German immigration to Galicia 1772
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from our family history:
With the first division of Poland 1772, the southern part became the "Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria" as a part of Austria. The emperor Joseph II. wanted a colonization of this area to help to develop this part of his empire. Immigrants, mostly from Germany, were given tax relief and they could acquire land and tools at attractive conditions.
See also www.machmer.de
The idea was to attract well-skilled farmers which would help to improve agriculture and business of all inhabitants. In addition, efforts were made to develop the industry, to compensate for valuable areas lost after the Silesian wars.
The immigrants were partially minorities, who used the chance to come to a more tolerant Austria: Mennonites, Lutherans and others. Poor Jews were encouraged to emigrate from Galicia, but richer ones, like merchants, were invited to come. Their role was to establish trade, but also the finance and banking business. Their role was important, as industries at this time have not been large factories, but "Verlag": a merchant giving raw materials to families, that would manufacture goods and giving them back to the merchant, who would pay them and commercialize the goods. Jews - like some other minorities - had the necessary connections to sell and distribute those goods in other areas.