Germans in Georgia
Relationship between German and Georgian people especially strengthened after the settlement of German colonists in Georgia by the initiative of the Russian Tsarism from the first ten years of XIX century.
Published manifests in 1762-63-64 contributed to the arrival of Germans particularly in Russia, according to them, foreigners were invited from various countries. First German settlements were originated on the South Volga in 1764. Later, representatives of other nations also joined them - the French, the Swiss and Hollanders, who, already from this time, are supposed to be the Volga country Germans together with the exiled people from Germany. With the grace of the king`s authority, Germans had privileges from the moment of settlement in Russia. Serfdom relationship was not applied to them, i.e. none of the Germans became a corvee peasant and as for the army duty, they were freed for 100 years. Settlement of Germans on the territory of Russia took place before the seventies of XIX century.
Sectarian movement so called "Separatism" originated in Germany in the beginning of the XIX century. Persecution of the authority forced Germans to exile in America and Russia. Mentioned movement became more noticeable in Wurtemberg, Bavaria and Switzerland. Influence of the known preachers of that time - Bengel and Shtiling, contributed to this. They were predicting advent of the end of universe and assured "Separatists" to find survival out the borders of homeland, in Caucasus, near the Ararati Mountain. Scared sectarians sent "special scouts" to scrutinize the place and choose advantageous environment. Russian authority agreed to exile Germans on the territory that was desirable for them.
As it is known, colonization of Georgia started still during viceroy Tsitsianov. Black Sea country and Don Cossacks were settled on the river Enguri in these years and Czech sectarian in Imerethi.
In Caucasus, namely in Georgia, Tsarism was contributing to the colonization of Germans because of the political and economical arguments. Economical position was the same as for the colonization of other regions of the Russian Empire: to master uninhabited places and revive economics. Political point of view of Tsarism intended to have its own support in local population by the colonization of Georgia.
First group of colonists, consisted of 31 families (181 persons), arrived in Tbilisi on September 21, in 1817. These colonists were settled near Sarthichala and colony was called Marienfield. Large flow of Germans attacked our capital in 1818 (500 colonist German families). They were settled in various places of the province of Tbilisi. Government assigned 65 thousand rubles by gold for their settlement. 35-acre arable land had to be assigned for each colonist worker man in the best places with climate and drinkable water. Besides, government forced local residents to plough lands and supply settlers with constructive materials.
Totally eight colonies were created in Caucasus by the end of 1819, six from these located in Georgia. They were:
1. Marienfield - with 31 families, on the highway of Kakheti (in Sarthichala);
2. Colony of Tbilisi - on the outskirts of that time - Kukia (nowadays territory of David Aghmashenebeli avenue)-with 51 families. This colony that consisted of masters, was belonged to the town in 1852 and from 1861, lands, under the possession of colonists, were passed to them with the total ownership;
3. Alexandersdorf -23 families (was named after Alexander the first), on the left side on the river Mtkvari, to the north from Tbilisi, remoteness of 6 verst, on the fiscal lands of Didube (nowadays areas of Samtredia street);
4. Petersdorf -with 17 families (was named after Peter the first). This colony was established near Marienfield;
5. Elizavetal -with 65 families (in the South - nowadays Asurethi), was named in connection with the selection day of the settlement place (November of 1818 with the new style);
6. Ekaterinenfield -with 116 families (was named after the queen of Wurtemberg, Katherine, daughter of Pavle), this colony was located in the province of Borchalo, by Bolnisi, 60-verst distance from Tbilisi. Large number of the exiled separatists settled exactly in Ekaterinefield, at the same time, the territory was chosen as the permanent residency of the sectarian leaders. Because of this, the colony of Ekaterinefield had the most honorable place among all existed colonies in Caucasus from the day of its foundation and played big role in the lives of the Caucasian colonists more than half a century.
Except arrived people from Germany, later, colonists were coming from various territories. 10 German families arrived in Georgia from Russia in 1842. They liked resort Abasthumani, but because of the resistance from the side of local population, 1 family returned to Russia. 18 families took 370-acres near Marienfield, government assisted them materially. This settlement was called Mareidentali. One household went to Bolnisi and sheltered with Ekaterinefieldian Germans.
In 1884, colonists were exiled from Russia near Sokhumi, they created two colonies here: Naidorf (53 residents) and Gnadenberg (26 residents).
Before 1848, settlements of the German colonists were called here "German colonies of Georgia" and from the mentioned year, they got the name "German colonies of the Caucasus".
According to the census of 1865 German population in Georgia was 4,2 thousand; in 1886 - 5,5; in 1897 - 7,4.
After this we have the data of 1922, according which the total of German population in Georgia was 2,457; According to the census of 1926 in Georgia were living 3,156 Germans.
During the Second World War many Germans were officially moved from Georgia.
- A. Songhulashvili, Germans in Georgia, Tbilisi 1995, pp.4-7, 36-39;
- G. Manjgaladze, German colonists in Georgia, Tbilisi 1974;
- V. Jaoshvili, Georgia`s population, Tbilisi 1996, p. 112.