05 May 2023

Russian Turkestan

1900 Geological Map of the Caspian Region. Germans lived in the areas marked in blue, which followed the Transcaspian Railway and today border Iran and Afghanistan. To see the non-marked up map, click on the source link. Source: EtoMesto

The splitting of Asiatic Russia into its former imperial provinces continues. All of Russian Turkestan is done. This area includes the modern-day countries include Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. 

Twenty-nine colonies were added, bringing the total for this area to 53. It was not a big German settlement area, and it was only open for a short time, roughly 1880 to 1910. During WWII, there were some deportations to this area and later resettlements. Those will be reflected under the Deportations section on the map in the future. 

The First Imperial Census of 1897 described a total of 3,722 native German speakers at the time living in the oblasts of Fergana (369), Samarkand (440), Syr-Darya (1,887), and Transcaspia (1,026). There were none reported in Semirechenskaya at that point. 

Map of the Syr-Darya Resettlement District from 1914. Most of the Germans in Russian Turkestan lived in these three oblasts, the districts of which I marked up and color coded: Syr-Darya (blue), Samarkand (red), Fergana (green). Source: EtoMesto

The census also did not include German populations in the protectorates of the Emirate of Bukhara and the Khanate of Khiva. But we know that Molotschna (Taurida) and Am-Trakt (Samara) Mennonites had settlements in those two Russian protected states, the result of the Great Mennonite Trek 1880–1884 for the End of Times. There is much about this topic out there. I recommend the very engaging book Pilgrims on the Silk Road: A Muslim-Christian Encounter in Khiva by Walter Ratliff. He is an Associated Press journalist, historian, and descendant of those original Mennonite pilgrims who were on the trek. He along with a group of other descendants recreated the trek in 2007. 

As for other German origins, there were few specifics. Along with the Molotschna (Taurida) and Am-Trakt (Samara) Mennonites, there were Germans from or somehow connected to the village of Frank (Saratov), Hussenbach (Saratov), Warenburg (Samara), Romanowka (Akmola), and Druzhba (Semirechenskaya), There were also reported Germans who came from the provinces of Ekaterinoslav, Kherson, Orenburg, Poltava, Samara, Saratov, Volhynia, Voronezh, and the Don Host. 

This is not a live map, but this is what the new research so far will look like when it gets posted. Click on it see a larger view. 

Next up is the Caucasus region, which will cover parts of modern-day Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Türkiye. I am looking forward to relaxing in the sun on the back patio this weekend as I start collecting maps and queuing up the data for the last leg of this research stint. I have a few other deadlines this month for upcoming convention presentations this summer. Given that I want to present new parts of the map in these presentations, I am highly motivated to meet my self-imposed deadline of posting the data before convention season starts. 

# # #