The chapter gives a general description of the quantitative development of agriculture over the very long run in the former municipality of Delfzijl (Groningen, the Netherlands), discussing the development of the number of farmers, farm-size, land ownership and the market price of agricultural land. Special attention is given to the fact that this region stands out in the province of Groningen for its relatively extremely large share of freeholders in the eighteenth century controlling up to 40% of the land. The chapter shows that these farms were not successors of medieval freehold farms. Nearly all large freehold farms came into existence in the second half of the seventeenth century or the early eighteenth century, when tenant farmers bought the ownership of land, usually from nobles or others belonging to elite groups. This was possible because of the extreme low prices in this period in the region, partly due to agricultural hardships related to persistent local water problems. Because of the low land rents and the high risks of extra costs for owners due to for instance the maintenance of dikes, investing in land around Delfzijl was no longer interesting. Consequently, a part of the more well-to-do local tenant farmers could buy their land for extremely low prices.
|Translated title of the contribution||Farmers in Delfzijl from the sixteenth to the early twentieth centuries:: tenants and freeholders|
|Title of host publication||Boerderijen, borgen en buitenplaatsen, steenfabrieken en molens rond Delfzijl|
|Place of Publication||Bedum|
|Number of pages||23|
|Publication status||Published - 7-Oct-2017|