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From Belle Époque to Great Depression

Europe before 1914: An Interactive Map

Spain - Andrew Lipscombe

Economic and Social Divisions

              In the twentieth century, Spain was a backward nation compared to the rest of Europe. In 1930, forty six per cent of the nation still worked in agriculture. A further ten percent worked in agricultural industry. In Northern Spain, the peasants had very little land of their own and suffered from debt, high rent for the land and the owner of the land could get rid of them at any time. However, the people in the south were worse of than they were. Huge landowners who called the land ‘latifundia’ owned Land. In Cordoba, three percent of landowners owned fifty seven percent of the land. There were millions of landless day labourers in the south, they earned half the national average wage and could only work between 150 – 180 days a year. They worked if the landowner wanted them to. This rather large dependence upon the landowners forced the peasants into having a bitter resentment for them. The huge landowners were protected by the ‘Guardia Civil,’ which was the civil guard.

There were only three largely industrial areas in the hole of Spain. There was a textile manufacture in Catalonia. Iron, steel and shipbuilding in the Basque North. There was coalmining in the northern Asturias. This did not constitute of much of the population   

Political Divisions

        The left wing, otherwise known as the working class, are from the industrial areas of Spain. They were the key members of the PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Espanol) and the UGT (Union General de Trabajadores). The PSOE were not strong in traditions as they had only elected the first representative in 1910 and were still unsure weather they should take part in the Bourgeois democracy. They also had left wing opposition from the Anarchists. They had a firm root and had arrived in Spain before Marxism. Some of them believed in violent action and thought that ‘One assassination is worth a thousand pamphlets.’



          In 1917 700,000 workers had joined the anarcho – syndicalist trade union, named the CNT (Confederacion Nacional Del Trabajo). They hoped that they could revolutionise Spain through strikes and through extremist’s views, assassinations.

          The Right wing party was the conservative party of Spain up until the 1930’s. They were the great institutions of the army and the monarchy.

           The Spanish army had too many officers. The ratio was one officer to every 10 men. In other European countries, this was normally between seventeen and twenty four to one. In 1898, the Spanish suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the USA in a naval battle in the Caribbean and Pacific. This defeat lead to even more humiliation at the lose of the remainder of its empire. They lost Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. This was