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Historia (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-7194


SOLANO D., Sergio Paolo. Trabajadores, jornales, carestía y crisis política en Cartagena de Indias, 1750-1810. Historia (Santiago) [online]. 2018, vol.51, n.2, pp.549-588. ISSN 0717-7194.

This article studies the living conditions of free workers in Cartagena de Indias from the mid eighteenth century to the beginnings of the nineteenth century. It relates the demand for workers from defense systems, salaries, problems with city provisions, the cost of living and some representations of the people and of authorities surrounding speculation and scarcity, as well as the effects of the 1808 Crisis of the Spanish Empire on workers. Four ideas are articulated in this paper: 1) During the second half of the eighteenth-century workers from the city defense system improved their living conditions because of both the demand for work and the increase in wages. 2) These achievements were affected due to the increased costs of basic goods which were a product of a combination of adverse weather affecting crops, the widespread inflation in the viceroyalty of New Granada, and the interests of merchants and speculators in taking advantage of supply shortages with the aim of increasing profits. 3) The definitive blow to those improvements was the political crisis of 1808 and onward, that paralyzed the flow of the national income and brought job losses. These difficulties became even larger during the first decades of the republic. 4) The sum of these situations created favorable conditions for the development of social dissent, that in the context of the crisis of the Spanish Empire that began in 1808, found channels of expression through politics.

Palabras clave : Cartagena de Indias; Eighteenth Century; Workers; Salaries; Provisions; Speculation; Living Costs; Social Dissent.

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