The Nueva Durango Colony in Paraguay was founded in March 1978 by Mennonites from Mexico. They bought 13,400 hectares (33,112 acres) of land 275 km (170 miles) northeast of Asunción (30 km [18.6 miles] from Curuguaty in the Canindeyú Department) and named the new settlement after the mother colony in Mexico, Durango. Soon after they settled it turned out that a part of the acquired land already had a different owner and the land titles overlapped. This created a land dispute that lasted for many years. The result was that some of the lands had to be paid for again, causing much uncertainty and unrest in the colony. However, over the years, 24 villages were developed.
Economically, the colony has had to wage a serious struggle for existence, since some of the original settlers were without means, and for many the economic situation has not changed. The uncertain future of Paraguay and "modern" influences caused large-scale immigration to Bolivia. Nearly half of the settlers left the colony in the 1990s. The Mennonites in Nueva Durango are among the most traditional of all Mennonites in Paraguay. Even rubber tires on the tractors are not allowed because they would make contact with the "world" outside the colony easier. The tires must be replaced with iron wheels and therefore are good only for working the fields.
At the beginning of 2001 the colony had 1,822 inhabitants, of which 613 were church members, and in 2008 there were 2,094 residents with 710 church members. The church is known as the Altkolonier Reinländer Mennonitengemeinde.
Klassen, Peter P. Die Mennoniten in Paraguay: Reich Gottes und Reich dieser Welt. Bolanden-Weierhof: Mennonitischer Geschichtsverein e.V., 1988: 145.
Ratzlaff, Gerhard. Ein Leib - viele Glieder: Die mennonitischen Gemeinden in Paraguay. Asunción: Makrografic, 2001: 24, 175 -176.
This article, translated by Hugo Friesen, is based on the original German language article that was written for the Lexikon der Mennoniten in Paraguay and has been made available to GAMEO with permission. The German version of this article is available at http://www.menonitica.org/lexikon/?N:Nueva_Durango.
Cite This Article
Ratzlaff, Gerhard. "Nueva Durango Colony (Canindeyú Department, Paraguay)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2009. Web. 7 Dec 2013. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Nueva_Durango_Colony_(Canindey%C3%BA_Department,_Paraguay)&oldid=102909.
Ratzlaff, Gerhard. (2009). Nueva Durango Colony (Canindeyú Department, Paraguay). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 7 December 2013, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Nueva_Durango_Colony_(Canindey%C3%BA_Department,_Paraguay)&oldid=102909.
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