Wednesday, December 14, 2011

9 Interesting Ethnic Enclaves From Around the World

Ethnic enclaves are portions of a city or state that are predominately made up of one ethnic group. The residents of these enclaves often seem to live separately from the surrounding community. Yet, they are still a part of the surrounding societies.

1. Largest Japantown in the World - Liberdade, Brasil
photo source
Liberdade is the name of a district in the subprefecture in São Paulo, Brazil. It is home to the largest Japanese community (more than 60.000 peoples) outside of Japan in the world and has been growing since the 1950s. Liberdade is São Paulo's own equivalent of Japantown in the USA. Significant populations of Chinese and Koreans also live in the district of Liberdade.

2. Largest Chinatown in the World - San Farncisco, USA
photo source
As the largest Chinatown outside Asia, it is arguably the most important center of Chinese culture outside of China. Established in the 1850s in the midst of the California Gold Rush, it now has an area of around 1.65 sq mi (4,3 sq km), with an estimated population of some 200,000 - many of whom are not listed in official statistics. Despite the shabby treatment from the U.S. government in the 19th century, the Chinese population continued to grow. There has been an upturn in the local economy, as Chinatown has become a massive tourist attraction.

3. Little India, Singapore
photo source
Little India is, as the name promises, the center for the large Indian community in Singapore. While a rather sanitized version of the real thing, Little India retains its distinct identity without degenerating into a mere tourist attraction and is one of the most colorful and attractive places to visit in Singapore. Most of inhabitants originally came from southeastern Indian state of Tamil-Nadu & Ceylon. Most are Hindu but there are also many Indian Muslims.

4. Little Havana - Miami, USA
photo source
Little Havana is a neighborhood of Miami, Florida, United States. Home to many Cuban immigrant residents, Little Havana is named after Havana, the capital and largest city in Cuba. A vibrant Hispanic culture permeates everything in Little Havana - colorful murals, monuments to heroes past and present, elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, and cigar rollers deeply at work amidst Little Havana’s ever-present aroma of Cuban coffee. These scenes of daily Little Havana, Miami life play out amidst a backdrop of Little Havana’s pulsating music, vibrant storefronts, unique art galleries and quaint restaurants.

5. Greektown - Toronto, Canada
 "Taste of the Danforth" festival photo source
Greektown, Toronto, also known as The Danforth, is a neighbourhood and Business Improvement Area (BIA) of the city of Toronto, in Ontario. It is located  in east Toronto. The area was one of the major settlement areas of early Greek immigrants to Toronto. In the 1970s and 1980s this region was considered to be the largest Greektown in North America. The annual "Taste of the Danforth" is a large food festival held 3 days in early August. Since 1994, the city of Toronto has closed Danforth Avenue to vehicular traffic for the August weekend Taste of The Danforth food and music festival which in 2008 attracted over 1 million visitors. The 2009 festival takes place from August 7 through 9.

6. Aboriginal Enclave, Sidney
Redfern  photo source
Redfern-Waterloo is probably Australia’s most famous Indigenous meeting place. It’s home to an incredible mix of Indigenous people - some born there, some from other New South Wales regions, some from all over Australia. It is also a place filled with symbolism. In many ways, Redfern-Waterloo’s history tells the story of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia’s changing relationship.  It is a hub for many successful Indigenous community organisations, businesses and institutions all with a common goal to revitalise the area and the community.

7. Largest Chinatown in Africa - Cyrildene, Johannesburg
Chinese New Year -  Cyrildene, Johannesburg  photo source
There are three noteworthy Chinatowns in Africa located in the coastal African nations of Madagascar, Mauritius, and South Africa. South Africa has the largest Chinatown and the largest Chinese population of any African country and remains a popular destination for Chinese immigrants coming to Africa. The Chinatown on Derrick Avenue in Cyrildene, Johannesburg is South Africa's largest Chinatown. Up until the early to mid 2000s Cyrildene was a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood. Unlike the old and now largely abandoned Chinatown in Newtown (suburb of Johannesburg) which was largely made up of second or third generation South African Chinese, the inhabitants of the Chinatown in Cyrildene are overwhelmingly first generation Chinese immigrants from mainland China.

8. Polish Enclave In Inverness, Scotland
photo source
Located in Northern Scotland, Inverness is a relatively isolated city. Despite this, it is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. A large part of this boom is down to the massive growth of the Polish community, which now accounts for some 10% of the population, so that even taxi drivers can now take their license exams in Polish. There has also been a move toward allowing the Polish community the right to vote in local elections, indicating that they are having an ever more influential part to play in the future of the city.

9. Largest Icelandic Enclave in the World - Gimli, Canada
Gimli - aerial view  photo source
Gimli is a rural municipality located in the Interlake region of south-central Manitoba, Canada, on the western shore of Lake Winnipeg. It is about 75 kilometres (47 mi) north of the provincial capital Winnipeg. The rural municipality's population in the 2006 Canada census was 5,797. The town and surrounding districts were once an Icelandic ethnic block settlement, and the area, known as New Iceland, is home to the largest concentration of people of Icelandic ancestry outside Iceland.
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  1. very unique article indeed! I knew most of these and cloudless except the Icelandic one in Canada. Really?!

    Another crazy thing I learned when I visited Iceland, by the way, is that there was a rather significant population of Spanish-speaking people (Reykjavík). Then I learned that groups of Spaniards come to Iceland to do internships and the like constantly. So walking down the street you would randomly hear Spanish. Cool huh? =)

    - Maria Alexandra

  2. spelled Sydney wrong...


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