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Manntalið 1729 og fyrirætlanir um flutninga fólks til Grænlands.

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Manntalið 1729 er um margt áhugaverð heimild. Það nær yfir þrjár sýslur landsins, þar er allra heimilismanna getið með nafni auk þess sem sýslumenn, sem sáu um framkvæmdina, tóku upp hjá sér að sleppa skráningum vísvitandi eða bæta við upplýsingum sem ekki var óskað eftir. kallað var eftir skráningu fólks í átta sýslum en aðeins er vitað um manntöl úr þremur þeirra. Ástæða manntalstökunnar voru fyrirmæli frá dönskum stjórnvöldum um að finna einstaklinga hér á landi sem vildu flytja til Grænlands. Tíminn var skammur og tók amtmaður þá ákvörðun að láta skrá manntal til þess að leggja fyrir konung svo hann gæti sjálfur valið þá einstaklinga sem hann vildi senda, nauðuga eða viljuga, til Grænlands. Hér er því haldið fram að hinn sérstaki aðdragandi manntalsins, sem hér verður rakinn í ákvörðunum stjórnvalda og bréfasamskiptum æðstu ráðamanna, hafi haft afgerandi áhrif á skráningu þess og þar með heimildargildi.
The 1729 Census and Plans of Moving Icelanders to Greenland In the first decades of the 18th century, Danish officials had intentions of annexing Greenland to the Danish monarchy. Since Icelanders were used to living in a harsh environment, it was proposed that some of them settle in Greenland, and a governor seated in Iceland, Niels Fuhrmann, was assigned to conduct the task. Ships to Iceland were few and far between and letters took a long time to arrive, regardless of whether the correspondence was being transported between Denmark and Iceland or only within Iceland. Faced with a short deadline, since the last ship would leave Iceland in the autumn, the governor needed both to introduce the matter to district magistrates and persuade them to find volunteers for moving to Greenland. Sources indicate that the governor felt desperate over the impossibility of fulfilling the king’s request in time; caught in this situation, he got the idea of performing the 1729 census. He felt that if it were presented to the king, the monarch himself would be able to select individuals for sending forcibly to Greenland. Thus the initiative for the census seems to have come from Governor Fuhrmann alone, as no directions have been found from Danish authorities to undertake such a measure. Although eight district magistrates received the governor’s instructions on taking a census, actual censuses have been found from only three districts. Apparently the threat of moving settlers to Greenland by force had a profound impact on conducting the census, with the district magistrates reacting in diverse ways. In the extant censuses, however, the governor’s instructions were followed for the most part, i.e. to list all of the district residents by name, age and other household members. Any additional information appearing in the census was at the initiative of the particular magistrate. A standardised census procedure was first established in 1801, when the 18th-century Icelandic censuses had already occurred. To understand their nature to the fullest, it is important to consider the events leading up to them. The reasons for the 1729 census clearly had a strong influence, thereby affecting its significance as a historical source. Furthermore, it is important to examine the directions on conducting a census in order to learn whether they reveal anything to help draw proper conclusions. These possible limitations to censuses must be contemplated before relying on them. Despite such shortcomings, the 1729 census can be thought of as a rare source on Icelandic society in three of the island’s districts at that time.