With distance in between: the heritage, politics and exile of the Guell-Comillas in Spain in the interwar period (1918-1945) Articles uri icon



publication date

  • December 2018

start page

  • 787

end page

  • 816


  • 260


  • 78

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0018-2141


  • The article aims to analyse the period between the two World Wars in Spain from a particular point of view, considering how this turbulent period was experienced by one of Spain's great families, the Guell-Comillas, who acquired their assets and influence during the nineteenth century. Using different primary sources from the Spanish National Historical Archive, the National Archive of Catalonia, the Documentary Centre for Historical Memory and the Archive of the former IRYDA, we study the roles played by Juan Antonio Guell Lopez (Third Marquis of Comillas) and Juan Claudio Guell Churruca (Count of Ruisenada) in Spanish public life between 1918 and 1945. We use a combination of prosopography and historical events to observe the internal rationale of this family's behaviour at a difficult time for everybody, even the elite. The conflicts arising from the crisis of the Restoration, the Second Republic, the Civil War and early Francoism, not only failed to remove the Comillas from their economic and political activism, but placed them centre stage giving them a particularly active and accommodative role, albeit from different positions on the conservative spectrum, at what was a highly complex time.


  • elites; political influence; interwar period; landlord; business; plutocracy