Mazili and ruptaşi (and other social categories) in the statistics of the 1817 census
Authors: Valentin Tomuleţ
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At the time of annexation of Bessarabia to the Russian Empire, the Russian imperial institutions lacked concrete and reliable information on the number of people in the newly annexed province. The lack of statistical data for the entire province was also a problem for the regional administration, recently established in Chisinau, which for various reasons needed these data and constantly informed the imperial authorities about it.
The population census became possible only in 1816-1817, when a number of concrete measures were taken in Bessarabia to establish an interim administration, to form of the first administrative and police institutions of power and some changes were made in the territorial administrative and customs and sanitary quarantine systems. In addition, the population had experienced the new regime of domination, the outflow of the population from the province to Moldova over the Prut was partially reduced, and the imperial administration was able to collect the first statistical data on the new annexed province.
The results of the population census of 1817 were published in full in Russian, in 1907 by the historian I.N. Halippa, secretary of the Bessarabian Provincial Scientific Archival Committee. Subsequently, in 1920, the census was reproduced, this time in a more concise form, by Tudor Pamfile (only for the Hotin County), in 1929 – by professor of theology and history Constantin N. Tomescu, and in 1933 it was systematized by T. Porucic.
The census forms contained the following components: 1. the name of districts and localities; 2. the economic situation of villages according to the category: a) good state, b) middle state (satisfactory), c) insufficient state (unsatisfactory); 3. statistics of the clergy: priests and their widows, deacons and their widows, church clerks and their widows, psalm readers and their widows, and vergers and their widows; 4. mazili and their widows; 5. ruptaşi and their widows; 6. statistics of lower social states: peasants (householders or “tax-paying householders”) and their widows, bachelors and hirelings, forgiven or scutelnici (in this category were included also “servants and servants supervisors, millers, beekeepers, foresters, shepherds and servants in households of estates owners”); 7. The total number of male households; 8. The total number of female households (widows); 9. additional information (which was not always filled in) – to whom belonged the estate of the village (the estate owner’s name), its surface according to the purpose of use – hayfield, plowing area, grassland, forests, and finally – useful buildings; sometimes we find data on old villages, which subsequently disappeared and were forgotten, and the distance between neighboring villages in versts.
Statistics from 1817 attests that from the total number of 92 946 households, to mazili belonged 2370 (2.5%) households, to ruptaşi – 717 (0.8%), and to rupta de visterie and rupta de camara – 230 (0.2%) households. Most households of mazili were registered in Orhei county – 1386 (58.5%), followed by Iasi county – 464 (19.6%), Soroca county – 194 (8.2%), Hotin county – 82 (3.5 %), Bender county – 121 (5.1%), Ismail county – 74 (3.1%), Codru county – 46 (1.9), and Greceni county – 3 (0.1%) households. The Orhei County also prevailed in regard to ruptaşi: 512 (71.4%) – ruptaşi and 209 (90.9%) – rupta de visterie and rupta de camara.