German Settlements in the Southern Caucasus

in Iran and the Caucasus
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Abstract

The article deals with the German migration to Russia in general and the fate of German settlements in the Southern Caucasus in particular. After a short overview over the motives and ways of German migration to Russia from its early days in the 10th century until the end of the first Russian Revolution in 1908 the author describes at some length the history of German settlements in Transcaucasia, i.e. the territory divided today between the Republics of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The first 31 German families of migrants, which belonged to the chiliastic sectarian movement arrived in the Southern Caucasus in spring 1817 and founded near to Tbilissi the settlement Marienfeld. They were soon to be followed by other German migrants which were engaging themselves all over Transcaucasia in agriculture, gardening and cattle-breeding. In 1900 the number of German settlers in the area amounted to about 12 thousand people. Although spread over a vast territory the German villages were in contact which each other, establishing their own network of religious and educational institutions. German-speakers reached as far south as Schuscha, a town in today's Nogorny Karabakh. Two small German villages were even to be found near to Mount Ararat, on the very Russian-Turkish border, around five kilometres from the town of Kars. Although both villages were left by their German inhabitants in 1914 due to World War I, still in 1971 some old German style houses now inhabi-ted by Turkish families could be identified in the place.

German Settlements in the Southern Caucasus

in Iran and the Caucasus

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