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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/1154

Title: LORD,ZEGA AND PEASANT IN EASTERN GOJJAM,C.1767-1901
Authors: HABTAMU, MENGISTIE
Advisors: Professor Merid
Copyright: 2003
Date Added: 21-May-2008
Publisher: Addis Ababa University
Abstract: Lower level social and economic relationships between landlords and landless people in Eastern Gojjam in the 18th and 19 th centuries was embodied in an institution called zègenät .This work has tried to analyze the nature of agrarian and class relationships between zèga and peasant and lord in the 18th and 19 th centuries Eastern Gojjam. It is mainly aimed at analyzing the dynamics of the socio-economic relationship between lords and peasants and zègas. Here the history of peasants and a highly impoverished and subordinate social class called zèga is discussed in terms of their relationship with other classes in the social system. The land tenure system formed a crucial social element for analyzing the socio-economic relationship between peasants and zègas and lords. In other words land that was the main form of property in the past was the key point of interaction between lord and zèga and peasant. This institution has very old roots going back to at least the seventeenth century. Moreover, zègenät has close affinity to serfdom. The term zèga was applied to landless and subordinated individuals working on the land of lords and under almost complete legal and socio-economic dominations of the lords. Though the zèga class enjoyed freedom of mobility and the bond established between the zèga and the lord was not hereditary, the obligation of the zèga towards the lord has the hallmark of servitude. The state and social elites exercised a far more firm control over land including rest land and over the labor power of the peasants. The ruling elite were in a stronger position to turn away permanently considerable land from peasants to the control of corporate institutions and powerful individuals as gult land. This land transferred into the hands of social elites was usually worked by the labor of the zèga, though there was considerable number of peasants working their own land. Indeed, individuals who constituted the zèga class in the seventeenth century had originally been independent peasants working on their own land. Lords also exercised far more direct control over craftsmen although there were independent artisans working in their own place. There were many artisan zègas working under the landlords and whose obligation towards the landlords was similar to those of the farmer zèga. Trade, craftsmanship and agriculture were closely intertwined and lords had a very strong interest in all these economic activities. Any discussion of the socio-economic relationship between zèga and peasant and lord to be complete must include the way in which means of production was customarily transferred from generation to generation. Thus the study has also narrated the mechanism of property transfers. The ways and means by which land and rights to land were transferred took many forms. Lords holding land on behalf of churches exercised ownership rights including free disposal by sale. Sale was the most dominant mode of property transmission. The factors and concerns that lead men to choose a particular type of mechanism of property transfer are many including debt. Contrary to previous assumptions land including rest land could be mortgaged, sold and willed. The purchasers and vendors were both from the highest reach of society and from the lower layers of society. This study has explored all these issues.
Description: A Thesis Presented to The School of Graduate Studies Of Addis Ababa University In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in History
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/1154
Appears in:Thesis - History

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