The Control and Appropriation of Water Resources in Late Medieval and Early Modern Hungary (15th–17th centuries)

Thesis author: 
András Vadas
Year of enrollment: 
Duration of thesis project: 
Sep, 2013 - Sep, 2019
Thesis supervisor: 
Alice Mathea Choyke
Thesis supervisor: 
Katalin Szende
Thesis abstract: 

Environmental historical scholarship in the last few decades has demonstrated the complexity of the water-related disputes in a modern context. Several scholars have shown how methods employed in environmental history may contribute to questions which have been addressed mostly by legal, political or economic historians. This PhD dissertation aims to address the problems surrounding water management as places where different economic interests met.
The dissertation proposes a study of water management in conflict landscapes, in places where the different actors – landowners, those who used the water for any purpose – had different interests. The sources such a study requires are fundamentally legal in character. However, the primary aim of the dissertation is not the pursuit of legal developments in water management. The legal character of these sources not only permits some conclusions on the legal understanding of water rights, but also provides significant data on environmental transformations and the way the water-land environment was perceived by the different actors living in a particular area. The way water was perceived is fundamental to understanding the logic informing communities in the way they manipulated and exploited in medieval Hungary. The disputes as well as the laws and regulations together with archaeological and topographic data from field surveys will provide an insight into the role of water in late medieval life in the Hungarian Kingdom.