1528 census of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

The census of 1528 was the first census carried out in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It was not a true census since it had limited scope: it only sought to count peasant households (Lithuanian: dūmas) for military purposes. The Grand Duchy used a conscript army where Lithuanian nobles were required to provide one soldier per each 16 or 20 households owned.[1] Therefore, the state needed to count such households to know whether a noble fulfilled his military duty. The next census was conducted in 1565.

Background and resultsEdit

The Muscovite–Lithuanian Wars brought first substantial territorial losses and caused a fundamental shift in the military. Instead of being a privilege that brought profit from war loot and career opportunities in newly acquired territories, military service became an expensive duty in defense of the motherland.[2] Each soldier had to provide his own weapons, armor, horse, and food. The nobles made their living off agriculture and looked for ways to shirk their army responsibilities.[2] The state needed ways to enforce the conscription and started keeping detailed lists and inventories of who reported for duty and who did not. These inventories were made at the time and location of army gathering. In 1528, scribes visited nobles and their properties to count and verify the number of peasant households.[2] The First Statute of Lithuania codified the procedures of reporting for military duty.[2]

The census determined the maximum size of the army. Nobles could provide about 20,000 cavalrymen, magnates and city dwellers could provide additional 10,000.[1] Because the census counted only households, it is difficult to extrapolate the number of residents. German Werner Conze estimated 1.3 million residents. Henryk Łowmiański and Jerzy Ochmański pointed out that Conze did not account for Grand Duke's and church lands that were not counted in the census and increased the estimate to more than 2 million residents.[3]

Wealthiest magnatesEdit

Largest magnates based on the number of dependent households[4]
Rank Noble / noble family Soldiers Households
1 Kęsgailos 768 12288
2 Radziwiłł 760 12160
3 Albertas Goštautas 466 7456
4 Yuri Olelkovich 433 6928
5 Konstanty Ostrogski 426 6816
6 Astikai 338 5408
7 Hlebowicz 279 4464
8 Zabrzeziński 258 4128
9 John of the Lithuanian Dukes 236 3776
10 Piotr Kiszka 224 3584
11 Aleksander Chodkiewicz 201 3216
12 Sanguszko 170 2720
13 Ilinicz 160 2560
14 Sapieha 153 2448
15 Bohowitynowicze 138 2208
16 Zenowiewicze-Korsakowie 138 2208
17 Korsakowie 137 2192
18 Zenowiewicze 136 2176
19 Kostewicze 126 2016
20 Paweł Holszański 122 1952
21 Niemirowicze 115 1840
22 Chrebtowicze 112 1792
23 Mikołaj Pac 97 1552


  1. ^ a b Petrauskas, Rimvydas; Kiaupienė, Jūratė (2009). Lietuvos istorija. Nauji horizontai: dinastija, visuomenė, valstybė (in Lithuanian). Vol. IV. Baltos lankos. p. 327. ISBN 978-9955-23-239-1.
  2. ^ a b c d Lesmaitis, Gediminas (2011–2013). "LDK pašauktinės kariuomenės surašymas". Orbis Lituaniae (in Lithuanian). Vilnius University. Retrieved 2014-11-27.
  3. ^ Vaitiekūnas, Stasys (2006). Lietuvos gyventojai: Per du tūkstantmečius (in Lithuanian). Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos institutas. p. 51. ISBN 5-420-01585-4.
  4. ^ Ochmański, Jerzy (1982). Historia Litwy (in Polish) (2nd ed.). Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich. p. 106. ISBN 9788304008861.