Most German Immigration to the United States occurred during the 19th century, but Germans began to arrive as early as the 1600’s, when the Germans helped English settlers find Jamestown, Virginia. In 1683, thirteen families of Germans who were seeking religious freedom arrived in Pennsylvania. This was led by Francis Daniel Pastorius.
Pastorius was a German born educator, poet, lawyer, and public official. He was the founder of Germantown, Pennsylvania and more. Penn had purchased forty three-thousand acres of land founded in Germantown, six miles north of Philadelphia.
He was the one to encourage the Germans to migrate to America. Pennsylvania had the largest settlement of Germans, the first German settler in English speaking colonies. Germantown is now Philadelphia. After Germantown was founded in 1683, the German immigration grew more rapidly.
By the mid-eighteenth century, Pennsylvania had approximately fifty-thousand German immigrants, making up forty percent of the colony’s entire population. Pennsylvania also became a base where the Germans were migrating to other colonies, including what is now West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the western regions of Virginia.