The Keys ep36 The Land Reform in Latvia
The Land Reform in Latvia. The cornerstone of the new country built on the remnants of the old nobility.
The first land reform in Latvia was passed on 16 September 1920. When Latvians elected the Constitutional Assembly in 1920, half of all rural land was still owned by the nobility – a remnant of the bygone feudal age. 80% of Latvia’s population were rural inhabitants, and two-thirds of them were landless peasants who worked for landlords.
The people demanded land, and the state had to provide it. The reform ensured that anyone who desired a plot could now acquire it. The new arrangement led to the proliferation of small-scale farms; unfortunately, it also held back the development of large holdings. The consequences of this fragmentation can be felt to this day. The same can be said about the devastation Latvians wrought upon the old manors. Could we have done things differently back then?