Repopulation following the Spanish expulsion of the Moriscos, 1610–1800: A Malthusian perspective

By Francisco J. Marco-Gracia

The expulsion of the Moriscos from the Kingdom of Aragon in 1610 left many villages empty, which the authorities quickly tried to repopulate by offering ‘cheap’ plots. However, with far fewer ‘repopulators’ than expelled Moriscos, the supply of homes and land was greater than the demand. This article examines the role of Malthusian preventive checks within this context of low population pressure. Using the family reconstitution method to link microdata from parish registers, we compare five repopulated villages with three neighbouring Christian villages that had no Moriscos to expel. Because these repopulated villages show a higher population growth rate, we attempt to determine the source of this difference. Our results confirm a relaxation in Malthusian preventive checks through a decrease in age at marriage and the celibacy rate, prompting an increase in marital fertility. However, the percentage of outmigrants was greater in the repopulated villages than in the non-repopulated localities, which curbed population growth. The worse economic situation in the repopulated villages, confirmed using wills, probably explains this trend.

  • preventive checks
  • Malthus
  • population pressure
  • repopulation
  • Moriscos
  • Spain
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