Occitans - Economy

The economy of Occitanie is largely agricultural, principally concerned with the cultivation of cereals, olives, and other characteristically Mediterranean crops. It is also a notable Region for viticulture, the wines of the south of France being among the most well-known and valued in the world—although after viticulture was introduced by the Greeks, they and their Roman successors pronounced the region's product far inferior to the flavored wines of their homelands. Marseilles began as a commercial center for the Greeks and remains an important port on the Mediterranean. Although there has been some industrialization in the region, it remains largely undeveloped in this regard compared to the north. Agriculture has long been practiced according to the extensivefarming concept of the latifundia. Although strongly agricultural, the region has also long possessed a crafts and mercantilist tradition. Tourism, along the Mediterranean littoral in particular, plays an important role in the economy today.

Land Tenure. The latifundist pattern introduced by the Romans meant that, for most of the region's history, property ownership was concentrated in the hands of a relatively small proportion of the local population. Access to land, for most Occitans, was through leasehold. Most often, this meant farming one or several strips, defined as a single plowed length of field, on one or more estates. This entailed villagewide cooperation, particularly at harvest time, for a great many individual leaseholders might possess harvest rights on a single estate. Ownership of the land itself passed from Father to eldest son. Leaseholds were most often handed down generationally as well. Today it is not uncommon for an Individual to own a number of noncontiguous plots of land, Scattered about the village environs, perhaps as a result of the transfer of leasehold rights to private ownership.

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