Land Chosen by Hoeppner and Bartsch in 1787  (p. 33)


Numerous restrictive measures had been taken against the Mennonites in Poland. They became particularly concerned when during the partitions of Poland it became apparent that a large portion of the delta would fall into the hands of the militaristic Prussians. As a result the Mennonites began to look for a new home where they could live in peace.

While the Mennonites were looking for another country, Catherine II and Potemkin were looking for competent settlers to populate the territory which Russia had just gained through a series of wars with Turkey. In 1762 and again in 1763 Catherine issued a general manifesto in which she invited foreigners to settle in South Russia. The oppressed Mennonites could not refuse the generous offers extended to them. In 1787 they sent two delegates, Jacob Hoeppner and Johann Bartsch on a tour of inspection to the proposed territory. The delegates chose the land that lies south of Berislav between the Dnieper and the road that goes to Crimea.