The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996 Page: 53
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Johann von Racknitz
temberg and Baden.1' During the next five years, from 1827 to 1832,
Racknitz developed four different plans for colonization projects, which
he presented to the authorities of Wurttemberg to gain the govern-
ment's approval for him to solicit in the newspapers for his proposed
colony-the first on November 1, 1829, the second on December 5,
1829, the third on May 20o, 1831, and the fourth on July 3o, 1832.20 The
content of the first two plans is not known. The third proposal was a
plan to establish in Algeria or elsewhere in North Africa a penal colony
operated and governed by military forces. The purpose of the colony
was to remove criminals as a financial and social burden on Wiirttem-
berg society and to rehabilitate them in the colony, so that after an ini-
tial period of ten years, the colony could become a financially
independent trading partner with Germany.21 The fourth project pro-
posal was titled "Plan zu einer gemeinschaftlichen Ansiedlung fiur
Auswanderer nach dem Staate Texas an dem Flusse St. Marco oder dem
Colorado, auch de la Cannes im Gebiete Neu-Mexico in Nordamerica.
Entworfen von dem Konigl[ich] Wiirttembergischen Rittmeister von
Racknitz in Meersburg" (Plan for a Settlement Community for Emi-
grants to the Province of Texas on the San Marcos or Colorado River, al-
so Known as the Caney River, in the New Mexico Territory in North
America. Drafted by Captain von Racknitz, Royal Wfirttemberg Cavalry,
Racknitz's proposal was carefully designed to address the socioeco-
nomic concerns of government, at both the local and higher levels, and
the economic interests of the prospective emigrant. Since the years
1816-1817, when massive crop failures, oppressive taxes, and wide-
spread postwar unemployment had caused thousands of Wiirttemberg
19 The economic and social problems that had prompted thousands of German families to
emigrate from Wiirttemberg and Baden in the years 1816-1817 had been neither completely re-
solved nor forgotten ten years later. See Mack Walker, Germany and the Emigration 1816-1885
(Cambridge. Harvard University Press, 1964), 1-7, 42-47.
20 Racknitz, "Plan zu einer gemeinschaftlichen Ansiedlung ...," 23. Although the fourth pro-
posal is not dated, it was accompanied by a memorial from Racknitz to the Wurttemberg minis-
ter for internal affairs, dated July 30, 1832. See note 7.
There are also six pieces of official correspondence concerning Rackmtz's proposed colony,
numbered 42, 50, 51, 52, 63, and 64, and dated from August 16, 1832, to March 28, 1836, in
the collection, Bestand K6nigliches Ministerium des Innern und Konigliche Regierung des
Neckarkreises, E 146, fasc. 1704 (Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart; cited hereafter as HSA). The doc-
uments in this file are mostly copies of related reports and correspondence in the file on Rack-
nitz's colony at the Staatsarchiv Ludwigsburg.
s' Racknitz, "Plan zu einer gemeinschaftlichen Ansiedlung ...," 23-25.
2 For the location of this document, see note 12. Racknitz refers in his title only to the Col-
orado River, which at different times before 1832 and at different points along its course was
known also as the San Marcos River and Caney Creek. Walter Prescott Webb, H. Bailey Carroll,
and Eldon Stephen Branda (eds.), The Handbook of Texas (3 vols.; Austin: Texas State Historical
Association, 1952, 1976), II, 559.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996, periodical, 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/m1/81/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.