BÉLA ANGYAL: “THE NATION OF GÚTA”. THE SOCIETY OF THE MARKET TOWN OF GÚTA, 1768–1870 Abstract In my thesis, I presented the 18th–19th century society of my hometown, Gúta (Kolárovo, Slovakia), based on the results of decades of research. Primarily relying on archival sources, I used quantitative and qualitative methods to describe the social, demographic, and economic processes that took place in the market town from the 1768 urbarial regulation to the first official Hungarian census in 1870. In the course of researching the archival sources, I strived for completeness, analysing the phenomena by taking into account the complete time series instead of samples. In addition to a basically macro-level approach to the topic, my work also includes several micro-historical elements, genealogy and the presentation of individual life paths. The population of the town, under the jurisdiction of the landowner, was almost homogeneous in the period under study, of Hungarian ethnicity and Roman Catholic religion. In terms of order, the population was almost exclusively made up of non-nobles, serfs. The share of nobles in the town was only a few percent. The serf population of the market town mainly subsisted from animal husbandry, meadow cultivation, fishing and fruit growing. Corn was largely grown in the surrounding puszta. Until the abolishment of serfdom, the period under study was characterised by stagnant urbarial conditions, despite the existing privileges of market towns, and a stricter, more bound system of villeinage, which limited peasant development. Gradually, the puszta came under the administration of the landlord, the Archbishopric of Esztergom, and farmsteads were established on land once leased by the inhabitants of Gúta. As the agricultural means of earning a livelihood of the peasantry was shrinking, there was also a steady population growth. Birth control was unknown in the society of the market town, and population growth was only disrupted by recurrent epidemics and famines. In addition to the shrinking of farmland and rapid population growth, the system of male inheritance also contributed to the process of pauperisation and the fragmentation of plots in villain tenure. The society of Gúta tried to respond to the negative trends towards impoverishment in various ways. The period under study witnessed the increasing complexity of households, a high proportion of multi-family households, and the co-farming and co-housing of related families. The aim was to preserve the status of family members and prevent them from falling into deeper poverty (becoming cotters) or emigrating. The collective response of the inhabitants of the town to these adverse developments was to take legal action against the archdiocese for the possession of the puszta, for the rights, both real and perceived, which ended in a negative outcome for the town.