Factors conditioning inherited identity

José Álvarez-Junco

in Spanish Identity in the Age of Nations

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780719075797
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701737 | DOI:
Factors conditioning inherited identity

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter examines the most important obstacles from the early modern age to the formation of a national identity in the nineteenth century. The first thing one notices in the early expressions of identification and pride in relation to Spain is the alternation between glorification of the monarch or dynasty and ethnic patriotism, or praise of the collective identity, upon which the future national identity would be based. A second problem relating to the construction of a pre-national identity in Spain during the early modern period was the fact that the Hispanic monarchy was not a united State but a disparate collection of kingdoms and feudal domains, with subjects who spoke a variety of languages, who were characterised by substantial differences as regards laws and taxes, and who even had to pay tolls when they journeyed between the different territories. Other factors that conditioned and limited the development of a ‘Spanish’ identity under the ancien régime include élitism, or the very restricted access of the populace to the images that were transforming the representation of the collective body.

Keywords: Spain; Spanish identity; national identity; monarchy; dynasty; ethnic patriotism; élitism

Chapter.  23550 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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