THE HISTORY OF LANCASTER COUNTY CULTURAL DIVERSITY
The County’s first inhabitants were indigenous people, and the native Indians identified themselves with the Conestoga tribe of the Iroquois nation. Among the first Europeans were the Swedes, French and Dutch trappers. By the late 17th century, the earliest settlers in significant numbers were the Scotch-Irish, followed by the English, Welsh, and Dutch Quakers. It was in early 1700’s when the Anabaptists, the Mennonites and Amish (from Switzerland and Germany), Moravians, Lutherans, etc. began to populate the area in significant numbers. African slaves and Jewish settlers were also numbered.
French Huguenots added their influence in the 18th and 19th century as well.
It wasn’t until after the mid-19th century that Lancaster County began to assimilate many more Germans and Irish. After the Civil War, Eastern Europeans, Middle Easterners and Italians came in larger numbers. The first two Greek immigrants arrived in Lancaster in 1896.
The major diversification of Lancaster County did not begin until after 1965, when a change in the immigration laws saw the influx of Asians, Africans and many more Eastern Europeans and Middle Easterners. All continents are now represented with perhaps Antarctica as an exception.