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Wealth of the Polish nobility


David_18 68 | 982
24 Jun 2010 #1
Im doing some reasearch on the wealth of the polish nobility.

In 1748 the total revenue of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth amounted to 8,000,000 zloties. In that same year the Zamoyski family owned 1,000,000 zloties, Count F.S. Potocki possessed 3,000,000 and Michael Radziwill had amassed 5,000,000 zloties. It has been estimated that Michael Radziwill's 5,000,000 zloties was equal to 139,000 pounds sterling. This would make the income of even the richest British aristocrats (Bedfords, Devonshires etc) pale in comparison. In 1767 James Harris (later the Earl of Malmesbury) calculated Radziwill's income at 18,000,000 zloties or 500,000 pnds sterling.

how was it in England and Europe at that time? could you find just as wealthy nobleman there as you could in Poland? (Im not talking about kings now)

In the early 1760s August Czartoryski had a personal court of 375 persons and a private army of 4,000. F.S. Potocki had 2,000 men in his army. Michael Radziwill could lay claim to 10,000 men in 1750 and his son to 5,000 in 1764.

Were the English and european noblemen allowed to have private armies?

polishnobles.com/intro.html

jasinski.co.uk/wojna/index.htm

Ps.
If anyone else knows some more numbers and statistic about the polish nobility's wealth, please post them.
vetala - | 382
24 Jun 2010 #2
Ah, so that's where the tax money disappeared...

You're forgetting that the only rich nobles in Poland were the magnates and yes, they were RICH. However, most nobles were poor.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
24 Jun 2010 #3
Most nobles in Poland were wealthy, if they didnt have a village of their own they had a particularly large farm, in 1586 an average Polish nobles income was 186zł with food and most of the animals provided for free since he had been breeding them for generations, after clothes luxury and livelihood this left him usually with around 90zł for investments.

A good young healthy cow in XVI century Poland cost 1zł so an average noble could buy 80-90 cows, at the same time a German noble of the same class could buy only 40, a British noble only 18, a Scottish noble only 10.

On average the Polish nobility was filthy rich, if you lived next to a river or a major trade route or a city the income doubled, sometimes tripled.

There's quite a few marriage agreements from XV and XVI century Lesser Poland between Poles and Germans which illustrate the dowry of both families, the German side' dowry was typically much much smaller.

Untill XVII century when the "Folwark" system was firmly in place Poland was effing rich and life was good.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
24 Jun 2010 #4
David, why on earth would such a thing interest you? The way some people get money is like black magic to me. When you consider that nobility hardly do anything to get their cash, what is there to analyse?
pawian 177 | 14,635
24 Jun 2010 #5
how was it in England and Europe at that time?

These two questions are dealt with in Polish literature. Top Polish nobles were indecently rich, richer than kings and princes in other countries. When Swedish armies invaded Poland in 17 century, thousands of horse carts with robbed goods from nobles` property were sent to Sweden. Today, in Swedish museums.

At the same time, Polish peasants were extremely poor and were treated like animals or slaves.
krakowiak
24 Jun 2010 #6
Today, in Swedish museums.

Hell! Than lets invade this bluelegged bastards!!!
OP David_18 68 | 982
24 Jun 2010 #7
David, why on earth would such a thing interest you?

Well since the Nazi's and the Soviets kinda oppressed the polish people and it's culture and downplayed Poland role in the history books i think it's time to do some research, and share it with the public.

Here is an example what the polish nobility had to go trough in the WW2
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
24 Jun 2010 #8
At the same time, Polish peasants were extremely poor and were treated like animals or slaves.

Communist myth Pawian, peasants in Poland were never hungry and their ordeal started only in XVII century, they were still much better off then their Western counterparts.
OP David_18 68 | 982
24 Jun 2010 #9
Communist myth

Ofcourse the communists had to hide the truth, the russians were the best right????? The truth is that the russian serfs fleed to Poland in the 15-16-17-18'th century, like the bees to honey.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
24 Jun 2010 #10
Ofcourse the communists had to hide the truth, the russians were the best right?????

Sarcasm? There's plenty of lies propagated during communism small and big, from peasant infantry fighting for Poland at Grunwald to polish Commonwealth being a corrupt state.

The "poor opressed peasant" myth was produced purely as a communist construct to create the impression that reinessaince Poland was, despite its incredible advancement built on the backs of slaving working class.

The truth is that the russian serfs fleed to Poland in the 15-16-17-18'th century, like the bees to honey.

They did not, Germans however did, russian serfs were rooted to the spot through a variety of tactics by their owners.
southern 75 | 7,096
24 Jun 2010 #11
A good young healthy cow in XVI century Poland cost 1zł so an average noble could buy 80-90 cows.

You measured your property in cows?I guess a bit backwards compared to some more advanced places in the south?
Bzibzioh
24 Jun 2010 #12
Because those advanced places in the south measured wealth in goats?
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
24 Jun 2010 #13
I thought southern measured his wealth in the number of Slavic prostitutes he can afford :D
southern 75 | 7,096
24 Jun 2010 #14
In camels to be precise.I imagine the frustration of the teutonic prince when his daughter could not bring enough cows to marry a Pole.
OP David_18 68 | 982
24 Jun 2010 #15
They did not, Germans however did, russian serfs were rooted to the spot through a variety of tactics by their owners.

They did
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
24 Jun 2010 #16
You measured your property in cows?

Its easier then to actually measure it in hard money, cows were across all Europe the most expensive farm animal apart from the horse.

They did

To Ukraine yes, to Poland per se not so much.

I guess a bit backwards compared to some more advanced places in the south?

At the time everywhere money was measured via its purchase capacity against products that held a similar price Europe wide such as cows, horses for example varied wildly, a horse in Poland cost only 30% of its price in Germany while cow prices were pretty stable.
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
24 Jun 2010 #17
In camels to be precise.

You don't like Arabs, but you measure your wealth in their animals?? :D
southern 75 | 7,096
24 Jun 2010 #18
We used to measure properties with gold and as you know more than half of the world's gold was concentrated in Byzantium.
OP David_18 68 | 982
24 Jun 2010 #19
To Ukraine yes

Didn't know ukraine existed in those times, weren't todays Ukraine so called "Crown lands"?
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
24 Jun 2010 #20
We used to measure properties with gold and as you know more than half of the world's gold was concentrated in Byzantium

Except that at the time you mention (dark ages) Byzantium was the only template for commerce, in reinessance period there was no such template so we have to count against purchase power of different currencies.
OP David_18 68 | 982
25 Jun 2010 #21
We used to measure properties with gold

You mean in Feta cheese and olives right?
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
25 Jun 2010 #22
We used to measure properties with gold and as you know more than half of the world's gold was concentrated in Byzantium.

Those were the days, eh? How times change! lol
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
25 Jun 2010 #23
Didn't know ukraine existed in those times, weren't todays Ukraine so called "Crown lands"?

These were Polish properties but not Crown proper.
OP David_18 68 | 982
25 Jun 2010 #24
I think the Crown owned about 20%? and the rest to the church and the szlachta?

Not sure though...
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
25 Jun 2010 #25
I think the Crown owned about 20%? and the rest to the church and the szlachta?

"Crown" was the blanket term used to describe Poland and its direct dependencies, it stretched as far as Lwów but beyond that it was frontier land analogous to american Wild West, its to this place that the russian serfs fled, either to Crimea or to the Sich.
OP David_18 68 | 982
25 Jun 2010 #26
Some facts i found.

Radziwiłł family

In total, the Radziwiłł family has had in its possession 23 palaces, 426 large and small towns, 2032 estates, and 10,053 villages.

Radziwiłł Palace in Berlin - A city palace located on Wilhelmstrasse No. 77, acquired by the Prussian state government in 1869 from Antoni Henryk. It was turned into the old Reich Chancellery.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radziwi%C5%82%C5%82

Lubomirski family

Prince Aleksander Michał Lubomirski, the Equerry of the Crown and the voivode of Kraków, married Helena Ossolińska. Their son Prince Józef Karol, Court Marshal, and later Grand Marshal of the Crown (thanks to marriage with Princess Teofila Zasławska), was an owner of large properties, which included 51 towns, 973 villages and 229 granges. His son Prince Aleksander Dominik (~1693-1720) was the heir in tail of the Ostróg estate (he was the last in the male line),

/wiki/Lubomirski

Something interesting for Crow maybe :D

Czartoryski family
Russian by-branch

A muscovite noble family, Chartorisky, is descended as side-line from the Dukes of Chortoryisk, i.e the Czartoryski princely family. The branching happened in the 1500s. The lineage produced service nobles to Tsars of Russia for centuries, and the Revolution made its members to emigrate to Serbia.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czartoryski
Ozi Dan 26 | 569
29 Jun 2010 #27
Wealth of the polish nobility

I heard that some Polish nobles were so wealthy that they deliberately slipshod their horses gold horseshoes so they would fall off. The fact that they deliberately let them lie in the street thereafter was testament to the fact that they were so wealthy that the loss of a gold horseshoe meant nothing.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
29 Jun 2010 #29
I heard that some Polish nobles were so wealthy that they deliberately slipshod their horses gold horseshoes so they would fall off.

Actually its about some Winged Hussar captains who had their horses lose golden horseshoes in Vienna, it wasnt done everyday, well Zamoyski did that everyday but then again there's a loads of other weird things he did.


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