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History and Origins: The Protestant Reformation of Martin Luther sparked the formation of a radical "Anabaptists" branch of Christianity in the sixteenth century, many of whom eventually fled religious pressures and persecution in their countries of origin. Some resettled in the Americas, while others found relative safety in Russia. Ultimately, many of the Russian Anabaptists sought refuge in the United States by the end of World War I, too.(1) Many of the later Anabaptist immigrants to America came from Switzerland and Germany, and they retained most of their cultures of origin, such as their German dialects and cuisine. Many more communities or sects developed within the Mennonite Anabaptists, totaling more than one million, in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and in Europe, their land of origin. Mennonites took their name from a converted Dutch priest by the name of Menno Simons (1496-1561) who provided Anabaptism with his leadership in 16th Century Holland. The appellation "Anabaptist" refers to their practice of rebaptizing adult believers.(2) Subsequent philosophical differences led to the splintering off of stricter, more orthodox Mennonites living in Switzerland and Alsace into the "Amish", named for Jakob Ammann (1644-1725), in 1693.(3) 1. About Mennonites (2001) Accessed at: 2. The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions Bower, J.(1997) Oxford University Press. 3. ibid The first groups of Amish migrating from Switzerland settled in Pennsylvania in the early 18th Century, and subsequently spread primarily to Ohio and Indiana, while also establishing a presence in twenty other states by the end of the 20th Century. The United States is home to more than two hundred distinct groups of Mennonites, comprising approximately 150,000 peopl...

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THE MENNONITE LIFESTYLE. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:14, May 24, 2015, from