Przeszłość Demograficzna Polski (Jan 2019)

Serfdom and Mobility in Eighteenth-Century Bohemia. On Josef Grulich’s Book Migrační strategie: Město, předměstí a vesnice na panství České Budějovice ve druhé polovině 18. století, České Budějovice: Jihočeská univerzita v Českých Budějovicích, 2018, 286 pages

  • Mateusz Wyżga

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 41


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The article discusses a book focusing on migration strategies as exemplified by the area surrounding the city of České Budějovice in the second half of the eighteenth century. Formally, the peasant population in Bohemia was bound in serfdom until 1781, which has until recently been believed to have considerably curtailed its mobility. The underlying research is based mostly on letters of discharge and registers of births, marriages and deaths. The author sets out to explain the migration strategies followed by the residents of villages situated in the surroundings of a major urban center. He discusses the migrants’ main motivations and the ways in which they tried to relocate within the bounds of the law. Special attention is paid to movements relating to labor markets and matrimony. The issue of migration strategies is discussed against a vast social background.