Brest (Bieraście) Region (Povit) Prior to, and Following the 1565–1566 Reform: on History of Administrative and Territorial Entities in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Aleh Dziarnovych
Candidate of Historical Sciences (Ph.D. in History), Senior Research Fellow,
Institute of History of National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (Belarus, Minsk),
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There was a variability names of administrative and territorial divisions in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (the GDL) before reform 1565–1566. In the beginning of the 16th centurie the Bieraście paviet was known, in sources it as referred to as the Bieraście volost (volaść). In economic sense the region referred to the Bieraście starostva. In historical sources the Kamianiec paviet (volaść) is fixed also. And in this case it is possible to approve, that before reform 1565–1566 terms volaść and paviet were often synonymous. Actually paviet understood as large volaść which center was town or castle belonging the state. Complicated political and administrative history has the Kobryn princedom-paviet. The death in 1519 of last princess Anna of Kobryn was meant final with the termination of this dynasty, and the Kobryn princedom became a state (majesty) possession. 1519 it is possible to consider as year of actual occurrence of the Kobryn starostva (economic region). In 1532 there was a next reorganization of this territorial unit, the Kobryn paviet has been created. It had legal value for local gentry. As a result of reform 1565–1566 of territory of the Bieraście paviet («small»), Kamianiec paviet and Kobryn paviet have been created new а new («big») Bieraście paviet of the Bieraście province (vajavodstva) which in the basis has existed up to 1795 (3th partition of the Commonwealth). Even before administrative and judicial reform 1565-1566 areas (paviet-volaść) were formed in view of historically existed territorial and economic regions. It occured including by transformation of old apanage princedoms (udziel) to what so central authority of the GDL persistently aspired, beginning since Vitovt’s times. The factor of the landed property was of great importance at formation of administrative and territorial units of the GDL. It is necessary to consider as disputes on ground possession of formed nobility, so becoming of institute of the state estates (starostva). Terms paviet and volaść in case of the Brest area territorially coincided and often were synonyms. But the term paviet had territorial value, the term volaść had more economic and fiscal value. In case of with the «prereform» Kobryn paviet we can observe interest of local nobility and gentry in development of administrative and territorial structure of the state. It also has been connected with political emancipation of nobility before the person of grand-ducal authority and oligarchy of magnates. All final legal registration of paviet as administrative-judicial-military units has occured only as a result of reform of 1565–1566.



Administrative and territorial structure, paviet, udziel, starostvo, reform of 1565–1566, Grand Duchy of Lithuania.



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