This article addresses how marital property regimes acted as obstacles to the development of the Yucatán credit market. Marriage is a contract, and historically it carries with it significant financial corollaries. Dowries, marital property regimes, and inheritance laws were all designed to support the economic instrument that marriage represented. There are many other ways in which marriage intersects with markets; this article assesses the role of property rights, and specifically, married women’s property rights, in the credit markets of nineteenth-century Yucatán.
Using mortgage contracts and probate records recorded by notaries, this article analyzes the participation of women in the local mortgage market, taking into account the legal context in which it developed, and explains how legal tradition and civil codes contributed to the distortions that affected women in the local credit market. This article shows specifically that the analysis of women’s participation in economic markets in the nineteenth century must take their marital status into account, as well as the unequal legal position of husbands and wives under the laws of the time, and concludes that marital property rights, and by extension marriage, played an important and unexpected role in the region’s credit market.