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Thus, Goitein notes that European Jews would marry their girls early, once they had collected the expected amount of dowry.

A bride price is the amount paid by the groom to the parents of a bride for them to consent to him marrying their daughter.

The legally prescribed marriageable age in some jurisdictions is below 18 years, especially in the case of girls; and even when the age is set at 18 years, many jurisdictions permit earlier marriage with parental consent or in special circumstances, such as teenage pregnancy.

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Such determination of sexual maturity is a matter of subjective judgment, and there is a strong belief among most Muslims and scholars, based on Sharia, that marrying a girl less than 13 years old is an acceptable practice for Muslims.

According to UNFPA, factors that promote and reinforce child marriage include poverty and economic survival strategies; gender inequality; sealing land or property deals or settling disputes; control over sexuality and protecting family honour; tradition and culture; and insecurity, particularly during war, famine or epidemics.

The countries with the highest observed rates of child marriages below the age of 18 are Niger, Chad, Mali, Bangladesh, Guinea and the Central African Republic, with a rate above 60%.

The practice began to be questioned in the 20th century, with the age of individuals' first marriage increasing in many countries and most countries increasing the minimum marriage age.

This practice intensified after the Jewish community was expelled from Spain, and resettled in the Ottoman Empire.

Child marriages among the Eastern Sephardic Jews continued through the 18th century in Islamic majority regions.

The difficulty to save and preserve wealth for dowry was common, particularly in times of economic hardship, or persecution, or unpredictable seizure of property and savings.

These difficulties pressed families to betroth their girls, irrespective of her age, as soon as they had the resources to pay the dowry.

In many cases, only one marriage-partner is a child, usually the female.

Causes of child marriages include poverty, bride price, dowry, cultural traditions, laws that allow child marriages, religious and social pressures, regional customs, fear of remaining unmarried, illiteracy, and perceived inability of women to work for money.

Child marriages were common throughout history for a variety of reasons including poverty, insecurity, as well as for political and financial reasons.

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