Separation (land consolidation)

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In separations , brand divisions or couplings of it was preforming the present land consolidation in the 18th and 19th century in Germany. Through private redistribution of the previously jointly used agricultural land, they brought about a large-scale change in use that, in addition to an agricultural reform, triggered far-reaching social changes. The separation changed the landscape fundamentally, as it abolished the three-field economy and created today's geometric arable forms.

Common division

At the beginning of the 19th century, Germany still had a wide range of general property and rights to use agricultural land. General ownership was the mark ( field mark ) or common land ( ahdt . Algimeinida ). Usually the Mark was used as forest or pasture , also forest pasture , many areas were wasteland or bog . The local farmers were entitled to use the property as members of the marrow.

In addition to this joint ownership, there were also rights of use that weighed on the property ( easements ). These included "usage rights

  • for pasture or guarding ,
  • for forest mast, wood, litter, reed, rush or cane extraction,
  • for grass clippings, sods -, heath or Bültenhieb,
  • for peat use ,
  • for picking grass and weeds on cultivated fields (for weeding), raking on harvested fields or stubble raking,
  • for the use of foreign fields in exchange for the manure,
  • for fruit production from individual pieces of foreign fields (deputation beds),
  • for pawing the Harz ”.

The common ownership and the different usage rights made more intensive management difficult. With privatization, productivity increases were achieved, which, especially in England in the 17th and 18th centuries, triggered the replacement of communal property with enclosures ("Enclosure Movement"). The first similar partitioning measures were carried out in the German states towards the end of the 18th century. However, a comprehensive breakdown only began in the 19th century after the time of Napoleon .

In Prussia the common division order was issued in 1821 , followed by a law in 1850 to replace real burdens . The common property was divided among the entitled persons or the entitled persons were compensated with money. This also resulted in small splinter plots, which were merged if possible. In the case of real loads (usage rights on the property), the property owner had to compensate the entitled person for the redemption.


Since the common divisions created small plots of land and the other property of an owner could be scattered, it became necessary to merge property.

In Prussia, the common division order of 1821 was changed in 1872 and expanded to include the amalgamation of properties that are not jointly owned. This made the merger an independent measure of the reorganization. In Hanover , Schleswig-Holstein and Oldenburg this amalgamation was called coupling , in Bavaria it was first called land consolidation .

In this process, the areas that were used individually by the farmers but were heavily parceled out were redistributed so that larger parcels and a new system of paths were created. This promoted the productivity of the farms, as distances were shortened, fewer draft cattle were needed and their own areas were better monitored. However omitted in Germany largely expulsions of courtyards so that preserved the old village structures.


Early forms of land consolidation can be found in many parts of Europe. The English enclosures , which began under the name Enclosure Movement in the early 16th century and were politically promoted , went the furthest . Land areas previously farmed together were increasingly fenced in and used more intensively by private individuals in the 17th and 18th centuries. The height of enclosures was between 1760 and 1832. These activities drove the commercialization of British agriculture. This gave rise to high-yield farms, especially in the field of livestock, without which the growing population could only have been fed by imports. On the other hand, this development led to the impoverishment of some of the small farmers who could not afford to purchase the land and so had to forego the usable areas that were previously available to all. The possible increases in yield were u. a. Reason to introduce this intensified land use in Germany as well.

In Schleswig-Holstein (in the Schleswig region), the first linkages began as early as the 17th century, which the rural population increasingly demanded in the 18th century. In north-west Germany they were also promoted from the middle of the 18th century, with the initiative often coming from the farmers.

In the Brandenburg-Prussian territories, Frederick II ("the great") suggested separation based on the English model (cf. enclosure ) in a circular dated June 28, 1765. Just one year later, the small, anonymous pamphlet "The Abolition of Vastities in the Mark Brandenburg Considered Economically According to Its Great Advantages" was published, in which the advantages of merging fields and meadows were derived. In an ordinance of October 21, 1769, separation commissioners were installed in each district, who had the task of accompanying the land reorganization applied for.

The Lüneburg community division order of 1802, which was the beginning of a series of legal measures in the 19th century, was groundbreaking .

The implementation of the separation, which led to major changes in agriculture, was held back by many problems. This included the fear of the landowners of financial losses as well as disputes among those interested in the division of the plots according to size and soil quality and the subsequent raffle. Sometimes the separation of entire places in several stages took over ten years. For example, the separation applied for by Letschin (Oderbruch) in 1786 did not end until after 1804. The decision to separate and build the farms at the new location was relieved here, as in other locations, by fires in the village.

In many territories, the reorganization of land ownership and land management went hand in hand with the liberation of the peasants , i.e. the abolition of sovereign dependencies. It began in part as early as the 17th and was sometimes not completed until the late 19th century.


  • Stefan Brakensiek : Agrarian reform and rural society. The privatization of the brands in Northwest Germany 1750-1850. (= Research on regional history. Volume 1). Schöningh, Paderborn 1991, ISBN 3-506-79573-2 . (also dissertation at Bielefeld University 1990)
  • Peter Fritz Mengel : The Oderbruch . Regional history from Prussia, Brandenburg and Berlin about a landscape that was torn from the adversities of nature and once settled with colonists [reprint edition from 1930/34 in two volumes]. viademica, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-932756-90-8 .
  • Wolfgang Prange : The beginnings of the great agricultural reforms in Schleswig-Holstein up to around 1771. (= sources and research on the history of Schleswig-Holstein. Volume 60). Wachholtz, Neumünster 1971, DNB 720082528

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Common division law of North Rhine-Westphalia of November 28, 1961.
  2. Hartmut Zückert: Commons and repeal of commons. Comparative studies on the late Middle Ages up to the agricultural reforms of the 18th and 19th centuries. Century (= sources and research on agricultural history. Volume 47). Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-8282-0226-8 , pp. 136ff.
  3. ^ Elisabeth Fehrenbach : From the Ancien Regime to the Congress of Vienna. 4th edition. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-486-49754-5 , p. 6.
  4. ^ A b Peter Fritz Mengel: The Oderbruch . Reprint 2003, p. 217 ff.