The article presents the experience of the temples in the study of the local territory of the Central Chernozem region during the XVII-XVIII centuries. It was the territory of the Belgorod line — a complex of military installations on the southern frontier of Russia. The authors focus on the rural population of three large districts: Voronezh, Belgorod and Yelets. Census books, economic notes to the maps of the general land surveying of 1795 became the basis for scientific work. The article draws important conclusions about the features of the internal colonization of Russia, shows the specifics of this phenomenon on the example of the southern frontier territory. It is established that the construction of a complex of military defense structures in the 1650s played an important role in the economic development of a vast and fertile region. This event significantly changed the social structure of society and disrupted the traditional development of landownership, but this made it possible to begin intensive land development and ensure a military offensive to the south. As a result, by the end of the 17th century, the form of small land ownership without peasant households (single-yard) began to prevail in the region. Smallandowners became the main social element in the structure of local society. Despite reforms of Peter the Great and the advance of the border to the south, the situation has not changed. In 1795, the number of smallandowners exceeded the number of peasants. The formation of this specific social element created favorable conditions for internal colonization.
Source: Denis A. Lyapin, Nikolay A. Zhirov (2023). The Rural Population of the Historical Region of the Belgorod Line in the Context of the Economic Development of the Territories of the “Wild Field” in the XVII-XVIII centuries. Bylye Gody. 18(2): 525-534
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