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date: 10 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The agricultural history of the Ancien Régime is inseparable from the socio-economic history of France between 1660 and 1789 if only for the reason that husbandry remained the principal wealth-generating activity and by far the largest sector of the economy. Even after 1789 this situation would not alter radically. Notwithstanding the collapse of Bourbon absolutism, the broad thrust of change in the countryside proceeded without major interruption. The agrarian history of western Europe in the early modern period provides scant evidence of climactic moments, and researchers are in general agreement that its rhythms can only be discerned over a time span of many decades. In France specifically there were no agricultural breakthroughs in the eighteenth century—whether in land-use, tenurial practice, agronomic technique, or institutional reform.

Keywords: Ancien Régime, agriculture, agrarian history, land-use, institutional reforms, husbandry

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