Town and Countryside in early modern Hungary The Case of Sopron, c. 1500-1800

Markalf, Katalin, Sonkoly, Gábor and Zsinka, László (1991) Town and Countryside in early modern Hungary The Case of Sopron, c. 1500-1800. In: Town and Countryside from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution, 2-12 April 1991, Leuven Catholic University, Belgium.

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The town of Sopron (Ödenburg) is situated near the western border of Hungary at the junction of major routes of commerce, no further than 70 km from Vienna. As early as in 1291 the town had become a chartered town or free royal town, which meant the most fully-fledged municipial autonomy in this period. The town was subordinated only to the king and could represent itself in parliament from 1445. The surrounding seigniorial towns and villages often lodged an appeal with the Town Court due to its wide legal autonomy. The inhabitants of seigniorial towns and the villagers could have been under the necessity of going to the town, and the legal proceedings they experienced in Sopron may have meant a model pattern for them. The seigniorial town (oppidum) is a settlement under the landlord's authority, with limited legal privileges, concentrated mostly on agricultural production and on the exchange of products of its immediate hinterland. Sopron as a county town was gradually becoming significant during the early modern period. The county (megye) was not only the unit of administration in Hungary, but that of the autonomy of nobility, too. The importance of Sopron as a county town attracted many noblemen dwelling in Sopron county to the town. The county was one of the most densely populated in the 15-18th c., at the beginning of the 18th c., for example, the density was 32 person/km2 and it rose more than 40 p/km2 by the end of the century. The population of Sopron was approximately 3500-3700 in the middle of the 15th c., and due to the decline during the later decades some 3000 persons lived in the town in the early 16th c. According to the first national census the population of Sopron was 12600 in 1784-87. These data place Sopron at the high level of Hungarian urban hierarchy in this period. This paper will explore two significant aspects of the relation between the town and its countryside: the problems of mutual economic dependence and the role of Sopron as a centre of culture.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Divisions:Faculty of Social Sciences > Institute for International Studies
ID Code:1152
Deposited By: Ádám Hoffmann
Deposited On:25 Mar 2013 14:49
Last Modified:25 Mar 2013 14:49

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