It may surprise you to learn that Greeks do not refer to themselves as “Greeks.” So, exactly What Are Greek Americans Called? Since colonial times, Greeks have immigrated to the United States as sailors, explorers, cotton merchants, and students; nevertheless, it wasn’t until the 1890s that they did in sufficient numbers to create permanent colonies.

Don Teodoro or Theodoros, a sailor and ship caulker serving aboard the expedition of the Spanish explorer Pánfilo de Narváez, anchored off what is now Pensacola, Florida, in 1528, was the first documented Greek to set foot on U.S. soil. Don Theodoro, who offered himself as a hostage to obtain fresh water, never returned to the ship and was presumed to have been killed by the natives. Read on to learn what Greek Americans call themselves and why then visit our website to learn more about Greek culture.

What Are Greeks?

Greek immigrants in the USA instead refer to themselves as “v,” or Hellenes. The word “Greek” derives from the Latin “Graeci” and, through Roman influence, has become the common root of the word in most languages denoting Greek people and culture. However, in English, both “Greek” and “Hellenic” are used. Most English speakers today mean “Greek” to mean the people and culture of Greece.

What exactly is Hellenism?

“Hellenism”, however, is something bigger. Hellenic language, culture, and morals have had a tremendous impact on the world since antiquity. Non-Hellenic people have acquired and assimilated Hellenic values and aesthetics throughout history. Through this interaction, Hellenic culture has transformed not only other cultures but also itself. This connection is Hellenism. Hellenism embraces new ideas and beauty and truth wherever they are found. Hellenism has its origins in the history of the Greek people, but it transcends Greek culture. It is part of the common heritage of humanity.

Americanization 1920–1960

Hellenism in America changed in the 1920s. The U.S. reduced immigration laws and quotas and began a huge push to “Americanize” and assimilate millions of Eastern and Southeastern European immigrants from the previous two decades.

Greeks liked integration. AHEPA’s main goal was to help Greeks adjust to American culture. After Archbishop Athenagoras’s 1930 installation, groups like GAPA and the Archdiocese strove to balance Americanization and Greek identity. During the 1929’s financial crisis, other groups also helped the Greeks.

Greek Americans supported Greece during the 1940 Greek-Italian War, and Americans liked the Greeks. The second generation of Greek Americans came of age in the 1950s, advancing socially and integrating the Diaspora into American society.

Reviving Ethnicity 1960–1980

Starting in the 1960s, ethnic groups’ cultural roots and customs, particularly Greek Americans’, were widely recognized. At the same time, America’s radicalism and reflection helped the new generation of Greeks abroad, particularly women, break away from patriarchal Greek-American family structures.

After World War II, Hellenism became stronger as more immigrants arrived, and Greek Americans’ reputation boosted their pride in their history. Elia Kazan, Maria Callas, Dimitri Mitropoulos, and George Papanikolaou were famous Greeks. Immigration created a “Greek town” in Astoria from 1960 to 1974.

Hellenic Nationalism

The Journey Greek American Dream team wants to disseminate the tale of Greek Americans as chapters that continue the ancient history of Hellenism. These are tales of transformation. These are tales of ancient principles and contemporary developments. Hellenism exists in each of us now, regardless of whether we have Greek ancestry. Contact us on our website for additional Greek information and to inquire if There Are Any Greek American Museums.

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