The Bessarabia Germans (German: Bessarabiendeutsche, Romanian: Germani basarabeni) are an ethnic group who lived in Bessarabia (today part of Moldova and Ukraine) between 1814 and 1940. Between 1814 and 1842, 9000 of them immigrated from the German areas Baden, Württemberg, Alsace, Bavaria and some Prussian areas of modern-day Poland, to the Russian government of Bessarabia at the Black Sea. The area, bordering on the Black Sea, was part of the Russian Empire, in the form of Novorossiya; it later became the Bessarabia Governorate. In their 125-year history, the Bessarabia Germans were an overwhelmingly rural population. Until their moving to the Greater Germany (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact), they were a minority consisting of 93,000 people who made up some 3% of the population. They are distinguished from the Black Sea Germans who settled to the east of Odessa.
The eastern part of the Principality of Moldavia was conquered by the troops of the Russian Tsar Alexander I during the Russo-Turkish War between 1806 and 1812. He created there the smallest governorate of the Russian Empire at the time called Bessarabia (70 % of this territory belongs today to the Republic of Moldova and 30% to Ukraine). The nomadic Tatars minority were then banned or voluntarily migrated from southern Bessarabia (called Boudjak), leaving theis region almost deserted. Russia then began to entice foreign settlers to repopulate this area and re-run farms in particular. Czar delivered a manifesto in 1813 in which he promised the German settlers the following privileges : land donation, interest-free credit, exemption from taxes for 10 years, autonomy, freedom of religion and exemption from military service. Read more..
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