What is the term Diaspora referring to?

People sometimes hear the term Diaspora, and wonder what it means.  Did you know that this refers to a group of people that moved, or scattered, from their homeland to a new location, perhaps on another continent?  Read more for some examples.

Diaspora, derived from the Greek language, refers to a scattered population that left its original homeland. Often, this type of situation has been caused by historical mass dispersions that were involuntary in nature, such as the expulsion of Jews from Judea, or the fleeing of Greek populations after Constantinople fell.   However, the term now includes any populations that have been displaced, or have moved, from their original homeland.  This includes voluntary and involuntary migrations.

Examples:

  1. Ukrainians left Ukraine in large numbers in several waves, to pursue greater prosperity, and many settled in Canada.  These make up the Ukrainian Diaspora in Canada.
  2. Many Europeans re-settled in other countries during and after World War 2, particularly populations from Eastern Europe that fled the Soviet invasions of the time.
  3. In recent times, many Syrian refugees have been forced to flee their homeland, and are currently settling in many countries.  For example, Syrians that are settling in Germany would be considered Syrian Diaspora in Germany.