The U.S. Consulate General Hamburg, the Mecklenburg Foundation, and the Historical Commission for Mecklenburg are going to hold a conference on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mecklenburg and the United States of America.
Venue: Schleswig-Holstein-Haus, Schliemannstraße 2, 19055 Schwerin, Germany
On 16 January 1816, shortly after the Napoleonic Wars, U.S. President James Madison appointed the merchant John M. Forbes as the first U.S. Consul to Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Although he was also responsible for Denmark as well as the Prussian ports of Stralsund and Stettin, and had his official residence in Copenhagen, his appointment marks the beginning of the diplomatic relations between Mecklenburg-Schwerin and the United States of America. In addition, a U.S. Vice-Consulate was founded in Rostock in 1839. In return, the Grand Duchy opened twelve Consulates in total between 1823 and 1865. Mecklenburg-Strelitz trailed these developments only as of 1853.
In the 19th century the relations between the two Mecklenburg duchies and the United States were mainly shaped by trade and emigration. Between 1860 and 1914 alone about 200,000 people emigrated from Mecklenburg to the U.S.—this is equivalent to today’s population of Rostock. The first Mecklenburg citizens have probably reached the American colonies already in the 16th century. In 1762 emigrants from this region founded Mecklenburg County in North Carolina. The famous “Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence” from 20 May 1775 that was written there was the first Declaration of Independence in the American colonies.
In the first half of the 20th century the diplomatic relations were interrupted during the two World Wars, and then also during the Cold War. Nonetheless, direct relations between Mecklenburg and the United States existed during the GDR’s time, mainly in the scientific area. One example is the student and scholar exchange between the Wilhelm Pieck University of Rostock and Brown University in Providence, RI.
After German reunification the new state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania became part of U.S. Embassy Berlin’s, and in 1999 of U.S. Consulate General Hamburg’s consular district. Nowadays economic and trade relations have priority, but also cultural exchange and the political dialogue.
On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mecklenburg and the United States of America the U.S. Consulate General Hamburg, the Mecklenburg Foundation, and the Historical Commission for Mecklenburg are going to hold a historical conference in order to appreciate the multi-faceted relations between Mecklenburg and the United States. The conference aims to both explore and connect the fields of research on the Mecklenburg-American relations, focusing on the following topics:
- Politics and Diplomacy
- Economy and Trade
Please send proposals for contributions (exposé of 1/2 to max. 2 pages) related to these topics and a brief curriculum vitae until 30 November 2015 to:
Dr. Wolf Karge, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please respect a time limit of 20 minutes for all presentations. Selected contributions are planned to be published in conference proceedings.
Dr. Heiko Herold
U.S. Consulate General
20354 Hamburg, Germany