Ariell Zimran
[About Me] [Research] [CV] [Teaching] [Official Bio] [Official Page] [NBER Working Papers] [Google Scholar Profile]

Gambling for America: The First Wave of Migration to the Americas, 1493-1539
with Leticia Arroyo Abad, José-Antonio Espín-Sánchez, and Yannay Spitzer

Columbus' first expedition inaugurated one of the most important migrations in history. Glory, service, and wealth motivated thousands of migrants to leave Europe to the "New World." In this paper, we study the first wave of migration to these new territories from 1492 to 1540 armed with a newly assembled database of European free migrants departing from Spain to the Spanish Americas. We find that at least 19,000 people left Spain to try their luck in the New World. This historical accident allows us to study the emergence of migration networks in host and destination locations. One-third of all migrants left their homes in the provinces of Sevilla and Badajoz. This pioneer wave of migration settled first in the Caribbean but as explorers pushed the American frontier, the destination menu expanded to include what would become the pillars of the Spanish empire, Mexico and Peru. Moving forward, we will delve into the factors contributing to the formation and development of these networks over time.