Agriculture 1800 up to 1850

Farmers on Poel around 1810 Farmers on Poel around 1810

region Mecklenburg

Napoleon imposed a ban on grain exports. Prices fell. The cattle plague destroyed many stocks in 1810. The subsequent agricultural crisis brought significant fluctuation among the land owners, which did not subside until around 1840.

The “Patriotic Society” was created in 1817. It was committed to innovations in livestock farming and agriculture.

Serfdom was officially abolished in Mecklenburg in 1819. It took until 1824 for the decree to be enforced on state farms. Knights did not complete this abolition until 1860. Free farm workers migrated overseas in numbers.

Ernst Moritz Arndt, Versuch einer Geschichte der Leibeigenschaft in Pommern und Rügen 1803 Ernst Moritz Arndt, Versuch einer Geschichte der Leibeigenschaft (An exploration of the history of serfdom), 1803

region Western Pomerania

King Gustav IV. Adolf abolishes the constitution of the territorial diets in 1806. He entertains the notion of a state represented by four groups, each sending their own delegates to the diet. State farms are to be returned to the farmers. Serfdom is outlawed in 1810. The reforms fail when the country is occupied by Napoleon, who also imposes a ban on the export of grain. Prices fall.

The knights in Prussian Pomerania put up stiff resistance to the agricultural reforms of 1807 and 1811, as well as to the expansion of farming land used mainly by settlers from Swedish Pomerania and Mecklenburg.

The farmers also benefit from the improvements to infrastructure initiated from 1815 on. Crop rotation replaces the three-field system. Animal husbandry expands. The bourgeois classes are now able to purchase estates. The farmers who buy themselves out of serfdom lose their land and become day labourers.