Moldavia - Economic History

Historic Encyclopedias on Moldavia's Economy : Brockhaus 1809-1811, Brockhaus 1837-1841, Pierer 1857-1865, Anskjaer 1858-1863

Moldavia's Economic History by Sector : Agriculture, Mining Industry, Timber Industry, Viticulture

Historic Encyclopedias on Moldavia's Economy

Brockhaus Cionversations-Lexikon 1809-1811, Article : Moldau (excerpts)
The land is fertile, but insufficiently cultivated.
source in German, posted by Zeno

Brockhaus Bilder-Conversations-Lexikon 1837-1841, Article : Moldau (excerpts)
.. the state revenue may be around 2 1/2 million piasters annually, of which 162,000 are paid to the Porte as tribute.
In the west of Moldavia are the Carpathians, mountains in which deep, densely forested valleys are incised. The remainder of the land is made up by a fertile plain interrupted by hills. The climate is mild, the winters occasionally very cold. Moldavia is rich in minerals, salt, maize, wheat, hemp, melons, honey and wax, produces excellent wines, a variety timber, even ship's masts are exported. On the rich pastures herds of cattle and sheep are grazing. The forests, where several million pigs feed on hogs, are home to fur-bearing animals such as bears, wolves, martens and foxes. The skins of hares and the so-called Avignon berries are exported in quantity, and the land, because of its wealth in products, long should have achieved affluence, if the people would not have suffered severe oppression for centuries. The Danube river, for a number of years now frequented by steamboats, takes up the waters of the Pruth and Sereth. It facilitates trade with the Austrian Empire and Constantinople. Craft is hardly worthy to mention and mostly conducted by gypsies, trade conducted by the Germans, Armenians and Jews. Farming is is a poor condition, the peasants oppressed, a middle class not existing. Clerics and boyars enjoy numerous privileges and pay little taxes, if any.
Moldavia is divided in Zara de Suss or the Upper Moldavia, and Zara de Schoss of Lower Moldavia. In the former the trade city of Bottoschaul (4,000 inh.) is located. The capital and residence of the Hospodar, Jassy with 30,000 inh., is located on the Bachlui, which rather forms a long row of swampy ponds than a river, in a beautiful, but not very healthy area. The roads are unclean and covered with planks, the houses of poor condition, made of wood; thus the city often was exposed to fire, and has suffered significant damage, even in recent times. Industry is negligible, trade of considerable importance. The most important trading city is Galacz on the left bank of the Danube, with 15,000 inh., which recently has seen considerable development, beautiful and well-constructed; its port can serve ships up to 300 tons cargo. Here merchants from all trading nations reside; export and import are important.

source in German, posted by Zeno

Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Moldau (excerpts)
Climate : cold winters, pleasant summers. The soil, especially in lower elevations, is very fertile, but only poorly cultivated. Products : considerable forests (timber for shipbuilding), predators (wolves, nears, foxes), venison (deer, saiga gazelles, aurochses, bees, locusts; minerals, which are abundant in the country, especially salt, are exploited in a comparatively small quantity. The inhabitants, Moldavians, beautiful in stature, especially he women, regard themselves as the country's original inhabitants, but are related to the Vlachs. Further the country is inhabited by Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Gypsies and ranks. Main occupations : agriculture (wheat, barley, buckwheat, maize etc.), horticulture (a number of vegetables, especially melons), viticulture (formidable, excellent grapes, at Odeshescht, Husch, Jassy, Nikoreschi, some of them firy, by colour green, but also red and white wines, the best the Contuar, similar to Tokayer, is exported to Russia, Poland, Transylvania and even to Hungary), livestock breeding : horses (in stud farms of 4?600 mares), cattle, sheep, fowl, bees (on some estates several thousand beehives), fishery, mining (only salt), only a little industry. Trade exports wine (to Russia, Poland), wax and honey, horses (20-30,000 head to Austria, Prussia), animal skins, oxen (60-70,000 head) etc. Imported are luxury articles of all kinds; trade mostly is in the hands of Greeks, Armenians and Jews.
source in German, posted by Zeno

Anskjaer, Geografisk-Statistisk Haandbog 1858-1863, Article : Moldau (excerpts)
The part of Moldavia located west of the Moldava and Sereth, containing the easern Carpathian mountains, .. seems to be rich in metals.
.. The land between Sereth and Moldava in the west and Pruth in the east .. is very fertile, and covered with beautiful forests and excellent trees, in part excellently suited for agriculture.
The land between the middle and lower valley of the Sereth and the Pruth is covered with the best soil and therefor also well suited for agriculture.
The land east of the Pruth along the lower Danube contains a lot of lakes; it consists of steppe and of swamps.
The gypsies used to be serfs, and the law still reats them as such. The men do the hardest and simplest of work, and at night are expelled from the walled cities, where they, in winter, stay in subterranean huts, in summer in tents. They are excellent smiths, masons, cooks and musicians, bis they are suspected of being thieves, robbers and murderers.
The nobles (Boyars) own almost all the land, while the large majority of peasants lives miserable lives. The influence of the clergy is great ... , while the bourgeoisie is of little importance, but there are already well-populated cities, and with increasing trade their influence will grow quickly.
Factory Industry is of no importance, but domestic trade is lively, although there are only a few macadamian roads. Especially Jassy is the center of a lively trade with the country's products. Foreign trade is mainly conducted in the port of Galatz, where especially considerable quantities of grain are exported. In 1855 (a war year) this place exported a value of 10 1/2 million Rigsdaler (to Greece 57 %, to Austria 16 %, to Holland 10 %, to Sweden and Norway 7 % etc.) and imported for 5 1/2 million Rigsdaler (from England 40 %, from France 24 %, Turkey 23 %). The most important export article is, as mentioned, grain, c. 1,800,000 tons, which makes up 99 % of exports. The most important import articles were sugar (37 %), manufactured goods (20 %), coffee (8 %), oil (8 %), dried fruits (6 %), rum (3 %).
In 1853 exports amounted to 4,800,000 Rigsdaler, imports to 4,950,000 Rigsdaler. In 1854 the figures were only 1,313,000 respectively 1,075,000 Rigsdalers, because the Russians had occupied the country and in part made trade for other nations impossible, in part difficult. Shipping developed as follows : number of ships [arriving at Galatz] 1853 1,681, 1854 380, 1855 1,698. Tonnage 1853 111,313 last, 1854 28,965 last, 1855 208,792 last (Greece 38 %, Turkey 18 %, Austria 13 %, Sweden and Norway 6 %, Holland 6 %, England 4 1/2 %, France 3 %). Other foreign trade (overland trade) is of much lesser importance. In 1853 total imports amounted to 5,457,000 Rigsdaler (thus overland trade only 507,000 Rdlr.), exports 7,930,000 Rdlr. (thus overland trade 3,130,000 Rdlr., but we regard this figure as unreliable). The tribute to the Porte is of little importance (90,000 Rdlr.). State revenue 1853 1,650,000 Rdlr., state expenses 1,550,000 Rdlr., but it is questionable how much the Russians pressed out of the land. Coin : the Piaster.

source in Danish, posted by Project Runeberg

Economic History by Industry

agriculture . While most sources agree in stating hat Moldavia's fertile soil was only partially cultivated, by the middle of the century grain provided the bulk of the country's exports and almost entirely signed responsible for the country's revenues.

Mining . 19th century encyclopedias describe Moldavia (without Bukovina, Bessarabia) as rich in minerals, of which only salt was being exploited. Following the unification of Romania, a mining industry was quickly developed, of which coal mining was the most significant. The development of Moldavia's mining industry was strongly correlated with the development of unified Romania's railroad network.

Timber Industry . In the early 19th century, sources mention the export of Moldavian timber for the purpose of shipbuilding, especially for masts of sailboats. These exports were facilitated by increased trade on the Danube river and on the sea. The transition from sailships made of wood to steamboats, in the construction of which less and less wood was used, affected this industry.

Viticulture . As in the case of many other economic sectors, modern accounts on the history of the viticulture of what used to be the Principality of Moldavia (the Romanian region of Moldavia and the Republic of Moldova) are extremely brief on the period of the principality. Contrary to some accounts, wine has been produced in Moldavia in the first half of the 19th century, while the Principality was still tributary to the Ottoman Empire, and Moldavian wine at that time was exported (Pierer 1857).
See entry from EncycloWine : Romania, wine regions : Moldavia; Moldovan Wine; Moldovan Wine-Making : Middle Ages, from VinMoldova

DOCUMENTS Article Jassy, from Brockhaus Damen Conversations Lexikon 1834-1838, in German, posted by Zeno
Articles Pierer 1857, Jassy, Moldau, from Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, in German, posted by Zeno
Articles Galatz, Jassy, Moldau, from Stefan Anskjaer, Geografisk-Statistik Haandbog 1858-1863, in Danish, posted by Project Runeberg

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 5th 2009

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