Institute for Mediterranean Studies


Land Ownership and Family Farm Income in Nineteenth-Century Greece: The Unpublished Land “Registers” of the Kapodistrian Period (1830)

The aim of the research project “Land Ownership and Family Farm Income in Nineteenth-Century Greece: The Unpublished Land “Registers” of the Kapodistrian Period (1830)” is to study a number of local agricultural statistics produced during the tenure of President Ioannis Kapodistrias (1828-1831) and hitherto unknown in the literature, and to utilise them in order to draw conclusions about the distribution of wealth and farm income in rural Greece at the end of the War of Independence.

The lack of statistics or other reliable quantitative information on land ownership and use in 19th century Greece, due to the want of a land registry, is perhaps the most important obstacle any research on the history of rural society faces. The recent identification, in the General State Archives, of a number of unpublished and hitherto unknown local “cadastres” from various parts of the country, dating from the tenure of President Ioannis Kapodistrias (1828-1831), provides researchers with new valuable data on the distribution of land among rural families, the amount and structure of familial farm income and thus the stratification of the rural society. Moreover, information on other critical issues for agricultural history, such as acreage yields, crop distribution and cultivation systems applied, can be indirectly extracted from the same documentary material.

The aim of the research project is, on the one hand, to examine the way in which these statistics were constructed and assess their reliability and, on the other hand, to transcribe and process samples of the records from the provinces of Hagios Petros (modern North Kynouria) and Arcadia (modern Trifylia) and comparatively analyse them, employing methodological tools of economic and social history and statistics. Set in the wider field of agricultural history from an historiographical point of view, this research takes into account the recent interest of economic historians worldwide in measuring inequality in pre-industrial societies and has as its ultimate goal to advance the inclusion of the Greek case in the relevant international historiographical discussion. At the same time, it has an exemplary character, as it could even serve as a model for future attempts to utilise similar sets of data available, which would significantly enrich in the long run our image of rural Greece during the first half of the 19th century.

This research is co-financed by Greece and the European Union (European Social Fund - ESF) through the Operational Programme “Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong Learning” in the context of the project “Reinforcement of Postdoctoral Researchers - 2nd Cycle” (MIS-5033021), implemented by the State Scholarships Foundation (ΙΚΥ) (Grant Number: 2019-050-0503-18798).

Project Team

Socrates Petmezas

Professor of Economic and Social Modern History
Department of History and Archaeology, University of Crete
Curriculum vitae

Sakis Dimitriadis

Postdoctoral researcher
Curriculum vitae