14 June 2017

Map Refresh: Dobrudscha

The map of the Dobrudscha (Dobruja) colonies has been completely updated. There is a lot of new information, including some corrections and sources.  In time, more of the defunct villages will be added.

According Die Deutschen in der Dobrudscha (see sources below for the online English translation), the area of Dobruja, which is now in Romania and Bulgaria, was an area to which Germans migrated rather than immigrated.  In other words, they had already left Germany behind a generation or two prior.  They came from South Russia, from the areas of  Bessarabia, Kherson, Jekaterinoslav and Taurida (all along the Black Sea region), but also from Russian Poland, Volhynia, Galizien, Bukovina and Hungary.

The earliest migrants arrived on their own around 1841.  During this first period of migrations, there wasn't any recruitment, official manifesto, government invitation, or assistance with re-location. Migrants sometimes just wandered or stayed in places for short periods before ending up in Dobrudscha.  Akpunar and Jacobsonsthal were the first colonies to have German settlers.  Akpunar only existed for about six years before being abandoned, and the Jacobsonsthal was technically outside the borders of what was historically known as Dobrudscha, northwest of Brăila.    

The second wave of migrants came between 1873 and 1883.  Russian Tsar Alexander II had revoked the manifestos of Catherine the Great and Alexander I in 1871, and in doing so, revoked all the rights, freedoms and privileges promised to the colonists.  In 1873, the German colonists became subject for conscription into the Russian military, prompting them to immediately begin looking for opportunities in other countries.  Emissaries from Bessarabia showed up during this time looking for available land and taking the news back to the colonists who wanted to leave.

The third wave came in 1890, spurred by nationalism in Russia which included a law that forbade land ownership to anyone still holding a foreign passport and had not become a subject of the Russian Empire.  They could not even cultivate or sow in Russian soil if they were not citizens of Russia. This again prompted many German colonists to leave Russia, many going to North America but many again to Dobrudscha.  The northern part of Dobrudscha was a part of Romanian rule at the time, and the government welcomed immigrants.

The "country at time of founding" was tricky in this area and depended a lot on the year that Germans settled a village or joined an existing one.  Dobrudscha was a part of the Ottoman Empire between 1840 and 1878, and thus they were subjects of Turkey.  After 1878 and the Treaty San Stefano, all of Dobrudscha was given to Russia, but Russia ceded the northern part to Romania in exchange for the southern part of Bessarabia.  The northern colonies were subjects of Romania and the southern subjects of Russia.  After the Second Balken war in 1913, both northern and southern Dobrudscha were both a part of Romainia.  Romania would also get Bessarabia back in 1918... but that's another map!

The following maps have been updated: 
All of the maps associated with this site along with their descriptions can be found on the Maps page and a list of sources used on the Sources page.

Dobrudscha Sources:

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