Title

A German on the Prairies: Max Sering and settler colonialism in Canada

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Publication Title

Settler Colonial Studies

Volume

5

Issue

1

First Page

1

Last Page

19

DOI

10.1080/2201473X.2014.899551

Abstract

In 1883, the Prussian Government sent the young agrarian economist, Max Sering, on a six month fact-finding tour of North America in order to a) discover why grain was being produced so much more cheaply there and b) why so many Germans were fleeing perfectly good soil in East Central Europe to settle on similar land in Nebraska and Manitoba. On this tour, and most importantly while in Manitoba, Sering discovered an organized program of ‘inner colonization’: the government was bringing citizens from the ‘full’ East (Ontario) and providing them land in the ‘empty’ West, ‘civilizing’ through farming Natives already in the West, securing the national border to the south, and creating strong, healthy, fertile, and conservative sons and daughters for the future of the nation. This is the concept that Sering brought back to Germany and in 1886 Chancellor Bismarck began a ‘Program of Inner Colonization’ in Germany's ‘East’ that began as something akin to what was taking place in the Canadian Prairies, but over the following decades evolved into something Sering could never have imagined.

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