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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Sidenote Revival of manufacturing


Obstacles to agricultural development and attempts to overcome them.]

To form a correct idea of the state of agriculture in this period it is necessary to note how the lands of the peninsula were distributed. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, after a hundred years of effort directed to the release of realty, the church possessed 9,093,400 _fanegas_[66] of land, the nobles 28,306,700, and the plebeian class 17,599,000, but the greater part of the estates of both the nobles and the plebeians was entailed, and therefore impossible of alienation, closing the door to the growth of a class of small proprietors. The proportion of proprietors to population was only one in forty. In ?vila, for example, the church owned 239,591 _fanegas_, 157,092 were entailed, and only 8160 were cultivated by owners who resided in the neighborhood. The small proprietor was to be found principally in the north and east, but he was far outnumbered, even in those regions, by the lessees of lands, who were also the overwhelmingly strongest element numerically in Castile. The forms of renting were various, both as to the type of payment required and as to the length of term. Where the term was practically hereditary, conditions were much better, approximating those of the small proprietor. In Andalusia _latifundia_ were the rule, cultivated in only a portion of the estate by day laborers, who were employed at certain seasons of the year, living in a state of great

misery at other times. This evil was tempered in Extremadura by the utilization of lands common. Despite the sincere attempts of the government to encourage agriculture, that industry was still in an extremely backward state at the close of the era, with only a little of the cultivable ground planted, an insufficient development of irrigation, and a lack of fencing. Valencia and the Basque provinces were the most nearly prosperous regions; the others were in a wretched state. In addition to the governmental reforms already referred to, the following may be mentioned: several laws of Charles III forbade owners to dispossess tenants arbitrarily, and even went so far as to prohibit ejectments unless the owner should consent to reside on his lands and cultivate them; attempts were made to procure reforestation, partly with a view to conserving the water supply, but the national repugnance to trees was so great that the laws were not carried out; and the abusive privileges of the _Mesta_ were attacked by Charles III, and in the next reign, in 1795, the separate jurisdiction of that organization was taken away, but as the laws did not clearly authorize the enclosure of cultivable lands the relief to agriculture was slight. Wheat was the principal crop, supplying more than enough, in normal years, for the needs of the peninsula. Grapes were also raised in large quantities, and were made into excellent wines, many of which were exported. For the rest there were fruits, vegetables, the silkworm, and other things of the sort which had always been cultivated in the peninsula. Various kinds of beans, and especially chickpeas (_garbanzos_), were grown in large quantities, and furnished an important element in the nation's food. An estimate made in 1812 calculated the total value of farm products as 72,476,189,159 _reales_ (about $4,500,000,000) yielding annually some 3,600,000,000 _reales_ (about $225,000,000).

[Sidenote: Revival of manufacturing.]

[Sidenote: Mining.]

[Sidenote: Fishing.]

[Sidenote: Unsatisfactory state of the laboring classes.]

In their efforts to revive manufacturing the kings continued during most of the period to follow the old ideal of state protection and state initiative in placing industries upon

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