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2012 | 67 | 3 | 21–48

Article title

Struktura szlachty śląskiej w świetle pruskich tablic wasalnych z drugiej połowy XVIII i początku XIX w.

Title variants

Structure of Silesian nobility in the context of Prussian Tables of vassals in the middle of the 18th and beginnings of the 19th century

Languages of publication



The purpose of the Tables of vassals of 1752 and 1804 was to familiarise the Prussian authorities with the nobility of their new province and their land holdings. Said Tables presented the Silesian nobility through homogeneous criteria, due to this they are an interesting, though not necessarily precise source of statistical information. This allows one to form theses about the nature of the socioeconomic structure of this nobility in the latter part of the 18th and beginnings of the 19th century. The Tables of vassals contained the name of the vassal and his male progeny. The information contained therein allows for detailed analysis of this group of nobles, it made creation of a map of their land holdings on Silesian territories possible. The information on the Tables is by nature supplementary to the process of establishing the financial status, as they do not contain data about the value of nobility’s holdings. They also contain data about the service provided by the Silesian vassals, both within the country and abroad, thus making it possible to establish the direction of their activities. During the days of Prussian dominion the gentry lifestyle was prevalent. Following the loss of their ability to participate in the political life of the province, the Silesian nobility turned to other forms of political activity. First among their choices was a career in the military, picked by nearly one nobleman in three. A less popular choice was a career in administration, as it was limited by the amount of positions available in offices and courts, the influx of city population and the policies of the Prussian authorities concerning their new province. The involvement of Silesian nobility in the Potsdam-Berlin courtly life was marginal.


  • Instytut Historyczny Uniwersytetu Zielonogórskiego, Al. Wojska Polskiego 69, 65-762 Zielona Góra


Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

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