The Dowry System in Rural Mediterranean Europe: A Case Study of Peasant Families in Minho, Portugal

Author: Lobo de Araújo, Maria Marta
Esteves, Alexandra
This study focuses on the dowries of marriage of peasant families of Minho in the modern age and seeks to highlight the position of women at an important moment of their life marriage. It also seeks to establish a comparison with other areas of the Mediterranean in the area of dowries and marriage. This book contains 7 color photos.


“… analyses and explains women’s life and their wider social context of the Minhoto territory in the eighteenth century. The structure and outline of this work, the important collection of documents used, the diversity of analysis of different social groups in that territory and the use a mixed -method-quantitative in part – will ensure that this books serves as a model for further regional studies which aim to understand the general behaviour of past societies and, therefore, our own present reality.”
Dr. Ofelia Rey Castelao
Santiago de Compostela

“The authors achieve their goal. They show us that [they] fully know the region, its public and private archives, its documentary sources, the coeval literature, the national and international literature on the subject. But the significance of the book comes from the depth of knowledge that allows the family, their social patterns, material reality that is lived in the eighteenth century. A reality that we see from three levels – the woman, the family and the surrounding society – at a particular time of a woman’s life cycle – her marriage, the constitution of her family.”
Dr. Jorge Fernandes Alves
University of Oporto,

Table of Contents





Chapter 1: The Minho and its People: The Meaning and the Particularities of Northern Portugal

Chapter 2: The Dowry: The Meaning and Context in Southern Europe

Chapter 3: The Dowries: Inherit ahead of Time?

Chapter 4: The Composition of the Dowry

Chapter 5: The Economic and Social Implications of the Dowry


Handwritten Sources

Printed Sources



Photo Section