Pyrénées-Orientales: Perpignan open to the world, dynamic, diligent to the new research book

Pyrénées-Orientales: Perpignan open to the world, dynamic, diligent to the new research book

Something that will pique the reader’s curiosity. A brand new book on the more or less recent past of the city of Perpignan, entitled “The New History of Perpignan” written by local historians or elsewhere, reveals many aspects of the Catalan city during its favorable or darker episodes.

For a (very) long time, the city of Perpignan was nicknamed “Fidelíssima vila de Perpinyà”. The most faithful of Perpignan. “That doesn’t mean she accepted everything.specifies Patrice Poujade, director of the “Nouvelle histoire de Perpignan” publication. But we must highlight him and recognize his merits. It had a leading role as the second city in Catalonia after Barcelona. She always had the will to exist, and we often forget that. Moreover, it constantly renewed its population: in the 16th centurye century, half of the city’s population was not from Perpignan.” In this book, the result of many years of work by authors, researchers and teachers from the University of Perpignan, among whom are Isabelle Rébé, Aymat Catafau and Nicolas Marty, but also several dozen collaborators, both of them did not headlong into his elaboration for “deconstruct preconceived ideas. We do not deal with politics or recovery. History studies the past and must be honest. The people of Perpignan themselves will have to continue writing the history of Perpignan, knowing where they come from. So as not to instrumentalize it.” For this reason, during different periods, several insights into the city of Roussillon deserve to be highlighted.

Middle Ages: urban expansion visible today

It is very accurate towards the end of XIIIe century, when Perpignan became the political capital of the kings of Majorca, when urban expansion was in full swing. The beginning of this incomparable scope of the city in 1215 coincides with“the first divisive campaign launched by the Templars”, a monastic community, behind the Porte de Malloles. The area of ​​plots is calculated in square canas (25 square canas corresponds to approximately 50 m2), and ticket prices range from 40 to 100 Barcelona sous with an annual cens (tax) of up to 5 pounds of wax, which is donated to the church of St. Mary of Masdéu. Fifty years later by royal decision, a “alignment operation” encourage “the Jewish inhabitants of the city to come and settle in a certain district of Puig.” The King of Aragon himself will encourage urban expansion “on the banks of the Lower North-West of the old town”. As that time passed, all operations were performed “planned” and structured “orthogonal streets that draw islands of regular shapes and sizes that can easily be seen today.” From 1240 to 1310, the urbanized area of ​​the city “fivefolded”, going from ten to almost seventy hectares.

Modern times: Perpignan “connected” for work

In the XVIIIe century, the people of Perpignan are divided into four parishes (Saint-Jean, Saint-Jacques, Saint-Mathieu, La Real) whose occupations are diverse. Trade flourishes on the four sides of the city due to the abundance of trades. “Primary” activities related to agriculture have a significant weight everywhere: “At the end of the 18th century, gardeners represented perhaps 5% of the city’s population.” Saint-Jacques was the most marketable horticultural area where salads, broad beans, beans, carrots, swiss chard, figs, cherries, apricots were grown… In the parish of Saint-Jean year. “the leather trade had quite a lot of weight”, craftsmanship is ubiquitous. Textiles are processed, he, in Saint-Mathieu. As for the tertiary sector, the worlds of shops, restaurants, hotels, traders and merchants come together. 1730s in Perpignan, “the royal silk factory was founded”. Clearly, Perpignan for trade and textiles “is a city in relation to external markets” for raw materials and sales points, “connected”. The business is established in Marseille, Lyon, Girona, Barcelona, ​​London, Amsterdam…

Modern times: various social groups with the arrival of the FN

The book ends with a period that necessarily addresses the largest number of fellow citizens of Perpignan and its surroundings. The one from the 1950s to today, which is not devoid of diverse dynamics. The one about welcoming the 1960s, Pieds Noirs, North Africans, pensioners from the north of France and those from part of Europe: “The city was formed in the rhythm of juxtaposition of different social groups, but often characterized by poverty and insecurity, and fostering stigmatization, withdrawal of identity and social fragmentation within the urban space.” That of politics with the establishment of the Alduy family, by father Paul with his “modern will” then son Jean-Paul with his “city of the archipelago”at the head of the town hall from 1959 to 2009 “organized into networks of power and at one time characterized by a clientelistic attitude towards part of the electorate”. All connected “increase the rivalry between the right and the left” and the 2005 riots in which inter-communal violence broke out “on the background of misery” : on “that ash”The National Front then traces its path and “became the main municipal opposition party in the 2014 municipal elections with 45% of the vote.”

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