Agreement for the Settlement of the Argentine Colonies

Buenos Aires
3 September 1877

      The undersigned, the Immigration General Commissioner of the Republic of Argentina and the Delegates of the farming community of Russian German settlers, currently in transit through the Empire of Brazil, by mutual agreement, have agreed to the following points that must be submitted to the Superior Government of the Republic:
      Delegates declare by themselves and in the name of the people that bestowed them the authorization who, having been placed in the need of abandoning their homeland, have arrived to Brazil in a group of 700 to 800 people, approximately 200 families, in the hope to find a second home not only for themselves, but also for all others who still have remained in their homeland. But as the climate in the jungles of Brazil has not been favorable, they have resolved to come to Argentina.
      Having traveled in different directions this territory, they have found out that there are no such problems here, and they have also had the opportunity to check the flourishing condition (Argentina) of its colonies, as well as the freedom and welfare enjoyed by its inhabitants.
      By these reasons - and as they have not yet definitively settled down in Brazil, and they are not bound to its government by any commitment whatsoever - they express their wish to settle down in Argentina, as long as the government granted them land and the help needed since they currently lack means of their own.
      The Immigration General Commissioner said he had received from the Government the assignment to propose ways to lawfully find a remedy to the situation of these settlers because the delegates have found their fellow countrymen in a very precarious situation in Brazil.
      Therefore, the following is agreed:

Article 1: Applicants may enjoy all rights and privileges granted to all immigrants, provided they abide completely to the laws of the country.
Article 2: They can freely practice their religion, a right enjoyed by all inhabitants of the Republic according to the Argentine Constitution.
Article 3: For a term of two years as from the date on which the respective administrator establishes in the colony, they will be free from all direct or territorial tax.
Article 4: They can freely elect the authorities of their community, according to the provisions of the law.
Article 5: While the community authorities have not been established, the administration will be in charge of a Council formed by eight members, comprising four members and four alternates. This Council should be elected freely by the settlers, and will be chaired by a national or provincial appointed official.
Article 6: The Government gives the Colony an area of six miles in the Province of Santa Fe, between the Salado and Cululú Rivers as long as such territory were possible to obtain; otherwise, the same surface in other region of the same province , or in the Province of Buenos Aires, shall be given prior the interested party´s choice.
Article 7: The land will be delivered to the two hundred families, divided into plots of twenty square quarters of mile alternately; the plots between them which are unoccupied will be reserved to be delivered exclusively to the settler´s relatives who will arrive later.
Article 8: The Government is entitled to deliver this land free of charge or to fix to the land the price considered appropriate. Said price shall be paid by the settlers according to the provisions of law.
Article 9: The Government shall support in each village an elementary school where the Spanish language shall be taught; in exchange, settlers shall send their children to that school.
Article 10: On a loan basis, the two hundred families shall be supplied by the Government with the following: Free of charge passage from Brazil to this country, food for a period of one year, which will consist in the following daily ration for each person older than 10 years:

Two pounds of beef or four pounds of ram, one and a half pounds of wheat flour, a pound of potatoes or other vegetables in the equivalent quantity and half ounce of salt; children under ten years will receive half ration.

In addition, each family will receive the timber needed to build a thatched cottage, with doors and windows, in case there were no wood in the area they choose. But in the event that in the proximity of the site there were forests, the settlers commit themselves to cut the necessary wood, as well as the straw for the roof. Each family shall receive a plow with their chains, two shovels, a hoe, an axe and a rope for the well, two oxen, two dairy cows, two mares and a horse, a pair of breeding pigs, poultry and the necessary seed.
Article 11: Each family must sign a receipt for the materials and rations delivered and received and, at the end of the year, each one will receive the bill which binds them to pay, as from the end of the third year, on five successive yearly installments, the declared owed amount.
Article 12: Apart form the personal responsibility of every family, the whole commune is declared responsible for the advanced amounts received by each one and they commit to pay the balance.
Article 13: Since five thousand immigrants of the same nationality will be arriving from Europe, the Government grants them: Free landing at the local port, free transportation to the colony they have chosen and the maintenance for one year as set out above, on condition of repayment as set forth in the Articles 11 and 12.
Article 14: Likewise, four hundred hectares of land are given for the price of six hundred "pesos fuertes" [the Argentine currency in those days], to be paid in ten years´ time without interest, in the National Territories. If they do not find that land acceptable, they can choose land from various Provinces, all of which have large and fertile areas without colonizing, at varied but not expensive prices.
Article 15: All other immigrants who want to come from southern Russia, are entitled to what is stipulated in the previous article, except for the maintenance during one year.
Article 16: It is hereby declared null and void the application dated August the ninth.

As proof of agreement this document is signed in Buenos Aires, on the third day of the month of September, in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy seven.

Signed by: Jakob Lechmann, Johann Berger, Andreas Basgall and Adan Weimann for the immigrants, and by Juan Dillon, Immigration Commissioner, for the Argentine Government.


The original document was transcribed in the 1877 Diary of the Sessions of the Congress of the province of Buenos Aires in La Plata city. Translation from the Spanish provided by Mrs. Noemi Zavattoni Puricelli.