As soon as he dies the whole land in the kingdom is

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Unformatted text preview: easure, and resumes it when it is his will. As soon as he dies the whole land in the kingdom is at the disposal of the Crown; and not only so, but, by death of the present owner, his possessions however long enjoyed, revert to the King, and do not fall to the eldest son” Bruce (Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile in the years 1768-1773, 1st edition 1790, Volume II, p. 266) Alvares claimed there would be “much more fruit and tillage if the great men did not ill treat the people” ((Narrative of the Portuguese Embassy to Abyssinia during the years 1520-1527, edited by Lord Stanley of Alderly, 1881, pp. 408-409) A variety of sources suggest that gult -holders extracted between 1/2 and 3/4 of the output of peasants. Postan famously calculated that in the 13th century English villeins had lost about 1/2 of their output to lords in one form or another. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and5, 2009 October Historical Analysis 14 / 25 Economic Institutions in Ethiopia according to Almeida “It is so usual for the Emperor to exchange, alter and take away the lands each man holds every two or three years, sometimes every year and even many times in the course of a year, that it causes no surprise. Often one man ploughs the soil, another sows it and another reaps. Hence it arises that there is no one who takes care of the land he enjoys; there is not even anyone to plant a tree because he knows that he who plants it very rarely gathers the fruit. For the King, however, it is useful that they should be so dependent upon him” (Some Records of Ethiopia, 1593-1646, eds C.F. Buckingham and G.W.B. Huntingford, 1954, p. 72) Such a description …ts rather well with how absolutism worked in Europe as well. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and5, 2009 October Historical Analysis 15 / 25 Institutional Persistence The basic economic structures of Ethiopia, such as gult, lasted until they were abolished after the 1974 revolution when the Derg (“the committee”) a group of Marxist army o¢ cers mou...
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This document was uploaded on 02/28/2014 for the course ECON 2328 at Harvard.

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