Tres Palmas Colony (Paraguay)

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Tres Palmas is located some 20 km (12 miles) north of the Bergthal Colony, and ca. 40 km (25 miles) north of the Sommerfeld Colony. The origin of Tres Palmas was somewhat unusual. A renewal movement came to several families in the Bergthal Colony in 1961 through listening to radio station HCJB of Quito, Ecuador. They were encouraged by people who had worked outside the colony, e.g., at the Centro de Salud Menonita Kilometer 81, a hospital for victims of Hansen's disease (leprosy). This renewal could not fit its desire for new forms e.g., Sunday schools and better elementary education, into the existing situation. They consequently moved to the land of Jacob Braun, naming their new village Lucero (Light).

Adjoining Lucero was the large land holding of John Janzen, likewise a Bergthal Mennonite, who pursued lumbering and furniture production on his property. He made 14,000 hectares (34,580 acres) available to the new colony. With this land available at reasonable price settlers came from numerous other colonies in Paraguay, Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, the United States, Germany, and Russia. Many also left almost as quickly as they came, particularly from 1984 to 1986. This emigration, coupled with the diverse backgrounds of the settlers, hindered the rapid development of the colony. Three villages had been established by 1987.

Education was available through grade 9 with the first six years primarily in German, but the following three accommodated to the national educational program of Paraguay. Spiritually the Evangelische Mennonitische Gemeinde (which relates to the Evangelical Mennonite Conference, formerly Kleine Gemeinde, in Canada) was the only established congregation. Its membership in 1986 was 60. The population of the colony, at that time, was 220.

Author(s) Gerhard Ratzlaff
Date Published 1989

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Ratzlaff, Gerhard. "Tres Palmas Colony (Paraguay)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 14 Jun 2021.

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Ratzlaff, Gerhard. (1989). Tres Palmas Colony (Paraguay). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 June 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp. 891-892. All rights reserved.

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