Spain


Figure 1.--Well-to-do Spanish boys could wear trendy fashions. This Spanish boy in the 1890s wears kneepants and long black stockings with a striped blouse, large collar, and dark floppy bow. Note the large collar and back flap of the blouse. We are not sure about the colors. Also note the cap the boy is holding. Spain was, however, very poor and most boys could not.

Spain is an especially important country because of its influence on a host of other countries, although ironically for much of history Spain and Iberias a whole has been a backwater. This is true of both the Roman period and the European medieval era as well as the modern industrial era. This was the case largely because it is not a rich agricultural country, the primary basis of wealth through most of history. Much of Spain is both arid and rocky. And trends in Spain have varied from the rest of Western Europe. It was dominated by Muslims for an extended period as just as Wesrern Europe was emerging from the medieval era and experiencing the an ntelkectual awakening called the Renaissace, Spain was dominated by the Spanish Inquisition which impeded free thought and learning. And gold and wealth from the new American colonies enabled Spain for a brief period to plat a major histirical role. As it was a major colonial ower, it played a major role on the history and cultural traditions of many other countries, especially Latin American countries. We have begun to collect some basic information on fashion. HBC knows of no major boys fashion that developed in Spain. Boys fashions in Spain appear to be mostly a reflection of styles developed in other countries. Spanish boys commonly wore knee pants in the 19th century. Sailor suits were a popular style. By the 1930s boys commonly wore short pants and many boys wore smocks to school. After the 1960s short pants became much less common as most boys wanted to wear jeans. By the 1980s most Spanish children were wearing the pan-European styles of jeans, runnig pants, sweatshirts, and sneakers. First Communion in Spain has been a major event, as to be expected in a Catholic country. There are several important regions of Spain. We have only begun to collect information on these regions. There were important differences between those regions, but since World War II these differences have declined significantly. Some of the major regions are Andulucia, the Basque country, Castille, Catalonia, and Galicia. There is also the Canary Islands. Some information is available on individual Spanish boys.

History

Modern Spain is the product of a fascinating mosaic of an amazingly diverse series of peoples over several millenia. The Iberian peninsula was settled by humans in the neolithic era. The Atapuerca site in northern Spain has been dated to about 800,000 years ago. Modern man arrived approximately 35,000 BC. Some of the most important examples of early human art have been found in Spain. The first people known to history were the Iberians (4000 BC). Next came the Celts who settled in the north. he Iberian Peninsula had a thriving bronze age civilization. The most impressive was the Tartessian civilization centered on Seville (1000-500 BC). Phoenician maritime traders established trade-based colonies along both the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts (1100 BC). Their most important colony was Cadiz. Phocaean Greeks also traded along the Mediterranean coast. Phoenicia was conquered by the Assyrians. Carthage established as a Phoencian colony became the dominant force on the Iberian Peninsula. Rome seized Iberia from Carthage in the Punic Wars. Rome ruled Iberia for six centuries. Roman rule was the foundation for both the Spanish language and the country's culture. The Germanic Visigoths seized Iberia after the fall of Rome (5th century AD). Visigoths kingdoms ruled until the Moorish invasion (711 AD). They conquered almost all of Iberia and even crossed the Pyrannes and attempted to conquer France. The Moors ruled large areas of Spain for several centuries creating the cultural jewel of Dark Ages Europe--al Andaluse. Moorish Spain was noted for its vibrant culture and, learning, and toleration. Gradually the Christian kindoms drove south as part of the Reconquista.Isabel and Ferdinand seized Granada, the lst Moorish lingdom (1492). In that same year to create a pure Catholic Spain, the Catholic monarchs expelled the Jews and Moors. they also used the Inquisition to purify Spain of foreign inluuences. Christopher Columbus in the same year Granad fell without realising it discovered the Americas. Vast quantities of bullion from the Americas poured into Spain making it a European superpower. The wealth, however, was used in a series of wars associated with the Counter Reformation. The Inquisition stifeled thought an inovation. Spain declined to a European backwater. The Hapsburgs were replaced by the French Bourbons (18th century). The country was devestated by the Peninsular Cammpaigns of the Napoleonic Wars (1808-14). It also lost most of its colonies. Spain became increasingly polarized between conservatives and liberals forces. The liberals backed by workers grew in importance in the cities while the conservatives dominated rural Spain. Spain became politically unstable, experiencing coups d'etat and constant changes of government. The dictatrship of Primo de Rivierra failed (1930). King Alfonso XIII was forced to flee the country and a Reublic was declared (1931). The Republic instituted fundamental social reform. The conservative reaction resulted in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). El Caudillo Francisco Franco sympathized with the Axis during World War II, but did not participate in the Holocaust. Spain because of its sympathy with the Axis was isolated by the Allies after the War. The country was, however, important to the Western Allies during the Cold War and allowed to join NATO. Spaniards often sought jobs abroad. This and the development of the tourist industry helped to spark the Spanish economy. Franco death open the possibility of reform and joining Europe (1975). Given Spain's turbulent history, the accession of King Juan Carlos and the country's to a modern democratic state were surprisingly traquil.

Economy

Geography is a powerful forcing shaping both history and economics. This is demonstrated in Spain, but also that cultural factors are also important. The most important economic sector in the ancient world was agriculture and this a cuilture's wealth was primarily determined by geography. Modern wealth is more importatly shaped by the utilization of human resources and technology. In early periods geography was more important. And two factors affected the Iberian Peninsula, climate and location. Large areas of the Iberian Peninsula are not well watered. Thus in comparison to France and other areas of Europe, agriculture is less productive in Spain. however, mineral wealth. Tin was particularly important. A trade in tin began during the Neolithic era. The Greeks and Cartheginians established colonies on the Iberian Peninsula. Mamy coastal cities like Barcelona were founded in this period. Rome seuzed control of Spain during the Punic Wars and remsained a Roman colony until the fall of the Roman Empire. The mineral wealth continued to be great economic importance. Spain was almost overwealmed by the Muslim invaders (8th century AD). Gradually the Christian kingdoms reaserted themselves and rge Reconquista began. For centuries, Spain was the only place in Europe where Christains, Mudlims, and Jews lived in relative harmony. And as a result of that toleration and resulting intelectual development, Spain during the Dark Ages was the most advanced and economically sucessful area of Europe. The modern values of tolerartion and diversity were not seen as a positive in the medieval era. And both Muslims and Christians vied for control of the Iberian Peninsula. The year 1492 was a turning point not omly politically and cukturally, but also economically. The Christia morarchs Ferdinand and Isabella completed the Reconquista when they seized Granada. Once that was accomplished they approved Columbus' voyage. Here geography was again imnportant as the Iberian Peninsula is the western most promitary of Europe--key factors in the European maritime outreach. This led to the foundation of vast colonial empires. Unbelieveable quatities of gold and silver bullion poured into Spain making it the richest both powerful country in Europe. Most of that wealth proved empheneral. Rather than founding new industries like other ciuntries as Europe entered the modern age, Spain purchased goods made abroad. Also in 1492, Spain expelled it Jews and thus lost some of its most productive citizens. The Inquisition established earlier was used to track down Jews who persisted in their faith as well as free thinking Christians. Shortly afterwards the Protestan Reformation began to reshape Europe. The Inquisition and Counter Reformation not only batteled Protestantism, but also intelectual thought in general. The result was that as science began to emerge as a powerful European development, Spain did not participate and the country gradually declined to a poverty-stricken backwater. The Spanish Civil War and the Franco's victory had the impact of continuing Spain's isolation. Only with the death of Franco did the Spanish economy begin to enter the modern economic mainstream (1975). Spain and Portugal entered the European Union (1986).

Chronology

Spanish boys began to commonly wore kneepants in the 1870s. Sailor suits were a popular 19th century style that continued into the 20th century. Kneepants were the primary dress of Spanish boys in the late 19th century. Spanish boys continued wearing kneepants in the 1900s. Knickers and short pants became increasingly common in the 1910s. Spanish boys by the 1920s were wearing short panrs, knickers, and long pants. Short pants were very commn in the 1920s and 30s, but I am unsure as to the relative popularity of these styles. By the 1930s boys commonly wore short pants and many boys wore smocks to school. As a result of years of decline and the disatrous Civil War (1937-39), poverty was widespread. Boys continued wearing short pants in the 1940s and 50s, although sailor suits passed from fashion--except for First Communion. Boys began to dress less formally in the 1960s, especially the second half of the decade when jeans began to be more commonly worn. After the 1960s short pants became much less common as most boys wanted to wear jeans. The American influence became increasingly evident. By the 1980s most Spanish children were wearing the pan-European styles of jeans, running pants, sweatshirts, and sneakers.

Ethnicity


Styles

HBC knows of no major boys fashion that developed in Spain. Boys fashions in Spain appear to be mostly a reflection of styles developed in other countries, Italy. In modern times, Englnd became important, especially for men and boys fashions.

Garments

Only limited information is available at this time on clothes worn by Spanish boys. We have very limited written information about Spain. We have noted a few images which provide us some information. Smocks were worn by Spanish boys. Many elementary schools do seem to have required them, but I do not know if there was a national rule. There appears to have been some regional differences, with destinctive styles in Catalonia. We have little information on Spanish tunics at this time. There is no indication that Spain has diverged from the general European pattern concerning tunics. We do have one 1916 image. I believe sailor suits were very popular in the late 19th as in most of Europe, ut have no specific image at this time. Sailor suits were being worn by boys for first communion even in the 1990s. Boys commonly wore blouses in the late 18th century. I have limited information on blouse styles. I do not know how popular Fauntleroy blouses were. One image shows a boy wearing a destinctive stripped blouse with a large collar and back flap (figure 1). Boys in the late 19th century might wear large floppy bows with blouses. Keepants were the primary dress of Spanish boys in the late 19th century. They continued to be worn until the 1920s. Knickers band short pants became increasingly common in the 1910s. Spanish boys by the 1920s were wearing short pants, knickers, and long pants. Short pants were very commn in the 1920s and 30s, but I am unsure as to the relative popularity of these styles. By the 1930s boys commonly wore short pants and many boys wore smocks to school. After the 1960s short pants became much less common as most boys wanted to wear jeans. Boys wore long dark stockings with knee pants. Socks began to be worn in the 1910s as boys began wearing knickers and short pants. White three-quarter or knee socks might be worn with short pants for formal occasion. Spanish school children were commonly wearing smocks by the 1930s, although I am not sure when this paractice first began. Short pants were common until the 1970s.

Families

Family information is quite useful for HBC. Here there are helpul lines of investigation. Family information provides both valuable sociolgical information as well fashion information, including insights as to what adult and girls' fashions were associated with the various boys' fashions discussed in HBC. This helps to create a context for the informatiion on boys' clothing we have archived. We have only begun to acquire information on Spanish families because our Spanish archive is still relatively limited. We thus have very little material at this time. Spanich children dressed destinctivelty through much of the 19th century. We note children from well-to-do families dressing in popular European style. The country was, however, very poor and thus the rural peasantry dressed destictively and could not afford fashionable clothes. This continued into the 20th century. Spain did not begin to enter the Europeam mainstream until Generalisimo Franco's death (1975) and entry into the European Union (1986). We have acquired a few family images. We note a family from Palencla in the early-20th century. We do not know yet if it is a Spanish or Italian family. Hopefully our Spanish readers will be able to tell us if this is Spanish. We also note a large extended family in 1914, but do not know where in Spain they were from.

Activities

HBC has collected information on a variety of activities in which Spanish boys have participated in over time. Many of these activiities involve specialized costumes. Other images show trends in German boys' clothing over time. Some of the activities include choir, choir, dance, games, religious observation, school, sport, and many other activities.

School Uniform

Spanish children have commonly worn school smocks . Many still do. Spanish school children were commonly wearing smocks by the 1930s, although I am not sure when this paractice first began. Short pants were common until the 1970s. Young kindergarten age children still commonly wear smocks in Spain. It is no longer common, however, for older boys to wear them--but some still do. A Spanish contributor to HBC in 1999 reported school boys about about 7 or 8 years old still wearing the smocks over their street clothes.

First Communion

First Communion in Spain has been a major event, as to be expected in a Catholic country. Boys in the 1920s commonly wore formal dark suits, sometimes with wing collars and whire bowries. This is less so now, but ardently Catholic families still do attach great importance to the event. For the children it has become a bonanza, even exceeding Christmas, although only once. A Spanish contributor informs HBC that sailor suits are popular for boys' First Communion suits, even in the 1990s.

Regions

There are several important regions of Spain. We have only begun to collect information on these regions. There were important differences between those regions, but since World War II these differences have declined significantly. Some of the major regions are Andulucia, the Basque country, Castille, Catalonia, and Galicia. There is also the Canary Islands.

Personal Experiences

Some information is available on individual Spanish boys.

Pepito Arriola: The 1900s

Salvador Dali: The 1910s







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Created: November 20, 1999
Last updated: 7:35 PM 11/14/2010