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Chapter III

Expansion and Prosperity 18 -1900

The year 1885 did not commence very differently than 1884 had concluded. The Rural Municipality of Rhineland was still embroiled in a controversy with the Reinlaender Mennonite Church as to who had authority in the area, inter-church conflict continued, and district schools were not yet any real threat to private village schools. Despite this appearance of continuity, however, there was a dynamic change at work in the area, as agricultural expansion and economic growth acted to significantly alter Rhineland's landscape in the next decade and a half.

Renewed emigration from Russia and Eastern Europe in the 1890's, along with natural increase in the area produced a rapidly spiraling population growth in the Rural Municipality of Rhineland.

The main catalyst to this growth was the commercial grain farming begun in the early 1880's. More land was brought under cultivation as wheat farming continued to be profitable, and trading centers sprang up at Rosenfeld, Plum Coulee, Winkler and Altona to serve this agricultur­ al hinterland.

Low world grain prices during the early 1890's acted as somewhat of a brake to economic growth in the area. By 1901 the population of the R.M. of Rhineland, encompassing parts of the old Douglas and Rhine­ land municipalities, stood at 9,157 - the most populous Rural Munic­ ipality in the Province of Manitoba.

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