You are here

Home » The settlement

The History of the Local Economy

Several data from the 13th and 14th centuries refer to the fact that the holders of the forest made the peasants do the clearance of the forest. Besides forest management hunting was also a very important source of living for the settlers. Agriculture and forest management dominated the economy of the village for centuries.

The industrialisation which could be experienced everywhere in Hungary in the last years of the 19th century reached Mikóháza quite late, and it did not have a remarkable effect on the local economy. Agriculture remained the main source of living. Beside the increasing cultivation of cereals, cattle, sheep and pig breeding offered sources for the local population. After the boom times of the cereal trade people had to look for supplementary works, such as harvesting and transportation for wage. They also sold cut wood from their own forests. Families gathered mushrooms, raspberries and other wild berries and they did farm labour for the wealthier owners for wage to get some extra money.

In the last years of the 19th century the wealth and the population of the village were growing and numerous new buildings were being built. The richer owners and landowners took out insurance on their properties. The calm development and prosperity were only disturbed by a great fire in 1888 and the damages of the World War I.

The 1920s and 1930s brought two peaceful and prosperous decades for Mikóháza. The economic development continued. Smallholdings were predominated in the area and wheat was the most important crop. Wheat was grown for trade and not for everyday use. People grew rye for their bread while wheat was used only for making pastry. Because of the lack of rich pastures people grew barley and oat for livestock breeding. Pig breeding provided meat for the households where mangalica pigs were very popular that time. Poultry-farming was only a supplementary source for the families. The most important financial source was provided by the forest, which covered the area around the village. There were three forest estates, which were supervised by the Forestry Commission.

The worldwide economic crisis of the 1930s reached Mikóháza, too. Agricultural trade had to face difficulties because of the narrowing market facilities and the low prices. The short period of the reconquest of the Felvidék had a positive effect on agriculture and tourism. The small, old houses with adobe walls and straw roofs were changed by stone houses covered by shingle or tile roofs this time.

The community recognised the importance of cooperation to help the trade of their agricultural products, so they established the “Hangya” cooperative 22 April 1917. The cooperative ran several businesses such as shop and pub.

During the World War II the local community suffered from the looting army troops. The German, Romanian, Hungarian and Soviet soldiers preyed food, cattle, pig from the families. The years of the peace brought difficulties like inflation, starvation, food tickets. Restoration and the new money, the “forint” promised new hopes for the people. However, the forced delivery obligation obstructed the fast economic increase. This time people had to deliver a fixed quota of their agricultural produce and livestock to the state. They were allowed to keep only a small ration per head for their living. They also lost their lands and estates because of the forced socialization.

The new “Aranykalász” farmers’ co-operative tried to provide a work facility for the most of the population of Mikóháza after the war. Although the leadership of the co-operative did their best to answer the new challenge they could not solve the problem of the employment completely. The rest of the population worked as industrial workers, forestry workers commuting to farther villages and towns.

The political changes of 1989 brought a completely new situation for the local economy. The new laws were not preferential to the co-operatives, so the “Aranykalász” co-operative ceased in 1990. There are three smaller private co-operatives in Mikóháza nowadays, but the new private enterprises provide neither enough work facilities nor living for the local community.