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Inkolat (from Latin incolatus "living in a place, esp. As an inmate (stranger)") is a term from nobility law and originally referred to the granting of the right to subjects of a foreign area, such as incolae , i.e. local subjects, to acquire land and to inherit. This could be land from non-privileged (“simple”) citizens or from aristocrats , such as landed goods . The sovereign issued the Inkolat letter, the associated document, primarily to secure the power structures and promote the economy, but also because of the beneficiaries' personal merits or after payment by them. The right to acquire land was deliberately handled differently for members of the nobility than for “commoners”. In an order from 1755, Frederick the Great explained that the incolat did not entitle bourgeoisie to purchase further aristocratic estates, as such a view violated the royal intention to preserve noble families. In Silesia, therefore, bourgeois people, with or without an incolation, are no longer allowed to buy aristocratic estates, unless the monarch has expressly given his prior consent.

The Inkolat was also awarded for other areas of law. So the sovereign was able to accept foreign nobles into the local nobility. This concerned, for example, in the (old) Austrian and Bohemian countries and in the Kingdom of Prussia the admission to the gentry or knighthood . At the same time, depending on traditions and power relations, acceptance into the aristocratic state community was significantly easier elsewhere and did not require an incolation by the sovereign, for example in Lusatia .

At times, some municipalities privileged by the sovereign had the right to declare non-residents to be citizens of their area, for example the city of Prague and some other “royal cities” in the Kingdom of Bohemia .

Inkolat rights were also granted to control and promote the economy and trade. So was Elector Max III. Joseph von Bayern gave foreign merchants the right to purchase their own food, livestock or wood without excise and to trade on the markets like the locals by issuing Inkolat letters .

In addition, social situations in need of regulation were decided through Inkolat awards, which arose, for example, when a foreigner married a local (a "land-capable woman"), especially if it was a woman from the aristocracy who owned land.

The right to participate in the state parliaments and to apply for offices reserved for members of the state estates was often linked to the incolation. The election or appointment as canon of an ecclesiastical or secular “collegial foundation” also required incolation at times in some regions. Critics noted that it was not the most capable, but those favored by power politics that got a chance.

Development of Inkolat Law

In Bohemia, until the Thirty Years' War , the estates alone decided who would award the incolate. After the failure of the class uprising of 1618/19, the king received this right in the " Renewed State Order " of 1627. Regarding land ownership, it was abolished there by the civil code of 1786 and the patent of 1789. Now both rural and civil goods could be "posseded" by foreigners as well as by local commoners. In the rest of Europe, too, the other rights that had previously been regulated by incolates were gradually abolished in the course of the reforms of 1848 and the departure from the corporate state .

The Indigenat concerned initially similar rights as the Inkolat, it sparked in Germany in the 19th century increasingly, and now belongs to abgewandeltem content on the rights of citizens of the European Union .


  • Christian d'Elvert : The Incolat, the habilitation in the country, the hereditary homage and the intabulation compulsion in Moravia and Oesterreich-Silesia. In: Notes of the historical-statistical section of the quays. royal Moravian-Silesian Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, Nature and Regional Studies 1882 , 17–18, 29–32, 47–48, 51–55
  • Arnold Luschin v. Ebengreuth: Incolate, indigenous people in the old Austrian lands. In: Ernst Mischler / Josef Ulbrich: Austrian State Dictionary. 2nd volume, Vienna 1906, 886ff
  • B. Rieger: Inkolat, Indigenat in Bohemia. In: Ernst Mischler / Josef Ulbrich: Austrian State Dictionary. 2nd volume, Vienna 1906, 897ff

Individual evidence

  1. Georges, Comprehensive Latin-German Concise Dictionary , Volume 1, Column 159
  2. Joachim Pauli: "Oeconomia Forensis or short epitome of those agricultural truths which all high and low judges need to know." Volume 2, With Königl. Prussian and Churfürstl. Saxon most gracious freedoms, Berlin 1776, p. 210 ff
  3. a b Rolf Straubel : Noble and bourgeois officials in the Frederician justice and financial administration. Selected aspects of a social restructuring process and its background (1740–1806) (=  publications of the Brandenburg State Main Archives . Volume 59 ). BWV Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-8305-1842-6 , p. 360 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  4. Michael Nadler: "The taxed enjoyment: Tobacco and financial policy in Bavaria 1669-1802". In: Edition 183 of “Miscellanea Bavarica Monacensia”, Herbert Utz Verlag, 2008, ISBN 9783831607648 , p. 243
  5. a b Peter Karl Jaksch: "Law lexicon in the clerical, religious and tolerance subjects: as well as in goods, foundation studies and causes of censorship for the Kingdom of Bohemia from 1601 to the end of 1800", Volume 3, Prague, 1828
  6. ^ Karl Adolf Menzel : "History of Silesia: Which Understand the History from 1526 to 1740", Volume 2. Stadt- und Univ.-Buchhdl. Graß and Barth, 1809, p. 488
  7. Karsten Mertens: The new German citizenship law: a constitutional investigation , Volume 2 of the Tenea legal series, Tenea Verlag Berlin, 2004, ISBN 9783865040831
  8. ^ Christoph Schönberger: Union Citizens: European Federal Citizenship in a Comparative Perspective , Volume 145 of Ius Publicum: Contributions to Public Law , ISSN  0941-0503 , Verlag Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, 2005, ISBN 9783161488375