The Influence of Partible Inheritance on Land Transactions. Schlanders, Southern Tyrol, and Lambach, Upper Austria, Compared

Johannes Kaska, University of Vienna

How the different forms of inheritance practice influenced the land market has long been a topic of research when analysing land transactions. It is the general theory regarding partible inheritance that it stimulates the land market due to increasing the number of transferable plots of land and generally providing more people with access to landed property. In my paper I am comparing two of my case studies. The first is the South Tyrolean court Schlanders in early modern times, the second is the mid-15th century monastic estate of Lambach in Upper Austria. Both of them are labelled as areas which practiced partible inheritance. In this paper I will show that while this assessment is generally true, the actual consequences for land transactions widely differ due to significantly diverging forms of how partible inheritance was realised. In Schlanders, dividing the landed property between heirs was only an option and could be substituted through other forms of compensation. Furthermore, if landed property was divided, the single plots never got split up into smaller ones but distributed between the heirs. In Lambach on the other hand, each heir got landed property and single plots of land could either be split up or held in forms of shared ownership. My paper will stress the importance of in depth analysis of land transactions and their surrounding institutional factors as well as the problem of administrational sources masking the actual situation regarding land ownership and its use.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 167. Modes of Transfer