Stephen P. Bensch
Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:1995
Online Publication Date:December 2009
Subjects: European history 1000-1450
Based on extensive archival research, this volume examines the early growth of Barcelona in order to understand the causes of the European economic take-off. The city did not at first grow because of overseas trade but because of market-oriented agriculture and tribute from Islamic Spain. Only after a difficult adjustment did the city develop the commercial foundations that would later ensure its prosperity. Barcelona's patriciate rose to prominence during the second stage of growth, also a period dominated by a struggle for power in Catalonia. Here, the family structure of the patriciate receives close examination, and in general the volume challenges many traditional assumptions about the nature of Mediterranean towns.