From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Settled)

A (1850) depiction of the first medieval settlers arriving in Iceland

A settler is a person who has immigrated to an area and established a permanent residence there.

A settler who migrates to an area previously uninhabited or sparsely inhabited may be described as a pioneer.

Settlers are generally thought of as people who travel to discover new land. Many times in history, it has not been like that. Most of the time in history, settlers are people who travel to a land that already belongs to someone else, forcing them out, and claiming the land as their own.

Settlers are generally from a sedentary culture, as opposed to nomadic peoples who may move settlements seasonally, within traditional territories. Settlement sometimes relies on dispossession of already established populations within the contested area, and can be a very violent process.[1] Sometimes settlers are backed by governments or large countries. Settlements can prevent native people from continuing their work.[2]

Historical usage[edit]

Chilean settlers in Baker River, Patagonia, 1935.

One can witness how settlers very often occupied land previously residents to long-established peoples, designated as Indigenous (also called "natives", "Aborigines" or, in the Americas, "Indians").

The process by which Indigenous territories are settled by foreign peoples is usually called settler colonialism.[3] It relies upon a process of often violent dispossession.[1]

In the figurative usage, a "person who goes first or does something first" also applies to the American English use of "pioneer" to refer to a settler – a person who has migrated to a less occupied area and established permanent residence there, often to colonize the area; as first recorded in English in 1605.[4] In United States history it refers to Europeans who were part of settling new lands on Indigenous territories.

In this usage, pioneers are usually among the first to an area, whereas settlers can arrive after first settlement and join others in the process of human settlement.[citation needed] This correlates with the work of military pioneers who were tasked with construction of camps before the main body of troops would arrive at the designated campsite.

A family of Russian settlers in the Caucasus region, c. 1910

In Imperial Russia, the government invited Russians or foreign nationals to settle in sparsely populated lands.[5] These settlers were called "colonists".[citation needed] See, e.g., articles Slavo-Serbia, Volga German, Volhynia, Russians in Kazakhstan.

Although they are often thought of[by whom?] as traveling by sea—the dominant form of travel in the early modern era—significant waves of settlement could also use long overland routes, such as the Great Trek by the Boer-Afrikaners in South Africa, or the Oregon Trail in the United States.[citation needed]

Anthropological usage[edit]

Anthropologists record tribal displacement of native settlers who drive another tribe from the lands it held, such as the settlement of lands in the area now called Carmel-by-the-Sea, California where Ohlone peoples settled in areas previously inhabited by the Esselen tribe (Bainbridge, 1977).[6]

Modern usage[edit]

Early North American settlers from Europe often built crude houses in the form of log cabins

In Canada, the term settler is currently used to describe "the non-Indigenous peoples living in Canada who form the European-descended sociopolitical majority," asserting that settler colonialism is an ongoing phenomenon. The usage is controversial.[7][8][9]

In the Middle East, there are a number of references to various squatter and specific policies referred as "settler". Among those:[citation needed]

Causes of emigration[edit]

The reasons for the emigration of settlers vary, but often they include the following factors and incentives: the desire to start a new and better life in a foreign land, personal financial hardship, social, cultural, ethnic, or religious persecution (e.g., the Pilgrims and Mormons), penal deportation (e.g. of convicted criminals from England to Australia), political oppression, and government incentive policies aimed at encouraging foreign settlement.[13][14][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wolfe, Patrick (December 2006). "Settler colonialism and the elimination of the native". Journal of Genocide Research. 8 (4): 387–409. doi:10.1080/14623520601056240. S2CID 143873621.
  2. ^ Olson, Pamela (2013). Fast Times in Palestine. Berkeley, California: Seal Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-1-580-05483-6.
  3. ^ LeFevre, Tate Etc.. "Settler Colonialism". Tate A. LeFevre. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  4. ^ [1] Online Etymological Dictionary
  5. ^ Greenall, Robert (23 November 2005). "Russians left behind in Central Asia". BBC News.
  6. ^ Prehistoric Sources Technical Study, prepared for the city of Monterey by Bainbridge Behrens Moore Inc., 23 May 1977[verification needed]
  7. ^ Denis, Jeffrey S. (February 2015). "Contact Theory in a Small-Town Settler-Colonial Context: The Reproduction of Laissez-Faire Racism in Indigenous-White Canadian Relations". American Sociological Review. 80 (1): 218–242. doi:10.1177/0003122414564998. S2CID 145609890.
  8. ^ Robson, John (Spring–Summer 2018). "The 'Settler' Nonsense". The Dorchester Review. 7 (2): 1–2.
  9. ^ "Introducing yourself as a 'settler' creates division". CBC. Retrieved 5 April 2024.
  10. ^ Beauchamp, Zack (20 November 2018). "What are settlements, and why are they such a big deal?". Vox. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  11. ^ "Israeli Settlements". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  12. ^ Stefanini, Sara (31 March 2016). "Best chance Cyprus has had for peace". Politico.
  13. ^ Olsen, Daniel H., and BRIAN J. Hill. "Pilgrimage and identity along the mormon trail." Religious pilgrimage routes and trails: sustainable development and management. Wallingford UK: CAB International, 2018. 234-246.
  14. ^ Lambright, Bri. "The Ainu, Meiji Era Politics, and Its Lasting Impacts: A Historical Analysis of Racialization, Colonization, and the Creation of State and Identity in Relation to Ainu-Japanese History." (2022).
  15. ^ King, Russell. Atlas of Human Migration