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The "Leaseholders' Belt"

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Chapter Summary

Individual taxpayers appear in many poll tax lists. Jewish merchants and craftsmen are to be found among them, but the overwhelming majority are leaseholders (arendarze). These leaseholders appear to have resided only in a single belt of land stretching from Augustów in northern Podliasie to the Carpathian Mountains in the southern part of the Przemyśl district. This "leaseholders' belt" consisted of the Tykocin, Węgrów, and Rzeszów autonomous major communities. Although record keeping was inconsistent, claims that erratic record keeping may have created the illusion of a leaseholders' belt are without substance. The fragmentation of the Jewish fiscal units in this belt is probably a result of the difficulty in dealing with numerous rural leaseholders in a relatively large area. The vast majority of leaseholders were always to be found on private estates, though leases of royal and ecclesiastical lands are also noted.

Keywords: Jewish merchants; leaseholders' belt; rural taxpayers; Rzeszów; Tykocin; Węgrów



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