World Academy of Carpatho-Rusyn Culture


Mukachevo-Chynadiievo estate

Mukachevo-Chynadiievo estate — one of the largest landed estates (dominia) in central Europe. Located in the central part of *Subcarpathian Rus’, the Mukachevo-Chynadiievo estate was first mentioned at the beginning of the thirteenth century. Its eastern half, centered in Chynadiievo (the St. Nicholas/Szent-Miklos estate), included 15 settlements stretching from Pidhorod’ near Mukachevo northward to the crest of the Carpathians near the Volovets’ pass. Its western half comprised the Mukachevo estate, which in 1243 the Hungarian king, Bela IV (r. 1235-1270), presented as a gift first to his son-in-law, the Rus’ prince of Galicia, Rostyslav, and then to another of his son-in-law, the late thirteenth-century Galician-Rus’ prince Lev. In 1392 then Hungarian king Zsigmond/Sigismund (r. 1387-1437) gave the Mukachevo estate to the Lithuanian-Rus’ prince Fedor *Koriatovych, who was forced to flee from Podolia and seek refuge in Hungary. After the death of Koriatovych (1414) and his widow, Walha, the estate was given to Matyas Palocsy, then in 1427 to the king’s Serbian allies, Juraj Brankovic and Stepan Lazarevic, who had been forced to flee their homeland because of the advancing Ottoman Turks. The regularity of such “gifts” illustrates that the Mukachevo estate had at this time remained royal property, lent only in vassalage to individuals in recognition for their service to the Hungarian king.

In 1585 the Mukachevo and St. Nicholas (Chynadiievo) estates were united into a single entity known as the Mukachevo-St. Nicholas, or the Mukachevo-Chynadiievo manorial estate. Throughout the seventeenth century, as a manorial estate, it was in the hands of the Rakoczy family and princes of Transylvania. Following the defeat of Ferenc II Rakoczy in his wars against the Austrian Habsburgs (1703-1711) the Mukachevo-Chynadiievo estate was confiscated by the Austrian state and, in 1728, given by Emperor Charles VI to the archbishop of Mainz, Lothar Franz von Schonborn. After the latter’s death in 1729 the property reverted to his nephew, the archbishop of Wurzburg, Friedrich Karl von Schonborn. Thus began the era of the *Schonborn family dynasty in Subcarpathian Rus’. According to the charter of the imperial gift, dated 1731, the Mukachevo-Chynadiievo manorial estate consisted of 200 villages (together with their enserfed peasantry) and 4 towns—a territory measuring nearly 2,400 square kilometers with about 14,000 inhabitants, of whom 93 percent were peasant serfs.

The manorial estate was run by an administrator who resided in Chynadiievo and who oversaw sheriffs (zhupany); the sheriffs, in turn, were responsible for the economy of individual parts (districts) of the estate. The vast property the Schonborns received had been devastated by decades of war. Since towns and villages were largely bereft of their inhabitants, colonists were invited from Germany and later Austria (see Germans). These settlers brought with them to Subcarpathian Rus’ new forms of economic management and agricultural techniques. The estate’s administrators required Rusyn peasants to adopt the innovative three-crop rotational system and introduced crops which were new to the region: corn, tobacco, and most significantly, potatoes, which before long were to become the basic foodstuff in Rusyn villages. With the help of Germanic peasant settlers the Schonborns were able to raise the quality of orchards and vineyards, so that the estate was soon supplying on an annual basis to Austrian markets 200 barrels of wine and thousands of kilograms of dried fruits. They also created entirely new branches for the local agricultural economy: horse breeding, beer-brewing, and potash production. In the spirit of mercantilism, which at the time dominated Austrian economic theory and practice, the Mukachevo-Chynadiievo manorial estate renewed old and created new manufactures, such as iron works in Shelestovo; glass works in Velykyi Luh; a brewery and linen works in Pidhoriany; a paper mill in Nyzhnia Hrabivnytsia; and several woodworking, tile, and brick plants.

By the 1780s the estate was divided into three sectors: Mukachevo, Berehovo, and Nyzhni Verets’ki. Each sector included specific economic activities to which the villages within a given sector were expected to concentrate their energies. The Mukachevo and Berehovo sectors specialized in raising grain, potatoes, and fruits; in producing wine; operating small manufacturing plants; and breeding livestock for meat and transport (oxen, horses). The Nizhni Verets’ki sector, located as it was in mountainous areas, raised thousands of heads of sheep that produced cheese, wool, and meat. The administrators of the estate also carried out reclamation projects in the so-called Black Wetland (chornyi mochar) on the lowlands near Berehovo, and they oversaw the clean-up of previously unproductive forests and brush lands. By the middle of the nineteenth century they had managed to increase the estate’s arable land by threefold, resulting in a 100-fold increase in the estate’s productive capacity. As well, the estate adapted to the development of industry that reached Hungary during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Such was the importance of the Schonborn’s Mukachevo-Chynadiievo manorial estate that at the Economic Exhibition held in Budapest in 1885 it had its own pavilion. By that time the estate covered 134,000 hectares of land, including 107,600 hectares of forest; 10,900 hectares of arable land; 9,100 hectares of grazelands; 5,600 hectares of meadows; 221 hectares of orchards; and 65 hectares of vineyards. After World War I and the establishment of Czechoslovak rule in Subcarpathian Rus’ the Mukachevo-Chynadiievo estate survived the land reforms carried out by the new regime (1919-1929): a mere 0.25 percent of its property was confiscated by the state, while one-fifth was parcelled and sold to peasant farmers. In 1928 Count Schonborn “sold” for the symbolic price of 35 million Czechoslovak crowns three-quarters of the estate’s landed property to the so-called Ben’on Company, which immediately turned the properties over to the Latorica Company, whose major shareholder was Count Schonborn himself. The Latorica Company continued to run the estate properties until, in 1944, they were confiscated and nationalized by the National Council of Transcarpathian Ukraine.

Bibliography: Julius Blumenwitz, Die Herrschaft Munkacs im Beregher Comitate Ungarns (Vienna, 1867); Andrii Shash, “Narys sotsiial’noi i hospodars’koi istorii Shenborns’koi latyfundii Mukachevo-Chynadiievs’koi v pershii polovyni XVII st.,” Naukovyi zbornyk Tovarystva “Prosvita”, IX (Uzhhorod, 1932), pp. 101-134; Andor Sas, Egy karpati latifundium a huberi vilag alkonyan: a munkacsi Schonborn-uradalom tarsadalmi es gazdasagi viszonyai a XIX. szazad elso feleben (Bratislava, 1955).

Ivan Pop

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.

 Copyright © 2013