This paper analyzes the history of bilateral relations between Catalan nationalist and anarcho-syndicalist movements in Barcelona from the Revolution of 1868 to the Spanish Civil War. Drawing from historical literature, party pamphlets, periodicals, and memoirs, the paper primarily explores the idea of conceptual frontier as the method through which both the Catalan nationalists and the anarcho-syndicalists constructed a collective civic identity wholly alternative to national Spain associated with backwardness and political oppressiveness. For the Catalan nationalists, the source of imagining Barcelona as the capital of national Catalonia distinct from Spain was the history, especially the medieval past of the thalassocratic Crown of Aragon. As for the anarcho-syndicalists, they imagined Barcelona as the heart and frontier of a whole new world not only unassociated with, but opposing all nationalisms based on the proletarian social experience and its distinct cosmography of the working-class barrios. Highlighting points of collision and common influences such as religion, cosmopolitan urban culture, international exposure, the paper concludes with the total rupture of Barcelona’s political landscape with the Francoist victory in the Spanish Civil War, reflecting upon the wider legacy of the bilateral relationship between the two movements that most importantly shaped Barcelona’s 20th century.
The nineteenth century dispute between the protectionist and free trade movements in Spain divided the country, often bitterly, for nearly a century. Catalan, and later Vizcaya, industrialists fiercely opposed the progressive dismantling of trade protection by a succession of free trade supporting governments. Economic and political historians have traditionally interpreted the conflict as a case of a powerful group of self-interested manufacturers defending their sectoral and regional interests against more advanced foreign products and technologies, especially from Britain. The result, they suggest, was to undermine the economic modernization of the country as it attempted to catch up with the rapidly industrializing economies of northern Europe. This paper argues that the debate is more accurately viewed as an argument between two liberal factions with competing visions about the most effective way to modernize the national economy. On the one hand, free trade supporters, encouraged by an unrelenting British campaign, looked for the strongest possible integration of the country into the new industrial economies of northern Europe, based on Spain’s natural advantages in food and mineral supply. For their part, the liberal protectionists also wanted to see Spain participate in the new dynamic world market, but as a modern industrial competitor rather than as a complementary supplier. The paper argues that both factions were committed to a fundamentally reformed and modernized economy driven by a unified and effective state. Both were strongly patriotic movements, though driven by radically different assumptions about the nature of liberalism and society.
The detailed records compiled by the Spanish Inquisition are an indispensable source of information not just on the controversial institution itself but also for expanding our historical knowledge of Golden Age Spain. They can also be an extremely valuable tool for the investigation of the family antecedents of literary figures of the period. This is particularly important when relatively little biographical information exists on an author, as is the case of the lesser-known Extremaduran poet, Catalina Clara Ramírez de Guzmán (Llerena, 1618-1685), whose two younger brothers sought appointment to the junior post of familiars of the Inquisition in the 1640s. In addition to adding to our understanding of the detailed vetting required for such posts, the abundant and highly intriguing official documentation relating to their application is of immense value as it sheds light on bitter controversies involving the Ramírez family and provides irrefutable evidence of deep-running enmities and rivalries in the author’s home city, particularly within the ranks of its Inquisition Tribunal.
The memory debate in Portugal has evolved in recent years in a way that bypasses the legacy of Salazar’s New State and focuses instead on the country’s longer colonial past, to which many Portuguese still cling as a source of national pride. This article details this shift and examines some of its consequences, not least of which is the twinning of an attack against an uncritical reading of its past with debates on racism in present-day Portuguese society.