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The Effect of the Spanish Reconquest on Iberian Cities

David, Cuberes and Rafael, González-Val (2017): The Effect of the Spanish Reconquest on Iberian Cities.

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Abstract

This paper studies the effect of the Spanish Reconquest, a military campaign against the Muslims in the medieval Iberian Peninsula that ended up with the expulsion or extermination of most of the Muslim population from this territory. We use this major historical event to study the persistence of population shocks at the city level. We find that the Reconquest had an average significant negative effect on the relative and log-scale population of the main Iberian cities even after controlling for a large set of country and city-specific geographical and economic indicators, as well as city-specific time trends. Nevertheless, our results show that this negative shock was relatively short-lived, vanishing on average within the first one hundred years after the onset of the Reconquest. These results suggest that the locational fundamentals that determined the size of Iberian cities before the Reconquest were more important determinants of the fate of these cities than the direct negative impact that the Reconquest may have had on their population. Our findings can also be interpreted as weak evidence on the negative effect that war and conflict can have on urban population.

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