Guild members, taxpayers and the business fabric. Trade Guilds in Braga and Guimarães, 1944-1955
The guilds, corporative employers' organizations, emerged within the framework of corporatism and its organization, instituted by the Estado Novo, as a political and economic-social response to a crisis situation and with dangers lurking (crisis of 1929 and World War II), in an economy with structural vulnerabilities. The regime established was based on a logic of economic and social organization, giving priority to the general interest, through a harmony between the various market players, which the State itself controlled. It is in this
political-ideological context that the corporations and the federations, that would control the national economic decisions, emerge, constituting the guilds (along with the national trade unions, houses of the people and houses of fishermen) the basis of the corporate organization, having as main functions the professional representation and the defence of economic category. Braga and Guimarães commercial guilds
were officially established in June and April 1940, respectively, resulting from the transformation of previous trade associations, which were threatened with dissolution if they chose not to adhere to the corporate policy established by Estado Novo, coming to disappear after the Revolution of April 25, 1974, and the consequent dismantling of the corporate structure. With the use of the archives of both organizations, in possession of the trade associations of Braga and Guimarães, respectively, the objective is to analyse the commercial
fabric created by both organisms, in their dimensions, diversity and economic weight.
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