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Serfdom in period?

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Deacon
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Serfdom in period?

Post by Deacon on Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:31 am

What was serfdom by this period?

Glory and Argument rulebook says:

Serfs. Serfs are a part of society in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal,
the Ottoman Empire (including Moldavia and Wallachia), Germany,
Austria, Hungary and Transylvania, the Polish Commonwealth, Russia,
Prussia, and Denmark (excluding Norway).

But serfdom has been dying out since the middle ages. So what was it
in period? What would it mean to abolish it?


Last edited by Deacon on Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Serfdom in period?

Post by Kingmaker on Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:33 am

I know if it was tried in Russia they would be a drastic downturn in honor as they used it right up until the 1900's.

Remember the ruling classes relied on serfdom in some states.


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Jason
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Re: Serfdom in period?

Post by Jason on Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:26 pm

It actually lingered on in Scotland in 1799 but in a specific circumstance-for the coal mining industry. Not completely sure why it carried on for mining when it had disappeared elsewhere in Scottish society but...

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Re: Serfdom in period?

Post by Stuart Bailey on Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:09 pm

According to a couple of books I have read which mentioned this subject our period and just before offers a split between Western & Eastern Europe.

In Western Europe the peasent farmers were becoming more free with labour duties being replaced with cash rents and more and more trade being conducted by non Noble Urban based merchants . While in Eastern Europe the drive was the other way with stronger Monarch's/Nobles extracting greater labour duties from the peasents and gaining greater control over both society and towns.

Various theories such as the importance of the Baltic Grain trade to the development of huge Noble Estates in the East have been put forward but none really seem to provide a full explanation. Why for instance does the growing central power of the French Monarchy limit Nobles legal and other control over their serfs while the growing central power of the Russian Monarchy have the opposite effect?

Of course it should also be pointed out that their was huge verity in both cash rent based tenure and labour based tenure or pecentage of produce tenure (serfdom) and it was perfectly possible for a Farmer paying his rent in "days labour" or "a percentage of crop yield" to have greatly superior security of tenure and less trouble in meeting his obligations to his landlord than another farmer who has to pay a high rent to his landord no matter what his harvest was like.

Cash rents are generally viewed as more progressive and a move towards a more "free" society but its probably reasonable to note that greater freedom included to freedom to starve and was purchased at the cost of the farmer taking all the risk of a bad Harvest rather than it being spread between the landlord and farmer as under alternatives to cash tenure.

The change to cash rents in the west certainly does not seem to have hurt landlords income or their control over society. This seems to have come later with the combined impacts of the French & Industrial Revolution's.
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Re: Serfdom in period?

Post by Deacon on Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:13 pm


Interesting analysis Stuart. I'd also read that Russia/Eastern Europe was quite different than western at this period in history. I hadn't thought about the cash rents issue.

I wonder if this is something that makes more sense to worry about closer to the industrial revolution (ie after you've done a lot of things to create lots of factory jobs.)
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Re: Serfdom in period?

Post by Basileus on Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:32 pm

There is a view that the enclosures which pre dated the industrial revolution in England produced large reserves of very cheap labour in the English towns and cities. This was one of the major stimulations to the industrial revolution. Serfs are not going to be very efficient. Throwing them off the land and running enclosures is going to be efficient. But not a very nice thing to do. But hey - moving into the field of politics!
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Re: Serfdom in period?

Post by Deacon on Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:42 pm


Yeah, I think the issue with enclosures and the agricultural advances is that to minimize the disruption that causes you need a lot of factory jobs/industry to soak up the now unemployed.

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Re: Serfdom in period?

Post by J Flower on Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:45 am

One of the reasons for the larger estates was also the poorer soil in the Eastern area.There is also a hell of a lot of nothing in a very big space.

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Re: Serfdom in period?

Post by Stuart Bailey on Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:52 pm

Basileus wrote:There is a view that the enclosures which pre dated the industrial revolution in England produced large reserves of very cheap labour in the English towns and cities. This was one of the major stimulations to the industrial revolution. Serfs are not going to be very efficient. Throwing them off the land and running enclosures is going to be efficient. But not a very nice thing to do. But hey - moving into the field of politics!

In some places Agricultural changes produced large numbers of unemployed farmers.........a good example being the Highlands of Scotland in which many small crofts were lost to more profitable enclosure and sheep farming. With large numbers of Highlands forced to leave for the Colonies, take up fishing, join British Army etc.

However in most places C17 & C18 Agriculture did not change arable to livestock and produce large numbers of unemployed farmers. Rather improvements in food supply combined with some improvements in medical treatments (Smallpox/Scurvy cures) resulted in a growth in population which provided the workforce for the later industrial revolution.

The other factors of C17 & C18 Agriculture improvements which helped create the later industrial revolution were:

- Increased production per farmer allowed society to feed more non farmers (ie factory workers, ship builders etc)
- Increased production on farm's lead to increased rent's and farm profits which helped fund the industrial revolution.
- The increased farm production of wool etc provided the raw materials for the industrial revolution.
- The increased population provided markets for its products.

Its interesting to note how many of the developments in canals and textile production we spurred on by people like the Duke of Bridgewater building the first canal so he could get his coal to London and early textile production was funded by farmers/landowners trying to use for their wool.


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Re: Serfdom in period?

Post by Jason on Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:31 pm

Stuart Bailey wrote:


In some places Agricultural changes produced large numbers of unemployed farmers.........a good example being the Highlands of Scotland in which many small crofts were lost to more profitable enclosure and sheep farming. With large numbers of Highlands forced to leave for the Colonies, take up fishing, join British Army etc.




It is strange to travel round this part of Scotland and imagine that in 'our' period this often seemingly empty landscape would have been quite heavily populated...
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Re: Serfdom in period?

Post by Deacon on Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:21 pm

My wife's family is of Irish descent, and I felt the same way travelling there. Strange how much population has changed since "our" period.

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Re: Serfdom in period?

Post by Goldstar on Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:33 pm

Just freed the serfs in a territory of my nation and my honour score dropped by 2. Despite a historic president and compensation for the nobles and displaced peasants.
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Re: Serfdom in period?

Post by Deacon on Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:34 pm


A bit harsh to me.

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