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Cordons Sanitaires and the Rationalisation Process in Southern Europe (Nineteenth-Century Majorca)

  • Pere Salas-Vives (a1) and Joana-Maria Pujadas-Mora (a2)
Abstract

Never before the nineteenth century had Europeans, especially in the south, adopted cordons sanitaires in such great numbers or at such a fast rate. This article aims to analyse the process of the rationalisation and militarisation of the cordons sanitaires imposed in the fight against epidemics during the nineteenth century on the Mediterranean island of Majorca (Spain). These cordons should be understood as a declaration of war by the authorities on emerging epidemics. Epidemics could generate sudden and intolerably high rises in mortality that the new liberal citizenship found unacceptable. Toleration of this type of measure was the result of a general consensus, with hardly any opposition, which not only obtained the support of scientists (especially in the field of medicine) but also of most of the local and provincial political elite, and even of the population at large.

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* Email address for correspondence: jpujades@ced.uab.es
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We would like to thank Dr Isabel Moll for her help in writing this article and Mr Michael Pietroni FRCS for the linguistic review.

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1. Following Teresa Carnero introduction in T. Carnero (ed.), Modernización, desarrollo político y cambio social[Modernisation, political development and social change] (Madrid: Alianza, 1992), 9–34, we understand modernisation as a process of social change, in which transformations in the productive sphere and in the social structure within which they take place in the field of politics and government combine, even if there are no actual connections between them all. Therefore, the process refers both to the development of capitalism and to the new liberal state, with a great infrastructural capacity to intervene in society, see Michael Mann, The Sources of Social Power, 2: The Rise of Classes and Nation-States, 1760–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

2. See Esteban Rodríguez Ocaña, ‘El resguardo de la salud: Organización sanitaria española en el siglo XVIII’ [Safeguarding health: Spanish health organisation in the 18th century], Dynamis, 7–8 (1987–88), 145–70; Joaquim Bonastra Tolós, ‘Innovaciones y continuismo en las concepciones sobre el contagio y las cuarentenas en la España del siglo XIX: Reflexiones acerca de un problema sanitario, económico y social’ [Innovations and continuity in conceptions regarding contagion and quarantines in 19th-century Spain: reflections on a health, economic and social issue], Scripta Nova: Revista de Geografía y Ciencias Sociales, 69 (2000), http://www.ub.es/geocrit/nova-ig.htm; or Eugenia Tognotti, ‘Lessons from the History of Quarantine, from Plague to Influenza A’, Emerging Infectious Diseases, 19, 2 (2013), 254–9. All these authors not only highlight the continuities, but also the innovations put into practice during the 19th century.

3. We are, of course, following the theses of Peter Baldwin, Contagion and the State in Europe 1830–1930 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999) regarding this point.

4. See, for Naples, Frank M. Snowden, Naples in the Time of Cholera 1884–1911 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995); for Sardinia Norma Howard-Jones, The Scientific Background of the International Sanitary Conferences 1851–1938 (Geneva: World Health Organization, 1975). For Venice, see Eugenia Tognotti, op. cit. (note 2), 254–9 and Eugenia Tognotti, ‘The Origins of the Health Defence System against Contagious Illness: The Strategies of Isolation and Quarantine in Mediterranean Cities from the XIV–XIX Centuries’, Alder Museum Bulletin, 31, 1 (2005), 6–17. For Spain, it is interesting to highlight the example of the cities of Alacant (Alicante) or Barcelona, both Mediterranean cities, owing to their concurrent use of cordons sanitaires with Majorca, at the beginning of the 19th century. See Salvador Salort Vives, ‘Town planning, economy and health: Alacant’s harbour, from a death lake into a modern harbour (1900–14)’, Boletín de la Asociación de Geógrafos Españoles, 45 (2007), 423–25 ,or Mercedes Pascual Artiaga ‘La ciudad ante el contagio: medidas políticas y administrativas dictadas en la epidemia de fiebre amarilla de 1804 en Alicante’ [The city facing the contagion: political and administrative measures adopted in the yellow fever epidemic of 1804 in Alicante], Asclepio, 54, 1 (2002), 125–54 and Francesc Bonamusa and Joan Serrallonga, Del roig al groc: Barcelona, 1868–71: Quintes i epidèmies (Barcelona: L’Avenç, 1995) [From red to yellow: Barcelona, 1868–71: epidemics and conscripts] or Joan Serrallonga Urquidi, ‘Epidemias e historia social: Apuntes sobre el cólera en España, 1833–65’ [Epidemics and social history: notes on cholera in Spain, 1833–65], Historia Social, 1996, 24, 7–21. However, the use of this quarantine measure was to be found round the whole coast of Spain, as the seminal works on the study of cholera across 19th-century Spain report. See Jose Maria Lopez Piñero, Luis Garcia Ballester and Pilar Faus Sevilla, Medicina y sociedad en la España del siglo XIX [Medicine and society in 19th-century Spain] (Madrid: Estudios y Publicaciones, 1964), or Juan J. Fernández Sanz: El año de la vacunación de Ferran: Trasfondo político, médico, sociodemográfico y económica de una epidemia [The year of the vaccination of Ferrán: political, medical, sociodemographic and economic backdrop of an epidemic] (Madrid, Fundación Ramón Areces, 1990). For Portugal, see Maria Antónia Pires de Almeida, ‘Fighting disease and epidemics: Ricardo Jorge and the internationalization of Portuguese science’, Vesalius: acta internationales historiae medicinae, 19, 1 (2013), 19–23. For Malta, Cyprus and Gibraltar, see Baldwin, op. cit. (note 3), and for Egypt, Paul Slack, Plague: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012). It is worth mentioning that the introduction of cordons sanitaires in Egypt was part of Muhammad Ali’s modernisation reforms, a purpose completely different from the above-mentioned use of cordons as palliative measures in fighting against epidemics in regions where important health reforms had not yet been introduced, as some sources in the bibliography state.

5. On this statement, see Esteban Rodríguez Ocaña, ‘La salud publica en España en el contexto europeo, 1890–1925’ [Public health in Spain in the European context, 1890–1925], Revista de Sanidad e Higiene Pública, 68 (1994), 11–27; Snowden, op. cit. (note 4) and Baldwin, op. cit. (note 3).

6. On this topic, see Alexander Chase-Levenson, ‘Early nineteenth-century Mediterranean quarantine as a European system’, in Alison Bashford (ed.), Quarantine: Local & Global Histories (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 35–53.

7. Krista Maglen, ‘The first line of defence…’, The English System: Quarantine, Immigration and the Making of a Port Sanitary Zone (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014), 21–59.

8. Baldwin, op. cit. (note 3), 211–12.

9. As demonstrated in the discussions at the International Sanitary Conferences, as can be seen in Mark Harrison, ‘Disease, Diplomacy and International Commerce: The Origins of International Sanitary Regulation in the Nineteenth Century’, Journal of Global History, 1 (2006), 197–217, and Valeska Huber, ‘The Unification of the Globe by Disease? The International Sanitary Conferences on Cholera, 1851–1894’, The Historical Journal, 49, 2 (2006), 453–76. Meanwhile, Eugenia Tognotti, op. cit. (note 2), 254–9 defends the idea that the local authorities were reluctant to abandon the quarantine systems and cordons sanitaires, even in areas where their efficacy was most doubtful, because of the false sense of safety they inspired in the population.

10. Baldwin, op. cit. (note 3).

11. Patrice Bourdelais, Les Épidémies terrassées: Une histoire des pays riches[Defeated epidemics: a tale of rich countries] (Paris: La Martinière, 2003) maintains that it was precisely the state’s ever-stronger intervention in favour of health which explains the substantial improvements in health between 1859 and 1940, a period in which improvements went from being a government imposition to being demanded by citizens. Also see: Charles Tilly, Coercion, Capital and European States AD 990–1992 (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1990); Claude Lefort, ‘Les Droits de l’homme et l’État-Providence’ [Human rights and the welfare state], Esprit, 108, 11 (1985), 65–79, or Patrick Zylberman, Tempêtes microbiennes: Essai sur la politique de sécurité sanitaire dans le monde transatlantique [Microbial turmoils: essay on health and safety policies in the transatlantic world] (Paris: Gallimard, 2013).

12. Mann, op. cit. (note 1). See also Lutz Raphael, Ley y orden: Dominación mediante la administración en el siglo XIX [Law and order: dominance through the administration in the 19th century] (Madrid: Siglo XXI, 2008).

13. Joaquín del Moral Ruíz, ‘Las funciones del Estado y la articulación del territorio nacional: símbolos, administración pública y servicios’ [The functions of the state and the articulation of national territory: symbols, public administration and services], in J.d. Moral Ruíz, J. Pro Ruiz and F. Suárez Bilbao (eds.), Estado y territorio en España, 1820–1930: La formación del paisaje nacional[State and territory in Spain, 1820–1930: the formation of the national landscape] (Madrid: Catarata, 2007), 17–358.

14. For Eric L. Jones, Crecimiento recurrente: El cambio económico en la historia mundial[Recurring growth: economic change in world history] (Madrid: Alianza, 1997), 218: the most important factor was an increase in the number of bureaucrats who could devote themselves to rationalising the struggle against disasters, including epidemics, thus reducing their effects.

15. However, note that enforcement of the law was left in the hands of the delegations and councils, a situation similar to what is described by Abram de Swaan, In the Care of the State: Health Care, Education and Welfare in Europe and the USA in the Modern Era (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1988) in the case of Great Britain.

16. Carles Grabuleda Teixidor, ‘Salut pública i creixement urbà: Política i acció social en el sorgiment de la Barcelona Contemporània’ [Public health and urban growth: politics and social action in the rise of Contemporary Barcelona] (unpublished PhD thesis: Pompeu Fabra University, 2002); Esteban Rodríguez Ocaña and Ferrán Martínez Navarro, Salud pública en España: de la Edad Media al siglo XXI[Public health in Spain from medieval times to the 21st century] (Granada: Escuela Andaluza de Salud Pública, 2008). Likewise, the Royal Orders of 24 August 1834 and 31 August 1854 quoted by Joana Maria Pujadas-Mora, ‘Les epidèmies “invisibles” i “visibles” de còlera a la Ciutat de Palma: gestió municipal, Segle XIX’ [The ‘invisible’ and ‘visible’ epidemics of cholera in the city of Palma: municipal management in the19th century] (unpublished PhD thesis: University of the Balearic Islands, 2005).

17. It must be noted that this law does not stand against isolation measures in themselves but rather against the perversion of the system, especially in the use of land cordons (Juan José Fernández Sanz, El año de la vacunación de Ferrán: Trasfondo político, médico, sociodemográfico y económico de una epidemia (Madrid: Fundación Ramón Aceres, 1990)).

18. Pujadas Mora, op. cit. (note 16), and Joana Maria Pujadas-Mora, ‘La gestión municipal de las epidemias de cólera en Palma (Mallorca) durante el siglo XIX: “Epidemias invisibles” ’ [Municipal management of cholera epidemics in Palma (Majorca) during the 19th century: “Invisible epidemics”], in J.M. Beascoechea Gangoiti, M. González Portilla and P.A. Novo López (eds.), La ciudad contemporánea, espacio y sociedad [The contemporary city, space and society] (Bilbao–Puebla: University of Pais Vasco – Autonomous University of Puebla, 2006), 291–310.

19. Especially as regards the identification of a causal agent for each illness, thus making the microbe the new enemy and not so much the ill person, Josep Lluís Barona Vilar, Salud, enfermedad y muerte[Health, illness and death] (Valencia: Diputació de València: Institució Alfons el Magnànim, 2002).

20. Mann, op. cit. (note 1), 627–35.

21. We do not assume, therefore, a direct relationship between liberalism and anti-contagionism, or between contagionist measures and commercial interests, along the lines pointed out by Baldwin, Contagion and the State, in contrast to the claims of Erwin H. Ackerknecht, ‘Anticontagionism between 1821 and 1867’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 22 (1948), 532–93. On this topic, see also Christopher Hamlin, ‘Commentary: Ackerknecht and ‘Anticontagionism’: A Tale of Two Dichotomies’, International Journal of Epidemiology, 38 (2009), 22–7.

22. Our study is based on the belief that the state resulting from the liberal revolution in Spain did have the ability to promote social and economic modernisation. Therefore, our thesis promotes the idea that, within the European context, Spain was unusual, as pointed out by Fernando Molina Aparicio and Miguel Cabo Villaverde, ‘Historiografia i nacionalització a Espanya: Reflexions finals’ [Historiography and nationalisation in Spain: final reflections], Segle XX: Revista catalana d’història, 4 (2011), 161–9 and Salvador Calatayud, Jesús Millan and Maria Cruz Romeo, ‘El Estado en la configuración de la España contemporánea: Una revisión de los problemas historiográficos’ [The state in the configuration of contemporary Spain: a review of historiographic problems], in S. Calatayud, J. Millan and M. Cruz Romeo (eds,) Estado y periferias en la España del siglo XX: Nuevos enfoques[State and peripheries in 20th-century Spain: new approaches] (Valencia: University of Valencia, 2009), 9–130. Regarding capitalist development on Majorca and its integration into economic globalisation, our ideas are based on the contributions of Carles Manera Erbina, Història del creixement econòmic a Mallorca (1700–2000) [History of economic growth on Majorca (1700–2000)] (Palma de Mallorca: Muntaner, 2001), and Ramon Molina de Dios, Treball intensiu, treballadors polivalents (Treball, salaris i cost de vida) [Work, salaries and cost of living], (Mallorca, 1860–1936) (Palma de Mallorca Conselleria d’Economia, Comerç i Indústria, 2003).

23. Among other studies see, in the case of Spain, Fernado Puell de la Villa, Historia del ejército en España[History of the Spanish army] (Madrid: Alianza, 2000) and, for a general view, Charles Tilly, Coercion, Capital, and European States: AD 990–1990 (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1990).

24. The provincial delegation was an elective institution, presided over by the governor until 1870, dating back to the Constitution of 1812. Its functions were exercised over the whole provincial territory – in this case the Balearic Islands. It had an administrative, collaborative and supervisory nature.

25. In fact, as was common in Europe at that time, practical administration and the application of a large body of the legal corpus depended on municipal administration and on its revenue offices. In the case of Spain, see Pedro Carasa Soto (ed.), Ayuntamiento, Estado y Sociedad: Los poderes municipales en la España contemporánea[Council, state and society: municipal powers in contemporary Spain] (Valladolid: Fundación Municipal de Cultura - Instituto de Historia ‘Simancas’, 2000); and Joaquín del Moral Ruíz, ‘Las funciones del Estado y la articulación del territorio nacional: símbolos, administración pública y servicios’, in J.d. Moral Ruíz, J. Pro Ruiz and F. Suárez Bilbao (eds.), Estado y territorio en España, 1820–1930. La formación del paisaje nacional (Madrid: Los libros de la Catarata, 2007), 17–358. Meanwhile, Swaan, op. cit. (note 12); Mann, op. cit. (note 1); and Raphael, op. cit. (note 12) highlight the great importance of town councils in the development of public administration in western Europe during the second half of the 19th century, although in all cases they act as delegates of the central state.

26. Serrallonga Urquidi, op. cit.had already pointed out the fact that in Italy and Spain all health policies depended ultimately on the ministry of the interior, also in charge of internal security and with a clear centralising purpose.

27. Pere Salas Vives, ‘Cordons sanitaris (Majorca, 1787–1899)’ [Cordons sanitaires (Majorca, 1787–1899)], Gimbernat, 37 (2002), 55–82 and Pere Salas Vives, ‘Libertad y/o derecho a la vida. El resguardo sanitario durante el primer liberalismo (Mallorca, siglo XIX)’ [Freedom and/or right to life: health protection during the first liberalism (Mallorca, siglo XIX)], Historia Social, 68 (2010), 69–85.

28. Vilar, op. cit. (note 19).

29. These institutions also belonged to the civil government, the provincial delegation, the provincial council until 1868 and the provincial commission from 1870 (Arturo Cajal Valero, El Gobernador Civil y el Estado centralizado del siglo XIX[The civil governor and the centralising state in the 19th century] (Madrid: Ministerio de Administraciones Públicas, 1999)).

30. Logically the setting up of cordons sanitaires is a reaction by the authorities to the ordinary inability to prevent the entry and exit of goods and persons from a territory outside their jurisdiction; that is, contraband. To a certain extent, the cordons make up for the ordinary inability to enforce the law with extraordinary measures. Following these criteria, Peter Baldwin, ‘Beyond Weak and Strong: Rethinking the State in Comparative Policy History’, The Journal of Policy History, 17–1 (2005), 12–33, considers that certain states, such as Great Britain, had much less need for extraordinary measures of quarantine because the law was much more internalised and adhered to than in other states such as Prussia.

31. Their regulation was published on the same date, 26 September 1833, in a leaflet entitled Disposiciones sanitarias y de higiene pública que deben observarse en estas Islas con motivo de la proximidad del cólera – morbo[Sanitary and public hygiene provisions that must be observed in these islands due to the proximity of cholera] (Palma: Impreso por Felipe Guasp, impresor real, 1833).

32. The first record of the existence of a coastal cordon sanitaire in the municipal records of the capital is not found until the middle of August, whereas their effective withdrawal was from 22 December 1854.

33. ‘…evitar todo desembarco de efectos, ni de personas en la costa, los gefes de los distritos y comandantes de cantones dedicarán todo su conato á que se guarde la más esquisita [sic] en todos los puestos’. From article 6 of the ‘Instrucciones á los gefes de distrito y comandantes de cantones, que forman el cordón sanitario del litoral de esta isla’ (1854), quoted by Pujadas-Mora, op. cit. (note 16).

34. Consell de Mallorca General Archive (AGCM), Establishment of the Sanitary Cordon S-III-262/2.

35. ‘…a saber en lo exterior seis barcas guardacostas y tripuladas con cinco Marineros un Patrón con cavo de Sanidad y un Sargento de la tropa de Guarnición y en lo interior la duplicación de guardas y torreros y la práctica de Rondas marítimas al cargo de las villas’, Pollença Municipal Archive (AMP), Health-Orders: 2899: 20-6-1794.

36. ‘que para el acordonamiento de Palma se procederá según el modelo iniciado durante la peste de Marsella de 1720. Es decir, en base al personal civil, pero con la tropa preparada: procurando poner en ellas alguna gente practica [sic] en las respectivas costas’. AMP, Health-Orders: 2899.

37. AMP, Health-Orders 2899: 27-8-1817.

38. AMP, Health-Orders 2899.

39. Joana Sureda Trujillo, La pesta de 1820 a Son Servera, Artà i Capdepera[The plague of 1820 in Son Servera, Artà and Capdepera] (Palma de Mallorca: El Tall, 1993).

40. AMP, Health-Orders 1681.

41. Specifically on 28 June 1820, and ‘In view of the horrifying results of the contagion of Son Servera and Artà it was declared: Whoever breaks the cordon, or tries to do so, shall be shot on the spot. If they were to escape and the events were proved, they shall be condemned to death within 24 hours. All those who have left Son Servera, Artà, Sant Llorenç or Capdepera after 19 May and have not presented themselves to the justices without justification shall be condemned to death. If any of the guards or watchmen, out of negligence, allow anyone to pass, they shall also be condemned to death. The cordon troop is at war and is up against an enemy. It must be held, as has been stated with the full force of the law, that the troops and other persons employed in the cordon of any sort who are in the campaign, at war and facing the enemy, it is hereby declared, that they are all subject to the penal laws provided for these cases in the general orders of the Army…’ (‘En vista de los horrorosos estragos del contagio de Son Servera y Artà se declaraba: El que rompa el cordón, o lo intente, será fusilado en el acto. Si consigue escapar y se prueban los hechos, será condenado a muerte en 24 horas. Todos los que hayan salido de Son Servera, Artà, Sant Llorenç y Capdepera después del 19 de mayo y no se hayan presentado a las justicias sin justificación serán condenados a muerte. Si algunos de los guardias o vigilantes, por negligencia, dejan pasar a alguien, también serán condenados a muerte. La tropa del cordón está en pie de guerra y enfrenta a un enemigo. Debiéndose reputar como se ha dicho con todo el rigor de la ley, que las tropas y demás personas empleadas en el cordón de cualquier clase que sean están en servicio de campaña, en función de guerra y al frente del enemigo, se declara, que todos están sujetos a leyes penales prevenidas para estos casos en las ordenanzas generales del Ejército…’), AMP, Health-Orders 1681.

42. (‘Todo el que infringiere el cordón sanitario marítimo ya establecido, ó el terrestre que desde hoy se manda establecer, no siendo obligado por razón de tempestades en el mar que lo fuercen á entrar en puertos, ensenadas ó calas, pero sin saltar por esto en tierra ó romper el cordón terrestre, será considerado como atentador malicioso contra la salud pública, aprhendido [sic] y castigado con penas extraordinarias de presidio, y hasta con la muerte si introdujese artículos contumaces de cualquier clase que sean.’) ‘Likewise, in the same order, meetings in village squares were also banned, especially at night, even those of a festive nature; people were obliged to clean the streets and squares, water tanks, as well as all public and private establishments; and pig, sheep and goat breeding was also banned in the towns, while all manure storage pits had to disappear; lastly, the councils had to appoint sanitary commissions authorised to watch over public health and to carry out visits to private homes and public establishments’, Llubí Municipal Archive (AMLl), Correspondence-26, 5-8-1854.

43. AMP, Health-Orders 1681.

44. AMP, Health-Orders 1681: 5-6-1820.

45. AMP, Health-Orders 1681: 01-6-1822.

46. For instance, the military government of Alcúdia said to the mayor of this town that ‘According to the Health Board, with soldiers under my command and with civilians, a cordon sanitaire on the coast of the district of this town has been established and all the points where landings could be made, considering the nature of the land, have been taken …the same has been verified in the cordon in Pollença, according to an official notice which with twenty men I sent to said borough….’ From the original quotation, ‘De acuerdo con la Junta de Sanidad con soldados de los de mi mando y con paysanos, queda establecido un Cordón de Sanidad en la Costa marítima del distrito de esta ciudad y tomados todos los puntos que vista la naturaleza del terreno se pueden hacer desembarcos en ellos…lo mismo se ha verificado en la de Pollensa, según un aviso de un oficial que con veinte hombres mandé a dicha villa….’ (Archive of the Kingdom of Majorca (ARM), Provincial Board of Health (JPS) Correspondence 95: 30-9-1828).

47. AMP, Health-Orders 1681: 11-11-1834.

48. AMLl, Correspondence 25.

49. AGCM, Establishment of Cordon sanitarie S III 249/33.

50. AGCM, Establishment of Cordon sanitarie S III 249/33.

51. AGCM, Establishment of Cordon sanitarie S III 249/37.

52. At this point, emphasis should be placed on the ‘bureaucratisation’ of the public health administration during the first liberal-fusionist governments of the Restoration, the case of the Royal Decree of 1886 whereby the marine health authority was created (Jorge Molero Mesa and Isabel Jiménez Lucena, ‘Salud y burocracia en España: Los cuerpos de sanidad nacional (1855–1951)’ [Health and bureaucracy in Spain: the national health authorities], Revista Española de Salud Pública, 74-007 (2000), 45–53) and the creation of the provincial inspectors, and also of family doctors in the municipal field. See Carmen Barona Vilar, ‘Organización y profesionalización de la asistencia médica domiciliaria en los pueblos de la provincia de València: 1854–1936’ [Organisation and professionalisation of home health care in the towns in the province of Valencia], in J.L. Barona Vilar (ed.), Polítiques de salut en l’àmbit municipal valencià (1850–1936) (València: Seminari d’Estudis Sobre la Ciència, 2000), 13–70.

53. Norbert Elias, El proceso de la civilización: Investigaciones sociogenéticas y psicogenéticas[The process of civilisation: sociogenetic and psychogenetic research studies] (Madrid: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1987).

54. AMP, Health-Orders 2899, 20-6-1794. On this topic, the defensive model introduced during the ancien régimeon Majorca in response to the corsair threat was followed. See Miquel Deyà, Antoni Mas and Ramon Rosselló, Història d’Alcúdia: El segle XVI (Alcúdia: Ajuntament d’Alcúdia, 1999) [History of Alcudia: the 16th century].

55. See Concepción de Castro, La Revolución Liberal y los municipios españoles (1812–1868)[The liberal revolution and Spanish municipalities] (Madrid: Alianza, 1979), and Pedro Carasa Soto (ed.), Ayuntamiento, Estado y Sociedad: Los poderes municipales en la España contemporánea [Council, state and society: municipal powers in contemporary Spain] (Valladolid: Fundación Municipal de Cultura – Instituto de Historia “Simancas”, 2000).

56. AGCM, Establishment of Cordons sanitaire S III 262/1: 24-9-1884.

57. AMLl, Correspondence 29, 18-8-1885.

58. Proof of this assertion were the difficulties of all sorts experienced by the troops stationed in Santa Margalida in 1828 (ARM, JPS Correspondence 95: 30-09-1828).

59. Likewise, the municipalities had to concern themselves with building barracks and providing wood for the soldiers, while avoiding harming private interests, and with providing the corresponding receipts, proof that they were recoverable amounts (AMP, Health-Orders 1681, 24-10-1834).

60. AMLl, Municipal Records: 29-01-1850; Montuïri Municipal Archive (AMMo), Municipal Records: 07-2-1850; Alcúdia Municipal Archive (AMA), Municipal Records: 24-5-1874; AMLl, Municipal Records: 02-8-1874; Capdepera Municipal Archive (AMC), Municipal Records: 29-7-1865; AMMo, Municipal Records: 12-4-1892 or, among others, AMLl, Municipal Records: 14-03-1894. Curiously, in January 1888 the Council of Andratx (western coast) refused to pay the prison expenses in their judicial district, until they had been reimbursed the advances made to pay for the cordon sanitaire two years previously (AMA, Municipal Records: 15-1-1888).

61. Manacor Municipal Archive (AMM), Municipal Records: 22-9-1854, 19-10-1854 y 12-11-1854.

62. ‘Las fuerzas que están prestando el servicio del cordón sanitario deben percibir en metálico de la Depositaria de la Fondos provinciales el plus que con este motivo les ha sido señalado, y por lo tanto si bien los Ayuntamiento en cumplimento de lo dispuesto en el arto de la instrucción de 9 de Agosto 1877 vienen obligados á subministrarles las subsistencias y utensilios que necesiten el valor de todas las especies que subministren deberá serles reintegrado por la Administración Militar en la forma que previene la citada instrucción.’ (AGCM, Establishment of Sanitary Cordon S-III-246/31, 9-9-1890).

63. In Great Britain and in the United States, for instance, the population was much more in favour of contagionism and, therefore, of cordons sanitaires than the public and medical authorities. See George Davey Smith, ‘Commentary: Behind the Broad Street pump: Aetiology, Epidemiology and Prevention of Cholera in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Britain’, International Journal of Epidemiology, 31 (2002), 920–32.

64. Vicente Pérez Moreda, Las crisis de mortalidad en la España Interior (siglos XVI–XIX)[The mortality crises in inland Spain (16th–19th centuries)] (Madrid: Siglo XXI, 1980), 418.

65. In 1867, for instance, the provincial government justified the establishment of the cordon sanitaire ‘which is so deeply rooted in this island and which public opinion calls for in similar circumstances as one of the most efficient models’, as well as other considerations (‘en la que se halla tan arraigada en esta isla y que la opinión pública reclama en semejantes circunstancias como uno de los medios más eficaces’) (AGCM, Establishment of cordon sanitaire S-III-249/33: 13-8-1867).

66. Obviously, this is not a characteristic exclusive to Majorca. As noted by Carlo M. Cipolla, Contra un enemigo mortal e invisible [Against a mortal, invisible enemy] (Barcelona: Crítica, 1993): 93, and Eugenia Tognotti, op. cit. (note 2), 254–59, the isolation system had a long tradition in southern Europe and, specifically, in northern Italy and on the Italian islands.

67. Not all countries acted in the same way, as demonstrated in the successive international sanitary conferences from 1851 onwards. See Valeska Huber, ‘The Unification of the Globe by Disease? The International Sanitary Conferences on Cholera, 1851–1894’, The Historical Journal, 49, 2 (2006), 453–476, and Josep Lluis Barona Vilar and Josep Bernabeu-Mestre, La salud y el Estado: El movimiento sanitario internacional y la administración española (1851–1945)[Health and the state: the international health movement and the Spanish administration] (Valencia: University of Valencia, 2008). It is true, however, that eclecticism was not an isolated case in Majorca but rather much more widespread than had been thought to date (Christopher Hamlin, ‘Commentary: Ackerknecht and ‘Anticontagionism’: A Tale of Two dichotomies’, International Journal of Epidemiology, 38 (2009), 22–27). At the same time, it is important to note that ‘Indeed quarantine and customs border policing, and the cordon sanitaire, were crucial places and practices for the emerging political reality of sovereign territory’, as it is argued by Alison Bashford, ‘Global Biopolitics and the History of World Health’, History of the Human Sciences, 19–1 (2006), 67–88, 70.

68. Or, similarly, during the episodes of the plague in Son Servera (1820), yellow fever in Palma (1821), cholera in Andratx and Palma (1854 and 1865 respectively) and yellow fever in Palma in 1870.

69. AMP, Health-Orders 1681 (1820-1835/1870), 13-9-1821. The municipalities did not need the order to proceed to isolate themselves to be repeated as they had done so a few months previously due to the plague in 1820.

70. Traditionally the island of Majorca has been divided between the capital (the city of Palma) and the rest of the towns located outside the city walls.

71. AMP, Health-Orders-1681 (1820-1835/1870): 3-10-1821.

72. In the town of Son Servera the death rate was of the order of 650 per thousand (Jaume Alzina Mestre, Població, terra i propietat a la Comarca de Llevant de Mallorca (Segles XVII/XIX-XX)[Population, land and property in the eastern region of Majorca (17th–20th centuries)] (Artà: Ajuntament d’Artà, 1993)).

73. ‘procurarán que reine la mejor armonia entre los puestos de paisanos y los que ocupe la tropa ausiliándose mutuamente y pasando aviso de cualquiera novedad á los gefes militares que mas esperimentados en esta clase de servicio se hallen en el caso de proceder con mayor acierto en cualquier ocurrencia’, AMLl, Correspondence-25, 4-12-1849.

74. AGCM, Establishment of Cordon Sanitaire S-III-249/33: 28-8-1866.

75. AMC, Municipal Records-1285: 28-09-1884 y AGCM, Establishment of Cordon Sanitaire S-III-262/2: 31-8-1885.

76. ‘Por lo tanto y no pudiendo creer que el ánimo de las autoridades locales que se hallan en el caso referido, haya sido la de rebelarse contra la ley, toda vez que es proverbial la lealtad de los baleares, sino que habrán obedecido al natural instinto en vista de la injustificada alarma de la parte de este vecindario que ha huido, espero de los señores Alcaldes á [sic] quienes me refiero, en vista del citado precepto legal y mejor informados del estado sanitario de esta ciudad, levantarán inmediatamente el cordón sanitario, en la inteligencia que de no verificarlo me veré precisado á [sic] adoptar disposiciones que deseo evitar’. Memo from the government of the province, 29 August 1865 in the official gazette of the province of the Balearic Islands (BOPB) no. 5.129 de 30-08-1865. Also of interest is BOPB, no. 5.132 de 25-9-1865.

77. J. de Oleza y de España, ‘Episodio en la vida de un pueblo: El cólera de 1865 en Palma: La Gente balear durante la epidemia: Lazareto, cuarentenas, cordones sanitarios y disposiciones legales’ [Episode in the life of a people: cholera in 1865 in Palma: the Balearic people during the epidemic…], Boletín Estadística Municipal de Palma, 1966, 59, 5-9, 5.

78. In fact, in Sineu (in the centre of the island) for instance, popular protest triggered an extraordinary meeting of the town council, municipal board and leading taxpayers to decide whether the cordon was to be raised once again, the resolution of which remains unknown (Sineu Municipal Archive (AMS) Municipal Records: 1-9-1865). Even more spectacular is the case of Alcúdia (northern coast), where the cordon is imposed on 3 November, just after the aforementioned memo from the governor is received (AMA, Municipal Records: 3-9-1865).

79. El Isleño, 12-9-1865 and Juan Llabrés Bernal, Noticias y relaciones históricas de Mallorca: Siglo XIX[News and historical relations in Majorca: 19th century] (Palamós: Alcover, 1966), 313.

80. Ibid., 317.

81. BOP-5132 de 25-9-1865.

82. AMA, Municipal Records: 22-10-1865.

83. ‘Palma y villas de Mallorca el establecimiento de un cordón sanitario en los alrededores de la ciudad, como el establecido en 1821 (episodio de fiebre amarilla), interpretando el deseo de la mayoría de los habitantes de la isla’, Llabrés Bernal, Noticias y relaciones históricas de Mallorca, 315.

84. Ibid., 316.

85. For instance, Alaró maintained the cordon sanitaire from 10 October to 22 November 1870 (Alaró Municipal Archive (AMAl), Municipal Records: 10-10-1870 and 22-11-1870). Meanwhile, Alcúdia made all new arrivals observe five days of quarantine and three days for their goods (AMA, Municipal Records: 30-10-1870).

86. That was not only true for Majorca. For other territories, see E. Tognotti, op. cit. (note 2).

87. We need to bear in mind that, in Europe, liberalism was implanted in societies in transition from the Old Regime, as stated by A. Mayer, The Persistence of the Old Regime: Europe to the Great War (New York: Pantheon, 1981). Moreover, the acceptance rather than the imposition of a certain biopolitics, implying acceptance of health discipline by the population, has already been theorised by M. Foucault; see Patrice Bourdelais, op. cit. (note 3), among others.

We would like to thank Dr Isabel Moll for her help in writing this article and Mr Michael Pietroni FRCS for the linguistic review.

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Medical History
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