Voloka Measurement

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Voloka Measurement


the measurement and division of lands on the grand duke’s estates and, later, on privately owned estates in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, introduced by the Statute on Voloki of 1557.

The purpose of voloka measurement was the demarcation of the grand duke’s and boyars’ lands and the return of lands seized by the boyars to the grand duke. This project was the first land cadastre, and its introduction increased the treasury’s income. By the terms of the voloka measurement, each peasant household received plots amounting to 33 morgi (approximately 21.36 hectares) in three fields. For fulfilling their corvee obligations, the peasants received lands in a ratio of seven peasant voloki to one voloka belonging to the lord or crown. (The voloka was the principal land measurement in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and it was equal to 30 morgi, or 19.5 desiatiny.) The peasants did two days of corvee a week for each voloka they held; they also had to pay obligations in money and in kind.

In the second half of the 16th century, almost all Lithuanian feudal lords had introduced the voloka measurement, which strengthened feudal landed property, finally broke the tie between the peasants and their formerly hereditary land allotments, and intensified the enserfment of the peasantry.


Picheta, V. I. Agrarnaia reforma Sigizmunda-Avgusta v LitovskoRusskom gosudarstve [2nd ed.]. Moscow, 1958.
Lietuvos TSR istorija. Vilnius, 1957.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.