Brand cooperative

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A historical settlement association, often comprising several villages or individual farms, with a common economic and judicial system is referred to as a market cooperative .

It is characteristic of a mark cooperative that agricultural land, forest, streams, rivers, quarries, etc. (ie the "Mark") were owned jointly by all members. In addition, the local commune had its own low jurisdiction , often they had no landlords subservient . Mark cooperatives came into being when the land ownership was not divided up among individual farmers, but rather they were given a proportional right of use. Originally, the free people involved in the settlement of the Feldmark and then their heirs were comrades.

The statutes or constitution ( legal rights ) of such a mark cooperative were laid down in so-called wisdoms or brand roles , records of medieval peasant customary law. There it was also regulated who could become a mark comrade ( Märker ). On the annual court day ( locally called Märkerding , Wahlding , Thing or Taiding ), the lay judges of the individual places met, spoke under a wood judge and elected the protective vogt , who presided over the court and represented the brand cooperative externally. A market master was appointed to manage the joint cash register at a later date . Sometimes he was given assistants, the march servants. At the court days, the comrades in some market cooperatives were also given lots of land that had been left to them for one or more years to manage.

Mark cooperatives as a common form of organization share many characteristics with the free rural communities of the Middle Ages, which were also based on the customary law of the Germanic peoples. Special features were the property at hand and the preservation of court and bailiwick rights.

Tacitus already mentioned that the field mark was divided among the farmers by lottery . Documentary records about market cooperatives have existed since the Carolingian era . Since the High Middle Ages, many market cooperatives came under pressure from the neighboring noble lords; most of them were dissolved in the course of time and the former members got into manorial dependencies and protection. One of the counter-strategies of the march comrades was the election of a powerful prince or count from the surrounding area as guardian bailiff.

Examples of such brands were the Biebermark , the Rödermark , the Elber Mark , the Hohe Mark (Taunus) , the Markwald Berstadt or the Mehrenberger Mark . Today in Germany there is still the postage stamp Osing , which is the only commons in Europe that still uses a lottery procedure for distribution among rights holders.

See also


  • Wilhelm Schneider: The marrow cooperative in early medieval Alamannia. (= Work on Alemannic early history. 24). Tübingen, 1997.
  • Sebastian Schröder: The wooden court - investigations into its social function using examples from North Westphalia , in: Nordmünsterland. Forschungs und Funde 3 (2016), pp. 7–60.
  • Paul Schulz: The Markgenossenschaft as an economic and social community. Dissertation, Breslau, 1925.
  • Franz Varrentrapp: The Hessian market cooperative of the later Middle Ages. Marburg, 1909.
  • Georg Grosch: Mark cooperative and large manor in the early Middle Ages. A political and legal historical investigation. Vaduz, 1965 (reprint of the Berlin 1911 edition).
  • Karl Haff: The Danish municipal rights. 2 vol .: 1. Almende and Markgenossenschaft , 2. The field community . Leipzig, 1909.

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