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Last Updated: Tuesday October 03 2006 09:40 GMT

Who are the Amish people?

Amish people farming

Amish is a word used to describe a large group of people who live across America in a particular way.

About 200,000 Amish people live in more than 20 states in the US and in the Canadian province of Ontario.

The first Amish people began living in the US in around 1720. They still live in the same way they did hundreds of years ago.

How do Amish people live?

  • They tend to live in their own villages and do not mix very much with people who are not Amish
  • They do not use much modern technology and many houses don't have electricity or telephones
  • Children don't have TVs, games consoles, radios or mobile phones
  • Children only go to school until they are 13 or 14. Then they start work
  • Instead of cars they use carriages pulled by horses to get around
  • They all wear similar clothes. Shirts, trousers and straw hats for men and boys, long skirts or dresses and headscarves for women and girls

Life has got more difficult for Amish people in recent years as they struggle to live with modern laws.

Amish children normally start work at quite an early age but modern laws don't allow this.

It is not unusual for people in Amish communities to own guns for hunting but until now there have been very few problems with gun violence.

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