What was age of majority in Spain pre 1889

+2 votes
WikiTree profile: Tomas Natarelo
in Genealogy Help by John Macdonald G2G3 (3.8k points)

enlightenedMy best GUESS, given the mortality rate in that era is that males who fought all the wars whatever his social class, would be anytime after 16 and before 25. If they were allowed by law to marry at 16, then it would follow that they were considered "adult" (whether they could afford to marry is an entirely different question) 

If in the english and german nations at least the child was put to an apprenticeship at 14 and for -- usually -- a 7-yr term, then one supposes the age of majority for males at least would be 21? 

 The Laws of many lands don't seem to have changed all that much as to when a child can be considered legally competent to govern its own life and to be responsible legally for their own acts and liable for any defaults. 

Anyone looking around would suppose that no child is "competent" until nearly 26 or so when they seem to "sober up" 

HOWEVER, there is your local friendly reference desk librarian and it is possible this person with degrees in Librarianship would have some suggestions at least on where you could look and possibly arrange a loan if they don't have on site the materials ... 

If there's a local college that's a good place to start questioning history instructors (european) and the head librarian 

I've run out of ideas here 

wink Very nice set of articles, but in 1600 A.D., what was the age of majority in Spain? That was the question. And it still stands that the Law defines it and sets the terms for it, nation by nation, as is stated in the article. 

Really good articles, clearly written. 

I wonder if the "age of majority" would also be under "the age of consent"? 

laugh 1275 in England, age of consent was equated with age of marriage and generally around age 12

Other nations began to enact laws about the age of consent (which is not the age of majority) near the end of the 18th Century (late 1700's) 

AH HAH!! https://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/teaching-modules/230
points out that nations which adopted the Napoleonic code (age of consent) initially set it at 10-12 yrs of age, and the re-set it 13-16 late in the 19th (1800's) century -- Spain, Portugal, Denmark, the Swiss canons.

Tentatively, then, we can take the age of consent to be NOT equated with the age of majority because sexual consent is not the same as being considered competent to direct your own affairs and to be legally responsible and reliable.  

I puts my money on the age of majority to still be between age 16 for instance and age 25 (for males). 

From the legal code set in Spain in 1889 the age of majority was set at 23, prior to that I have found discussions in the early 19th century regarding the question and suggesting setting it at 23. Whether this happened and what was the age before I do not know. In the early 1600's there is a suggestion that it may be as much as 25 and it is certainly older than 17 as a party to a court action of that age had a procurador ad litem which is a person appointed by the court to an under aged litigant

laughHot Diggity, John, and I think that answers the question fairly well -- age of majority in Spain in the year 1600 can be set at 25 (no more than) and "majority" is NOT to be confused with "consent". Those are two separate matters. 
It makes sense, in fact, to me, that it might well be a old as 25, unless the person was married. If they did in Spain as they did in England and the Germanies in the 1600's, the male child was set to an apprenticeship (urban children, at any rate) at about the age of 14 and there, usually, for 7 yrs and until they achieved Master (of the craft).  NOT sure of the details on this process, however. (Ignorance is so limiting)

This family were equivalent to landed gentry. The father inherited in minority, married at 14 and went to court at 17 to gain possession of the estate ie declared as an adult. The son does not seem to have married, his sister eventually inheriting the estate. It is in connection with the son that we have a reference to 25 implying that might be the age of majority but not definite. The father also went to court against an uncle and got some of his property which was the right to sit on the town council (regidor perpetua) when not yet 21

Anyone looking around would suppose that no child is "competent" until nearly 40 or so when they seem to "sober up" 

Fixed it for you Susan wink

And remember, for men, the first 50 years of childhood are the most difficult. cheeky

angel Don't know what was broken, SJ.B., but ... thank you??

 It ain't just males, BTW, but both male and female. One ages into competence willy nilly but true sobriety hand in hand with sanity ... maybe in the 70's? 

AND, John, that was a fascinating discussion, and thank you for it. 

You wrote:

Anyone looking around would suppose that no child is "competent" until nearly 25 or so when they seem to "sober up" 

I changed 25 to 40 years implying that young people aren't nearly as mature at 25 as they are at 40.  I once listened to a lecture from a financial planner that said no kid should be able to open their trust until 40, better 50.

laugh Um. Well, okay, maybe, perhaps, possibly, age 25 to 30 is too optimistic ... but it is applies to both genders, not just to males ... I don't "do" gender bashing ... I mean, SO FAR, no one has had a say in which gender they were dealt at conception ... (as if they could, anyway, but ...)

PS/ Did get carried away on "personality bashing" evidently, but Ellen Smith "dealt gently with a firm hand" on THAT ... and I THINK I "got it" ... working on it ... 

1 Answer

0 votes

I found in a Spanish speaking forum the question: "What was the age of majority in Spain in 1889?" and as answer a quote of the Civil code of 1889: 

Código Civil de 1889- artículo 320
"La mayor edad empieza a los veintitrés años cumplidos." 

"The majority of age starts at 23 years completed". So on your 23. birthday you were a major in Spain 1889.

by Jelena Eckstädt G2G6 Pilot (575k points)
Código Civil de 1889- artículo 320

"La mayor edad empieza a los veintitrés años cumplidos."

"The majority of age starts at 23 years completed". So on your 23. birthday you were a major in Spain 1889.

smileyWell, yeah, SJ.B. but that's in 1889 and I'm pretty sure no nation leaves the question in the air like that ... and the case in hand (John's) is in 1600's. 

Seems there was an emancipation (legal by court order) at age 14, marriage, and a few this in the early 1600's. Very interesting discussion ... 

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