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The Estates

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The Estates

The States or the Estates (French: États, German: Landstände, Dutch: Staten) signifies the assembly of the representatives of the estates of the realm, the divisions of society in feudal times, called together for purposes of deliberation, legislation or taxation. In German-speaking countries they were also known by the name Landtag (see also Diet).

In many states, the first estate was the clergymen, the second estate was composed of the nobility, and the third estate was composed of the commoners (bourgeoisie, artisans and peasants). The actual representation of these three estates in the assembly could vary from country to country. Bourgeoisie, peasants and people with no estate from birth were separated in Sweden and Finland as late as in 1905.

Examples

States General

In some countries, there were estates assemblies both on a provincial and national level, the latter often being known as the 'States General' or national Diet. Some examples of this:

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