hello and welcome back to the channel
the republic of lettuce as you might
remember a couple of months ago in my
first video i talked to you about a book
written by the philosopher gustavo bueno
espana friend europa and that book that
was a book on the philosophy of history
and it sort of examined the idea of
spain and the way this idea evolved
through time now in today’s video if you
allow me i’d like to talk to you about
another book on spain but this time this
is not a philosophy book this is what i
call a hardcore history book it is
written by one of the most distinguished
economic historians
in spain gonzalo anis as some of you
might know he became famous in the early
2000s when he became the director of the
royal academy of history of spain and i
think there’s hardly a student of
spanish history that hasn’t heard of him
so gonzalo annes to start with the
author he was initially trained as an
economist he received his first degree
in economy and entrepreneurial sciences
from the universidad complutense

madrid in 1955 but later he went on to
study economic history and in the
academic term of
1959 he went on to study in france at
the university of sorbonne in paris
where he became personally acquainted to
and was influenced and taught by
historians and social scientists by the
likes of pierre villa ernest labruz and
last but not least fernando the famous
author of
the history of the mediterranean world
under philip ii
later on anis returned to his alma mater
returned to his
university in madrid and went on to
receive a doctoral degree in economic
history with his thesis on the agrarian
and land problems in the spain of the
old regime this was in the early 1960s
and this book it appeared a decade later
in 1975
and it was widely acknowledged as being
one of the best studies of
spain of the old regime and especially
the 18th century spain the age of
enlightenment but the point is
that just as was the case with the
previous book i’ve covered in my videos
this book it sadly has not been
translated into english and so it is
practically unknown to the public beyond
spain and beyond the pyrenees and today
i would like to sort of remedy this
injustice and to provide a very very
short overview of this massive 500 pages
work so without further ado let’s delve
into the book and try to see what kind
of arguments second fellow alice makes
and what kind of topics he covers and i
think that the best way to go about sort
of analyzing the book is to start by
looking at the cover of this book the
editor the publisher of this work chose
the famous painting by
francisco de goya called lyra or also
the summer as it is known in english as
the cover of this book and my guess is
is that the reason behind this is that
this painting produced in the later half
of the 18th century during the reign of
carlos iii this maintenance is supposed
to be an accurate representation of what
life was
like in the 18th century spain most of
the country it was still agrarian
pre-industrial non-industrialized and
here in this painting we can see
agricultural workers farmers sort of
having a little rest from work we can
see horses also it is curious we can see
people of different age groups we can
see a couple of women who also see
children there’s a baby on the left what
is curious well the first time you look
at this picture you may not notice but
one of the things that sort of uh caught
my attention later as i started to think
and to think about this book is the fact
that there are hardly any older people
in the picture and there is a reason for
that as gonzalo anus makes it clear in
the first chapter on the population of
spain of the 18th century is that the
average life expectancy throughout the
century uh did not surpass the 27 years
of age so people died young by modern
standards and of course the reason for
this was
famine occasional military conflict and
epidemics that still persisted in
isolated regions also another thing that
sort of
caught my attention as i started
thinking of this book is the fact that
there are a few women in the picture and
they appear in the background and not at
the forefront of the picture and
obviously the reason for this is because
in spain of the old regime as in pretty
much any country of the old regime the
societies were very patriarchal women
you could hardly see them outside the
house or in any kind of work settings
they were largely confined to a domestic
sphere in all these regards we can
conclude that choosing la era or the
summer by francisco de goya as the cover
of this book was a good decision but at
the same time i would like to mention
that there are many things that are left
out of this picture this painting if you
look at it it sort of conveys the
feeling of
happiness of tranquility of peace
while all this was true for
some isolated periods throughout the
century especially the larger parts of
the reign of carlos iii i would like to
say that the 18th century was still
essentially marked by occasional
military conflicts and skirmishes with
other european powers
it was also the century uh marked by
food riots food shortages bad harvests
so which provoked famines and deaths of
considerable proportion of
people and with that in mind let me move
the contents of this book and look at
some of the arguments gonzalo anus makes
of course he starts the book by looking
at the overall population in spain and
as i said before
the century was uh marked by evident uh
population growth we can see that at the
beginning of the century there were
seven million people living in spain by
the end of the century
this figure according to different
estimates it reaches 11 million people
so there was nearly a 40 percent or
something like that increase in
population and of course gonzalo annis
has hoped to explain
to explore the reasons for this
population growth and basically he
arrives at several conclusions first of
all the factor of epidemics he says that
although there were no
substantial improvements in health care
people find
better techniques of preventing the
epidemics and also at the same time the
epicenters of these epidemics which uh
anis locates in india in china they were
not as active as in the previous century
there was nothing comparable to the
bubonic plague and the black death of
the 13th century and one of the factors
that also played a huge role was the
fact that the so-called black rat was
gradually replaced by the grey rat
now as annis explains the black rat it
was prone to transmitting different
kinds of diseases to humans it was very
vulnerable to becoming ill and fallen
prey of epidemics and disease while
the graveyard it was
less likely to
catch the disease and it was less likely
to pass on this disease onto humans now
another factor that accompanied and at
the same time influenced the growth of
the population was the fact that more
lands were put under cultivation and uh
there were also new opportunities for
subsistence because uh whereas in the
previous century the average uh diet of
a citizen in spain depended largely on
grain and wheat in the 18th century we
can see that people especially in the
coastal regions they start to cultivate
other crops some of them coming from the
americas crops like potatoes and maize
and this led to the situation in which
for instance when there is a year of bad
harvests they can sort of supplement
their diet with with these new cultures
these new new crops there was a slight
improvement in the welfare of the people
especially in regions that by the end of
the 18th century were starting to
industrialize like
catalunya and so this is reflected in
the population figures for instance we
know that urban areas like barcelona
they had 35
people living there at the beginning of
the century and by the end of the
century we can see that the population
of barcelona reaches 110 000 people but
on the whole throughout much of the
century spain remained an agrarian
country most people lived off their land
and this notable increase in population
did not lead to immediate
precisely one of the arguments that
gonzalo anus makes in this book is that
an increase in population is not a
sufficient condition for the
industrialization to take off and he
looks at the example of england it says
only when there’s an increase in
population accompanied by the increase
in commercial activity improvements in
infrastructure in roads and
only when all these factors combine only
then can industrialization really take
off so while england and france they
rapidly industrializing by the beginning
of the 19th century spain remained
largely an economically backward country
anas is very clear about that because
from his points of view
there are sort of two
main features of economically backward
countries and these features are low
standards of living on the one hand but
also the lack of professionals in the
country and if we look at the
composition of spanish society we can
see that this is true that most people
lived off their lands they were
agricultural laborers there were not
enough industrial workers there were not
enough artisans
not enough medical professionals for
instance arness gives a very curious
figure that for a population of around
10 million in the later half of the
century there were only 4 000
doctors and medical professionals in
spain and he also
points out that most artisans they had
to combine the exercise of their craft
with agricultural labor because this was
the only way for them to subsist
the salaries were very very low
and it was not enough for a person to
earn a healthy life so of course spain
of the 18th century it was a society
dominated by what anus called
unproductive classes these are primarily
uh clergymen and priests there were like
200 000 priests in spain this is not
counting all the auxiliary personnel
working in churches and
but also a great part of the nobility
they also sort of
formed they were a part of this category
of unproductive classes because largely
their main sources of wealth was
their land which they rented to
agricultural labors they also had
wealth inherited from the past and one
of the main aspirations of every person
was to become a part of nobility or to
study or
become a priest
and this was due to the fact that
priests and noblemen they were largely
exempt from all kinds of taxes
that common people had to pay
so looking at the overall
unproductiveness of the economy i think
it is very important to mention that as
the nobility and the clergy they were
the dominant classes they also possessed
almost all of the land in the country
and especially
in the case of the clergy
this land it was permanently entailed to
so this land in the property of the
church it could not be alienated it was
completely out of circulation and the
church the clergymen they alone decided
what to do with this land if they wanted
to cultivate it to grow some crops they
did but if they did not want her to do
this they did not
only at the beginning of the 19th
century when the spanish treasury
faced a huge
income crisis they sort of decided to
initiate this process called
nessa motif or disentailment so to fix
appropriate land in the hands of the
bring it into the market so that
people could buy it and cultivate it
this unproductiveness it was not only
about the land and economic factors it
was also about the collective psyche and
about the attitudes towards work within
the spanish society all labor which had
to do with manual jobs or the so-called
mechanical jobs it was frowned upon
sometimes it was lofted
a person exercising any kind of
manual labor was
thought of as a person of a low social
a person of low birth
while the idleness of the nobility in
many cases it was seen as an indicator
of high social status and this was
precisely one of the reasons for which
uh noblemen who for some reason or other
found themselves in a difficult economic
they prefer to
starve and sometimes to
die of hunger before entering into
manual labor and
manual work
and obviously the enlightened monarchs
of the century looking at
how other nations were developing
precisely because of manufacturers and
manual labors they tried to combat this
prejudices and stereotypes of through
official propaganda but also through
opening of different
royal factories
that were patronized officially by the
king and
enjoyed his protection
for instance there were textile
factories started up in this way
factories which by the way employed
women which was also novelty for the
but zionist
explicitly mentions in this book many
women were
sort of forced to resign because they
were treated with uh with contempt by
by their relatives or by common people
that also worked in the town or the
village where the factory was located
the government also tried to
welcome productive migrants from abroad
by the way azanis makes clear in the
book the number of foreigners in spain
in the 18th century
it decreased substantially but at the
same time the technical qualification of
migrants and people who were coming to
it increased in comparison with the
previous epochs and centuries so
government officials they failed
the entrance of workers and
artisans and specialists who are all
seen as productive migrants and they
started a large project of colonization
of virgin lands within spain like the
famous colonies of sierra morena the
requisite which would be which migrants
who were coming to these new areas had
to meet was them being catholics so no
migrants were allowed and last but not
least a very important factor was
education uh technical or professional
education completely left in spain of
the 18th century university education it
was geared towards producing
clerics and priests so the only things
that were studied was a sort of catholic
dogma a little bit of latin and a little
bit of scholastic philosophy but no
practical skills and the only
institutions that possess sort of this
kind of technical expertise and
knowledge and that could uh ideally
share this with the population where the
so-called guilds but these guilds they
closed and romantic societies which were
very disapproving of other people
joining them their ranks
and that is why they were completely
averse to
any enterprise which dealt with
spreading their knowledge and technical
expertise well and one of the ways in
which this problem sort of was addressed
is probably through the creation of
the so-called uh socialist economic as
the amigos de base uh those sort of
economic societies one of their roles
was to sort of foster knowledge they
also in many cases
had their publications one of the most
important public speeches and
later disseminated this publication was
the so-called discourse was over
formento in industrial popular by
government official uh campomanis and in
this speech he sort of tried to combat
all these stereotypes and prejudices
against especially manual laborers that
existed in the spanish society also he
argued that
spaniards are not lazy by nature as some
other europeans might think but the
problem was political constitution of
the nation also within the university
although as i mentioned before it was
largely dominated by catholic dogma and
the study of latin uh there were
separate religious orders like the
jesuits that were becoming aware of
the many problems that prevented the
nation from developing and they tried to
address this problems through education
and for instance jesus they
distinguished themselves by the fact
that in addition to latin philosophy and
other subjects they also started to
natural sciences especially botany but
also physics geometry and they also
started to teach living languages
like for instance french the case of
jesuits is very interesting
because at one point they
gained too much power
and they
they were able to influence government
uh policy through their
partial monopoly on education
so many of
the university graduates that were
taught by the jesuits they later went on
uh occupy high uh government uh posts
and i’m thinking particularly of the
marquez the land
a notable uh government official who
initiated one of the greatest uh
many of the greatest projects of the
enlightenment in spain for instance
totally rebuilt the spanish navy honus
calculates that there were around 40
ships warships huge warships built
during his um
time as a government official there were
also his notable project of a unified
tax system but the fact that the jesuits
gained so much power and were able to
exercise their influence
of course this gained them many enemies
and this was one of the reasons for
which jesuits were completely expelled
from spain in 1767
and the alleged course was the fact that
jesuits were presented as sort of the
masterminds of
the famous 1766
food riot and rebellion
which came to the dimensions of nearly a
revolution it spread from madrid to
many other regions throughout the
country such as theragota but also in
galicia and
in bayesbashko so this
1766 the so-called montenegro one of the
main reasons was the sudden increase in
breath prices
obviously angered the population
so people rose up and the consequences
were tremendous the government was
forced to acquiesce and even the king
was sort of forced to
come up and to consent to the demands of
the people but once the rights were
finished the witch hunt for the
leaders of this movement was
becoming to gain force and
many of the government officials they
pointed to the jesuits by the way this
famous uh foot riot el montene de
esculache and his argus that it may be
seen as the antecedent of the french
revolution because it was
the notable occasion when
common people rose up against the
dominant interests and the dominant
classes and
they actually
made themselves hurt and they made the
powerful acquiesce to their demands but
it’s also in its consequences it was
very important because it paved the way
for a relative democratization of spain
whereas before the riots uh people from
the laity the common people they had
almost no political representation after
the rights we see that the authorities
um at the municipal level that at least
uh one representative had had to be
elected from among the common people and
this representative he would later
report to the royal authorities on the
grievances and
demands that uh
common people of each town or as it was
called munithipio in spain had
so as you can see a spanish
education system of the time but also
its social composition in terms of
professions and the productive and
unproductive classes
these two factors alone they were enough
to prevent spending from industrializing
and catching up with holland and england
and even with france but there also was
factor which was a huge obstacle to
economic advancement and
industrialization and basically embed
infrastructure and lack of
communications and roads obviously if we
if you look at the spanish landscape you
will find that it is very irregular that
there are many natural obstacles such as
mountain hills and in many cases this
made the
transportation of
goods and products from one region to
another almost impossible or in any case
very very costly so we can see that many
the reforms which
spanish rulers initiated they were meant
to create
to rebuild and to create a
transportation network of our roads
especially in the reign of carlos iii
a network was conceived that would sort
link madrid to all other regions of
spain in six directions uh forming a
virtual star but the problems and many
obstacles to
the implementation of these plans uh
were very great and by the end of the
many of them they remained
on on paper without being materialized
in reality where we do see notable
advances is in the transportation of
travelers in
the so-called diligent general the
coaches was created sort of a traveling
network and they were using horses and
carriages to make journeys from madrid
to different coastal cities in spain but
not only in spain but also on france and
so in six days you could travel from
madrid to
lisbon you could travel to barcelona you
could travel to cadiz and one of the
interesting um conclusions that uh
honest draws by looking at the
testimonies of uh travellers uh
spaniards and non-spaniards is the fact
that none of them complained of the bad
quality of the roads the bumpy roads and
different obstacles that they had to
face obviously it was still very
uncomfortable traveling in a carriage
but all of them coincide in complaining
of the conditions of life in the
so-called inns or the small hotels where
they had to stop at night apparently the
conditions were terrible there was
obviously a total lack of service a
person in order to merely
find some food and subsist a person all
by himself had to go to local milkman or
baker or butcher
anus does debunk a great amount of myths
in his book
one of them is the fact that
well when we look at the
unproductiveness of the church uh and
the nobility it is easy to conclude that
all the noblemen and especially all the
clergymen that they were close-minded or
somehow unwelcoming of the enlightenment
and while it was true in the majority of
cases we can see that there are multiple
exceptions and then there are
enlightened people among the clergy as
well we can point to the example of the
bishop of salamanca who was one of the
subscribers of the french encyclopedia
and who even
promoted the reading of this
encyclopedia although it was
in many cases seen
many articles were seen as heretical
texts attacking the catholic dogma
but we can obviously also point to the
example of uh padre feijoa berito
feronimo fejo one of the most prominent
enlightened thinkers of spain who was he
himself a catholic priest and fijo
obviously he is very well known in spain
due to his masterpiece el tiatro critic
universal in i guess nine volumes of
works dealing with a huge variety of
topics one of the masterpieces of the
spanish enlightenment but he also known
as the author of one of the
what was later
uh became known as one of the first as
one of the first feminist treaties in
spain his famous text called
so defending the women or in defense of
the women in which he sort of tries to
combat all the prejudices of the time
which saw women as inferior to men or
many of them blame women for all of
men’s troubles and
another myth or common misconception
that anas
takes pleasure in debunking is
the popular belief that all the advances
in sciences and
enlightened thought were sort of
imported by spaniards from abroad
especially from france he makes the case
for the existence of uh prominent uh
scholars in the field of physics
geography and especially botany in the
spain of
16th and 17th centuries and he says that
well in the 18th century with the
enlightenment this uh scholars who once
uh were themselves spaniards their works
were rediscovered
and that their thoughts accounted for a
good part of
the advances that were made for the
another myth that anus debunks has to do
with uh spanish
uh colonies in the americas and to their
inhabitants uh the indigenous peoples
and takes upon himself the task to
combat this stereotype according to
which the indigenous peoples or the
indians as they were then called were
somehow averse to saving money and
were prone to consuming a lot to
spending a lot of money and he says that
basically the reason for this was not
some kind of inherent propensity of the
indigenous peoples but the fact that the
only money that was circulating in the
americas which was emitted by spanish
government officials was the so-called
and these features they lost their value
almost immediately after they were
issued and so obviously it made sense
an indigenous person to try to get rid
of these
as soon as possible by uh buying all
kinds of goods instead of saving
and uh spanish empire in the americas
obviously it says the topic of
one of the chapters of this book and in
this regard anas expresses many of very
interesting arguments which i will not
examine in detail here
but one of the arguments he makes is
the fact that the relationship between
the metropoli the mainland spain and its
colonies in the south america it was not
a relationship based exclusively on
force and domination
and sort of extraction of resources from
south america to spain but he argues
that it was because of spain because of
spanish maritime and cultural power that
spanish colonies in the south america
finally ended up constituting a unity
he says that it was because of spain
that these colonies began to trade
between themselves and he gives one
particular examples of the modern day
mexico and venezuela before the arrival
of spanish empire obviously these
territories they were completely
isolated from each other they had almost
no contact no commercial contact but due
to the spanish empire and to its uh
naval force they
began to establish contact they
trade began to flow from one column to
the other this leads me to think about
one of the conflicts that dominated the
18th century one of the maritime
conflicts which and many skirmishes
the spanish empire had with
england obviously the main objective of
spanish foreign policy throughout the
18th century was to preserve to keep the
spanish empire but another objective was
to reinforce the spanish monopoly on the
trade with the americas according to
spanish law of the time spain
was supposed to be the only country that
had the privilege of trading with the
americas but in reality this was not so
because obviously other powers
namely england and holland they also
wanted to have commercial links with the
americas and many times by means of
what spaniards consider to be acts of
piracy and smuggling
achieved nonetheless to surpass many of
the restrictions that uh spanish
monarchy placed on the trade with
americas and this gave the occasion too
many military conflicts between for
instance spanish and english naval
but another
major conflict that ernest examines in
some detail is the american war of
independence and he argues that
spain had a role to play in this
conflict not only france as was assumed
previously he says that spain
supported the 13 american colonies in
their bid for independence and in their
fight against the british
and he sort of
implies or testedly assumes that this
might have been one of the reasons why
the british later decided to
support the south americans in uh their
struggle for becoming independent
a huge part of finance’s book is
dedicated to the analysis of political
problems of the century
and well first of all we have to
understand in this regard that the 18th
century is the century of the change of
uh the dynasty of austrias has been
replaced by the bourbon dynasty with
roots in france
and the first thing the first program
they initiated when they reach spain
is sort of the
project of
unification of spanish country and they
start to pay more attention to the
domestic policy in detriment of the
foreign policy and one of the reasons
for that is that um
spanish influence in europe was in
decline in the 18th century spen spain
had lost
its possessions in italy uh thirdenia it
also lost its possession in holland the
netherlands so this or all these factors
its loss of influence in europe prompted
the new dynasty the new rulers to
to direct their attention towards
domestic policy and
domestic problems
well obviously i think i could go on
talking about this more than 500 pages
of books forever but i think
things and facts that i’ve mentioned so
far i should give you some flavor of
what this book is about
if you have occasion to sort of find it
on the internet or buy it or find uh
reviews please consider
looking at this book this is a valuable
one of the best service of
the spain of el cigo de las lutes so the
age of enlightenment
i do recommend you
learn more about gonzalo arnos and his
work especially as he later went on to
influence many
contemporary spanish historians for
instance i was i would mention carmen
iglesias or carlos martinez show so very
prominent figure and a man who is widely
acknowledged as
one of the best experts in
economy in of the 18th century but also
obviously the expert in land reform and
agrarian problems of spain
and yeah thank you very much for
watching this videos
don’t forget to subscribe i will promise
i will come up with book reviews dealing
not only with spain but also with other
but for this video i’ve chosen this book
because i couldn’t
i could not avoid it especially keeping
in mind that this valuable
work has not been translated into
so there was a gift for me to fill so
yeah thank you very much for
watching this video for being part of
this channel the republic of letters
feel free to comment and to come up with
any suggestions i would appreciate it
and yeah until next time bye

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