Incorporation activity as means of social advance in Central Europe between the 12th and 14th century

Benedykt Zientara
Original title: Działalność lokacyjna jako droga awansu społecznego w Europie środkowej XII-XIV w.
Śląski Kwartalnik Historyczny Sobótka 1981
Translated by: Katarzyna Hussar

One of central conductors of the settlement of the territory of East Germany, Poland, Bohemia and Teutonic Prussia was the so-called zasadźca, by most of the sources referred to as locator, and more rarely (in Pomerania and Mecklenburg) as possessor. While planning and managing the process of colonization (which during its initial stage included also the task to exercise care over the settlers) was performed on the initiative of local rulers and—later—feudal lords, and the supply of individuals willing to engage themselves in a risky enterprise of migrating to alien lands in search for better future was the basic condition of launching the very activity, the figure of locator, who managed the incorporation process and determined both initial and subsequent living conditions of the new community of settlers, was an indirect, yet essential, element on which depended the success of the entire initiative. The role of locator did not lose its importance even in the case of ever more frequent acts of colonization based on German legal code, entailing adaptation of existing settlements to the German legal system and introduction of a radically new organization of agriculture…

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