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What were Demesnes?

In 1800 almost half of the agricultural land of Mecklenburg belonged to large-scale landowners, just under the other half was owned as `Domanium´ by the two sovereign princes, the grand dukes.  

The income from the Domanium had to be used for the state administration. Besides the Domaniums of the sovereigns there were rural demesnes belonging to cities, the church or protestant ladies convents (for unprovided for noble women, see Dobbertin).   

The Domanium was subdivided into large estates, the demesnes of the sovereign prince, which were leased out. The tenants therefore were no land lords as such and hardly ever belonged to the aristocracy. Demesnes existed in Mecklenburg Vorpommern up to the end of WWII. The land reform of 1945 treated the tenants as landlords although the land could not be taken off them as it belonged to the state anyway, or a city or the
church. However they were stripped of their entire wealth and more often than not were chased off with their families with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.