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Asclepio. 1997;49(2):101-32.

[Prostitution, the state, and society in Spain. The regulation of prostitution under the monarchy of Isabel II (1854-1868)].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

  • 1Instituto de Estudios Hispánicos, Université François Rabelais, Tours, France.


After two centuries of official abolition, regulated prostitution came back during the reign of Isabella II and particularly from the Progresist period onwards (1854-1856). After recalling the origins of such regulations (1845-1847) and the rules applied in Madrid, which are worth noting because of their importance and influence, we are presenting the different decrees enforced in some regions of Spain (and particularly in the province of Cadiz), in a chronological way which enables the reader to understand the formation, administrative and medical, of these regulations. Instead of putting the prostitute in a house of correction or expelling her from the town as done before, these regulations would put her in a brothel, pretending that she would not move freely and that she would regularly be controlled concerning sexually transmitted diseases. The tolerance of prostitution confirmed as well the space and role of brothels in the social life of the main Spanish towns.

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