Guillem Bestard

Mallorca’s rural bourgeoisie

FFNobody has ever portrayed the life of the rural Mediterranean bourgeoisie of the 19th century quite like Giusseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, in his universal novel Il Gattopardo. Lampedusa’s work is set in Sicily in 1860, where time passes in slow motion on lands marked by the rhythm of an aridly beautiful countryside with an immovable social order, with the rural bourgeoisie at the pinnacle.

The context in which this novel takes place could quite easily be extrapolated to Mallorca in the same era. If we go back in time, the period following the conquest of Mallorca in 1229 saw the famous distribution of lands among the main knights of the nobility who took part in the conflict, allowing each one to rule over a certain area in the feudal style of the age. But over the centuries, as a result of inheritance partitions and out of economic necessity, many of these original owners enabled certain families from the rural bourgeoisie and even well-off farmers to become landowners as well.

In any case, and despite appearances, an investigation by the historian Apol·lònia Nadal shows that Mallorca did have [...]


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