Use of 19th century cartographic source materials to study spatial changes of villages in Wielkopolska (Poland)
Keywords: enfranchisement in the 19th century, Wielkopolska, maps, registers
Abstract. Wielkopolska as a geographical and historical land covers the area of the central and western part of Poland. Its territorial boundaries have changed over the centuries. In 1793, as a result of the second partition of Poland, Wielkopolska was incorporated into Prussia. From 1815 – after the re-occupation of Polish lands by Prussia – the Grand Principality of Poznań was established based on the decisions of the Vienna Congress. In its territory, the Prussian power gradually began to implement rural relations in the Prussian style. In 1823, the Prussian power started an agricultural land reform on the territory of the Grand Principality of Poznań. The reform involved the separation of peasant land from grange land and determined what peasant farms may be enfranchisemented and on what terms. The course of the reform was richly documented cartographically and descriptively. Cartographic material (plans, maps) as well as descriptive – enfranchisement recessions, to a large extent preserved to the present times and are stored in the State Archives in Poland. The paper presented the genesis and the method of these materials – how they were created, what they were about and what they contained. Spatial changes taking place in rural areas were significant. The layout of rural lands and the manner of land management underwent reconstruction. Buildings of peasants were often transferred to other places. New roads were created or their course changed. The agricultural reform initiated in 1823 had a huge impact on today's appearance of the Wielkopolska countryside.