09 July 2017

On This Day, 9 July 1766

Location of Stahl am Karaman on
Karte der deutschen Siedlungen im Wolgagebiet
(Map of the German settlements in the Volga region, AHSGR map #6)
Stahl am Karaman was founded on 9 July 1766 by the Russian government as a Lutheran colony. There were other colonies named Stahl, so the name of the nearby river, the Karaman River, was added to the name to distinguish it. But you can see on the map by Karl Stumpp that the name is just Stahl. The Russian name given to the colony on 26 February 1768 was Swonarew Kut. 

Situated on the meadow side of the Volga, the nearby swamps were used as pastures, while cultivation of potatoes, sunflowers and melons was done on the adjacent steppes. In addition to farming, there were eight windmills in Stahl am Karaman, a blacksmith, a shoemaker, a weaver, a hatter and two masons. 

Plat map of Stahl am Karaman drawn by Jakob Kämfp and Irma Justus in 1978.
Map courtesy of the Stahl am Karaman website.  

Location of Stahl am Karaman, now known as Zvonarevka, Saratov Russia.
Following the Russian Revolution, the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR) was established in December 1923 or February 1924 (sources conflict on this). During this time, Stahl am Karaman took its German name back. But when the Volga German Republic was abolished on 28 August 1941, the residents of Stahl am Karaman were deported to Siberia on 15 September 1941. 

Learn More: 
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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