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Friesland Colony was founded in by dissatisfied settlers from the Fernheim Colony in the Paraguayan Chacowhen families with men, women, and children left the Chaco, thinking to improve their economic lot, a hope which was not realized. In it contained 19, acres of land, of which 38 per cent consisted of dense forests, 7 per cent of "high-camp" fit for cultivation, 38 per cent of "low-camp" good for grazing, and 7 per cent swampland on which some rice was grown.
The average annual rainfall was 60 inches, compared to inches in the Chaco. Cleared forest land was preferred for farming and yielded as a rule two crops annually. Having the same privileges granted by the Paraguayan government to the Chaco colonies, Friesland enjoyed complete freedom from military service, had its own schools, and virtually governed itself by a system of one delegate representing every ten citizens of each village under a village mayor, who in turn was responsible to the colony mayor Oberschulze. In there were nine villages with families, or 1, souls.
The dwellings were made of adobe, the Zentralschule and the two churches of burned brick, all three buildings having been built with funds coming from friends in North America. The building housing the Cooperativa Agricola, which took care of the colony's trade, imports, and exports, is of wood construction. The first group of immigrants coming from Europe after World War II were temporarily housed in Friesland in because the revolution in Paraguay made transportation to the Chaco impossible. Mennonite Central Committee began to take an interest in Friesland and assisted the colony in a of ways, such as building and developing a lumber industry, and building ro and the hospital.
The Colonia friesland san pedro paraguay, built inhad by September admitted 2, patients, 1, of whom required surgery; the rest were for the most part maternity cases. An additional 3, patients had been cared for with ailments ranging from smaller infections to snake bites and the very prevalent discomforts caused by various types of tropical worms. Only about 20 per cent of the patients came from the colony itself; the other 80 per cent were native Paraguayans.
In two schools were built. In there were five schools with a Zentralschule in the central village for those who successfully complete the six-year course offered by the five village schools. Denominationally Friesland's people were divided between the Mennonite Brethren with members and the General Conference Mennonites with members in Friesland was largely an agricultural colony in the s.
Seven acres of forest land and five of "high-camp" made up a farmstead Wirtschaft. The livestock industry, as in the rest of Paraguay, was probably the most profitable, but for lack of grazing land could expand in Friesland. There were in about 4, head of cattle, horses, hogs, and about 6, fowl.
Fruit growing was also successful. The census showed 5, citrus fruit trees oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and tangerines4, mango, papayo, and peach trees, 4, banana plants, and 1, grapevines. The development of Friesland, like that of the other Mennonite colonies in Paraguay, was made possible only through the generous assistance from North America.
In spite of this the standard of living, as in the rest of Paraguay, was extremely low. Educational and cultural facilities were hardly offered in Paraguay in the s. For those reasons there was a constant emigration to Brazilthe Argentine, and if at all possible to Canada. The men responsible for the welfare of the colony were of the opinion that if the colony was to succeed friends in North America must assist it in stabilizing its economy. This could perhaps Colonia friesland san pedro paraguay done by building and developing sugar mills to utilize the best-yielding product of the colony, and then to assist the colony in marketing as well as in imports.
Under the influence of Nazi propaganda, a considerable of Mennonite young people returned to Germany just before World War IItogether with some entire families. Friesland Colony was the first Mennonite settlement in east Paraguayestablished in by families with a church membership of The settlers had left the Fernheim Colony in the Chaco because they saw no economic future in the Chaco, the climate was too inhospitable for them particularly the intense summer heat and severe sandstormsthe original villages had been located too closely together and more land was needed, and because of their opposition to the monopoly exercised by the producer-consumer cooperative which regulated all commerce and prevented private enterprise.
In June6, hectares 17, acres were purchased from Wilhelm and Arthur Strauch in Montevideo at 10 Argentinian pesos per hectare, payable in seven years. This land is located ca. By September nine villages had been established with a total of farms. The colony was named Friesland in memory of the 16th-century Frisian heritage of the settlers. The pioneer years were very difficult, particularly because no cash products and market could be developed. Consequently, many settlers immigrated to Brazil, Canada, and Germany during Colonia friesland san pedro paraguay s.
In the inhabitants of the colony ed The colony has been able to acquire additional land: hectares 1, acres inhectares acres inand 10, hectares 25, acres in the former Hutterite colony Primavera. Additional lands were acquired in andleading to a total acreage of 24, hectares 59, acres in Schools have been centralized with education possible through the ninth grade. A relatively well-equipped bed hospital is in operation. In generators provided electricity in all the villages, but it was anticipated that the national electrification program would reach the colony in the near future.
Friesland Colony has the reputation of having introduced wheat to Paraguay. The process began with 30 hectares 74 acres planted in These efforts soon received governmental support, with the colony being named the national center for wheat production, including providing seed grains to others.
Since Paraguay no longer found it necessary to import wheat flour and credited Friesland Colony with having made a ificant contribution to this achievement. Two crops were harvested annually, wheat in winter and soybeans in summer. Considerable emphasis was placed on ranching and livestock, with ca. On 27 Novemberthe colony celebrated its 50th anniversary, at which time the Paraguayan minister of agriculture, Hernando Bertoni, duly acknowledged the ificant contribution of the colony. Penner, Beate. Gemeinsam Unterwegs: 75 Jahre Kolonie Friesland Colony Website: Friesland Colony.
Fast, Alfred and Gerhard Ratzlaff. December Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.
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