© Heinz Schoon 2017
Russian Colonization
Russia had already pursued a policy of colonization during the time of the Tsar "Peter the Great". His aim was to attract experts in various professions in order to modernise his country's economy and promote its performance. It was Catherine II. who first pursued rural settlement policy. It wanted to populate the sparsely populated areas in the Volga region and in New Russia. She promised the settlers privileges to lure them to Russia. About 25,000 people moved to the areas to be populated. However, this settlement policy was ill-prepared. This decimated the settlers. Tsar Paul I., Catherine's son, already initiated a completely new settlement policy. It was important for him that the promised help also reached the settlers. His son, Tsar Alexander I., continued his father's settlement policy. He fundamentally revised Katharina's method of recruiting settlers with "empty" promises in order to attract as many settlers as possible. He wanted targeted immigrants who met certain requirements. Not the number was important, but the qualification. The colonists should apply. (see "The Travel"). They were not allowed to leave any debts and had to prove assets in money or goods of at least 300 guilders. Families were preferred. Single or childless couples had little chance. The settlement of Bessarabia focused on agricultural interests. The settlers were to cultivate the land and generate income. In order to really leave home, farm and family, however, some far-reaching privileges were still needed. The settlers were granted the following rights: 1) Freedom of worship 2) Exemption from military service 3) Local self-government 4) German at school and church 5) Financial start-up assistance 6) 30 years tax exemption 7) Allocation of approx. 65 hectares (150 acres) of land for each family Especially for the Chiliasts, religious freedom was a great incentive to emigrate to Russia. However, this special status for colonists was revoked as early as 1874 by Tsar Alexander II (the nephew of Alexander I.). Russian became the official and school language and military service was reintroduced. The loss of these privileges led to a large number of emigrations of the Bessarabian Germans to North and South America. Above all the liberation from military service was a great asset to the German settlers. Before emigration, many young men were drafted for war by King Friedrich I..
© Heinz Schoon 2017
Russian Colonization
Russia had already pursued a policy of colonization during the time of the Tsar "Peter the Great". His aim was to attract experts in various professions in order to modernise his country's economy and promote its performance. It was Catherine II. who first pursued rural settlement policy. It wanted to populate the sparsely populated areas in the Volga region and in New Russia. She promised the settlers privileges to lure them to Russia. About 25,000 people moved to the areas to be populated. However, this settlement policy was ill-prepared. This decimated the settlers. Tsar Paul I., Catherine's son, already initiated a completely new settlement policy. It was important for him that the promised help also reached the settlers. His son, Tsar Alexander I., continued his father's settlement policy. He fundamentally revised Katharina's method of recruiting settlers with "empty" promises in order to attract as many settlers as possible. He wanted targeted immigrants who met certain requirements. Not the number was important, but the qualification. The colonists should apply. (see "The Travel"). They were not allowed to leave any debts and had to prove assets in money or goods of at least 300 guilders. Families were preferred. Single or childless couples had little chance. The settlement of Bessarabia focused on agricultural interests. The settlers were to cultivate the land and generate income. In order to really leave home, farm and family, however, some far-reaching privileges were still needed. The settlers were granted the following rights: 1) Freedom of worship 2) Exemption from military service 3) Local self-government 4) German at school and church 5) Financial start-up assistance 6) 30 years tax exemption 7) Allocation of approx. 65 hectares (150 acres) of land for each family Especially for the Chiliasts, religious freedom was a great incentive to emigrate to Russia. However, this special status for colonists was revoked as early as 1874 by Tsar Alexander II (the nephew of Alexander I.). Russian became the official and school language and military service was reintroduced. The loss of these privileges led to a large number of emigrations of the Bessarabian Germans to North and South America. Above all the liberation from military service was a great asset to the German settlers. Before emigration, many young men were drafted for war by King Friedrich I..