Seignory (votchyna). Hereditary land owned outright and without any obligations to an overlord. The system of alodial landholding was practiced in Kyivan Rus’ as early as the 9th or 10th centuries and was the most common form of land tenure among the princes and nobles in the 11th to 15th centuries. Owners of seignories could not only dispose of their land as they wished but also administer justice and collect taxes for the state on their estates. In Ukraine the system was developed further under Lithuanian and Polish rule. In Russia the seignorial system gradually gave way to a system of service tenure.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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