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The division and disintegration of the zadruga in Slavonia in the 19th century

Ivančica Marković

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 174 Kb


str. 221-231

preuzimanja: 1.427



Most Slavic lawyers of the 19th century believed the house zadruga (i.e. rural single-house family community or holding) to be an ancient and exclusively Slavic institution. Such a belief gave rise to the “Historical School of Law” that exerted a profound influence on the resolution of the zadruga issue before the beginning of the 20th century.
According to the research carried out by historian Franjo Rački, the Slavs brought the zadrugas as a way or organizing their family life from their old homeland. Proprietary relations also had zadruga characteristics, since the property was controlled “by the family, family community, brought together by blood, a holding” rather than by the individual. The process of zadruga’s breakdown began in the 19th
century. An attempt at regulating the customary law pertaining to the zadruga by means of written legislation proceeded analogously with the breakdown of zadrugas.
Zadrugas are frequently considered as specific expressly of the Military Border for reasons of self-financing and the frontiersmen’s payments, but they existed in other parts of civilian Croatia and Slavonia as well. Legal acts and regulations defining the zadrugas’ proprietary relations were made gradually. The first legal approximation with the zadruga customary law was introduced in the Military Border by the
Elementary Frontiersmen Code of 1807. The family was permitted to split up only if it could be proven that military service would not be adversely affected.
A civil code made in 1840 was in force in the civilian part of Croatia. Contrary to the principles of the zadruga customary law, it entitled male and female children to inherit their parents’ property, causing zadrugas to split up quickly and causing some of them to split up in secret.
All subsequent legal acts made between 1870 and 1880, at the time of liberalism and modernization, proved unable to approximate the civil code with the zadruga law, in particular in the departments of property, inheritance, and the so-called women’s law. Economic influences, in particular the economic crisis that struck the Croatian village between 1873 and 1895, affected the decline of zadrugas the most. Some people tried to improve their economic position by leaving zadrugas and introducing new ways of management, and a sense of individualism stirred up in the people at the same time.

Ključne riječi

Slavonia; Military Border; zadruga; customary law; 19th century

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