The most important social groups in peninsular Spain were:

  • THE CATHOLIC CHURCH was powerful and wealthy. They had large states which could not be sold as well as they received donations of land. These were rented in exchange of money. The main sources of church income came from rents and the tithes paid by the peasants and parishers. They did not pay taxes.

  • THE NOBLES could not have manual Jobs because they were dishonourable. They owned lands which the eldest son inherited but could not sell. Then the younger sons could join the army or the church. They did not pay taxes but they collected tolls in their estates.

  • THE THIRD STATE was made up of the rest of the population. Many of them were peasants They were very poor and lived in the countryside. They did not own land so they rented it from the church or  nobles or worked for a wage in larger estates. Members of the bourgeoisie invested in land rather than bussiness and wanted to buy a noble title to pay less taxes. So bourgeoisie was reduced and they mainly were merchants.

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