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26 Facts About Baltic Germans
Since their coerced resettlement in 1939, Baltic Germans have markedly declined as a geographically determined ethnic group.
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Between 1710 and 1795, following Russia's success in the Great Northern War and the three Partitions of Poland, the areas inhabited by Baltic Germans eventually became Baltic governorates of the Russian Empire: Courland Governorate, Governorate of Livonia and Governorate of Estonia.
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Baltic Germans provinces remained autonomous and were self-governed by the local Baltic Germans nobility.
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Until the imperial reforms of the 1880s, local government was in the hands of the landtag of each province, in which only members of the matriculated Baltic Germans nobility held membership and cities were ruled by German burgomasters.
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Between 1710 and approximately 1880 Baltic Germans German ruling class enjoyed great autonomy from the Imperial government and achieved great political influence in the Imperial court.
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All German schools and societies were closed in the Estonian Governorate and Baltic Germans were ordered to leave the Courland Governorate for inner Russia.
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Subsequently, a plan for a United Baltic Germans Duchy ruled by Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg, instead of outright annexation, was developed.
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On November 27, 1918 this was authorized by the Estonian government, and the Volunteer Baltic Germans Battalion was formed under the command of Colonel Constantin von Weiss (de).
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In Latvia, Baltic Germans remained a politically active and organized ethnic group, although they lost some influence after the 1934 Latvian coup d'etat.
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Many German Baltic Germans men were mobilized in the occupied Warthegau and served in the German army.
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Many Baltic Germans were on board the KdF Ship Wilhelm Gustloff when it was sunk by a Soviet submarine on January 30, 1945.
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Additionally, many Baltic Germans died during the sinking of the SS General von Steuben on February 10, 1945.
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Two books listing the names and personal data of all Baltic Germans who died as a result of the resettlements and wartime conditions between 1939 and 1947 have been published by the Baltic German genealogical society: Deutsch-baltisches Gedenkbuch.
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Small group of Latvians and Baltic Germans emigrated to Newfoundland as part of then Premier Joseph Smallwood's New Industries Program.
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Baltic Germans played leading roles in the society of what are now Estonia and Latvia throughout most of the period from 13th to mid-20th century, with many of them becoming noted scientists, including Karl Ernst von Baer and Emil Lenz, and explorers, such as Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, Adam Johann von Krusenstern, Ferdinand von Wrangel and Otto Schmidt.
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