Read Mode

National Museum of History of Moldova

Publications Journal „Tyragetia"   vol. I [XVI], nr. 2

Jewish component in the ethnical structure of the commercial bourgeoisie in Bessarabia (1812-1868)
ISSN 1857-0240
E-ISSN 2537-6330

Jewish component in the ethnical structure of the commercial bourgeoisie in Bessarabia (1812-1868)

Tyragetia, serie nouă, vol. I [XVI], nr. 2, Istorie. Muzeologie Chișinău, 2007

In the present article the archive data is used to determine the ethnical attribution of the commercial bourgeoisie of Bessarabia in the first half of the 19th century. The author claims that this stratum of Bessarabian society was formed gradually and was ethnically and socially heterogeneous. This heterogeneity was deepened by the Imperial administration which contributed to the formation of the Bessarabian commercial bourgeoisie by implication (26 September 1830) of guild reform and introduction of new commerce policies. Notwithstanding the privileges for a 10 year term to the merchants from Bessarabia granted by the reform which allowed all social strata to start commercial enterprises regardless of the ethnicity, as well as the requirement to declare the capitals in order to be assigned to a commercial guild, the chances of the Moldavians to enroll into the category of the guild merchants were reduced.

Heterogeneous and poorly structured, both ethnically and socially, the commercial bourgeoisie was forced to allow foreign elements in its ranks. The Jews, Greeks, Armenians, Bulgarians, Russians, Ukrainians etc., shortly became dominant in the commercial life of Bessarabia.

The proportion of various ethnic groups among guild merchants is worth of attention. The analysis of commercial certificates issued in 1840s - 1860s suggests that the main role in the Bessarabian trade belonged to the Jews. They owned ca. 62% of the total number of the commercial certificates; they were followed by the “Christians”, Armenians and Greeks. Although the Jews played a prominent part in Bessarabian commerce, the wholesale merchants of the first and the second guild were mostly the Greeks, “Christians” and Armenians. The Jews, the second-hand dealers, were involved normally in petty trade. Therefore, the tsarist colonial policy in Bessarabia was obviously aimed at protecting the interests of its own bourgeoisie or its representatives in the region by offering privileges, which eventually lead to a constitution of a distinct social class. The weak national commercial bourgeoisie was distanced (especially due to the commercial activity of the Jews) from the privileged and dominant foreign business.

This politics slowed down the process of formation and constitution of national commercial bourgeoisie, replacing it with foreign settlers.



Independent Moldova
Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
Bessarabia and MASSR between the Two World Wars
Bessarabia and Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in the Period between the Two World Wars
Revival of National Movement
Time of Reforms and their Consequences
Abolition of Autonomy. Bessarabia – a New Tsarist Colony
Period of Relative Autonomy of Bessarabia within the Russian Empire
Phanariot Regime
Golden Age of the Romanian Culture
Struggle for Maintaining of Independence of Moldova
Formation of Independent Medieval State of Moldova
Era of the
Great Nomad Migrations
Early Middle Ages
Iron Age and Antiquity
Bronze Age
Aeneolithic Age
Neolithic Age
Palaeolithic Age


The National Museum of History of Moldova takes place among the most significant museum institutions of the Republic of Moldova, in terms of both its collection and scientific reputation.
©2006-2019 National Museum of History of Moldova
31 August 1989 St., 121 A, MD 2012, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
Secretariat: +373 (22) 24-43-25
Department of Public Relations and Museum Education: +373 (22) 24-04-26
Fax: +373 (22) 24-43-69
E-mail: office@nationalmuseum.md
Technical Support: info@nationalmuseum.md
Web site administration and maintenance: Andrei EMILCIUC