Secularization and industrialization: the seasonality of marriages at the Barcelona area, 1820-1860

Miquel Valls Fígols, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Joana-Maria Pujadas-Mora, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Anna Cabré, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

After the end of the Napoleonic invasion of Spain, the country faced decades of extreme confrontation between opposed absolutist and liberal forces. Views on religion and the role of the Catholic Church were one of the main sources of conflict. One of the most striking episodes was the seizure and public sale of many of the Church properties (desamortización de Mendizábal) in 1837. At the same time, a process of industrialization went on, with very different intensities through the territory. In Catalonia, it was particularly fast and intense. How did the changes in the political and economic fields affect the minds and behaviours of the inhabitants? Our contribution approaches the process of secularization, seen as the loss of religious influence in behaviours, through the seasonality of marriages celebrated between 1820 and 1860 at the Barcelona area. Traditionally, marriages where restricted or advised against during Lent, the reason why specific changes in the seasonality of marriages have been used by different authors, such as R. Lestaeghe, as an indicator of secularization. The data used in this contribution are available at the Barcelona Historical Marriage Database (BHMD), offering detail of place of the wedding and occupation and social status of the husband. The reduction of the number of marriages observed in 1820 during the month of March and more precisely during the weeks of Lent in all places, occupations and social conditions has disappeared completely by 1860 in all of them except the peasants.

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Presented in Poster Session 3