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Pyrenean Marriage Strategies in the Nineteenth Century: The French Basque Case

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 December 2005

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Marriage strategies in the rural Basque country of the nineteenth century differed according to social background and gender. Propertied families had more diversified strategies than landless families as a result of persistent single inheritance practices, population growth, urbanization, and industrialization which generated massive emigration. Propertied families helped some of their children to settle in local rural villages and others to emigrate to cities (women) or to America (men). Landless families, by contrast, continued to settle most of their children in local rural villages, others emigrating to America only later in the century, avoiding the cities at all cost. Men, no matter their social background, benefited the most from new economic opportunities because most of them married into families of equal or higher status. Women, by contrast, did not have equal opportunities because few married upward and outside their professional group. When women did not marry within their socio-professional group or remain single, they married into families of lower status (more often than men).

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2005 Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis
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