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Original scientific paper

Bondmen's houses in the Dubrovnik Littoral in the 16th and 17th Centuries - Čepikuće

Nenad Vekarić ; Institute for Historical Sciences of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Dubrovnik, Croatia

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In order to stimulate the production of wheat, as well as to keep the monopoly on wine-production, the Dubrovnik authorities limited to their subjects the planting of vine. A special commission periodically inspected the fields, cutting the vine that would exceed the quota. A protocol would accompany such action, containing the list of house owners by the villages, or by the blocks of bondmen’s houses within one particular settlement. Several such lists from the Dubrovnik Littoral area, from the 16th century an the first half of the 17th century, have been preserved. By analyzing the lists from the 1577-1642 period - the lists not containing any family names, but only patronymic markers - and by comparing changes in the first names from one list to another, as well as the house owners distribution within the village or within the block of bondmen’s houses, the houses and families of the village of Čepikuće were identified and their continuity with the 1673/4 list was determined. Since, based upon other sources and by the use of other »non-genealogic« methods, the families of the Dubrovnik Littoral can only be followed successfully and systematically since the end of the 17th century (family names being recorded very seldom, and in total absence of registers of births, marriages and deaths), the limits of our knowledge of these families have been shifted for a hundred years or more. It has been determined that all homes (»fire-places«) from the year 1673/4, excepting one, also existed in 1577; in addition to those, some other existed in 1577, which later died down in the course of the hundred years. This confirmed our knowledge that a strong decline in population occurred in the 17th century and that there were no significant migrations. It is of special importance that the analysis proved that the lists created upon the cutting of vine were a reliable source to deduce on the number of houses, and thus on the entire population of the Dubrovnik Littoral and the Ragusan (Dubrovnik) Republic as a whole.


houses, Dubrovnik Littoral, 16. century, 17. century, Čepikuće

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