North America

Authored by: Robert H. Stockman

The World of the Bahá'í Faith

Print publication date:  December  2021
Online publication date:  December  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138367722
eBook ISBN: 9780429027772
Adobe ISBN:


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The Bahá’í Faith reached North America in 1894, when a Lebanese Bahá’í introduced it, and by 1900 there were some 1,500 Bahá’ís in 25 states and one Canadian province. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited from April to December 1912, laid the cornerstone of the Bahá’í temple outside Chicago, and greatly strengthened the community. In 1916–17 He conveyed to the North American Bahá’ís a central responsibility to spread the Faith to the entire world. Shoghi Effendi gave them the first Seven Year Plan (1937–44) with goals to establish the Bahá’í Faith in every republic in Latin America, form at least one local Spiritual Assembly in every state in the United States and every province in Canada, and to complete the exterior of the Bahá’í House of Worship. The second Seven Year Plan (1946–53) called on the North American Bahá’ís to establish a national Spiritual Assembly in Canada, one for all of South America, and one for all of Central America and the Caribbean, goals that were achieved. The 1960s saw a huge expansion of the number of Bahá’ís, which has continued to grow, reaching 177,000 in the United States and 35,000 in Canada by 2021. The community has also expanded to include significant numbers of indigenous people, African Americans, Latinos, Southeast Asian immigrants, Iranian refugees, and French Canadians.

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