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Agriculture and Development in Prussian Upper Silesia, 1846–1913

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 March 2009

Michael R. Haines
Affiliation:
Department of Economics, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48202.

Abstract

Agrarian growth was related to overall development in Regierungsbezirk Oppeln in Germany between 1846 and 1913. Oppeln was characterized by an ethnically mixed population (Polish and German) as well as by both agricultural and industrial development. Using new estimates of agricultural output, acreage, and yields, agrarian growth and its sources are described and its linkages to the nonagrarian sector are explored. Variation among subdistricts (Kreise) is also studied. Agriculture experienced uneven growth, but it supported overall growth through rising incomes, provision of labor to the nonagricultural sector, and helping to restrain growth in food prices.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Economic History Association 1982

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References

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5 On the development literature, see Johnston, Bruce F. and Mellor, John W., “The Role of Agriculture in Economic Development,” American Economic Review, 51 (09. 1961), 566–93,Google Scholar and Mellor, John W., The Economics of Agricultural Development (Ithaca, 1966), pp. 3130.Google ScholarJohnston, Bruce F. and Kilby, Peter, Agriculture and Structural Transformation (New York, 1975) also discusses the historical cases of England, the United States, and Japan.Google ScholarNicholls, William H., “The Place of Agriculture in Economic Development,” in Eicher, Carl and Witt, Lawrence, eds., Agriculture in Economic Development (New York, 1964), pp. 1144.Google ScholarThorbecke, Erik, “The Role and Function of Agricultural Development in National Economic Growth,” in Thorbecke, Erik, ed., Economic Development in Agriculture (Ames, Iowa, 1965), pp. 269–85;Google Scholar and Thorbecke, Erik, “Agriculture and Economic Development,” Social Research, 47 (Summer 1980), 290304.Google Scholar For England, see for example, Deane, Phyllis, The First Industrial Revolution, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, 1980), ch. 4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar For Japan, see for example, Ohkawa, Kazushi and Rosovsky, Henry, “The Role of Agriculture in Modem Japanese Economic Development,” Economic Development and Cultural Change, vol. 9, part 2 (10 1960), 4368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar For the United States, see Parker, William, “Agriculture,” in Davis, Lance et al. , American Economic Growth: An Economist's History of the United States (New York, 1972), pp. 369417.Google Scholar For Europe generally, Bairoch, Paul, “Agriculture and the Industrial Revolution, 1700–1914,” in Cipolla, Carlo M., ed., The Fontana Economic History of Europe, vol. 3, “The Industrial Revolution” (London, 1973), pp. 452506.Google Scholar

6 Some such mechanism underlies the dualistic models of Lewis and of Fei and Ranis. See Lewis, W. Arthur, “Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labor,” The Manchester School of Economic and Social Studies, 22 (05 1954), 139–91;CrossRefGoogle Scholaridem, The Theory of Economic Growth (London, 1955).Google ScholarFei, J. C. H. and Ranis, Gustav, Development of the Labor Surplus Economy (Homewood, Illinois, 1964).Google Scholar

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9 It is even possible for growing agriculture to have a perverse effect on industrial development in an open economy. If marginal productivity of labor in agriculture rises enough it might be beneficial to keep labor in agriculture, or even attract it away from industry in order to specialize in agricultural production and trade for nonagricultural goods. Denmark is a case in point.Google Scholar

10 Henderson, W. O., The State and the Industrial Revolution in Prussia, 1740–1870 (Liverpool, 1967), pp. 120.Google Scholar A general history of mining and smelting in Upper Silesia is provided by Pounds, Norman J. G., The Upper Silesian Industrial Region (Bloomington, Indiana, 1958).Google Scholar

11 The major Prussian statistical organ was the Königlich preussischen statistischen Bureau (later the Königlich preussischen statistischen Landesamt) whose major publication (after 1861) was the Preussische Statistik, known as the Quellenwerk (source work).Google Scholar

12 von Lengerke, Alexander, Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Landwirtschafr in den Königlichen preussischen Staaten: Beobachtungen auf landwirtschaftlichen Reisen in den Königlichen preussischen Staaten, vol. 1, “Die Provinzen Sachsen und Schlesien” (Berlin, 1846), pp. 461–80.Google Scholar August Meitzen, , Der Boden und die landwirtscha.ftliche Verhālrnisse des preussischen Staates nach dem Gebietsumfang vor 1866, vol. 2 (Berlin, 1869), pp. 182–83.Google Scholar

13 Preussische Statistik, vol. 52, pp. 45–47; vol. 230, pp. 81–96.Google Scholar

14 A description of methods, data sources, and adjustment procedures is available in the form of an appendix (“Estimation of Agricultural Output for Oppeln, 1846–1913”) from the author upon request. Very briefly, use was made of the Erntetabellen and Erdruschtabellen to obtain estimated yields for the period 1846–1877. Adjustment was made for underreporting of yields for the periods 1878–92 and 1893–99 because of changes in reporting procedures. The results from Appendix Table I were averaged into quinquennia and combined with acreage estimates in Appendix Table 2 to give output estimates for the periods 1846/50 to 1911/13. The acreage estimates were based on annual data from the Preussische Statistik for the years 1878–1913. Acreages for the period 1846–77 were estimated using cadastral information from 1849 and 1861/64 which gave total arable land. The percentage shares of total arable land for wheat, rye, barley, oats, and potatoes for 1878 and 1883 (when special crop surveys were taken) were averaged and the results multiplied by total amble land for 1849 and 1861/64, and also between 1861/64 and 1878. Finally, the years 1846–1848 were obtained by linear extrapolation. The annual data were then averaged.Google Scholar

15 Hoffmann, Walther G., “The Take-off in Germany,” in Rostow, W. W., ed., The Economics of Take-off into Sustained Growth (New York, 1963), pp. 100102.Google ScholarFinckenstein, H. W., “Die Getreidewirtschaft Preussens von 1800 bis 1930,” Sonderhefte des Institurs für Konjunkturforschung, no. 35 (Berlin, 1934).Google Scholar

16 Potatoes contain a great deal of water and are only about 15–20 percent as nutritious as grain by weight. Therefore, potato output by weight was deflated to make it more comparable to grain. See Newell, William H., “The Agricultural Revolution in Nineteenth-Century France,” this JOURNAL, 33 (12 1973), 731.Google ScholarClark, Colin and Haswell, Margaret, The Economics of Subsistence Agriculture, 4th ed. (London, 1970), p. 60. This procedure is based on caloric equivalents. Clark and Haswell suggest an alternative system of weights for the United States and Western Europe, based on the fact that animals consumed a large proportion of grain and potatoes. The alternative for grains and potatoes that they suggest (pp. 240–42) (wheat = 1.00; rye = 0.75; barley = 0.65; oats = 0.65; potatoes = 0.65) would assign more weight to potatoes but less to rye, barley, and oats. At any rate, the results here are intended only as an approximate index.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

17 Obviously output per person-hour of labor per year would be the best measure. Estimates of labor intensity in agriculture for Oppeln have not yet been made. The most commonly used alternative—output per worker—is also not used since the definitions of female and child labor force participation changed between the occupational censuses of 1882, 1895, and 1907. Agricultural population (agricultural labor force plus dependents and servants) affords a crude means of indexing the agricultural labor force but it does not account for actual changes in labor intensity or participation rates. Agricultural population was estimated from rural population by the method explained in the notes to Table 2.Google Scholar

18 Average total increase for the period 1846/50–1911/13 was 1.31 percent per annum, which was less than the average annual natural increase of 1.56 percent. Upper Silesia as a whole experienced net out-migration for all the quinquennia between 1846/50 and 1911/12 except for 1856/60 and 1861/65.Google Scholar

19 Defined as population in incorporated nonagricultural areas of 2,000 persons and over.Google Scholar

20 Hoffmann, Walther G., Das Wachtsrum der deuischen Wirrschaft seit der Mitre des 19. Jahrhunderts (Berlin, 1965), pp. 289–90.Google Scholar

21 Clapham, J. H., The Economic Development of France and Germany, 1815–1914, 4th ed. (Cambridge, 1936), p. 220, gives several reasons for the decline of sheep raising, including the decline in rough grazing as arabIc land expanded, failure to combine more intensive arable farming with sheep raising, lack of demand for mutton, and lack of export demand for wool.Google Scholar See also Werner, H., “Viehzucht und Viehhaltang sowie Viehzāhlungen,” in Meitzen, Der Boden und die landwirrschaftliche Verhālrnisse, vol. 7, pp. 650–70.Google Scholar

22 Although it did not grow as rapidly as in Prussia as a whole. Werner, “Viehzucht und Viehhaltang sowie Viehzählungen,” p. 679.Google Scholar

23 Heese, Alfred, “Die langfristige Entwicklung der deutschen Landwirtschaft” (Ph.D. diss., University of Münster, 1956), p. 160.Google ScholarEsseln, Joseph Bergfried, “Die Entwicklung und Fleischverbrauch auf dem Gebiete des heutigen deutschen Reichs seit dem Anfang des 19. Jahrunderts und ihr gegenwärtigen Stand,” Jahrbücher für Narionalökonomie und Siatistik, series 3, vol. 43 (1912), pp. 745, 767.Google ScholarAn example for Germany (in kilograms) is: The results for the nearest market center, Breslau (after 1900), were quite similar to those for Germany as a whole. Composition of livestock population by age, sex, and use did not apparently change much between 1849 and 1914. Among beef animals, cows remained 56–67 percent of the total, with young cattle (.5–2 years of age) making up most of the remainder with 22–30 percent. Bulls, steers, and oxen were only 3–9 percent. Among pigs, 75–83 percent were under two years of age. Most of the rest were breeding sows. Thus, among beef animals, most were intended for milk and breeding purposes and only 30–35 percent were really eligible for slaughter. Among pigs, on the other hand, most were clearly intended for slaughter. See Prussia, Statistisches Landesamt, Tabellen und amtliche Nachrichten für das Jahr 1849, … 1858. Preussische Siaristik, passim.Google Scholar

24 Ziekursch, Johannes, Hunderrjahre schlesische Agrargeschichte (Berlin, 1915), pp. 372–95.Google ScholarBleiber, Helmut, Zwischen Reform und Revolution: Lage und Kämpfe der schlesischen Bauern und Landarbeiter in Vormärz, 1840–1847 (Berlin, 1966), chs. 13.Google Scholar

25 Wyslouch, Seweryn, Studia nad Koncentracja w rolnictwie ślgskim w latach 1850–1914 (Studies on the Concentration of Silesian Agriculture, 18501914) (Wroclaw, Poland, 1956).Google Scholar The disappearance of commons land seems to have taken place rapidly between 1849 and 1861/64 when arable land expanded at a rate of 2.4 percent per annum and total agricultural land (including meadows and pastures) expanded at 2.9 percent per annum. Much of this land came from the decline of common grazing and commonly used waste land. See Lütge, Friedrich, “Uber die Auswirkung der Bauernbefreiung in Deutschland,” in Lütge, Friedrich, Studien zur Sozial und Wirtschaftsgeschichte (Stuttgart, 1963), pp. 169239.Google Scholar In Oppeln 87.5 percent of all farm land was owner-operated by 1882. Of farms over 5 hectares, this was 89.8 percent (Statistik des deutschen Reichs, n.s. vol. 5 [1885]).Google Scholar

26 von der Goltz, Theodore, Geschichte der deutschen Landwirtschaft, vol. 2 (Stuttgart, 1903), pp. 218–39.Google Scholar

27 For an account of the fulfillment of the Stein-Hardenberg reforms and the difficult conditions of the 1840s (sometimes called the “Hungry Forties”) see Ziekursch, Hundertjahre schlesische Agrargeschichte; Bleiber, Zwischen Reform und Revolution; Lutge, “Uber die Auswirkung der Bauernbefreiung in Deutschland”;Google ScholarHamerow, Theodore, Restoration, Revolution, Reaction: Economics and Politics in Germany, 1815–1871 (Princeton, New Jersey, 1958), chs. 4, 9, and 12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

28 Meitzen, , Der Boden und die landwirtschafthiche Verhāltnisse, vol. 2, pp. 182–83. He notes rotations using root crops and cultivated fodder crops for both the peasants and large estates throughout Upper Silesia, except on the right bank of the Oder (i.e., the predominantly Polish- speaking counties with poorer sand or clay soils) where the peasants did not cultivate fodder crops but did grow potatoes.Google Scholar

29 The accuracy of the estimation in Table 2 is supported by the enumerated agricultural population of 672,000 in 1867, which is only 2.4 percent below the estimated 1866/70 average agrarian population.Google Scholar

30 By 1882, 30 percent of all farms over 5 hectares and 69 percent of all farms over 20 hectares were using threshers. See Starisrik des deutschen Reichs, n.s. vol. 5 (1885).Google Scholar The labor that was saved was mostly off-season work supplied by cottagers. Thus threshers served to expedite the disappearance of the smallest farmers and turn them to agricultural wage labor. See Haushofer, Heinz, Die deutsche Landwirtschaft im technischen Zeitalger (Stuttgart, 1963), pp. 134–35.Google Scholar

31 Collins, E. J. T., “Labour Supply and Demand in European Agriculture, 1800–1880,” in Jones, E. L. and Woolf, S. J., Agrarian Change and Economic Development (London, 1969), p. 91.Google Scholar

32 See Brentano, Lujo, Die deutsche Gerreidezölle, 3rd ed. (Stuttgart, 1925).Google ScholarRosenberg, Hans, “The Economic Impact of Imperial Germany: Agricultural Policy,” this JOURNAL, 3, Supplement (12 1943), 102105.Google ScholarClapham, J. H., The Economic Development of France and Germany, p. 347.Google ScholarGerschenkron, Alexander, Bread and Democracy in Germany (Berkeley, California, 1943), pp. 2188.Google ScholarSombart, Werner, Die deutsche Volkswirtschaft im neunzehnten Jahrundert (Berlin, 1923), pp. 358–65.Google Scholar

33 Tariffs were levied according to the following schedules: Source: Vierreljahresheft zur. Srarisrik des deutschen Reichs, vol. 44 (1935), part I, p. 281.Google Scholar

34 The freight rates on grain from Chicago to New York were by 1901/05 only 22 percent of 1866/70 levels. The 1901/05 ocean rate from New York to Europe fell to 16 percent of its 1871/75 value. See Sundbärg, Gustav, Aperçus Stalistiques iniernationaux (Stockholm, 1908), Table 264.Google Scholar On advances in elevator technology see Rothstein, Morton, “America in the International Rivalry for the British Wheat Market, 1860–1914,” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 47 (12 1960), 401–18.CrossRefGoogle ScholarBöhm, Otto, Die Kornhäuser: Eine Studie über die Organisation des Gerreideverkaufes in Amerika, Indien, und Russland, sowie in einiger Deurschen Staaten (Stuttgart, 1898).Google Scholar

35 For example, the average daily money wage of a free male agricultural laborer in Silesia rose according to the following table: See Asmis, Wilhelm, “Zur Entwicklung der Landarbeiterlöhne in Preussen,” Landwirrschaftliche Jahrbücher, vol. 52, no. 4 (1919), p. 535.Google Scholar On the shortage of agriculture labor, see Quante, Peter, “Die Flucht aus der Landwirtschaft,” Zeirschrjft des Preussischen Statistischen Landesamis, vol. 71, section 3 and 4 (1933), pp. 277380.Google Scholar The issue of migration from the rural, agrarian regions of Upper Silesia is discussed in Haines, Michael, Economic-Demographic Interrelations in Developing Agricultural Regions: A Case Study of Prussian Upper Silesia, 1840–1914 (New York, 1977), chs. 4 and 6;Google Scholar and idem, “Population and Economic Change in Nineteenth-Century Eastern Europe: Prussian Upper Silesia, 1840–1913,” this JOURNAL, 36 (June 1976), 334–58.Google Scholar

36 Statisrik des deurschen Reichs, vol. 5 (1885) and vol. 212 (1909).Google Scholar

37 Hoffmann, M., “Verbrauch an reinem Kali in den Jahren 1890, 1900 und 1910,” Arbeiten der Deurschen Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft, no. 216 (1912), p. 35. Haines, Economic-Demographic Interrelations, p. 351.Google Scholar

38 Brentano, Die deutsche Geireidezolle, pp. 104, 106. Prices of fertilizer began to rise slowly after 1897, but machine prices apparently continued to decline.Google Scholar

39 The “absorption” of population pressure in the agrarian regions of Oppeln is discussed in Haines, Economic-Demographic Interrelations, chs. 4 and 5, and idem, “Population and Economic Change,” pp. 349–55.Google Scholar

40 Boserup, Ester, The Conditions of Agricultural Growth (Chicago, 1965).Google Scholar

41 Haines, “Population and Economic Change.”Google Scholar

42 The regions were as follows: Region I, predominantly German-speaking and agricultural; Region II, predominantly Polish-speaking and agricultural; Region III, predominantly Polish- speaking and industrial; Region IV, predominantly Polish-speaking and transitional between agricultural and industrial.Google Scholar

43 The local market prices were taken as Breslau prices, which was the nearest major market center. Breslau was in fact in Lower Silesia, quite close to the border of Upper Silesia.Google Scholar

44 The series “Weights II” was used. This weighted prices of individual foodstuffs according to weights obtained from 66 worker budgets in an 1889 survey of several German heavy industries (coal, steel, bar iron, iron ore, and coke). See U.S., Congress, House, Sixth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor: 1890, part 3, “Cost of Living,” House Executive Document 265, 51st Congress, 2nd sess., pp. 1366–69.Google Scholar

45 Money wages in agriculture were obtained from Asmis, Wilhelm, “Zur Entwicklung der LandarbeiterlUhne in Preussen,” Landwir:schaftliche Jahrbücher, vol. 52, no.4 (1919), p. 535. The agricultural cost of living deflator was based on the “Weights I” series in Table I, which used weights based on overall per capita consumption in Germany.Google Scholar

46 When the money wages of Upper Silesian mine workers or agricultural laborers are deflated by an overall German cost of living index, such as that of Desai (See Desai, Ashok, Real Wages in Germany, 1871–1913 [Oxford, 1968]), then the same rising real wages appear. The prices of other goods and services were not rising as fast as money wages.Google Scholar

47 Meitzen, Der Boden und die landwirrschafthiche Verhältnisse, vol. 2, p. 538.Google Scholar

48 Ibid., p. 186.

49 Volz, Wilhelm, Die wirtschaftsgeographischen Grundlagen der ober-schlesischen Frage (Berlin, 1921), P. 39.Google Scholar Cited in Pounds, The Upper Silesian Industrial Region, p. 151.Google Scholar

50 There is also some indirect evidence that Oppeln was a net grain importer. Clark, Cohn and Haswell, Margaret (The Economics of Subsistence Agriculture, 4th ed., pp. 6465) cite a minimum level of agricultural production of 750 kilograms per capita per year of grain or grain equivalents in order to sustain mixed farming which included stable feeding of animals. Since livestock and land use figures indicate this was the type of agriculture practiced, and since grains per capita and grains plus potato equivalence per capita (Table 2, columns 7 and 9) fell short of this during the period 1846–1913, the difference must have been imported. If, however, this minimum applied only to the agricultural population, then Oppeln probably exceeded the threshold in terms of grains plus potato equivalence throughout most of the period, as indicated by a level of 985.3 kilograms per agricultural person in 1878/80 (Table 2, column 3).Google Scholar

51 The industrial region is defined as the original Kreis Beuthen, which was later divided into seven Kreise, Sradtkreise, and Landkreise. The rate of net migration is calculated directly from the balancing equation: Rate of Net Migration = (Crude Birth Rate–Crude Death Rate)–Rate of Total Increase. This measures net migration as a residual and as the difference between the rate of natural increase (= Crude Birth Rate–Crude Death Rate) and the rate of total increase (rate of intercensal population increase). Published vital and census statistics from Preussische Statisrik and other sources were used. In order to obtain decade averages, some interpolation of census data was necessary. The sources and calculations underlying these numbers are discussed in Haines, “Population and Economic Change.”Google Scholar

52 “In sum, it appears that not only was the work force in the Upper Silesian industrial region recruited in the Silesia Province, but for the most part, was recruited within the territory of the tiny bunch of counties constituting the industrial area.” Schofer, Lawrence, “The Formation of a Modern Industrial Working Force: The Case of Upper Silesia, 1870–1914” (Ph.D. diss., University of California at Berkeley, 1970), p. 69. Schofer's results are based in part on the inspection of worker lists of various coal mines, which gave place of origin. See pp. 64–66. Only mines very near the borders took a high proportion of Russian Polish and Austrian Polish peasants. The particular agrarian origins of Upper Silesian industrial labor force are stressed in ch. 4. Most of the German- speaking peasantry appeared to have gone elsewhere in Germany (p. 60).Google Scholar

53 A discussion of migration destinations outside of Oppeln may be found in Haines, Economic-Demographic Interrelations, ch. 6.Google Scholar

54 Blumberg, Horst, “Die Finanzierung der Neugründungen und Erweiterungen von Industriebetrieben in Form der Aktiengesellschaften wahrend der fünfziger Jahre des 19. Jahrhunderts in Deutschland, am Beispiel der preussischen Verhältnisse erlautert,” in Mottek, Hans et al. , Studien zur Geschichte der Industriellen Revolution in Deurschland (Berlin, 1960), pp. 196–99.Google Scholar

55 Pounds, The Upper Silesian Industrial Region, pp. 61–62, 69, 83, 88–92, 103–107.Google Scholar

56 Ibid., pp. 64–69.

57 In 1861 34.1 percent of all Oppein's iron production was from charcoal furnaces. By 1880 the proportion was 0.3 percent (Zeitschrift für das Bergbau—, Hüuen— und Salinenwesen im preussischen Swat. passim).Google Scholar

58 Meitzen, , Der Boden und die landwirtschaftliche Verhältnisse, vol. 4, pp. 612–15.Google Scholar

59 Schwartz, O. and Strutz, G., Der Haushalt und die Finanzen preussens unler Benutzung amthche Quellen (Berlin, 19001903), vol. 3a, pp. 270–73, 284–87.Google Scholar

60 Ibid., passim.

61 In 1867, for example, city dwellers in Oppeln paid an average of 22.5 silbergroschen per capita in income taxes versus 16.4 for rural dwellers. Meitzen, , Der Boden und die landwirtschaftliche Verhältnisse, vol. 4, p. 612.Google Scholar

62 Schwartz, and Strutz, , Der Haushals und die Finanzen preussens, vol. 2b, pp. 4041. Clapham, The Economic Development of France and Germany, pp. 348–49.Google Scholar

63 Engel, Ernst, “Die Eisenbahnen in preussischen Staate und ihre Verteilung auf die einzelnen Kriese, Regierungsbezirke und Provinzen in den Jahren 1862 bis 1874,” Zeitschrfi für das Königlichen Preussischen Staristischen Bureaus, vol. 14 (1874), pp. 281320, especially pp. 288–89, 303.Google Scholar

64 Henderson, The State and the Industrial Revolution in Prussia, 1740–1870.Google Scholar

65 Pounds, The Upper Silesian Industrial Region, pp. 71–77.Google Scholar

66 Schwartz, and Strutz, , Der Haushalt und die Finanzen preussens, vol. 3a, pp. 3637.Google Scholar

67 Prussia, Statistisches Landesamt, Tabellen und amtlich Nachrichren für das Jahr 1849, vol. 1. Preussische Staristik, passim.Google Scholar

68 In Silesia 2.5 percent of total local government spending was directly for agricultural purposes in 1903. In both 1849 and 1866 the Prussian government spent over 4.3 percent of its total budget for civil administration on agricultural education, soil improvements, and so on. This was 3.2 percent by 1899.Google Scholar

69 Agricultural net migration was computed by taking the difference of agricultural natural increase and total increase and relating it to average agricultural population for 1882/95. Agricultural population was obtained from the agricultural censuses of 1882 and 1895. Natural increase was estimated by deflating natural increase “auf dem platten Land” for the proportion of rural population in agriculture. Distribution of farmland by size is from Statistik des deutschen Reichs, n.s. vol. 5 (1885) and vol. 112 (1898).Google Scholar Land quality is based on the 1861/64 cadastral survey and is given in Meitzen, , Der Boden und die Iandwirtschafthiche Verhältnisse, vol. 4, pp. 5661.Google Scholar

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