Exemplifying aristocratic cross-border entrepreneurship before WWI, from a Portuguese perspective

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The usual idea that European aristocracy lived from land revenue needs to be complemented. Often the aristocracy was not so alien to business as the literature sometimes has claimed. Contrary to the popular image of non-entrepreneurial aristocracy, the to Portuguese nobility financial business was not considered an unsavoury way of life, and aristocrats were actually quite active in business. Trade, brokerage, and profits could provide a very elegant gentlemanly condition, which coupled with military activities in Portugal or overseas, a really noble way of life. For the management of the overseas empire, cross-border investment, financial business, and marriage strategies were means and instruments for social mobility, in a society based on clear social cleavages resulting from the differentiation between common labourers and the highest social strata, which comprised respectable merchants and bourgeois traders. Marriage illustrates financial, and gender strategies, for social mobility, and status.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness History
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020


  • Aristocratic cross-border entrepreneurship
  • bourgeois values
  • finance
  • gender and marriage
  • Lisbon and New York Stock Exchanges
  • marriage strategies and nobility
  • N20

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