Niemiecka Słoboda w Moskwie w czasach przedpiotrowych
THE GERMAN SLOBODA IN MOSCOW IN THE TIMES BEFORE PETER THE GREAT
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The German sloboda (Nemetskaya sloboda) was one of the eight foreigners’ slobodas (quarters), i.e. autonomous administrative units in early modern Moscow. The German sloboda owed its name to its inhabitants: both ethnic Germans and members of other West European communities, who spoke languages incomprehensible to most Russians. Precursors to the German sloboda were ephemeral settlements for resettled people from Livonia and immigrants, established by tsars: Ivan IV the terrible (the latter half of the 16-th c.) and then by Boris Godunov (in the first decade of the 17-th c.) In the latter half of the 17th century, the tsars of the new Romanov dynasty, when rebuilding the Russian state from war devastation, used the help from foreign, mostly West European, craftsmen. Among the foreigners who were first settled in the new German sloboda on the Yauza river, there were predominantly military men; apart from them, there were also many representatives of different professions and occupations: translators, lawyers, physicians, teachers, tailors, jewelers, metallurgists, gunsmiths, etc. The inhabitants of the German sloboda were granted freedom of religion, they were exempt from tiaglo (most of feudal duties to the state), they were allowed to buy landed estates in Russia and conduct foreign trade. The inhabitants of the German sloboda contributed to the economic development of Russia, by laying the foundations of the local industry and organizing the postal system. The Germans also played a significant role in Russian culture by initiating transformations in fashions, painting, architecture, and by establishing theatre.
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