Jannau, Heinrich Johann

Jannau, Heinrich Johann

 

Born Mar. 9 (20), 1753; died Jan. 30 (Feb. 11), 1821. Baltic educator, historian and publicist.

The son of a Livonian German noble, Jannau was a graduate of the University of Göttingen. He was a pastor in Pōlva from 1776 to 1779 and in Laiuse from 1779 to 1821. Jannau’s world view was influenced by the philosophers of the 18th-century French Enlightenment. He advocated enlightened absolutism and the improvement of the lives of the serfs through gradual reforms, such as reduction of the corvée, the establishment of state supervision and guardianship over the peasants, and the expansion of the peasant school system.

Jannau came under attack by landowners and the German aristocracy as a result of his book The History of Slavery and the Character of the Peasants in Livland and Estland: A Treatise on the Improvement of the Status of Serfs (1786), in which he sharply criticized serfdom in the Baltic region.

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