A History of the Estonian Community in North America
Although Estonians have emigrated all around the world, North America has been the recipient of an extremely large percentage of the people. North America is the site the single largest Estonian community abroad. More Estonians and people of Estonian decent live in Toronto, Ontario than in any other city in the world, outside of Estonia itself.
Estonians have been coming to North America ever since the early colonial days when Sweden planted its first colony at the mouth of the Delaware river in what is today Wilmington, Delaware. Following the colonial era, Estonian North Americans were part of everything from westward expansion to the First and Second World Wars. As a result of the Soviet takeover of their homeland in 1940, the largest group of immigrants came as refugees following World War II. The Soviet regime prevented further migration until the reestablishment of independence in 1991. However, during those two generations the North American Estonian community established itself as a thriving, diverse and integral part of the ethnic landscape of the continent.