Peasantry related regulations are passed in Estonia

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14. July 1802

The idea to change the laws and the whole situation regarding the peasantry was presented in the Estonian Governorate already in 1765, but the nobility was not interested.

A "gentlemen's agreement" was passed in 1796, stating that the tax will be collected according to the payment books of the estates ("vakuraamat" in Estonian), and well behaving farmers were allowed to have personal property, but this agreement was not a law and farmer's economic situation continued to be poor.

But, also the estate owners in Estonia were having difficult times and thus the nobility, lead by Jakob Georg von Berg, decided to make a deal with the government: the nobility will pass peasantry favoring laws if the government helps to set up a credit till, from where agrarian reforms could be funded. Alexander I agreed to this and thus, in the summer of 1802, new peasantry regulation was introduced, which became know under the name "Iggaüks" ("Everyone") - by the first word in the Estonian version.

This regulative fixed current taxes, peasantry was given the right to own personal property and hand down the land in their use; selling farms and farmers was limited and parish courts were established.

The Noble Corporation of Estonia appointed a new commission, which had to homogenize taxes all over the Governorate and draw up new payment books. In return, czar confirmed the founding of the credit till and gave favorable loans.

Activities of the Noble Corporation of Estonia and the law "Iggaüks" became an example to the Noble Corporation of Livonia, who however, could not exploit their chances as skillfully.

Source: Eesti ajalugu. IV: Põhjasõjast pärisorjuse kaotamiseni, lk-d 203–211.

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