Tuesday, June 09, 2009


This is how the streets of Valle María, a little rural town 50 km south of Paraná, the provincial capital of Entre Ríos, Argentina, look. From left to right, the German flag, the provincial and the national one. How do we arrive to this? The story begins in 1770, when the Russian tsar Catalina II invited Germans to populate a strip of land near the Volga River. After a short stage of hope, it turned out the lands were poor indeed, and moreover, the new generations were expected to line up in the Russian Army… SO emigration began towards South America. Many of them made it to Brazil, and after a time there head on south towards Argentina, where the government granted them lands in 1880. The Argentineans of the time, moved by a simplifier spirit, decided to nick them “Russians” full stop.

Paying attention to a road map of Entre Rios Province, the fact is clear. Hasenkamp, Spatzenkutter, Aldea Protestante, Valle María…. The last two still mark the religious differences the original settlers had when they set foot in the steam ship that brought them from Europe. Today the region still bears a visible ethnic Teutonic feature, but the language has been nearly lost, with a few exceptions I observed, as an 80 years old couple speaking out loud in old German while killing time in the supermarket queue…

Augusto Lucero, collegue from Autostop Argentina, and road mate in this short visit to Vale María, one of the German colonies. In the photo you can see him hitching with a reflective sign. Despite darkness came over, we managed to stop a Renault 18…

Signs of the German heritage can be observed in the name of local shops and companies.

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