Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Vincent N. Parrillo
Nearly 16 million strong, Italian Americans are often identified with the tide of poor immigrants who arrived in the early 20th century and built cohesive communities in large cities. Italians, however, were coming to this continent before the United States existed as an independent nation: among them, explorers, artists, and educators. This entry explores the full range of the Italian presence in the United States, with a particular focus on how the immigrant community related to the mainstream culture during more than a century. The presence of Italians in what would become the United States begins with explorers and adventurers who journeyed here almost 5 centuries before Italy itself united and became a modern nation. Included among them were such important early explorers as Cristoforo Colombo (Columbus), Giovanni Cabotto (John Cabot), Amerigo Vespucci, and Giovanni de Verrazano, all of whom explored and charted the new land. Enrico de Tonti, together ...