01 January 2017

New Map: German Settlements in Russia by Founding Year

Happy New Year!

One of the things that interested me in the Germans from Russia Settlement Locations project was the stories that the maps would tell. The more data collected, the more stories would emerge.  

Our new map organizes colonies by founding year. Not all of the colonies have documented founding years.  In fact, only about 45% of those we've found so far have a year associated with their settlements. And sometimes the colony was founded years before there were actual people inhabiting the colony. The 1,003 colonies in Volhynia have the fewest dates available most likely because how they came to settle in Russia was very different than how those colonies established in the Volga and Black Sea areas did.  They did not come at the invitation of Catherine the Great but were invited by wealthy land owners, which may have meant less official documentation of settlements.  We're still lucky to have a few dates to show how early some of those colonies were settled.

This map does not contain all of the colonies, just those with founding dates.  It can still be searched, but this one I find more entertaining just scrolling around and having a look at the shades of green. The lighter the shade, the earlier the settlement date.

It may not surprise you how many colonies were settled so early in the Volga area, dotting the east bank of the Volga River, but it may surprise you how many colonies were founded after the Russian Revolution and World War I.  The latest year we have thus far is 1934 for the defunct villages of Neu Brienne in Bessarabia, which was occupied by Romania at the time of its founding.

Enjoy the new map and the new year!

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