Boundaries of agrarian production in the Bergisches Land in 1715 AD

Irmela Herzog


The boundaries of agrarian production for the Bergisches Land east of Cologne in 1715 AD can be deduced from historical sources including maps created in the years up to 1715 AD and modern topographic data. The historical maps indicate the settlement sizes ranging from mills and single farmsteads to towns with walls. The maps are complemented by images of the two towns in the study area and a text describing the economy of each administrative unit covered. According to this additional information, in 1715 AD the towns were quite small and the economy relied mostly on agriculture (oat, pigs, and cattle). This applies even to the town controlling a bridge of an important trade route. Moreover, the maps show a large proportion of today's settlements, hardly any additional settlement locations can be found in the maps created in 1848. For this reason it seems plausible to assume that the study area was nearly full in 1715 AD. Different approaches to allocate territories to the settlement locations shown on the 1715 AD maps are discussed, based both on straight-line and least-cost distances. For allocation methods ignoring the settlement size the quality of the result is assessed by checking the relationship between territory size and settlement size. The paper also presents approaches for predicting the location of patches where additional settlements were founded after 1715 AD.