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The economic image of the island of Mljet in the first half of the nineteenth century, based on data from the 1836 cadastre of Emperor Francis I

Marija Gjurašić

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str. 135-193

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Using data recorded in the cadastre of Emperor Francis I established on the island Mljet in 1836 the author reconstructs the economy of the island of Mljet in the first half of the nineteenth century. She pays close attention to the state of agriculture, wine and olive growing as well as other economic activities conducted on the island in the examined period. Although the Austrian cadastre of Emperor Francis I was in the first place a fiscal and legal document, it is also a first-class historical source offering a wealth of interesting and reliable information about conditions and ways of life and of land cultivation as well as about demographic and economic state of
Dalmatia in the nineteenth century. According to information gleaned from the cadastre, most residents of the island of Mljet in the examined period lived, mostly, from agriculture. This fact was reflected in the social structure of the population that was dominated by farmers with few artisans and landowners. The agricultural productivity in the nineteenth century was unsatisfactory because
islanders did not put enough effort into growing specific plant cultures but rather relied on inherited, obsolete (“antique”) mode of agriculture. The situation was additionally worsened by a chronic lack of fertilizers, problems of water supply and agrarian (colonate) land ownership relations. The economic activities of islanders
were reflected in their housing. For example, in Babino Polje in 1837 surfaces of residential dwellings were equal or even smaller than surfaces of stables and farm buildings. In an average year, the yield of wine and olive oil was sufficient for the local needs, and if the crop was abundant then the surplus was sold in the region, mostly in Dubrovnik. Fishing brought certain advantages to the islanders, especially when they were lucky enough to get a large catch.

Ključne riječi

cadastre of Francis I; Mljet; economy; agriculture; wine growing; olive growing; livestock farming; fishing; seafaring; 19th century

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