Spanish Agriculture: The Long Siesta, 1765-1965

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Spanish agriculture: the long Siesta, 1765-1965 is the first major study in English of Spanish agrarian history. James Simpson examines how traditional agriculture responded to population growth and the integration of commodity markets, emphasising both Spain's regional variations and its context in Europe. Simpson argues that decisive changes in farming techniques only occurred at the start of this century, leading to rising labour productivity and the start of the rural exodus. Development was interrupted in the 1930s and 1940s, only resuming in the 1950s. He rejects arguments that slow growth can be explained by poor resources or inefficient farmers. Indeed, farmers were quick to change when they had market opportunities as was the case with olive oil, oranges and rice. By contrast, change was slower in those areas such as cereals where traditional technologies remained profitable. Simpson concludes that there were strict limits on absorbing labour in Spain's dry lands, and labour was retained in agriculture because of government policies.
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Editorial Reviews

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"Simpson's book is an important addition to the new historiography." Richard Herr, Journal of Interdisciplinary History
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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
List of tables
Note on the regional division of Spain
Abbreviations and conventions
Introduction 1
Pt. I The relative backwardness of Spanish agriculture
1 Spanish agriculture: the long view 13
2 Unlocking the puzzle of stagnation: regional variations 33
Pt. II Traditional technologies and market opportunities, 1765-1880
3 Agricultural growth and stagnant technology 61
4 Agricultural specialisation and the growth of markets 80
Pt. III The limits to technical change, 1880-1936
5 Soil fertility and the chemical revolution 101
6 Intensive cultivation and irrigation - a solution to low productivity? 126
7 The reluctance to mechanise 148
Pt. IV Markets and institutions, 1880-1936
8 The growth of the home market and agricultural specialisation 177
9 Agricultural exports and the international economy 203
10 The political economy of Spanish agriculture 221
Pt. V The State and the end of traditional agriculture
11 The modernisation of Spanish Agriculture, 1939-1965 243
12 Spanish agricultural change in a European context 265
Appendix: Estimates of agricultural output and consumption in nineteenth-century Spain 280
Bibliography 288
Index 310
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