Komornyk

Komornyk. A category of dependent people in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth who did not own land or a house. They performed pedestrian corvée or paid taxes in cash or in kind to landlords, who provided them with accommodation in their houses or outbuildings (hence the term komornyk, from komora, meaning barn or storehouse). In the 15th and 16th centuries the term was also applied to the urban poor—beggars, workmen engaged in handicrafts or as day laborers, and even poor people engaged in petty commerce. Kormornyky ceased being regarded as such if they acquired a plot of land with a house or if they were able to rent such property (see also Khalupnyk).

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1989).]




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