaway began encroaching upon western portions of the vast alluvial plain.

2. Early Jurassic deposits consist of clean sandstone, such as the Navajo Sandstone, which contains large-scale cross bedding. Thin beds of fossiliferous limestone and evaporites occur locally. The Navajo and associated sand bodies were probably deposited in a near-shore environment, and it is likely that some of the deposits were part of a coastal dune environment. Others have postulated that the Navajo sandstone was deposited within a vast interior desert.

3. Marine conditions became more widespread during the middle Jurassic when the entire west-central part of the continent was flooded by a wide seaway that extended to central Utah. This great embayment has been dubbed the Sundance Sea .

4.. Figure 14.15: by Late Jurassic time, much of western North America was covered by an extensive epeiric seaway. This immense seaway formed local deposits of sandstone and widespread deposits of limestone, shale and evaporite collectively called the Sundance Formation. The limestone contains abundant fossil fragments, oolites and algal material. Also present are cross-stratified glauconitic sandstone and fossiliferous shale.

5. The Late Jurassic marked the last time that significant carbonate and evaporite deposition occurred anywhere on the N. American Craton.

6. The Gulf of Mexico during the Jurassic was like a great evaporating basin, concentrating the waters of the Atlantic and precipitating salt and gypsum to thicknesses exceeding 1000 meters. These evaporite beds are the source of the salt domes of the Gulf Coast.

7. Evaporite conditions in the Gulf abated later during the Jurassic and several hundred meters of normal marine limestone, limy mud, shale and sandstone accumulated in the alternately transgressing and regressing seas.

8. Also during the Jurassic, shallow seas advanced from both the Tethys and the Atlantic and spread across Europe. Eventually, marine conditions extended from the Tethys across Russia and into the Arctic Ocean.

Review of Mesozoic Breakup of Pangea (Figure 14.4)

1. Pangea began to break up near the end of the Triassic period when North America separated from Africa.

2. Northern Africa also separated from Europe beginning in the Late Triassic.

3. During the later Mesozoic, Greenland and Europe separated from North America during opening of the North Atlantic.

4. India separated from Africa and Australia in Late Jurassic time.

5. South America split from Africa in mid-Cretaceous time

Geologic History of Western North America (the Cordillera)

1. Figure 10.3: The western margin of North America began as a passive margin in the Proterozoic and Cambrian.

2. Figure 14.21 : By the Devonian, the western margin had turned into an active subduction zone involving collision of a volcanic arc with the continent (Antler orogeny of central Nevada).

3. Figure 14.16: Subduction along the western margin continued into the Mesozoic, but the axis of subduction shifted as a result of global plate reorganization related to the breaking up of Pangea. The old northeast-southwest trend of the Paleozoic passive margin and Antler orogenic structures was abruptly truncated by a new mountain belt trending northwest-southeast.

4. Figure 14.10 : During the Triassic, erosion of the craton in the east blanketed western North America with thick deposits of sand.

5. Figure 14.12: An immense aluvial plain developed along western North America as rivers flowed westward into the Cordilleran Sea. Forests covered the highlands and much of the region was dominated by amphibians, early dinosaurs and various other reptiles. Freshwater molluscs and fish inhabited the swamp and river environments.

6. Figure 14.15: Beginning in the middle Jurassic, an epeiric sea invaded western North America and deposited sandstone, limestone, shale and evaporite. The rock succession deposited by this seaway is collectively known as the Sundance Formation.

7. The epeiric sea developed into a continuous seaway stretching from the Gulf of Mexico northward to the present Arctic.

1. Figure 14.17: Western North America is largely a collage of ancient arcs and microcontinents derived from other places.

2. These suspect terranes consist of old arcs amd microcontinents accreted along the margins of western North America. Each terrane has a distinct stratigraphy, fauna and/or volcanic rock type and are separated from adjacent terranes by faults.

3. Paleomagnetic evidence from several areas of the western Cordillera indicate that some terranes had come from much further south.

4. The Stikinia terrane may have originated much further south and moved northward along stike-slip faults.

5. Wrangellia may have originated from the equatorial region and was displaced 35 to 65 degrees northward.

6. Alaska is composed almost entirely of exotic terranes.

7. Figure 14.18 shows the possible late Paleozoic positions of exotic terranes that were accreted to the Cordillera during the Mesozoic.

8. Figure 14.20 shows application of superpositional principles for dating collision of two suspect terranes with a continent.

9. Most of the Cordilleran terranes were probably transported to their present positions by no later than Cretaceous or early Cenozoic time.

Sonomia and the Sierran Arc

1. Figure 14.17: The Sonomia terrane was sutured to its present location in Nevada by the mid- Triassic.

2. Figure 14.21 shows the possible Mississippian to Jurassic development of western margin of North America. Successive arc collisions of the Antler and Sonoman orogenies are followed by reversal of subduction. The new eastward subduction along western North America produced an Andean arc along the western edge of North America beginning in Late Triassic time.

3. Figure 14.22 : The modern Andes provide an analogue of the Sierran Arc in the Mesozoic which include an accretionary prism, melange, blueschist and a forearc basin.

Granitic Rocks of the Sierran Arc

1. Figure 14.23: Melting of subducting oceanic lithosphere produced an Andean-sized volcanic arc along western North America that probably erupted almost continuously from the Late Triassic until the Late Cretaceous.

2. This immense Mesozoic arc system may reflect rapid spreading in the Pacific during this period, resulting in fast, low-angle subduction along western North America.

3. Most of the volcanic rocks have since eroded away, exposing the plutonic roots of this once vast arc system.

4. The modern Sierras are mostly comprised of batholiths that once comprised the core of this vast arc system.

Foreland and Forearc Basins

1. Figure 14.26: East of the arc are latest Jurassic non-marine sedimentary rocks collectively called the Morrision Formation. The Morrison Formation is a small clastic wedge composed of shale, sandstone, rare conglomerates and volcanic ash The Morrison Formation is famous for its abundant dinosaur skeletons and many other kinds of fossils.

2. The Morrison Formation (part of the Great Foreland Basin) is a clastic wedge (vast alluvial plain) extending from Canada to southern Arizona and was deposited in a vast foreland basin by prograding rivers and swamps.

3. Progradation of the Morrison was in an eastward direction. Sediments are coarsest and thickest next to the Sevier orogenic belt but thin and become towards the east. Volcanic ash deposits indicate volcanic eruptions primarily to the west.

4. Morrison sediments provide evidence of the first major mountain building episode within the Cordilleran region.

5. Figures 14.28: On the Pacific side of the Sierra Nevada arc complex was the huge accretionary prism of the Franciscan Melange which is today found in the Coast Ranges of central California. This melange is at least 7,000 meters thick and consists of a chaotic assemblage of highly sheared and deformed graywacke, siltstone, black shale, chert and basalt. These rocks were apparently scraped off from the down-going oceanic lithosphere near the trench axis.

6. Behind the Franciscan accretionary prism was a great forearc basin composed of deep marine shale and sandstone of Jurassic and Cretaceous age. Today the Great Valley Group underlie the Central Valley (San Joquin) of California.

The Nevadan, Sevier and Laramide Orogenies

1. Figure 14.26: The first major phase of Cordilleran mountain building (Nevadan orogeny) occurred during the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous, during which time much of the Great Foreland Basin was deposited. The vigorous erosion of highlands during the Cretaceous added alluvial fan deposits to the foreland basin to produce a total accumulation over 3,000 meters thick adjacent to the mountainous highland.

2. The peak of mountain building occurred during the Late Cretaceous and is known as the Sevier Orogeny.

3. The Siever orogeny was marked by a slight eastward shift of arc volcanism into Nevada and Idaho due to a slight shallowing of the angle of subduction of the downgoing slab. This eastward migration of the arc was accompanied by increasing K in the igneous rocks due to the greater influence of continental rocks and the depth of melting becoming shallower.

4. Figure 14.30: The Sevier orogeny was characterized by unusually high compressional forces accompanied by massive backarc thrusting (thin-skinned thrusting). Slabs of continental rock was sheared off and displaced tens of kilometers eastward, resulting in an extensive belt of stacked thrust sheets extending from Nevada to the Canadian Rockies. This thrusting caused over 100 km of crustal shortening.

5. The final phase of Cordilleran mountain building, which began at the end of the Cretaceous and continued until the Eocene, is called the Laramide orogeny. Unlike the Sevier orogeny, the Laramide orogeny was characterized by large folds accompanied by steep thrusts along the flank. These broad anticlinal uplifts occurred further east of the Sevier belt, through central Colorado and Wyoming. Eventually these basement uplifts enclosed enormous sedimentary basins.

6. Figure 14.32: The eastward shift of Laramide deformation was accompanied by a shutoff of volcanic activity in the Sierran arc, although normal arc volcanism continued north (Pacific Northwest) and south (Mexico) of the Laramide tract.

7. This peculiar phenomenon may indicate that the downgoing Farallon Plate became so shallow that the plate scraped along horizontally beneath the continent and would no longer reach melting depth beneath the Sierran arc. In addition, this shallow subduction would transfer the compressive stresses much farther eastward into Colorado and Wyoming.

8. The shallow, near-horizontal subduction along western North America may have been due to rapid seafloor spreading in the Atlantic during this period, causing North America to ride over the Pacific Plate much faster than before.

Cretaceous Transgression and Sedimentation

The Great Cretaceous Interior Seaway

1. Figure 14.27: A worldwide transgression during the Cretaceous Period formed a great Cretaceous interior seaway spanning the length of the western interior of North America. Similar cratonic flooding occurred on practically every continent, including Europe.

2. In western North America, the center of this vast seaway contained areas where calcareous algae rained down from the surface to form calcareous ooze (which lithified into chalk). The shoreline of this vast inland sea typically contained interfingering sequences of marine shale and deltaic sandstone while coal swamps developed behind the shoreline sandstone.

3. Waters from both the Arctic and Gulf region merged over the present Plains area in mid-Cretaceous time, depositing marine strata from Minnesota to western Wyoming and lengthwise from the Gulf Coast to the Arctic.

4. The western part of the seaway contained a great clastic wedge which graded westward (that is, towards the Siever Highlands) from black shale with thin limestone layers and volcanic ash through massive conglomerates and into thick, massive, cross stratified sandstone containing coal seams.

5. The inter-tonguing of marine and shoreline deposits indicate oscillation of the shoreline where deltas and associated swamps shifted back and forth with each transgression and regression.

6. Abundant vegetation grew in the swamps and gave rise to widespread coal seams as well as providing a habitat for dinosaurs.

7. Dinosaurs also roamed the vast alluvial plain that extended back to the Sierra Nevada mountains.

8. Along the Gulf of Mexico, sandstone, shale and carbonate were deposited along the southern United States. In Mexico, limestone deposits occurred widely throughout most of the period since the region was nearly in tropical latitude.

9. In general, the Gulf Coast Region was subsiding rapidly and accumulating vast thicknesses of passive continental margin sediments.

10. The Cretaceous worldwide transgression is attributed to acceleration of seafloor spreading during this period, which caused the enlargement of ocean ridges. The larger ridges displaced large volumes of water, causing the continents to flood. Circum-Pacific mountain building and the uplifting of shorelines deposited large volumes of shoreline sediments. Large-scale continental breakup caused an increase in area of continental shelves and led to progradation of deltas and alluvial plains.

11. Regression of the North American seaway commenced during the Late Cretaceous and by early Cenozoic time, the waters had drained completely from the craton both northward and southward.

Late Mesozoic Paleoclimatology

1. Figure 14.35: During the late Mesozoic, water covered a larger proportion of the earth's surface than today. Solar radiation effectively warmed the water and the heat was distributed pole-ward by the ocean currents, producing an overall warm climate with ice-free poles.

2. Conifers and ginko forests grew as far north as 80o N while Magnolia and Sequoia trees thrived in western Greenland at 70o N.

3. The Cretaceous fossil record indicates that North America was largely subtropical.

4. Widespread uniformity of Cretaceous plants indicates a lack of sharp climatic zonation of the continent.

5. Although evaporites occurred in Jurassic times, their general absence from Cretaceous sediments suggests relatively humid conditions and open-marine circulation.

6. Figure 14.34: Oxygen isotopic analysis of marine fossils confirm mild ocean temperatures on the order of 20-25o C at present middle latitudes of 30o to 70o N., comparable with today's surface ocean temperatures along the coasts of Florida and Mexico.

1. Large quantities of black, organic rich shale was deposited on the central part of the N.A. craton during the Cretaceous and black muds occurred in deeper parts of the sea. Widespread black shales were also deposited in Europe during the Jurassic.

2. Organic-rich mud requires (1) a source of organic carbon and (2) isolation from oxygen subsequent to deposition in order to maintain preservation.

3. During the Cretaceous, production and deposition of organic carbon may have been rapid enough such that the material was quickly buried and isolated from oxidation. This may have occurred in shoreline areas adjacent to highlands where sedimentation was rapid.

4. Alternatively, organic-rich material was deposited under stagnant anoxic conditions.

5. Ancient black shale deposition corresponded with times of unusually deep transgressions where the interactions among climate, paleogeography and sedimentation enhance preservation.

6. Figure 14.36: Major transgressions result in warm global temperatures (increase in organic productivity). Oxygen is less soluble in warmer water, resulting in less oxygen uptake by seawater and greater preservation of carbon in seafloor sediments. In addition, a global warm climate would reduce the temperature contrast between the poles and equator, thus inhibiting vigorous circulation of deep seawater.

7. The earth during middle Cretaceous time may have been a greenhouse world where abundant atmospheric CO 2 (from volcanic activity) held significant amounts of heat, raising the global temperature to as much as 8 o C higher than present. Such a greenhouse world would reduce oceanic circulation and promote anoxic conditions on the seafloor (see Figure 14.36 ).

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