Shopkeepers and the city: the spatial economy of the retail trade in a European capital city (Lisbon, 1890–1910)

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At the end of the nineteenth century some European cities were undergoing profound economic, social and political changes. Lisbon was no exception and in new neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the traditional city a greater social homogeneity was experienced as the population increased. These were troubled times for Lisbon’s shopkeepers, that suffered an economical crisis similar to other European cities like Paris or Milan. In Lisbon this was reinforced by rising shops’ rents and a peculiar social and political context, related to a late industrial development and the strength of the republican movement. Demography, economic crisis and rising rents had a decisive impact in a geographical and internal reconfiguration of the city’s retail trade. Shopkeepers were unevenly affected and the crisis was felt mainly by women, small shops and those who did not sell luxury products, construction materials or dedicated themselves to import/export. These features, the economic recovery of the first decade of the twentieth century and a radical political discourse from the Shopkeepers Association helped pushed Lisbon retailers to the republican movement and to see in the revolution a solution for the instability maintained by the unsolved rents issue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-158
Number of pages20
JournalHistory of Retailing and Consumption
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2017


  • Retail trade
  • urban history
  • historical GIS
  • shopkeepers
  • Lisbon


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