This is a study of the development of Barcelona's cotton industry from its origins in calico-printing in 1728 to its introduction of steampower in 1832. It thus describes the experiences of the leading industry of the city, and one which provides the only Mediterranean exception to the tendency of early industrialization to be concentrated in northern Europe. The book bridges the 'pre-industrial' and early 'industrial' periods, offering answers to such questions as: what caused 'merchant capital' to move into industrial investment? what were the links between 'pre-industrial' industrial activity and industrialization proper? is it apt to refer to the economic changes of these years as an 'industrial revolution'? should industrialization be studied on a regional or a national basis? A further purpose is to provide an interpretation of the characteristics of the Catalan economy and of its relationship to that of Spain as a whole thereby contributing to the understanding of the 'Catalan question'.