FEEM working papers "Note di lavoro" series
2015 .079

The Effect of the Spanish Reconquest on Iberian Cities

Authors: David Cuberes, Rafael González-Val
Series: Economy and Society
Editor: Economy and Society Interim Series Editor: Carlo Carraro
Keywords: Locational Fundamentals, City Growth, Lock-in Effects, Warfare and Cities
JEL n.: R12, N9


This paper studies the effect of the Spanish Reconquest, a military campaign that aimed to expel the Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula, on the population of its most important cities. The almost four centuries of Reconquest offer a “quasi-natural” experiment to study the persistence of population shocks at the city level. Using a generalized difference in differences approach, we find that the Reconquest had an average significant negative effect on the relative 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 short-lived, vanishing within the first one hundred years after the onset of the Reconquest. These results can be interpreted as weak evidence on the negative effect that war and conflict have on urban primacy. They also suggest that the locational fundamentals that determined the relative 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 had on their population.

Suggested citation: Cuberes, D., R. González-Val, (2015), 'The Effect of the Spanish Reconquest on Iberian Cities', Nota di Lavoro 79.2015, Milan, Italy: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei

Download file
Download PDF file

FEEM Newsletter & Update

Subscribe to stay connected.

Your personal data will be processed by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei. – data Controller – with the aim of emailing the FEEM newsletter & Update. The use of Your email address is necessary for the implementation of the newsletter service. You are invited to read the Privacy Policy in order to obtain additional information about the protection of Your rights.

This Website uses technical cookies and cookie analytics, as well as “third party” profiling cookies.
If you close this banner or you decide to continue navigating on this Website, you express consent to the use of cookies. If you need additional information or you wish to express selective choices on the use of cookies, please refer to the   Cookie PolicyI agree