The German Heritage of New Braunfels

New Braunfels' name gives away that it's one of the many German communities in Central Texas. However, few German communities in Central Texas can boast such a concentrated population and significant influence as New Braunfels.

German Heritage Dance

New Braunfels German History

New Braunfels German history began in 1831 shortly before Texas won its independence from Mexico. That year Johann Friedrich Ernst (Friedrich Dirks) of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg was granted 4,000 acres within Stephen F. Austin's colony. This was the start of a massive German immigration to Texas and the formation of what's now called the German Belt.

Throughout the 1840s a wave of German immigrants flooded Central Texas, and eventually German noblemen began to orchestrate settlements. The noblemen formed an organization called The Adelsverein, which settled Fredericksburg and New Braunfels. So many Germans settled in the area during that time that by the 1850s New Braunfels had become the third largest city in Texas.

Prince Carl of the Solms-Braunfels region of Germany was the nobleman who organized the New Braunfels settlement. He came to the area in 1844 to examine the tract of land he had been granted for the project. New Braunfels was formally established on March 21, 1845.

Just months after its establishment, New Braunfels had a school and the economy began to thrive. The success of New Braunfels is credited with establishing industry in Central Texas and opening up West Texas.

Talking Like a German-Texan

In the 1850s German was the sole language spoken by residents in New Braunfels. But over time the residents of this German community created their own unique lingo. It came to be known as Texas German.

The unique lingo is actually made of five or six German dialects. It included a whole vocabulary of new words that previously didn't exist in the German language. Few people still speak it today, but some of the people that do can be found in the New Braunfels area.

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