Nov 21, 2016
A few years back, I brought to your attention the attempt made by some brave, yet ill-prepared Scots to establish a Scottish colony in what is now Panama. Another nation that doesn't get talked about when it comes to colonization is Germany. At least, not until the end of the 19th Century when Germany gets the rest of Europe's Imperialist leftovers in Africa and the South Pacific, courtesy of the Berlin Conference.
The 1840s were a tumultuous time across Europe. The nefarious and treacherous seeds sown by the French Revolution had taken root and had begun to sprout as Revolution spread across Europe, affecting among other nations, Austria-Hungary, Poland, France, Italy, and All The Little Germanies. The 1840s marked the beginning of mass German immigration to the Western Hemisphere.
In April 1842, in the small Hessian town of Biebrich near Mainz, at the residence of the Duke of Nassau, Adolphe Wilhem August Karl Friedrich, and established the 'Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas,' or 'The Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas,' with Duke Adolphe as the Society's head.
Called the Adelsverein in Germannic nations, Duke Adolphe and twenty other nobles began to make plans to establish a 'New Germany' in Texas. In late Spring of 1842, two representatives of the Adelsverein, Count Joseph von Boos-Waldeck and Count August von Leiningen-Westerburg-Alt-Leiningen, were sent to scout out the Lone Star Republic. The two Counts met with Texas president Sam Houston to negotiate the purchase of a tract of Texan land by the German colonists. The pair, however, declined President Houston's initial offer after they had discovered it was Western frontier territory, still inhabited and controlled by hostile natives.
The following January, Count von Boos-Waldeck purchased a 4,428 acre tract in Fayette County for about $3,320 with the intention of it being a 'base camp' for future German colonization. He named it Nassau Plantation after Duke Adolphe.
Although a shady dealing with another land speculator to acquire more land near San Antonio failed to pan out, in June 1844,, the Adelsverein purchased another parcel between the Colorado & Llano Rivers. That December, the first German immigrants arrived at the Adelsverein port of Carlshafen, now called Indianola.
Between January 1845 and July 1847, much of the Adelsverein's philanthropic and economic goals of providing financial relief of German labourers, creating new overseas markets for German industry, and building up German maritime commerce had succeeded. Over 5,200 immigrants arrived in Texas and five settlements were established in that time.
The decline of the Adelsverein began in 1848. The Society slowly began to face bankruptcy as the financially-naive nobles piloting the organization lacked the business acumen to keep the project solvent. By 1853, the Adelsverein sold its Texan holdings to its creditors and faded into history. . .
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