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In "The Slovak Heritage Live Volume 6, No. 4, Winter 1998 In the story about Manor House In Betliar I read a statement that "Bebeks who came from the old-land holding Akos family founded the mining town of Dobsina in 1326." This information seems to be incorrect as the development of mining industry in Slovakia from the 14th century had been connected with German miners who used to build their settlements near the mineral deposits in Slovakia. The main owner of all mines was the king who provided some privileges to the newly founded mining towns.

In order to be able to write this article I have researched three sources of historic information: P, Krizko: From the History of mining towns in Slovakia, Bratislava, 1964; History of Slovakia (until 1526), chief editor Samuel Cambel, Slovak Academy of Science, Bratislava 1986; Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 7 p.465,.Chicago-Londom-Toronto, 1959.

In the last source-under the heading of Dobsina-mining village it reads: "It lies in The Slovak Ore Mountains on the Slana River, northwest of Kosice. The settlement founded in 1326 by immigrant German miners has retained a tradition of lumbering and iron mining."

In both of the Slovak scientific historic works it is written that during the reign of the Hungarian king Bela IV (1235-70) Slovakia, as a part of Hungarian State, suffered from the Tartar invasions, which shattered the region's developing economy. The king invited-settlers, mainly German miners and artisans into the area to help rebuild the mercantile base. German contractors and miners brought modern technology and capital with them that were applied in the mining industry in Slovakia. There were two or three waves of German immigration that took place since the 14th century. The first Germans came from Alpine. Lands and later on from the Lower Sachsenland. Dobsina or the original German name Dobschau started to play a very important role in the 15th century when it became one of the centers of iron mining because north of the town large deposits of iron ore were discovered. The strong German character of the town was retained until 1948 when the German School was closed. Many German-speaking residents immigrated back to Germany during World War II or after the War. The Slovak-speaking people moved to the town from the nearby villages and only Slovak schools were allowed to open. Rural people used to call the German born descendants by the nickname of "Buliners" who used to speak the Buliner dialect that was different from the present German language. All the dialects spoken in the nearby villages have preserved traces of the Buliner language too. The history of the German immigration can still be recognized in Dobsina though Slovak population prevails nowadays. There are a lot of stories and legends still current describing the life of the first German settlers in Dobsina." The traditions and habits of the miners are preserved and presented by the GEMER Folk Ensemble at folklore festivals in Slovakia.

I myself have my own personal relationship to Dobsina and surrounding area as I was born and raised in Rejdova, nearby village, 13 km from Dobsina. I also went to high school in Dobsina as well as I used to teach at the same high school in the early 1970s.

Zuzana Davalovska
281 North Howard Ave.
Burnaby, BC, V5B 4Y7


Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 7, No. 2, Summer 1999
Copyright Vladimir Linder 1999
3804 Yale Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6
The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without the express written permission of
Vladimir Linder. All rights reserved.