The Cornish diaspora (Cornish people who emigrated from Cornwall) are spread all around the world. The countries with the largest Cornish diaspora are, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, South Africa and the Samoas.
Cornish migrants were known as ‘Cousin Jacks’ and most emigrated for economic reasons, to find a better life for themselves and their families when the tin and copper mining industries declined in the 19th C. Their mining skills were invaluable in the countries they migrated to, and the Cornish miners helped to grow the economies of these places.
As well as miners, Cornish migrants included farmers, fishermen, tradesmen, sailors and merchants all taking their skills and the Cornish culture with them to their new home.
The Cornish were mostly Methodists, and they constructed chapels across the world spreading their religion in their new homelands. Rugby union was a popular game with Cornish miners, and they brought the game to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa where it is still immensely popular today. They were also the first to bring the game of football to Mexico. Cornish pasties and saffron cakes were something else that the Cornish introduced to the countries that they settled in; in Mexico where most of the Cornish migrants were from the mining areas of Camborne and Redruth the world’s first Cornish pasty museum opened in 2011.
And across the world there are Cornish Societies and Associations that celebrate all things Cornish, including St Piran’s Day on March 5th.
If your ancestors were from Cornwall or your family once lived in the UK you might like to visit a village or town with which you have a personal connection, maybe do some further research in tracing family members too.
Specialising in tours of Cornwall for groups large and small we can create a personal and bespoke itinerary. Let us design a customised tour for you.