SEREBSZCZYZNA ("silver tax"):

Land-tax imposed upon the inhabitants of Lithuania and Russia in the Middle Ages, and deriving its name from the fact that it had to be paid all in silver. Originally Russia had to pay the "serebszczyzna" to the Tatars, and later to Poland and Lithuania. In the course of time it became a state tax throughout Lithuania and all the provinces taken from the Russians. The "serebszczyzna" is often mentioned in documents concerning the Jewish communities of Lithuania, mostly in cases where the Jews had successfully applied for exemption from it. This must not, however, be regarded as implying a special privilege granted to them, but only as an act of justice, inasmuch as they paid their general taxes annually in a lump sum according to an assessment fixed at the annual sessions of the Diet.

H. R. G. D. R.
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