Calendar of Events in the Life of the German Colonists

1762-1796: Reign of Catherine II
July 22, 1763: Catherine II, a German princess and Empress of Russia, issued manifesto inviting foreigners to settle in Russia.
1764: First group of German immigrants reached their destination on July 29, 1764, founding the village of Dobrinka on the west side of the Volga; 400 families arrived in Russia.
1767: 1,400 families left Germany for Russia.
1788: 228 Mennonite families left West Prussia in the fall and arrived on the banks of the Chortitza in the spring of 1789.
1801-1825: Reign of Czar Alexander I.
1803: Czar appoints Richelieu governor of Odessa. Arrival of 2,990 immigrants.
1803-1805: Large German immigrations came to Russia.
1804: Grossliebental colonies founded.
1807-1809: War of Coalition against France.
1806-1812: War against Turkey.
1808: Glückstal colonies founded.
1808-1810: Large German immigrations came to Russia.
1809: Beresan colonies founded.
1812: Russian conquest of Bessarabia. Napoleon invades Russia. Odessa plague kills 2,656 people.
1814: Richelieu returns to Paris, is succeeded by Count Langeron.
1814-1815: 1,500 families left Poland for Bessarabia.
1815: Russia conquers Duchy of Warsaw.
1815-1820: The "golden years."
1816-1818: Next great wave of immigration to Russia settling primarily in the Black Sea region.
1817: 1,360 Württemberg families arrive at Ismail: 1,300 people perish.
1817-1823: German immigrants continued to stream into the Black Sea region.
1818: Colonist Welfare Committee established.
1819: Colony of Hoffnungstal founded.
1822: Langeron returns to Paris. Vorontzov becomes governor. Richelieu dies.
1824: Mass movement to Russia subsided.
1825: Czar Alexander visits South Russia. Dies in the Crimea. Nicholas I becomes Czar.
1828-1829: War against Turkey.
1830-1831: The Polish Revolt.
1833: The Black Year: no rain, no crops, famine, and food relief.
1835: Colonial affairs under the Ministry of Imperial Domains.
1842: First Central schools established.
1845-1848: Councilor Hahn president of Welfare Committee.
1848: Colonist Codex established.
1849: The first German colonists led by Ludwig Bette to come to the USA. The group of 83 men, women and children embarked on a sailing vessel on July 12, 1849, landing in New York City More than three months later on October 22. They made their way to Cleveland, but after a few years most of the left Cleveland to go their separate ways. Ludwig Bette and his brother-in-law, August Schaedler, went to Kelly's Island in Lake Erie near Sandusky, Ohio, becoming wine growers there.
1853-1856: The Crimean War.
1855-1881: Reign of Czar Alexander II.
1861: Liberation of serfs. Land distribution.
1862: "Unterhaltungsblatt" published.
1863: Prohibition of corporal punishment for school children.
1864: The Zemstvo local self-government.
1865: Corporal punishsment of women abolished.
1869: Central School established in Grossliebental.
1871: The Colonist Code is abrogated.
1872: First German colonists immigrate to USA. (Ludwig Bette's immigration is important not only because he proved that immigration to the USA was advisable, but also because his influence induced others to migrate to America.)
1874: Colonists subject to army services.
1877: Colonist Welfare Committee abolished.
1880: Abolition of salt tax. German schools under Ministry of Public Enlightenment.
1881: Alexander III becomes Czar.
1892: Famine in Russia.
1893: German colonies receive Russian names.
1894: Nicholas I becomes Czar.
1904-5: The Russian-Japanese War.
1914: World War I. Colonists serve in army.
1917: The Communist Revolution. All property confiscated.
1920: 116,539 German-Russians in the USA.
1920: Largest concentration of German-Russians was in North Dakota, where 70,000 lived in 1920. Other large settlements were in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska.
1921-1922: The Great Famine; 250,000 colonists starve to death.
1921: Lenin's "New Economic Policy".
1924-1941: Autonomous Socialists Soviet Republic of the Volga Germans with a population of 500,000.
1928-1929: Stalin's collectivization and liquidation of the kulaks.
1932-1933: Second Russian famine.
1941: Nazis invade Russia. Deportation of Volga colonists to Siberia.
1944: Retreat of the Wehrmacht. Flight of 350,000 colonists to the West.
1945: Soviets deport 250,000 refugees to Siberia. 80,000 escape to Germany.
1964: Krushchev grants amnesty to the German-Russians.
1974: Two million Soviet Germans in USSR.

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