In April of 1401, the Hospital de la Santa Creu was inaugurated in Barcelona. The ecclesiastical and civil authorities saw with pride the realization of this project, for it had long been considered an urgent and "public" need for the city. The Papacy and Martin de Aragón supported the initiative, offering various privileges for the institution in order to increase the necessary resources. The distinctive feature of this institution is that, by bring all of the existing hospitals under one roof, it was the only hospital in the city and had different sections for the sick, poor, abandoned children, mad people, among others. Moreover, the hospital was configured as an autonomous and mixed entity. Both the councilors of the city and the canons of the cathedral were responsible for its organisation.
The aim of this presentation is to measure the polyphony of the first general hospital on the Iberian Peninsula. The peculiarity of this study is that this institution is configured both as a microcosm of the city itself and as an open window enabling us to understand the complex concepts of poverty, charity and assistance. More specifically, the wealth of documents preserved in the Archive of the Hospital of Santa Creu and Sant Pau as well as in the Historical Archive of the Library of Catalonia make it possible to understand the practices and forms of resistance of the population residing in the hospital, adapting to the norms or establishing alternative and solidary strategies.
This seminar is part of the activities carried out in the framework of the RESISTANCE project.