Weten: Low German in Argentina

In the section ›Weten we present to you information about the Low German language and associated culture.

In Argentina, as in many other countries in South America, Low Germans have settled. Specifically Plautdietsch Mennonites.

They came from Mexico and Bolivia in 1986 and founded La Nueva Esperanza colony in Remecó near Guatraché. The colony is in the province of La Pampa.

A second group of immigrants from Mexico established a colony in the province of Santiago del Estero in 1995.

In 2004, settlers from Nueva Esperanza founded the new Colonia del Norte near Santiago del Estero. In 2014 immigrants from Chihuahua (Mexico) founded a colony in the area of Villa Mercedes (Province of San Luis). Also in the province of San Luis, in Arizona, a colony of immigrants from Mexico and Canada was established in 2019.

The total number of (adult) Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites in Argentina is estimated at around 1500.

Even earlier there was a first immigration of Mennonites to Argentina. In 1874, Tsar Alexander II had introduced reforms in Russia, which among other things included compulsory military service. This conscription was rejected by the pacifist Mennonites. Therefore, a group of Mennonites (as part of a group of Volga Germans) emigrated to South America and settled in Colonia Nievas (Buenos Aires Province) in 1877. But they were later absorbed into the Volga German group.

Another group of Mennonites reached Argentina in 1948. They were actually on their way to Paraguay, but were stranded in Argentina. They have merged into the general Spanish-speaking population of Argentina.