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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

The Moriscos had in many respects become Spaniards


estimates have been made as to the number of the expelled Moriscos. It is probable that some half a million were obliged to emigrate. Many remained in Spain, forming outlaw bands in the mountains, or hiding under the protection of their lords, while thousands had long since merged with the Christian population. Almost from the start a current of re-immigration set in, for, after all, the Moriscos had in many respects become Spaniards, and they found that conditions in the lands to which they had gone were far from agreeable. Throughout the seventeenth century laws were enacted against returning Moriscos, but were of such little effect that the government virtually admitted its powerlessness in the matter. Southern Spain and the east coast below Catalonia remained strongly Moslem in blood, and the other provinces of the peninsula were not a little affected as well, but as regards religion the Morisco element was gradually merged, and this matter never became a serious problem again. Similar questions arose over returning Jews, who came back to Spain for much the same reasons the Moriscos did. They were not nearly so numerous, however, wherefore their return did not represent such a political danger as did that of the Moriscos.

[Sidenote: Influence of Roman principles on the institutions of the family and private property.]

The legal status of the family underwent no striking change in this period, except that

the victory of Roman principles was more and more confirmed. The decisions of the Council of Trent (1545-1563), a famous general council of the Catholic Church, prohibited divorce, clandestine marriage, and in general any kind of marital union not made according to the solemnities and forms of the church, and these principles became law in Spain, but they represented tendencies which had long before appeared in the _Partidas_ and the _Leyes de Toro_. Unions lacking the sanction of the law did not disappear; rather they were one of the prominent features of the immorality of the times. It was in its economic aspects that the family experienced its most marked change, and this was due to the exceptional favor with which the institution of primogeniture had come to be viewed, keeping pace with the vanity and the furor for ennoblement of the age. The very extension of the practice was its saving grace, for not only the great nobles but also persons of lesser note, including plebeians with not too vast estates, were wont to leave their properties to the eldest son; thus accumulation in the hands of a very few was avoided. For the same reason the crown often favored the custom for the smaller holdings, but restricted it in the case of the _latifundia_,--for example, in the prohibition issued against the combining of two such great estates. The individualism and capitalism of the Roman law was most marked of all in matters of property. One interesting attempt was made to get around the laws against usury through the purchase of annuities, the _censo consignativo_. Popular opinion, reinforced by the ideas of the moralists and jurisconsults and even by a bull of the pope, opposed the practice, and it did not survive. Despite the supremacy of the Roman ideas there were many writings of a socialistic character citing the collectivism of the Peruvian Incas or other such states of society as desirable of adoption in Spain. The philosopher Luis Vives, for example, favored a redistribution of natural resources and their equal enjoyment by all.

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