Definition: Amish
Conservative Anabaptist sect led by Jakob Amman that separated from the Mennonites in Switzerland around 1693. The development of more liberal sects occurred after many Amish migrated to the United States, particularly in the 1870s.
Fast Facts on Amish
Adherents 350,000
History Originated in Switzerland with the strict teachings of Jakob Amman, which led to a split from other Mennonites in 1693.
Beliefs Same as most Protestant denominations
Practices Communion twice a year; foot washing; separation from the world; speak German and Pennsylvania Dutch; no electricity; plain clothes like 17th-century European peasants; "Running Around" before baptism at age 17-20; shunning

The Amish (also known as Amish Mennonites) are members of an Anabaptist Christian denomination who are known for their separation from society, rejection of most modern technology, and conservative dress.

Led by Jakob Amman, the Amish separated from the Mennonites in Switzerland around 1693. Less conservative sects were established by Amish immigrants to the United States; today, only the Old Order Amish (founded 1720-40) still maintain Amman's strict customs and policy of non-cooperation with society and government.

There are about 200,000 Old Order Amish living in more than 200 settlements in the United States and Canada; the largest communities are in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas; others exist in Wisconsin, Missouri, and Minnesota.

It is common for the Amish to live rurally, where there is land to farm, and to live near other Amish, which enables them to support each other's lifestyle and establish a local congregation of people with similar values.

Amish beliefs are similar to other Protestants; it is their way of life that primarily differentiates them from other Christian denominations.