Serfdom in Europe

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Serfdom in Eastern and Western Times Serfdom was an institution that characterized the social and economic arrangements of the Middle Ages, and persisted in Russia until the mid-19th century. A class of agricultural laborers, serfs were legally bound to reside and labor at one place and to work on the land owned by their lord, who might be a nobleman, an ecclesiastical dignitary, or an institution such as a monastery.. From the 13th century …

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…accept "beggarly allotments"i.e., one fourth of the prescribed amount of land without any monetary obligations. The peasants' land holdings were controlled by the mir, or village commune. The mir was responsible for redemption payments and periodically redistributed the land to meet the changing needs of the various households. The provisions concerning land redistribution produced the peasant discontent that eventually helped the Russian Revolution to succeed, despite the later reforms of P. A. Stolypin.