Before moving to Canada, the Doukhobors lived in Russia, but were not able to practice the religion they believed in. The Doukhobors lived and worked with each other in their own villages where they did not practice any kind of violence. They also believed in keeping the number of personal items they owned to a minimum.
Doukhobor immigrants traveled from Russia to Canada.
A map illustration of the country of Russia and the surrounding countries.
The Doukhobors rejected the Russian government’s plans to control their country by using the military and planning wars. This anti-war behavior got the Doukhobors in trouble with the government and the government forced the Doukhobors to sign up for the military and to switch their religious beliefs.
The government required men to sign up for the military.
A large group of the Doukhobors moved to Georgia in the United States. The remaining Doukhobors in Russia resisted the government’s control by refusing to sign up for the military. They burned any weapons they had and they did not participate in contributing to the government’s records by registering births or weddings.
In 1897, the government agreed to let the Doukhobors leave the country, but they had to agree not to come back. They would also have to pay for their expenses to move to another country, and if anybody in their religion was serving a prison sentence, they had to finish serving their sentence before they could move. The Doukhobors moved to Canada in hopes of freely making their own religious choices.
PHOTO CREDIT: WESTERN DEVELOPMENT MUSEUM
This is the view of Gibraltar from S.S. LAKE HURON, the ship that brought the first group of Doukhobors to Canada.