Mennonites in Bolivia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Mennonites in Bolivia
Total population
70.000+ (2011) 28,567 (1995)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Santa Cruz
Religions
Anabaptist
Scriptures
The Bible
Languages
Plautdietsch, English, Spanish

The Mennonites in Bolivia are descendants of mostly ethnic Mennonites of German and Dutch descent who came to South America in the early 20th century. The groups in Bolivia belong to the so-called "Russian Mennonites", who lived for more than 200 years in West Prussia before moving to the Russian Empire in 1789. Starting in the 19th century several groups migrated to Canada before moving to Mexico and other Latin American countries in the 1920s.

Mennonites in Bolivia speak Plautdietsch, a German dialect that originated in the Vistula delta (now within modern-day Poland). Since coming to Bolivia, a number of other people from other ethnic background have converted to Mennonite Christianity. The "Russian Mennonites” in Bolivia are among the most traditional and conservative of all the Mennonites denominations in South America. As of 2012, there are about 70,000 Mennonites living in Bolivia.

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

In the early-to-mid 16th century, Mennonites began to move from the Low Countries to the Vistula delta region, seeking religious freedom and exemption from military service. There they gradually replaced their Dutch and Frisian languages with the Plautdietsch dialect spoken in the area, blending into it elements of their native tongues. The Mennonites of Dutch origin were joined by Mennonites from other parts of Germany.

In 1772, most of the West-Prussian Mennonites' land in the Vistula area became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in the first of the Partitions of Poland. Frederick William II of Prussia ascended the throne in 1786 and imposed heavy fees on the Mennonites in exchange for continued military exemption.

Russia[edit]

Main articles: Chortitza and Molotschna

In the 1760s Catherine the Great of Russia invited Mennonites from Prussia to settle north of the Black Sea in exchange for religious freedom and exemption from military service, a precondition founded in their commitment to non-violence. The ancestors of the Bolivian Mennonites settled in the Russian Empire in two main waves in the years 1789 and 1804, coming from the Vistula delta in West Prussia. After Russia introduced the general conscription in 1874, many Mennonites migrated to the US and Canada.

Canada[edit]

In the years after 1873 some 7,000 left the Russian Empire and settled in Manitoba, Canada. The Russian Mennonites settled in Canada until a universal, secular compulsory education was implemented in 1917 that required the use of the English language, which the more conservative Mennonites saw as a threat to the religious basis of their community.

Mexico, Paraguay and Belize[edit]

The more conservative Mennonites from Russia, some 6,000 people, left Canada between 1922 and 1925 and settled in Mexico. Another 1,800 more conservative Mennonites migrated to the Chaco region in Paraguay in 1927. In 1930 and in 1947 the Paraguayian Mennonites were joined by Mennonites coming directly from Russia. In the years after 1958 some 1,700 Mennonites from the Mexican settlements moved to what was then British Honduras and today is Belize.

Bolivia[edit]

The Bolivian government granted a privilege to future Mennonite immigrants including freedom of religion, private schools and exemption from military service in the 1930s, but that was not deployed until the 1950s.

Between 1954 and 1957, a first group of 37 families from various Mennonite colonies in Paraguay established Tres Palmas colony, 25 km northeast of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Soon, a second colony was established five km away from Tres Palmas by a group of 25 conservative families from Menno Colony in Paraguay. The settlers from Paraguay were experienced and well prepared to practice agriculture in a subtropical climate. In 1959, the total Mennonite population in Bolivia was 189.[2]

In 1963, new settlements were founded where Mennonites from Paraguay and Canada lived together. In 1967, Mennonites from Mexico and from their daughter colonies in Belize began to settle in the Santa Cruz Department. Las Piedras colony, founded 1968, was the first colony founded exclusively by Mennonites from Canada. Most settlers in Bolivia were traditional Mennonites who wanted to separate themselves more from the “world”. Altogether there were about 17,500 Mennonites living in 16 colonies in Bolivia by 1986, of whom nearly 15,000 were Old Colony Mennonites and 2,500 Bergthal or Sommerfeld Mennonites.[3]

Colonies[edit]

In 1995, there were a total of 25 Mennonite colonies in Bolivia with a total population of 28,567. The most populous ones were Riva Palacios (5,488), Swift Current (2,602), Nueva Esperanza (2,455), Valle Esperanza (2,214) and Santa Rita (1,748).[1] In 2002 there were 40 Mennonite colonies with a population of about 38,000 people.[4] An outreach of Conservative Mennonites can be found at La Estrella, with others in progress.

Name Estab-
lished
Origin Population
in 1997
Population
in 2007
Tres Palmas 1954 Paraguay - -
Canadiense 1 1957 Paraguay 402 207
Altbergthal 1963 Canada, Paraguay - -
Las Pavas 1963 Paraguay 17 10
Schönthal 1967 Paraguay - -
Riva Palacios 1967 Mexico 5,728 5,560
Las Piedras 1 1967 Canada - -
Swift Current 1968 Mexico 2,614 2,925
Sommerfeld 1968 Mexico 669 920
Santa Rita 1968 Mexico 1,579 2,010
Nueva Esperanza 1975 Mexico 2,687 3,748
Canadiense 2 1975 Canadiense 1 777 980
Valle Esperanza 1975/6 Mexico 2,318 2,305
Cupesi 1976 Canada, Las Pavas 753 530
Del Norte 1980 Mexico 1,016 1,323
Belice 1981 Mexico 2,139 2,620
Las Piedras 2 1984 Las Piedras 1 1,150 848
Nueva Holanda 1984 Las Pavas 698 824
Neu Bergthal 1986 Belice, Canada,
Altbergthal
499 640
Pinondi 1988 Riva Palacios 1,533 2,429
Chihuahua 1989 Bolivia 332 607
Campo León 1991 Bolivia 73 40
Yanahigua 1991/2 Valle Esperanza 723 1,116
Las Palmas 1992 Paraguay, Las Plamas 254 322
Valle Nuevo 1993 Swift Current 1.185 1,699
Manitoba 1993 Riva Palacios 1,825 1,669
Leoncito 1994 Bolivia 11 10
Santa Clara 1994 Sommerfeld 248 456
Durango 1 1994 Paraguay 1,813 2,846
Oriente 1995/6 Santa Rita 651 1,063
Alberta 1996 Canada 167 -
Casas Grandes 1996 Mexico 280 883
El Cerro 1996 Las Piedras 2 - 506
El Dorado 1996 Riva Palacios 298 1848
El Este 1996 Cupesi - -
Fresnillo 1996 Mexico 164 271
Hohenau 1996 Paraguay 336 634
Centro Shalom 1997 Valle Espeeanza 20 37
Del Sur 1997 Mexico - 1,063
El Tinto 1997 Paraguay 66 823
Florida 1997 Del Norte 8 343
La Luna 1997 Mexico, Bolivia 15 -
Milagrosa 1997 Belize 14 266
Monte Cristo 1997 Canada 9 -
Waldheim 1998 Paraguay - 243
El Cariño 1998 Las Piedras 1 - 227
Buena Vista 1999 Bolivia - 33
Durango 2 2001 Mexico - -
La Sierra 2002 Argentina - 228
El Palmar 2002 Paraguay - 292
La Estrella 2002 Canada, Bolivia - 220
Berlin 2003 N. Esperanza - 513
Nueva Asención 2004 Valle Nuevo - 448
IBNIAS (Pailòn) 2004 Bolivia - 66
Monte Rico 2004 Swift Current - 384
Neuland 2004 Paraguay - 384
Nordenheim 2005 S. Rita - 65
La Honda 2005 Durango 1 - 249
Barrio N. Estrella 2005 Bolivia - 60
Nueva México 2005 Riva Palacios - 507
Villa Hermosa 2005 Valle Esperanza - 270
Villa Nueva (Pailon) 2005 Bolivia - 207
Schöntal (S. Pablo) 2005 Fresnillo (Chihuahua) - 105
Rio Nego 2006 Swift Current - 120
California 2006 Manitoba - 22
Las Piedras 2006 Belize - 30
Bajio Verde 2007 Paraguay - 16
Total 33,089 49,813

[5]

Members and population[edit]

In 2012 there were 23,818 church members in congregations of Russian Mennonites, indicating a total population of about 70,000. Another 1,170 Mennonites were in Spanish speaking congregations.[6] The number of colonies was 57 in 2011.

The total population was estimated at 60,000 by Lisa Wiltse in 2010.[7]

Affliation Membership
in 2009
Membership
in 2012
Altkolonier Mennonitengemeinde 14,424 19,096
Canadian Old Colony Mennonites 344 524
Sommerfelder Mennonitengemeinde 2,065 2,157
Bergthaler Mennonitengemeinde 199 557
Reinländer Mennonitengemeinde 147 203
Kleingemeinde 394 682
Conservative (Plain) Mennonites 70 105
La Iglesia Evangélica Anabautista en Bolivia 630 630
Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Boliviana 450 450
Iglesia Misionera Anabaptista 90
Independent colonies 125 494
Total 18,848 24,988

[8]

Rape cases of 2013[edit]

In 2011, eight men belonging to the Manitoba Mennonite Colony were convicted of a series of sexual assaults committed from 2005 to 2009. Prior to the discovery, the rapes had been attributed to a ghost or demon. The victims were reported to be between the ages of 3 and 65. The offenders used a type of gas used by veterinarians to sedate animals during medical procedures. Despite long custodial sentences for the convicted men, an investigation in 2013 reported continuing cases of similar assaults and other sexual abuses.[9]

See also[edit]

Literature[edit]

  • Huttner, Jakob: Zwischen Eigen-art und Wirk-lichkeit : Die Altkolonie-Mennoniten im bolivianischen Chaco. Berlin 2012.
  • Schartner, Sieghard and Schartner, Sylvia: Bolivien : Zufluchtsort der konservativen Mennoniten. Asunción 2009.
  • Cañás Bottos, Lorenzo: Old Colony Mennonites in Argentina and Bolivia : Nation Making, Religious Conflict and Imagination of the Future. Leiden et. al. 2008.
  • Hedberg, Anna Sofia: Outside the world : Cohesion and Deviation among Old Colony Mennonites in Bolivia. Uppsala 2007.
  • Pasco, Gwenaëlle: La Colonisation Mennonite en Bolivie : Culture et agriculture dans l'Oriente. Paris 1999.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b William Schroeder; Helmut Huebert (1996). Mennonite historical atlas. Kindred Productions. pp. 144–145. ISBN 978-0-920643-05-1. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  2. ^ http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bolivia&oldid=103617 Bender, Harold S., Martin W. Friesen, Menno Ediger, Isbrand Hiebert and Gerald Mumaw. "Bolivia." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2013. Web. 11 Feb 2014.
  3. ^ http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bolivia&oldid=103617 Bender, Harold S., Martin W. Friesen, Menno Ediger, Isbrand Hiebert and Gerald Mumaw. "Bolivia." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2013. Web. 11 Feb 2014.
  4. ^ http://www.menonitica.org/2002/vortrag7.htm Sieghard Schartner: "Deutschsprachige Mennonitenkolonien in Bolivien"
  5. ^ Schartner, Sieghard and Schartner, Sylvia: Bolivien : Zufluchtsort der konservativen Mennoniten, Asunción 2009, Page 48/9.
  6. ^ http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bolivia&oldid=103617 Bender, Harold S., Martin W. Friesen, Menno Ediger, Isbrand Hiebert and Gerald Mumaw. "Bolivia." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2013. Web. 11 Feb 2014.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Bolivia at Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online
  9. ^ The Ghost Rapes of Bolivia, 28 December 2013, retrieved 6 January 2014 

External links[edit]