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Lebanese and Syrians emigrated from the Middle East to the United States in large numbers during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Over one quarter of all Lebanese and Syrian immigrants settled on the Great Plains and in the Midwest, contrary to the widely accepted claim of the Northeastern United States being the predominant ethnic enclave. The story of the Hach family’s emigration from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon personifies the motifs of Lebanese and Syrian immigration, while providing a context that is frequently lost to historical reductionism. This paper addresses an understudied and essential historical time period of immigration to the United States. Although there is an ever-growing body of research regarding the settlement of Middle Easterners in the United States, much of the literature neglects the role of Lebanese and Syrians, especially their settlement on the Great Plains and throughout the Midwest. I substantiate the following argument with archival evidence, interviews, analysis of primary sources, field work, and cross analysis of secondary sources. I argue that Arab settlement in North Dakota was driven by opportunity and stability, creating a successful environment for acculturation and the establishment of ethnic enclaves. The story of the Hach family in North Dakota captures the themes of Arab immigration and settlement while also providing a case study.

First Advisor

Molly Rozum

Research Area

English, History