The Catalan city of Manresa in the 14th and 15th centuries: A political, social, and economic history /
by Jeffrey Paul.
373 leaves.
Microform, Thesis
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dissertation note
Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Toronto, 2005.
This is one of the first studies of an Iberian city which details the interplay between family politics, urban government, royal politics, and economic forces during the turbulent fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. This study makes use of a wide variety of archival sources, including the Liber Manifesti of 1408 , a property survey for 640 Manresan householders which has already been called the Iberian catasto . The nature of these sources has enabled the creation of a large number of tables, which provide unusually detailed measurements of social and economic indices. Tables measure such disparate phenomena as population, officeholding by occupation, food storage by household, and the investment portfolios of the city's widow householders. Because Manresa was a Catalan city, at the heart of the Aragonese "constitutional Monarchy," its story provides an important contrast with contemporary Castilian and Italian cities. The thesis directly compares social and political conditions in late medieval Castilian and Catalan cities in unprecedented detail. Several chapters compare Italian and Catalan urban living conditions, by such measures as distribution of wealth and living standards. Political and Family Manresa was less factionalized, it had a much narrower gap between rich and poor, and wealth, rather than family or occupation, determined access to power. It also contrasts with the Castilian model, since in Catalonia there was no tax-exempt class and knights did not reside in the city. Violence between knights and burghers remained external to the urban environment. This study also questions Carmen Batlle's emphasis on factional fighting as the reason for the decline of fifteenth-century Barcelona. Instead it emphasizes the crown's administrative choices, wars, and depopulation. The study makes extensive use of archival material from Manresa and Barcelona. The most exciting new source is the Liber Manifesti of 1408 , a survey of the city's 640 households reminiscent of Florence's Catasto of 1427. This source enables the measurement of a large number of social and economic indices. The many tables presented in this study offer a mine of information for researchers on a broad range of topics. Following a model established by David Herlihy, this study is divided into three sections: Politics, Society, and Economy. Each section compliments the other in creating a dynamic and multifaceted model of the city's history. The political section includes discussion of the effectiveness of the royal administration, including its role in Manresa's rise; but it also emphasizes the often heroic agency of the Manresans when faced with opportunity and adversity. The economics section, following Herlihy, methodically discusses a broad number of indices, including demography, wages, salaries, prices, and investment returns. The social section addresses the distribution of wealth, the relationship between family, occupation, and property, office-holding, and the world of work. This section contains an important discussion of the characteristics of merchants, rentiers , and tradesmen, and it also includes a significant study of 92 women householders. The study concludes by arguing for the importance of studying secondary cities, or 'regional centres,' in the Mediterranean world, suggesting, inter alia , that the vitality of these centres had a profound impact on the direction of early modern state formation. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)
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