Economy and society in medieval and early modern Seville (1391–1506): A study of the <i>abasteçimiento</i> [provisioning] of an Iberian urban center
This dissertation investigates abasteçimiento (provisioning) during a formative period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula from the perspective of one of its most important cities. The central focus is on the development of Seville's grain provisioning system, including its concept, location, legislation, policies and procedures, along with its attendant failures and successes, and its emergence as the renowned Alhóndiga del Pan de Sevilla. Grain provision is one of the few issues which affected all levels of society in some way throughout the period, and which consistently crossed the boundaries of religion, national origin and power groups; in consequence, several types of relationships and contexts are addressed. More than any other commodity, grain commanded the attention of authority, whether royal, municipal or ecclesiastical, and provision of grain was frequently at the heart of domestic and international politics. The system's development, the crises it faced, and its physical components, are themes of this study.
The period 1391 to 1506 comprises what may be termed the long fifteenth century for Castile, but its opening and closing years have been chosen for this project because of the crises occurring on those dates; on the one hand the pogrom in Seville and on the other the city's first early modern grain crisis. The central contention of this work is that crisis was the dynamic for change in this period, and that crises of various types specifically shaped the abasteçimiento of Seville; but this detailed study of abasteçimiento addresses normal harvest years as well. A close examination of the Ordenanças de la Alhóndiga themselves, with detailed analysis of the policies, organization, procedures and jurisdiction of the institution, constitutes a significant portion of the manuscript. But perhaps the most significant contribution to scholarship made by this dissertation is the careful extraction of statistical and other data from the account documents of this market, the uncatalogued cuentas del Alhóndiga, and the organization, examination and presentation of this material. The gap between theory and application, or design and reality, often encountered in the literature is bridged, providing a more detailed understanding of Seville's abasteçimiento in this period.
0581: Middle Ages
0509: Economic history