Spanish society at the 19th century

iñigo villarino

A. Introduction

Thoughout this century economic and social transformations were bringing Spain closer to a modern society.

B. Economy and industrialisation

In Spain, the industrial revolution was late and slow and only in Basque Country, Catalonia and the large cities.

Most of the population still worked in the field with underdeveloped technology, unlike Germany or England.

The railway didn't appear until the second half of the XIX century.

C. Society

The bourgeoisie became the dominant social class.

Social problems -harsch working conditions, child exploitation and extreme poverty- were the reason for the political demands of the working class.

D. Art and culture

Artist portrayed the changes of the society and many artistic styles emerged during the XIX century.

The government did a great effort in education, but the majority of the population, including the children, was illiterate.

1. Romanticism

At the beginning of the century, this style reflected the revolutionary atmosphere and faraway places.

2. Realism

In the middle of the century, realist writers and painters showed the most disadvantaged aspects of the industrial society.

3. Impresionism

At the end of the century, impressionist painters were influenced by technological advances and they reflected this on their work.

4. Generation of `98 (La Generación del 98)

This group was formed by writers and intelectuals who criticised Spanish society and called for the modernisation of the country.

5. Scientific advances

Several researchers achieved scientific advances, for example, Ramón y Cajal, who received the first Nobel Prize for Science.

The industrial city

  1. Steam locomotive and steamship were the main forms of transport. The train line was opened between Barcelona and Mataró in 1848.
  2. Wealth was the basis for the new social classes. The bourgeoisie were now the upper class and lived in well-kept, modern neighbourhoods called ensanches.
  3. The poorest lower classes lived in poor neighbourhoods, with extremely bad living conditions.
  4. Factories and transports caused serious pollution because they used coal.