12 June 2017

On This Day, 12 June 1767

Unterwalden, also commonly known as Meinhard, was founded as a Lutheran colony on 12 June 1767 by Baron Ferdinand de Canneau de Beauregard, a settlement agent hired by Catherine the Great.  It was located between the colonies of Susannental (founded later that year on 3 August 1767) and Remmier (Luzern, founded later this month on 20 June 1767).

While sources generally agree that this was the date of the founding of this colony, there are some on the lexicon of Wolgadeutsche (History of the Volga Germans) for Unterwalden that say it was settled, or at least occupied by German colonists, earlier than it's official founding date.  Some stat that it was as early as 1764-1766, and one stated that it was settled in 1767, but not founded until 1768.  There aren't any household or population numbers available until 1769, so a later founding year may actually be correct.

After 1915, Unterwalden was called Podlesnoe (Podlesnoye), which is what it still goes by today.

Location of the village of Unterwalden. 

For more information, visit the following sites: 
Center for Volga German Studies - Meinhard (Unterwalden)
Geschichte der Russlanddeutschen (History of Russian Germans) - Baron Canneau de Beauregard
Wolgadeutsche (History of the Volga Germans) - Unterwalden
Volga German Institute - Meinhard (Unterwalden)

2017 marks the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Mother colonies along the Volga River. There are many events throughout the year to commemorate the anniversary, and the Germans from 
Russia Settlement Locations project joins in the celebration of this rich Volga German heritage.  

The German immigrants that came to the Volga region were among first colonists to take up Catherine the Great on her manifesto. They came from Hesse, the Rhineland, the Palatinate and Württemberg.  They are also among the most well researched and documented groups of German colonists in Russia. Thus far, the Volga Mother colonies settled between 1764 and 1767 are the only colonies that have precise dates they were settled.  

For more historical and current events related to Germans from Russia, see our calendar page or link to our public Google calendar.

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