22 July 2022

First Colonies Established After the 1763 Manifesto

Today is the anniversary of the issuance of Catherine the Great’s Manifesto of 1763, where she invited foreigners to settle in her empire. It was the origin story of German settlement in Russia.

While the majority of the colonies were established along the Volga river in the Astrakhan Province (later Saratov Province), there were other groups and solo colonies established at the same time. Five Mother colonies were founded near St. Petersburg, and these would spawn daughter colonies in both the St. Petersburg and Novgorod provinces.  Six Belowesch colonies were founded in Chernigov Province. There were a few daughter colonies in the same area, but some of the Belowesch daughter colonies were established in Ekaterinoslav Province. Riebensdorf was an isolated colony in Voronezh Province, between the Belowesch and Volga enclaves. At least 14 daughter colonies were established not near Riebensdorf but in the Don Cossack Host, the North Caucasus, and in Siberia. Sarepta was another isolated colony south of the Volga colonies but also on the Volga River near Tsaritsyn (later Stalingrad and now Volgograd).

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