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date: 24 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Town and country were closely linked in early modern Europe. While cities normally held the dominant hand in political and jurisdictional terms, their dependence on their hinterlands for food and immigrants made for a more balanced symbiosis. Several distinctive features marked town-country relations in Mediterranean Europe. The most important of these was the construction of small, regional quasi-states under the dominion of a capital city. This contado system thrived above all in northern Italy and central Spain, and played a key role in the transition from the later Middle Ages to the early modern period. It has also been one of the leading themes of a dynamic historiography which has made important recent advances in the study of daily life, material culture, and gender relations, especially from the perspective of microhistory.

Keywords: City, country, contado, diet, food supply, Mediterranean, proto-industrialization, urbanization

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