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Germanna Colonies 

Donated to site by Roberta Estes




Though the Germanna Colonies are often said to have started in 1713, the history commences many years earlier. The incident which was important to 
there being a locality called Germanna was the decision of Franz Louis MICHEL, a citizen of Bern, Switzerland, to go to America and investigate conditions there. He left Basel on 8 Oct 1701, and arrived in Yorktown, Virginia, on 8 May 1702. He remained only a short time but was impressed enough to return home where he encouraged friends to join him in forming a joint-stock company to go into the business of recruiting and transporting emigrants to America.

Very soon afterwards, Michel left again for America, where he visited several of the colonies, including the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. This time, his explorations were in more depth and included a long trip to the Shenandoah Valley which he mapped. (His map still exists 
today and his exploration of the Valley was in considerably more detail than Spotswood's later and very hurried trip to the Valley.) Michel decided that the Valley would be an excellent place to settle the Colonists which he hoped to obtain. 

He and his partners petitioned the Crown in 1705 with a plan of colonization for the Shenandoah Valley which received only a lukewarm reception in London. The plan was kept alive until 1709, though. When Michel returned to Europe in 1708, he met an individual whose own plans were similar to Michel's. Important to their future relationship was the fact that Michel thought he had found mineral wealth in the Shenandoah Valley in the form of silver. 
(06 Jan 1997) 

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Copyright © 2008 Last modified: January 16, 2012



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