Migratory waves of the past. Frenchmen in the Barcelona area at the 16th and 17th centuries

Albert Garcia Soler, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Joana-Maria Pujadas-Mora, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Ainhoa Alustiza, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED)
Anna Cabré, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Spain and Catalonia have recently experienced extraordinary population growths (over 15% since 2000) due to the arrival of unprecedented international migrations. But are they really unprecedented? Many authors have documented the importance of the French migration to Southern regions of the Pyrenees during the 16th and 17th centuries. In this sense, the Barcelona Historical Marriage Database (BHMD), currently under construction, will allow, for the first time, a precise and continuous measure of the weight and the profile of the French within the adult population in a large and populous region: the Diocese of Barcelona (250 parishes). The proportion of French grooms married at the Oficialitat de Barcelona (90 parishes) proves that French migration was not an episode, but a long and intense movement. Frenchmen made up one fifth of new husbands for many years and even more at the beginning of the 17th century. Their importance declined during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). They outnumbered by far any other origin, including the rest of Catalonia. At any given moment, they represented the largest part of the migrants of any origin. Let’s underline that this proportion of French grooms is similar or higher than the proportion of all foreign grooms in the present exceptional decade, 2001-2010 Their contribution to the population, customs and culture of the country has been very important, as reflected by the numerous French origin family names considered Catalan nowadays. A deeper knowledge of these past migrations will also shed light on some aspects of present movements.

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Presented in Poster Session 3