Foreign Settlements

Foreign Settlements

 

(inozemnye slobody), districts in Russian towns where foreigners settled in the 16th and 17th centuries. The first sloboda arose in Moscow in the first third of the 16th century in the section called Zamoskvorech’ie. In the second half of the 16th century a sloboda emerged on the Iauza River, inhabited by prisoners from the Livonian War of 1558–83. It later became the center for a settlement of foreigners of different nationalities and professions (Nemetskaia Sloboda). There were seven foreign settlements in 17th-century Moscow: Mesh-chanskaia (beyond the Sretenskie Gate at the Zemlianoi Wall), inhabited by immigrants from Byelorussia and Polish-Lithuanian towns; Grecheskaia (in the district of Ulianovskaia Street, until 1671), inhabited by Greek immigrants; Tolmatskaia, where translators and interpreters (tolmachi) lived; Staropan-skaia (in the district of Chkalov Street) and Panskaia (in the district of Dimitrov Street), which, originally populated by immigrants from Poland, lost their ethnic identity in the second half of the 17th century; Tatarskaia (in the district of Bol’shaia Tatarskaia and Malaia Tatarskaia Streets), inhabited by Tatars; and Gruzinskaia (in the district of Bol’shaia Gruzinskaia and Malaia Gruzinskaia Streets), inhabited by Georgians.

Arkhangel’sk also had a foreign settlement, and there were autonomous foreign settlements (dvory inostrantsev) in Novgorod, Vologda, and Yaroslavl. The inhabitants of the settlements were subject to Russian law, although they did enjoy some self-government and religious freedom (in Moscow). Under Peter I they were deprived of their elements of autonomy and were subordinated to the Office of the Burmistr (burgomaster).

REFERENCES

Bogoiavlenskii, S. K. “Moskovskaia nemetskaia sloboda.” Izvestiia AN SSSR: Seriia istorii i filosofii, 1947, vol. 4, no. 3.
Snegirev, V. L. Moskovskie slobody: Ocherki po istorii Moskovskogo posada XIV-XVIII vv. Moscow, 1956.

I. S. BAKULIN

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