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The Oxford History of Poland-LithuaniaVolume I: The Making of the Polish-Lithuanian Union, 1385-1569$
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Robert Frost

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208693

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208693.001.0001

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(p.424) 34 Transformation
The Oxford History of Poland-Lithuania

Robert Frost

Oxford University Press

Chapter 31 analyses the hide reform, a major transformation of the Lithuanian rural economy influenced by Polish models, that was launched by Bona Sforza and continued by her son, Sigismund August, in an attempt to restore the grand ducal domain, which had been devastated by alienations. It looks at the army of surveyors sent out into the Lithuanian countryside to measure the lands, carve out fields, and replace scattered settlements with consolidated villages. It argues that this was one of the major government-led rural reforms in contemporary Europe, and challenges traditional views that the reforms were necessarily against the interests of the ordinary rural population. While manorial farming spread, it was only introduced where local conditions suited it.

Keywords:   Lithuania, rural economy, hide reform, Bona Sforza, manorial farming

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