La «rabassa morta», sus actores y la defensa del carácter enfitéutico, 1740-1850

Belén Moreno-Claverías
2019 Historia Agraria  
The rabassa morta contract was the most suitable legal instrument for the expansion of vineyards in Catalonia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Praised by many contemporaries, who saw it as a way of putting unproductive land to use, it ended up generating a long controversy between the contracting parties over the division and duration of domains, which were determined by the lifespan of the vines. With the introduction of a more liberal property concept and the revaluation of the
more » ... aluation of the land due to demographic growth, some land lenders tried to make the contract equivalent to sharecropping. However, the rabasaires considered themselves emphyteutic leaseholders with rights over the land so long as the vines remained alive. The diverging interests of the contracting parties ser iously threatened the secur ity that useful domain provided for the cultivators. To understand the implications of questioning the emphyteutic nature of the contract and why they mobilized so intensely to defend it, we must know what it meant to be rabasaires. Being able to sell, mortgage and bequeath the useful domain made them feel almost like "owners" and distinguished them from the lower class of day labourers. The rabassa morta gave them an identity and a place in the agrarian social structure, which they would not easily give up.
doi:10.26882/histagrar.078e01m fatcat:g34yn4xe6zaoja2fzwwfi7diyq