The Industrial Revolution in Barcelona


The history of the Industrial Revolution in Barcelona begins in the 18th century, a process in which Barcelona was a pioneer.

This route aims to discover this process of industrialization throughout the history of Barcelona, being the starting point the mercantile origins of the city and its integration into the great international trade during the late eighteenth century, given mainly by the export of spirits and the manufacture of indianas.

La Revolucion industrial en Barcelona, siglo XVIII, industrialización, política franquista

We show you the main reasons for the industrial revolution in Barcelona.

The production of the Indianas and the appearance of the steam engine were able to generate the economic, technological and institutional conditions that made possible, during the first half of the 19th century, the appearance of the first modern industries in Spain.

The first was the steam factory of Bonaplata y Cía.

In the Poblenou district, textile industries were installed, but also a large number of flour mills, as well as factories in many other sectors (food, distillery, metallurgy, etc.).

At the same time, small workshops and warehouses were created. This great industrial concentration in the neighborhood caused Poblenou to be known as the “Catalan Manchester”.


In our route and visit through the industrial revolution we will discuss:

  • Greats events that occurred in the twentieth century and that impacted the economy.
  • Topographical evolution and social organization of Barcelona.
  • Economic downfall that came with Franco’s policies.
  • The serious crisis of the textile sector in the 1970s and the 1992 Olympic Games.

Many of these transformations were not very respectful of the valuable industrial heritage of the neighborhood and, therefore, many of the industrial buildings were demolished.

In recent years, however, social awareness of the historical and architectural importance of these buildings has increased significantly and their preservation is more protected.

Therefore, an important industrial heritage still remains standing in Poblenou.


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