02 August 2017

On This Day, 2 August 1766

Chasselois was founded on 2 August 1766 by LeRoy and Pictet as a Roman Catholic colony. The last population record was 39 households with 156 colonists when it was destroyed by the Kirghiz in 1785. Those who survived resettled in other colonies, and Chasselois was abandoned.

This colony does not appear on the maps of Karl Stumpp, but Stumpp was not the only cartographer of the Volga. Pierre François Tardieu was a French cartographer who mapped the German colonies in the territory of Saratov in 1788, just a few years after Chasselois, or Kolonie Chaisol as it is on the map, ceased to exist. Still fresh in the minds of the German colonists, it was included on Tardieu's map.

You can see by the outline of the border of the "Fief de Catherine" that Chasselois was at the very edge of civilization as it was. It's not surprising that it was vulnerable to attack.

Location of the abandoned colony Chasselois, or Kolonie Chaisol on Tardieu's map,
Carte des colonies Allemandes étables sur le Volga dans le territoire de Saratov.
The small circle denotes the location of the colony.
Note its proximity to Kolonie Otrogovka, more commonly known as Louis. 

The coordinates we have for Chasselois are different than what other sites record. Dennis Bender recently went back at my request to look at this colony again because its proximity to Louis to the north on the Germans from Russia Settlement Locations map seemed off from what the Tardieu map showed.  As much as we like to bring precision to this project and measure coordinates of the colonies, sometimes this is just not possible. So other means need to be employed. The Tardieu map is old with no Russian cities or railways to use as landmarks, much less marks of degrees of latitude and longitude. Dennis had to rely on river systems and other landmarks to determine the coordinates for what was once, very long ago and for a very short time, the Volga colony of Chasselois.

The location of the defunct colony of Chasselois. 

Learn More: 
Center for Volga German StudiesChasselois
LeRoy and Pictet
Volga German InstituteChasselois

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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