In 1254 it received a charter from William II., count of Holland, similar to that of Haarlem, but in the 15th century duke Philip the Good of Burgundy made the impoverishment of the town, due to ill-government, the excuse for establishing an oligarchical regime, by charters of 1436 and 1437.
The P0 valley and the valleys of Emilia and the Romagna are best adapted for rice, but the area is diminishing on account of the competition of foreign rice and of the impoverishment of the soil by too intense cultivation.
There has been an increase of wealth among the few, but along with this a general impoverishment of the mass of the people, and the peculiar institution of the mir, framed on the principle of community of ownership and occupation of the land, was not conducive to the growth of individual effort.
As illustrating the general impoverishment of the Russian peasantry, it may be stated that the arrears of taxation owed by them have increased enormously since 1882, when they a, ounted to £2,854,000, until in 1900 the total amount was put k £15,222,000.
The economic and moral condition of the peasantry was little improved by freedom, and in many districts there were signs of positive impoverishment and demoralization.
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