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The Migration

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The migration of a homeless group to a new home. There are many motives: they may be refugees running from the light of their burning homes, they may wish to escape a wicked or unjust land and start anew. They may be migrating for profit.

This theme can be the basis of an Epic.

If done in space the heroes can become Space Cossacks in the process.

May overlap with Fighting for a Homeland, Invading Refugees, or The Quest. May lead to Settling the Frontier.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Bush Baby: Played straight and inverted. When Britain colonized Kenya, it sent many English families (like Jackie's) over to the country to take up important government jobs. After Kenya gained it's independence, they were ordered to go back.
  • Lucy-May of the Southern Rainbow is set in the 1800s and focuses on an English family that move to Australia in search of a better life. They're not the only English immigrants there - one of them happens to be Mr. Pettywell, their Arch-Enemy.
  • Space Battleship Yamato: The original reason for rebuilding the Yamato as a spaceship was something like this, but when they learned that there was technology on Iscandar that could cleanse the earth of radiation poisoning they quickly changed the mission. some of the crew try to colonize Iscandar anyway though. In the 3rd series, they are in fact sent on a mission to find a new planet for people to migrate to, and fail, but end up saving Earth again.
  • Macross Frontier follows several Generation Ships, including the titular Frontier, as they explore the galaxy to find new places for humanity and Zentradi to inhabit after the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross saw much of the Earth devastated. Earth itself isn't abandoned by any means, but nobody wants humankind restricted to just one planet anymore... not after the Zentraedi War very nearly lead to humanity's extinction.

    Film — Animation 
  • Ice Age opens with Scrat being stomped by the animals migrating south to avoid the ice age. The first sequel largely focuses on the animals migrating across the large valley where they live to find a massive ark in which to survive a massive flood caused by an ice dam bursting.
  • An American Tail has the Mousekewitz family moving to America after their Russian village is destroyed in a pogrom.
  • The Land Before Time: The first movie centers on a small group of young dinosaurs, shortly after the end of the age of the dinosaurs, crossing bleak wastelands to reach the still-fertile Great Valley.
  • Dinosaur: The movie follows Aladar and his adopted lemur family joining a massive herd of dinosaurs, survivors of the K-T event, crossing empty wastelands to reach the Nesting Grounds, the only fertile region left.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Emigrants (1971) and The New Land (1972) tell the saga of emigrants from Sweden who become immigrants and settlers in Minnesota in the 19th century.

  • Known Space: When Beowulf Shaeffer came back from the Core with the news that it had destroyed itself in a chain reaction of supernovas and that a wave of radiation was coming that would sterilize the galaxy, the Puppeteers packed up their entire civilization, secret homeworld included, and ran. The packing up was done within a month, and the exodus is ongoing by the time of the Ringworld cycle — they are aiming for the globular clusters or the Magellanic Clouds, where the deadly wave will not reach. That the doom isn't forecast for another twenty thousand years is immaterial to them; there's nothing to be gained by waiting around.
  • Watership Down: The main focus of the plot is the migration of a tribe of rabbits fleeing from the destruction of their home warren towards the safety of the titular Watership Down. The journey itself spans about five miles, which to rabbits is a very long and dangerous distance indeed.
  • Warrior Cats
    • Warriors had this as the plot of the second series, after the original forest was destroyed to make way for a road, forcing the Clans to undergo an exodus across unknown lands (mostly some farmland and a smallish city. To cats, that's a long way) and a mountain range, towards a destination whose location or nature they're not even sure of.
    • The cats in the prequel series, Warrior Cats: Dawn of the Clans, also undertake an exodus of their own, heading from the mountainous home of what would become the Tribe of Rushing Water after it became clear there wasn't enough food to support every cat there. Following the rising sun, they eventually settled in a forest in the plains, mingling with the local cats to become the four (five, back then) Clans.
    • Before that, the Ancients, cats who lived around the lake before the Clans did, left their home for the mountains, fleeing Twoleg activity at their old home, eventually forming the Tribe of Rushing Water... from whom would descend the Clans, who eventually settled the lake again, bringing the migrations full circle.
  • Happens several times in the Tolkien legendarium, too. First some of the elves migrated to Valinor, then some of them migrated back. Then some men migrated to NĂºmenor, then some of their descendants migrated back. Then Hobbits migrated to the Shire... there are probably others.
  • The Aeneid follows Aeneas of Troy and several of his followers fleeing the sack of their city by the Greeks, eventually reaching Italy by way of Carthage, where they would become the ancestors of the Romans.
  • The Bible: specifically, the Book of Exodus which recounts the Hebrews' 40-year journey on foot from Egypt through the desert to the land of Canaan / modern-day Israel.
  • The Cold Moons by Aeron Clement is about a huge sett of badgers running away from humans that are trying to exterminate them. It's based on the European badger exterminations of the 1970s and 1980s.
  • In Firesong, the third book in the Wind on Fire trilogy, the Manth tribe, after the destruction of their city, travel across the continent to find a new homeland their prophet has seen.
  • In Katharine Kerr's Deverry series, the humans migrated to the world of Annwn after being chased out of their homeland by the "cursed Rhwmanes". This ultimately caused the decimation of the Elven people.
  • In It Can't Happen Here, American refugees have been steadily pouring into Canada to escape the Windrip regime. After escaping from the Trianon camp, Doremus himself makes the trek to Canada and lives there as a refugee for a time.
  • Vilhelm Moberg's The Emigrants series follows a group of poor farmers who migrate from the same Swedish village to settle in Minnesota, trying to escape forces varying from religious persecution to sexual exploitation to poverty so severe that one family's child starves to death.note 
  • In Truckers, the first volume of the Nomes Trilogy, the Store Nomes have to leave the Store because it's being demolished. Since they've long forgotten anything exists outside the store (they've been there for nearly a century, and their generations are about ten years) this is a problem.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Four centuries ago, the Targaryens left Valyria for Dragonstone because of a vision that the land would fall in a cataclysm. This would prove true with the Doom of Valyria, leaving them as the last of the dragonlords. A century later, the Targaryens invaded the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and become their overlords.
    • Most of the people in Westeros are in fact descendants of migrants from Essos. The First Men, Andals, and Rhoynar all left Essos for various reasons. Before the Targaryens, there were already Valyrian settlers on Westeros (e.g. House Velaryon), although they were not dragonlords.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power:
    • The Harfoots spend a good part of the plot migrating from Rhovanion to the Grove, an orchard somewhere in the east.
    • Now left without a home, the surviving Southlanders decide to migrate to an old Numenorian colony sited by the mouth of Anduin, Pelargir, and start from zero again.
  • The fifth season of The Walking Dead features the main cast's desperate trek to Washington, D.C. in hopes of finding shelter and supplies at what they believe to be their best option.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Traveller has a lot of these too. The Sword Worlds were the migration of soldiers from a previous regime on Terra who were stranded by their government's overthrow. The best sample campaign in the Gurps Traveller series, 100 Parsecs, is about a project for preserving the Sword Worlder way of life on a distant world. Aslan are always doing this as well.
    • This is in some ways the second hat of the Aslan (the first is Proud Warrior Race). Aslan have a biological obsession with land and it is one of the main basis' for status. They regularly send out what they call Ihaiti fleets of colonists who settle on planets. Sometimes they do so by force and at other times they make a treaty with locals who have land to share. A classic treaty of this kind involves military service for land.
  • During the fall of the Star League in the backstory of BattleTech; the Star League Defense Forces left (along with their families and anyone else who wanted to go) known space to prevent their weapons and soldiers from being used against the citizens of the Inner Sphere by the warring Great Houses. Their descendants, after a bit of a cultural shift, eventually migrated back with the objective to end the still ongoing wars through force.

    Video Games 
  • Homeworld. It's All There in the Manual, but the planet of Kharak was becoming less and less hospitable to Kushan life, and one of the Mothership's objectives was to find somewhere more viable in the long-term. The Taiidani Imperium rendered this somewhat academic.
  • The Quarian Migrant Fleet in Mass Effect. The Quarians were forced off their homeworld by the Geth, and ever since have been wandering the galaxy searching for either a way to take their homeworld back, or finding a new planet to settle on (which the Council keeps denying them out of prejudice for having created the Geth).
  • In Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, Zoombini Isle has been taken over by the evil Bloats, so the Zoombinis — under the player's control — travel through a strange continent to find somewhere to settle.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, the Dunmer (Dark Elves), formerly the Chimer, have done this twice in their people's history. To note:
    • Originally, as the Chimer, they were led to Morrowind in a mass migration from the Summerset Isles by the prophet Veloth. They left to pursue the opportunity to worship the "Good" Daedra and their ancestors, as opposed to the Aedra worship of the Altmer (High Elves).
    • Following the events of the Red Year, the Dunmer people were forced to flee Morrowind. Many poured into Solstheim, which by the 4th Era wasn't much more than a frozen rock and site of a failed Imperial mining colony. Others fled to mainland Skyrim, settling in the poorer areas of eastern Skyrim where they are treated as little better than second class citizens to the native Nords.

    Web Original 
  • On the Dream SMP, Snowchester was founded by refugees who fled north after the final destruction of L'Manberg in the Doomsday War and is led by its former president, Tubbo.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, when the demons conquer Vanna, the capital of the Sultanate of Karaganda, the surviving Sarquil who have lived in the desert for generations are driven into exile.

    Real Life 
  • Migration is a recurring theme in human history, as peoples were forced to leave their homes for whichever reason — changing climates making their homelands to cold or dry to live in, war and conquest forcing them away, opportunities arising elsewhere, etc. — migrating in large numbers to new lands, sometimes integrating peacefully, sometimes not.
  • Sometimes disturbances in the steppe lands would cause a billiard ball-like effect where one tribe would migrate to another's territory that would then migrate to someone else's and so on. The most notable example is The Migration Period which resulted in everyone west of the Huns (I.E. the entire Northern Eurasia) being pushed into the Roman Empire's territory.