Timeline of intentional communities

IssueMarch - June 2002
Feature by Lauren Kelley
This is not in any way intended to be a definitive statement - more a pointer to some of the more significant developments in the theory and practice of community.

6 th Century BCE: Pythagoras founds Homakoeion, a vegetarian commune based on intellectualism, mysticism and equality of the sexes. Also, followers of Buddha in India join together in ashrams to live in a productive, spiritual manner.
2 nd Century CE: Essenes communes, based on the morality of the Hebrew Bible, flourish in the area of the Dead Sea.
4 th Century CE: The first Christian monasterial communities are established.
12 th Century CE: The heretical Waldense sect founds many communes in France.
Middle Ages: The Brethren of the Free Spirit and others attempt to create secular communes in various parts of Europe
. 1527: The foundation of the Hutterian Brethren by the Anabaptist movement leads to the establish-ment of numerous spiritual communes, from which the modern-day Hutterites and Bruderhof communes are derived.
1530s: The entire German city of Munster becomes an Anabaptist commune, sharing wealth, housing and even spouses.
1540s: The Mennonites, a radical Anabaptist sect, begin living in communities based solely on the Bible.
1649: The Diggers rebel against the aristocracy and live communally on crown land.
1698: The Amish create communities based on a strict interpretation of Mennonite principles.
1727: Herrnhut, a Moravian-Pietist commune is established in Saxony. (Australia's first successful commune, also called Herrnhut, was founded by a German Moravian-Pietist in 1852.)
1774: The Shakers found communal groups, pursuing spirituality, dancing and singing, inventions, handicrafts and celibacy.
1794: The Shaker commune Sabbathday Lake, the oldest communal group still in existence, is founded. 1825: New Harmony is established in the US by Robert Owen to show that modern technology can support humane social life through non-religious communal living.
1841: Brook Farm is started in Massachusetts as “an experiment in humane living to be achieved through education and discussion”. 1848: Oneida is founded by J H Noyes in New York as a commune based on the practice of “complex marriage”.
1855: Amana Colonies are established in Iowa by German Protestants seeking Christian community.
1874: Bon Homme, the Hutterite commune that remains in existence to this day, is founded.
1889: Hull House is established in Chicago by Jane Addams as a “human community offering protection against the anonymous city”.
1910: Deganya, the first kibbutz, is founded near the Sea of Galilee. It is still going strong today.
1913: Gould Farm is established as a “community environment” for the treatment and rehabilitation of emotionally disturbed people.
1920: The first Bruderhof community, Darvell, is founded. Darvell is based on a life of Christian brotherhood and is still in existence.
1920s: Following the Communist Revolution in Russia, thousands of communes spring up, only to be suppressed later by Stalin.
1937: The first co-op house is started in Michigan. The co-op was a fore-runner of the Inter-Cooperative Council, which is a network of student housing co-ops.
1940: The Camphill Movement of therapeutic communities is founded.
1948: The Fellowship for Intentional Community, originally named the Fellowship of Intentional Communities, is founded.
1950s: More than twenty thousand communes are set up by the Communist Party of China, none of which are still in existence.
1958: Yamagishism Life, a movement of some thirty agricultural communes mainly located in Japan, is founded.
1960s: Hippies found several thousand communes, mostly short-lived.
1964: The first L'Arche community for the developmentally disabled is founded.
1968: The Catholic commune movement Integrierte Gemeinde is founded in Germany.
1972: Co-housing, a new form of urban community living, is conceived in Denmark.
1992: The first eco-villages are founded in the US and Russia.

Based on the timeline “Milestones in the History of Communal Living” from http://www.communa.org.il/ milestones.htm, the timeline “Intentional Communities Through the Ages” by Geoph Kozeny in Communities Directory 2000, and lectures by Dr Bill Metcalf and Professor Yaakov Oved of the International Communal Studies Association.
Topics: Utopias, History
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