The landed estates of the Esterházy princes: Hungary during the reforms of Maria Theresia and Joseph II, Volume 112, Issue 2

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Johns Hopkins University Press, Sep 1, 1994 - History - 312 pages
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In their own domains within eighteenth-century Hungary, the Esterhazy family rivaled their Habsburg rulers in splendor and refinement. During the reigns of Maria Theresia and Joseph II, the monarchy sought to curtail the power of the Esterhazy and other nobles by implementing centralizing reforms in their lands. Historian Rebecca Gates-Coon documents the world of the Esterhazy estates during these years of reform. Drawing on extensive research in archives rarely visited by Western historians, she offers a broad description of social, economic, and political life of these princely estates. Gates-Coon begins by describing the geographical extent of the vast Esterhazy lands. She then focuses on the Esterhazy themselves--the people, their magnificent dwellings, their households. She describes the Esterhazy's political and social role within the multinational ruling class of the Habsburg monarchy. She examines the impact of the radical agricultural reforms of Maria Theresia and Joseph II, both on the nobility and on the peasants. She discusses the little-known history of the Jewish communities. And she explores the Esterhazy's cultural patronage of music and the arts as well as their relations with such marginal groups as gypsies, traveling entertainers, peddlers, and beggars. This examination of the Esterhazy estates offers a uncommon look atthe Hungarian side of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It demonstrates that while life on the splendid Esterhazy estates proceeded in its customary fashion through much of this period, glimmerings of change were apparent at all social levels, the results of governmental actions and changing attitudes commonly known as eighteenth-century "enlightened" thought.

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The Esterhazy Household and Properties I
The Esterhazy Family in the Habsburg

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About the author (1994)

Rebecca Gates-Coon is a senior reference specialist for European history in the Social Sciences and Humanities Division of the Library of Congress.