Propination laws

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Propination laws were a privilege granted to Polish szlachta that gave landowners a monopoly over profits from alcohol consumed by their peasants. In many cases, profits from propination exceeded those from agricultural production or other sources.

These laws usually included:

  • peasants were not allowed to purchase any alcohol not produced in their owner's distillery
  • alternatively, they could be allowed to brew their own drinks but had to pay a fee according to the amount produced
  • peasants had to buy at least a given quota of vodka or okovita. Those who didn't comply had the remaining amount dumped in front of their houses and had to pay the costs.

These laws first appeared in the 16th and were widespread by the 17th century. They lasted until 1845 (Prussian partition), 1889 (Galicia) and 1898 (Russian Partition).

Propination was the main cause for massive alcoholism in Poland; also, because taverns in rural region were leased nearly exclusively by Jews who took part in enforcing these privileges (being banned from most other occupations), it was also a major reason for anti-semitism among peasants.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cahnman, Werner (2004). Jews and Gentiles: A Historical Sociology of Their Relations. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 978-0765802125.