Social Class and Literacy in 18th Century Balearic Islands

Sep 2019
Orcutt, CA
I'm writing a novel that begins with the protagonist living in Majorca, Spain in the late 1700s. As it is, my protagonist's family lives on a farm; is it feasible that they would be middle-class farmers at this time in history in Majorca? My research has mentioned that during this time a middle class was just beginning to emerge, but I want to be sure I'm being accurate. Would it be possible for a family to own a farm and work the land themselves, or would that be uncommon? Was it more common for nobility to own property and have field hands working the land? I just want to make sure I'm putting my characters in a social class that actually existed in this time and place.

I'm also wondering what gender roles were like during this time and place; did dowries exist? It's my assumption that most women did not attend school and did not learn to read. I'm finding most European history resources to be more focused on England and France than on Spain.

Thank you to anyone with information or resources.
Nov 2010
I found an immense scarcity of historical sources when I went on holiday to Menorca - and researched accordingly. I only found two books on Menorca really - a 1967 history of Menorca and a big, detailed book on the War of the Spanish Succesion in Menorca .

Menorca took a real beating in history, at times reduced to slavery and at others starvation and devastation. Mallorca not so bad but the whole lot got a beating in the above war. I haven't extensively researched Mallorca yet - though we may go there next April - but I think the Balearics were noticeably poorer than the mainland at this time - and that's saying something!!

Stepping back 1000 years - the Balearics got a bit ignored post-Empire. The Visigoths don't even seem to have bothered and the Vandals swept in, making the Balearics part of their 'Maritime Empire'. Then of course the Eastern Empire took them over until it's eventual demise. They then seemed to be in a bit of a no mans land until the Caliphate of Cordoba sucked them up in the 10th century. Another impasse until the Almoravids - in the form of the Banu Ganiya - ruled them long after the demise of the Almoravids themselves - I think it was around 1205/6 the Almohads - under Ali B Reverter (son of the orginal Reverter) finally conquered them, over 50 years after the fall of Marrakesh to the Almohads.

Eventually Catalan settlers swept away the muslims (amid a few massacres) - and then the real trauma started!!!!

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