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Jewish Tours Argentina



Early Difficulties.

Excepting certain settlements of Jewish farmers in Brazil referred to elsewhere (pp. 265, 266), agriculture among the Jews in South America has been confined to the Argentine colonies established by the Jewish Colonization Association of Paris (of which the late Baron and Baroness de Hirsch were the founders and practically the sole stockholders). In August, 1891, by the direction of Baron de Hirsch, some 3,000 square leagues of land were purchased in various parts of the Argentine Republic, for $1,300,000 (£260,000). In all, over 17,000,000 acres were acquired. At first the project of settling Russian refugees on a large scale in Argentina met with a protest from the government, but the matter was amicably arranged. As early as 1889, independent attempts had been made by certain Jewish immigrants from Russia to establish colonies in Argentina, but this was not done on a well-ordered plan, and later these colonies and colonists were absorbed by the Jewish Colonization Association. The colonies were named for Baron and Baroness Maurice de Hirsch. At first two tracts were set apart for colonization: one, 9 leagues square, situated in the province of Buenos Ayres and called Mauricio; the other, 4½ leagues square, in the province of Santa Fé and called Moïseville. Colonists began to arrive in the summer of 1891 in such numbers that by the end of the year they numbered 2,850. The central administrative office was established in the city of Buenos Ayres; but considerable friction arose between the colonists and the non-resident executive officers, with the result that the very existence of the colony was threatened. There were other difficulties: the locusts, which were very numerous, destroyed the growing crops, and water was scarce. Although the colonies received constant accessions, it was necessary to deport so many discontented colonists to the United States—800 were deported within about two years—that in October, 1893, only 2,683 persons remained. Since then the executive office has been reorganized, and although there have been many desertions, due to discontent or to the damage done to the holdings by locusts and drought, as well as to the distance of the farms from the railroad stations and markets, the number of inhabitants has been slowly but steadily increasing, and the condition of the colonists has become fairly comfortable.


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