Svenskbyborna is a group of people descended from the village of Gammalsvenskby at Dnieper in today’s Ukraine. Mostly Swedish farmers from the island of Dagö off the coast of Estonia, but also colonists from Danzig, prisoners of war from Sweden, German colonists from neighboring villages, as well as Russian and Ukrainian people who married or were admitted to the village community. Today, Swedish citizens are also counted as Swedish villagers and all of the descendants listed here are of course.
About one thousand people left Dagö on August 20, 1781 and about five hundred arrived at the new dwelling place on the steppe, at a river bend at Dnjepr’s lower run on May 1, 1782. To Dagö, the Swedes had come in the middle ages.
They were forced to emigrate by oppressive landlords. They were promised finished farms, 65 hectares of arable land per family, church and priest on arrival. The long walk took place on foot with military cards. Many died during the journey down and the first years in the village were terrible, since nothing was prepared when they arrived. In 1784 only 135 people remained alive.
Therefor the strengthening of the colonists from Danzig in 1787, five Swedish prisoners of war in 1791 and Germans as the founding neighboring villages in 1805 was welcome.
After many difficult years of war, crop failure and revolution, the Swedish villagers struggled to return to Sweden. In 1929, 90% of the population of Gammalsvenskby received permission from the Soviet authorities to emigrate. They came to Trelleborg in August 1, 1929.
About 250 Swedish villagers returned to the Soviet Union in 1929-31. About 70 individuals continued their travel to Canada.
Swedish villagers have since come to Sweden from their home town in Ukraine in 1945, 1966 and 1991. A number of older people and their descendants remain in the village today.
Due to lack of soil, Swedish villagers moved out of Gammalsvenskby already during the period 1885-1914. Some hundred went to Canada or the United States and as many to Omsk in Siberia and Pavlodar in Kazakhstan. After World War II came Swedish village settlers to stay in Germany and after 1991 many Swedish settlements have arrived in Germany from Russia and Kazakhstan.