Casas Grandes Colonies, Mexico
Buenos Aires Colony, the first of several Casas Grandes colonies in Mexico, was founded in 1960 in the municipality of Janos in northwest Chihuahua State. It was a daughter colony of the Manitoba Colony near Cuauhtémoc and was founded not only because of land shortage but also because there was a fear that the Manitoba Colony would lose its isolation as a result of the paved road passing through the colony. About 50 families formed the first settlement at Janos. In 1962 another tract of land 50 km. (30 mi.) to the east was purchased; this became the El Capulin colony. Both colonies were served by the same bishop until 1981. The Buenos Aires colony bought another tract of land 125 km. (15 mi.) southeast of Buenos Aires where the El Cuervo colony was founded in 1979. The El Cuervo and Buenos Aires colonies formed one church body, having the same bishop. There was one meetinghouse in each colony. In 1987 the Buenos Aires colony had 330 baptized members and 945 inhabitants. El Cuervo had 160 members and 560 inhabitants.
Congregations met Sunday mornings and on church holidays. The High German language predominated in their services, but some Low German was used. In 1987 average Sunday morning attendance in Buenos Aires and El Cuervo was 175 and 125 respectively. There were six schools in the Buenos Aires Colony and four at El Cuervo, with one teacher for each school. In 1987 these colonies still did not have any television, radio, or telephone, and transportation within the colony was still by means of horsepower. Agriculture was the main occupation. Cotton, sorghum, and some wheat and oats were raised, all under irrigation.
In 1981 the Manitoba Colony bought more land 30 km. (18 mi.) northwest of Buenos Aires where the Las Virginias colony was established. In 1987 it had 418 church members and 1,279 inhabitants. The latest colony is Buena Vista, located 60 km. (36 mi.) northeast of Buenos Aires. Climate and vegetation correspond to semiarid conditions. All farmland is irrigated by water pumped from wells. Despite their efforts to isolate themselves, these colonies have adapted to climatic and agricultural conditions rapidly. Each colony is relatively small and must have continued contact with the non-Old Colony world.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 127. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Ens, Helen. "Casas Grandes Colonies, Mexico." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 20 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C44.html.
APA style: Ens, Helen. (1987). Casas Grandes Colonies, Mexico. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C44.html.