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For other uses, see Settler (disambiguation).
A modern (1850) depiction of the first medieval settlers arriving in Iceland

A settler is a person who has migrated to an area and established permanent residence there, often to colonize the area. Settlers are generally from a sedentary culture, and will be opposed or compared to nomads who share and rotate their settlements with little or no concept of individual land ownership

Historical usage[edit]

Chilean settlers in Baker River, 1935.

Studying throughout history, one can witness how settlers very often occupied land previously home to long-established peoples, designated as indigenous (also called "natives", "Aborigines" or, in the Americas, "Indians"). In some cases (such as Australia), as colonialist mentalities and laws change, the legal ownership of some lands is contested by indigenous people, who either claim or seek restoration of traditional usage, land rights, native title and related forms of legal ownership or partial control.

The word "settler" was not originally usually used in relation to unfree labour immigrants, such as slaves (e.g. in the United States), indentured labourers (such as in Colonial America),[1] or convicts (such as in British America, c. 1615–1775; Australia 1788-1868). More recently descendants of these immigrants may argue that they have as much right to use the word "settler" as the descendants of free immigrants.

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.[2] In United States history it refers to those people who helped to settle new lands.

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 camp site.

A family of Russian settlers in the Caucasus region, circa 1910

In Imperial Russia, the government invited Russians or foreign nationals to settle in sparsely populated lands.[3] These settlers were called "colonists".<-- article due --> See, e.g., articles Slavo-Serbia, Volga German, Volhynia, Russians in Kazakhstan.

Although they are often thought of 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.

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).[4]

Modern usage[edit]

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

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

Other usages[edit]

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), political oppression, and government incentive policies aimed at encouraging foreign settlement.

The colony concerned is sometimes controlled by the government of a settler's home country, and emigration is sometimes approved by an imperial government.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Indentured Servitude in Colonial America
  2. ^ [1] Online Etymological Dictionary
  3. ^ Robert Greenall, Russians left behind in Central Asia, BBC News, 23 November 2005.
  4. ^ Prehistoric Sources Technical Study, prepared for the city of Monterey by Bainbridge Behrens Moore Inc., May 23, 1977

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Settler — Please support Wikipedia.
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4124 news items

The Courier

The Courier
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 09:30:00 -0700

Bruce Ogilvie from Montrose admits he helped set up Settler Watch in the 1990s. But he said it was others who “jumped on” the organisation, which allegedly intimidated families who moved to Scotland through verbal attacks, anti-English leaflets and ...

International Middle East Media Center

International Middle East Media Center
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 04:26:15 -0700

WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency has reported that Mohammad Awad, spokesperson for the anti-settlement committee in the village, said that the settler, who was driving a bus, deliberately ran over Montaser Harub, age 25, from the nearby village of ...
Grocott's Mail Online
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:30:00 -0700

The trials and tribulations of being a settler in Albany in the 1800s are very much the focus of the current catalogue of Grahamstown African dealer Ian Balchin. Old books they may be, but they clearly make for juicy reading. "Starting his journal on ...


Sat, 09 Aug 2014 05:21:43 -0700

Like indigenous peoples worldwide, Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations face harsh social disparities in their own homelands - greater underrepresentation than any other ethnic group in higher education, coupled with greatest ...


Fri, 22 Aug 2014 06:57:32 -0700

Settler colonialism is more complicated and seemingly benign. Many First Nations people can be mistaken for white people, so it isn't bigotry based on pigment. It's a deep-seated distrust of First Nations people and our communal land tenure, our treaty ...
Lehigh Acres News Star
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 21:12:45 -0700

Capt. Manuel A. Gonzalez (Photo: Hanson Family Archives). 94 CONNECTTWEETLINKEDIN 1 COMMENTEMAILMORE. Donald Gonzalez, the last living grandchild of Fort Myers' first settler, died last week in Daytona Beach at 82. A veteran of the U.S. Army, ...
The Hindu
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:52:30 -0700

The State government has decided to implement a liberal title deeds package exclusively for settler farmers in Idukki which will provide them with the right to own up to four acres of land with the right of immediate transfer. Cut-off date. Making the ...


Thu, 07 Aug 2014 04:59:49 -0700

A settler against the occupation. Alongside Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority there was one more crucial player in - and trigger for - the Gaza conflict: Israel's West Bank settlements. By Amir Hetsroni | Aug. 7, 2014 | 3:49 PM ...

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