Upyte Land Court Year Books for 1590–92


At the height of its power in the 15th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania ruled over the territory of present-day Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine, and parts of Estonia, Moldova, Poland, and Russia. In the Union of Lublin of 1569, the Grand Duchy and the Kingdom of Poland merged to form the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The commonwealth had a highly developed legal and administrative system, based on local land courts that decided civil cases involving the gentry and castle courts that dealt with other local matters, including criminal cases. Courts were required to maintain detailed records of their proceedings, which were kept in old Byelorussian and in Polish. In the 19th century, the court records of the Grand Duchy were centralized in Vilnius, and eventually became part of the manuscript collections of the Vilnius University Library. The library now holds 543 books of court acts of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania dating from 1540 to 1845. These books are a unique source for the histories of Lithuania, Poland, and Belarus. Shown here are the Upyte land court year books for 1590–92. Upyte is in northeast Lithuania, in present-day Panevezys County. The town was first mentioned in manuscripts in the mid-13th century, when its well-built castle was important in the defense of the Grand Duchy.

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335 pages, book has no covers; 33 x 22 x 6 centimeters


  • Watermarks: Pobog, Jelita, Habdank (Polish coats of arms). Old signature in N. Gorbachevskiĭ catalog: 2/15235.

Last updated: September 29, 2014