Alte Kolonie (Old Colony)

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This term was originally used to distinguish the Chortitza Mennonite settlement of Russia (founded in 1789) from the later Molotschna settlement (founded in 1803). When in 1874-1880 the Mennonites from the Chortitza and Fürstenland settlements established their homes on the West Reserve in Manitoba, and the Bergthal on the East Reserve, the latter were usually referred to as Bergthaler and the former as Altkolonier (Old Colonists), since they had come from the Old Colony (Chortitza) in Russia. Although the official name of the Old Colony group is "Reinland Mennonite Church," it has generally become known as the Old Colony Mennonite Church, and the people are referred to as Old Colonists. In the 1950s this group could be found in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Mexico, and represented the most conservative wing of the Russo-German Mennonites, comparing with the Old Order Amish and the Hutterites in their beliefs and practices, especially in matters pertaining to nonconformity to the world. 

See Old Colony Mennonites


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 38.

Author(s) Cornelius Krahn
Date Published 1955

Cite This Article

MLA style

Krahn, Cornelius. "Alte Kolonie (Old Colony)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 22 Mar 2019.

APA style

Krahn, Cornelius. (1955). Alte Kolonie (Old Colony). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 March 2019, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 76. All rights reserved.

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