Moldavia Transylvania

Wallachia - Economic History

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

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

Historic Encyclopedias on Wallachias Economy

Brockhaus Cionversations-Lexikon 1809-1811, Article : Wallachei (excerpts)
Wallaqchia is a very fertile land, producing grain, wine, fruit; it has productive salt mines; horse breeding and livestock keeping in general are impressive. Some of its rivers contain alluvial gold. ... Science and the arts, except for medicine, are in a bad condition, ignorance and superstition are widespread. The Vlachs are a lethargic, idle people; they leave the best work, crafts etc., to Armenians, Jews etc., or the less appreciated work, to gypsies, which here often are serfs.
source in German, posted by Zeno

Brockhaus Bilder-Conversations-Lexikon 1837-1841, Article : Moldau (excerpts)
.. the c. 200,000 gypsies largely are still serfs owned by the boyars. .. grain, maize, millet, wine are produced in quantity, further fruit, timber, tar and pott ash, in seemingly unending pastures all kinds of products of livestock keeping in quantity, further mineral salt, a small amount of alluvial gold, are the most prominent products for which shipping on the Danube facilitates easy export. Trade continuously gains in importance; also transit trade with wares from eastern Europe. In the mountain forests, venison, bears and wolves are not rare; thus the mountain inhabitants, called Pandurs, are permitted to bear arms. If the population would not have been descended into limitless crudity, not dedicated to such an extent to gluttony and idleness, these parts long would be counted among the most blessed in Europe. It has to be taken into account that unfavourable conditions also prevented this to a considerable extent.
source in German, posted by Zeno

Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Walachei (excerpts)
The nobility enjoys extensive privileges, is landlord and protected against abuse. Also (not de iure, as serfdom has been abolished) factually he is owner of the peasants. Nobility is partly birth status, partially granted; any employee in public service is regarded a nobleman. The peasants are allocated plots of land by he landlord; in return they have to pay the tithe and work for him 20 days. The gypsies, who used to be serfs, have been given freedom already in 1844 (as far as they were owned by clergy and state), the remainder in 1856, and for the larger part they were made settle down. The population lives in 36 cities, 19 towns, 3325 villages and over 200 monasteries. The relation of urban to rural population is 2 to 15. Of the villages only 798 are inhabited by small landholdwers; all others belong to holders of estates, and to monasteries. The cities' roads are unpaved, dirty, excrement is found there; they are irregular and poorly built. Housing of the majority of the people are the poorest in Europe. Most farmhouses were built using braided willow twigs covered with clay, again covered with straw. Often people live only in huts made of clay. By contrast, the houses of the boyars compare to palaces, but often designed in poor taste. Despite the fertility of the soil, agriculture and livestock keeping are of a very low level.Main products : wheat, maise, millet, wine, fruit and melons. Livestock keeping produces especially pigs, sheep, buffalo and horses in great number, also beekeeping, fishery and hunting, the latter namely in the mountainous regions.Hunting is free of restrictions, forestry is of the lowest level. Minerals : large quantities of mineral salt are produced, some sulphur, pitch, gold (in small quantity in the Dumbowitza and Aluta), saltpetre, lignite etc. Mining does not exist at all. Manufacturing industry is of no importance; all manufactured goods are importred from abroad.Trade is mostly conducted by foreigners and is not inconsiderable, but could be of much greater importance. The main obstacle are the poor roads, which, for the larger part of the year, make transportation almost impossible. Exports consist mainly of wheat, ray, barley, wine, timber, soda, pott ash, tallow, bacon, pig's bristles, cattle and hogs, wool, solk and mineral salt.
Measures and weights : in Wallachia, as in Moldavia, the currency is the Lee or Turkish Piasters of 40 Paras, only to a slightly higher value as according to prices 152 1/2 Lee or Turkish Piasters correspond to the Cologne Mark of fine silver; 1 Lee = 2 Silver Groschen 9,049 Pfennig Prussian, at government even 136 1/2 Lee on the fine mark silver, 1 Lee thus 3 Silver Groschen 0.923 Pfennig Prussian. The coins in circulation are mainly Austrian Ducats, Speciethalers, pieces of twenty, and Russian Silver Roubles.Measurements : lenth : the cloth (wool) and silk ell, Halibiu, equals 310.87 Parisian lines or 9/10 Viennese ells, 100 Halibiu equal 105.148 Prussian ells. The Linen ell, Endese, equals 293.60 Parisian lines or 17/20 Viennese ells, 100 Endese equal 99.036 Prussian ells. 17 Halibiu equal 18 Endese.The Klafter (fathom) equals 1.96 meters, 3 Klafter make one Pratschtschina, 4000 Klafter one mile (equalling 1.07 Prussian Miles). Grain measurement : the Kile is divided in 2 Mirze of 8 Dimerli of 16 Okka. The Dimerli, the most commonly used measurement, corresponds to 24.6 litres, 100 Dimerli equal 44.7582 Prussian Scheffel. Measurement of liguids : The Wallachian bucket, Viadra, contains 10 Okka or 14.15 litres; 1 Okka = 1 Viennese Mass, I Viadra = 12.3573 Prussian Quart. Weights : the Centner, Kantar, has 44 Okka of 4 litres each, of 100 Dramm each, the Okka = 1262.898 gram of 21/4 pound Viennese. The Kantar = 55,5675 kg, 100 Okka = 270.017 Prussian pound.

source in German, posted by Zeno

Anskjaer, Geografisk-Statistisk Haandbog 1858-1863, Article : Valachiet (excerpts)
The soil in the mountainous areas is poor, on the slopes and in the plain immensely fertile. 67 % of the land is listed as farmland and pastorage, 28 % forest and the remainder is made up by vineyards, swamps or mountains. Agriculture is of a very low state, and there is hardly any trace of rational cultivation. The land is cultivated without fertilizer and with unbelievably poor tools. Among livestock the hog is the most frequent, sheep are of a rather large race, and produce finer wool than those in Moldavia. Annually large herds of sheep are driven from Transylvania across the Carpathians down to Wallachia's plains, were they had the right of grasing, secured by treaty, for which a small fee is being paid to the principality's treasury. The horses are small, but well-built and enduring. Among various cows the buffalo cows is held. the milk of which is very fat. The forests are poorly kept. Of the minerals only salt is the object of efforts to produce. The industry is of a very low level, and practically all manufactured goods have to be imported. The most important export articles are summer wheat, barley, wine, forest products, tallow, pigs bristles, meat, cattle, pigs, wool, silk and mineral salt. Transportation is so poor, and the roads almost impassable. In 1844 the population has been given as 2,600,000 (by Turkey), but this figure is dubious, as the number seems hardly correct. In 1852 the population was given as 2,893,000, but newer sources give 2,400,000. The relation of urban population to countryside population is 2 to 15. .. The in the civilized states of Europe so important bourgeoisie here is only beginning to form. The nobility enjoys numerous privileges, and together with the clergy, owns the land almost exclusively. The peasants, including the gypsies, cultivate the land as tenants, but are suffering from arbitrary treatment, and in some cases are evicted from the farmsteads. Legislation of the last years has attempted to improve conditions, but it seems that improvement will take place only gradually.
source in Danish, posted by Project Runeberg

Economic History by Industry

agriculture . While most sources agree in stating hat Wallachia's fertile soil was only partially cultivated, by the middle of the century grain provided the bulk of the country's exports.

Mining . 19th century encyclopedias describe Wallachia as rich in minerals, of salt was the major mineral product, with some sulphur, saltpetre, alluvial gold. Following the unification of Romania, a mining industry was quickly developed, of which coal mining and oil productionbeing the most significant. The development of Wallachia's mining industry was strongly correlated with the development of unified Romania's railroad network.

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 Wallachia are extremely brief on the period of the principality.
See entry from EncycloWine : Romania, wine regions : Muntenia, Oltenia


This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 8th 2009

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