Peasant agriculture and export trade :currant viticulture in Southern Greece,1830-1893
Title: Peasant agriculture and export trade :currant viticulture in Southern Greece,1830-1893
Author: FRANGHIADIS, Alexis
Citation: Florence, European University Institute, 1990
Series/Report no.: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
The views of Greek historians on the conditions of existence and the strategy of peasant families tend to converge around a set of assumptions that may be depicted as following: - The peasantry held virtual control over large part of the land it cultivated. A great part of this land consisted of "National Estates" - that is, of land which before 1830 belonged to the Porte and to Ottoman subjects and after that date became property of the Greek state. Until 1871, any individual, as well as peasant families, might occupy and cultivate part of this land, by paying a relatively low rent, proportional to gross output, as a "right of usufruct" to the Treasury. Although the legal framework was unclear and liable to changes, regular occupants of this land might sell, rent, give as a dowry or even mortgage their rights on it. Thus, rights of occupancy on national land were de facto almost as strong as rights of property. -Ownership of large estates represented an exceptional and rather marginal situation; the wealthy and powerful strata of the population were mainly oriented towards commerce, money-lending, political and administrative careers, and showed a relative indifference towards the prospect of acquisition and exploitation of agricultural estate property. -The massive sale of "National Estates", organized according to the law of 1871, which gave priority to longstanding occupants, permitted a further consolidation of the peasants' position. It is commonly held that longstanding occupants became full proprietors of the land they traditionally cultivated. -Peasant farms, which represented the prevalent type of productive unit in Greek agriculture, were "target producers" oriented towards subsistence. This they sought through a varying combination of activities, including production of foodstuffs for home consumption, occasional wage-labour, and highly commercialized crops, such as currant viticulture, growing of cotton or tobacco. These latter were a supplementary opportunity for further differentiation of activities - differentiation which contributed to the security of household income - and a way to face monetary needs, aggravated by the usurious interest rates charged by money-lenders on their advances to the peasantry.
LC Subject Heading: Agriculture -- Greece -- 19th Century; International trade -- Greece -- 19th Century; Viticulture -- Greece -- 19th Century
Defence date: 19 December 1990; First made available online on 11 April 2014.
Type of Access: openAccess