Friday 14 April 2023
14.00 - 16.00
Seigneurial Power and Peasant Agency in the Crown of Aragon during the Late Middle Ages. I
Sandra Aliaga Ugencio :
Owning and Making Use of Land in the Rural Terms of Zaragoza (XIIIth and XIVth Centuries)
Guillermo Vijil Picot
Vicente Royo Pérez
The ways of owning and making use of the land surrounding the city of Zaragoza during the Late Middle Ages is a topic slightly studied in the past. Almost the only exception is the contribution of María Isabel Falcón in the 80s of the last century, who mentioned some information ... (Show more)
The ways of owning and making use of the land surrounding the city of Zaragoza during the Late Middle Ages is a topic slightly studied in the past. Almost the only exception is the contribution of María Isabel Falcón in the 80s of the last century, who mentioned some information about the cultivable areas inside the city. Although the availability of rich primary sources, that have already allowed the clarification of the administrative and toponymic facet of the issue, the medieval studies about Zaragoza have not delved yet into the agrarian matter.
This paper aims to partially fill this gap and, more specifically, to understand how the neighbours of Zaragoza accessed to their properties, which could have possessed directly or indirectly. This research takes in account the lands surrounding the urban area, placed in a privileged space regarding its irrigation, provided majorly from the rivers Ebro, Gallego and Huerva, that flow around the city. With respect to the chronological frame, the last decades of XIIIth century and the first half of the XIVth century will be studied. Due to the increasing availability of prime sources, the XIVth century will be mainly attended to. This fact arises from the notarial documentation, preserved in Zaragoza since 1316. As a result, quite different kinds of documents related to the issue of this paper are likely to be considered. Some examples are: buying and selling contracts, agreements about the emphyteusis of lands, regular payments linked to those transfers, inheritances, donations, loans or marriage contracts, among others.
In order to make some approaches to the issue, it is necessary to identify the agents. In other words, one of the objectives is to know who possessed and made used of the land in Zaragoza during the time given. Methodologically, it turns into the application of prosopography to the information reunited from the primary and secondary sources. As a result, this research is expected to be able to give quantitative and qualitative information about the ways of working on those lands. In addition, secondary objectives refer to the kind of crops and their relevance, commercialisation and profitability; to their purpose, which could be associated to self-supply or not only; to the way of transmitting the possession, the different value of the lands depending on their location and the role of religious minorities in the matter. In conclusion, it is intended to offer a general approach to the topic with the purpose of opening new research paths about the later medieval capital city of Aragon and its inhabitants. (Show less)
Mario Lafuente Gómez :
Centralised Feudal Rents and Peasant Economy in Aragon at the Beginning of the Reign of Peter the Ceremonious (1336-1346)
In the 13th century, European feudal states began a process of transformation that was generally characterised by the strengthening of sovereign powers and the development of forms of domination and instruments of government capable of acting effectively over the whole society. This process was experienced in different ways in each ... (Show more)
In the 13th century, European feudal states began a process of transformation that was generally characterised by the strengthening of sovereign powers and the development of forms of domination and instruments of government capable of acting effectively over the whole society. This process was experienced in different ways in each European territory, but there are some common features that were particularly evident in those areas under the authority of a monarch. Among them, it should be outlined the configuration of fiscal systems that were increasingly sophisticated and, at the same time, better controlled by the royal power, whose objectives went far beyond the economic support of the figure of the sovereign to cover a wide range of functions related to the government of the territory and its population. Indeed, the strengthening of royal power meant, among other things, the consolidation of royal taxation and the creation of solvent administrative systems capable of responding effectively to the cash demands of the monarchy and the state as a whole.
One of the factors that most actively influenced the transformation of royal taxation was the need to renew the bonds of dependence established with the aristocratic groups, whose loyalty depended to a large extent on the monarchy's ability to cede assets in the form of territorial domains or, more commonly at this time, of rent lots emanating from the royal patrimony. This is the origin of the centralised feudal rent and the so-called feudos de bolsa, which in Aragon began to be distributed in the time of Peter the Catholic (1196-1213) and occupied a central place in the relationship between monarchy and nobility until at least the end of the reign of Peter the Ceremonious (1336-1387). Although this phenomenon is not unknown to the Aragonese historiography, the studies carried out to date have mainly dealt with it from perspectives centred either on the monarchy or on the aristocracy. However, the effects of the system on the peasant economies that sustained it, through the payment of the exactions required by the royal power, have been much less explored so far. This paper is part of the latter line of research and aims to analyse the repercussions of the centralised feudal rent on the Aragonese countryside in the first decade of the reign of Peter the Ceremonious (1336-1346). (Show less)
Núria Pacheco Catalán :
Landscape Transformation in Tortosa (Catalunya, Spain) after the Christian Conquest (1148-1213)
During the twelfth century the Catalan conquests experienced a great boost. Between 1105 (Balaguer) and 1153 (Miravet) all the territory known as Catalunya Nova was conquered; besides, during this period the ultimate colonization of Camp de Tarragona started. The conquest of Tortosa by Count Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona in ... (Show more)
During the twelfth century the Catalan conquests experienced a great boost. Between 1105 (Balaguer) and 1153 (Miravet) all the territory known as Catalunya Nova was conquered; besides, during this period the ultimate colonization of Camp de Tarragona started. The conquest of Tortosa by Count Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona in 1148 was one of the major achievements of the process. These military campaigns must be included in the context of the Second Crusade, backed by Pope Eugene III.
Although the capitulation charter seemed to promote the permanence of indigenous population, in practical terms the Muslim were expelled nearly en mass and replaced by Christian colonists from the north. The possessions of the former inhabitants were distributed among the colonists by means of a mechanism known as repartimiento. The repartimiento can be considered a two-fold tool: on the one hand, it compensated those who had taken part in the conquest of the city; on the other it was a key instrument to consolidate Christian control over the territory, as the new settlers were compelled to stay in their properties. Therefore, the arrival of settlers ensured the military conquest and made it irreversible.
The conquerors adapted, took advantage of, and modified the agrarian spaces in accordance with the guidelines related to the production, management, and capture of feudal income. Thus, they expanded the cultivated area, exploiting areas that had been left uncultivated until the moment. They also promoted certain crops, such as cereals and the planting of vineyards or olive trees. Finally, they promoted the construction of mills and all their associated hydraulic system. The aim of this paper is to deepen in this kind of landscape transformation through the study of Occitan settlers in Catalunya Nova, one of the collectives which partook in the process of occupation and transformation of the crops and lands. (Show less)
Vicente Royo Pérez :
The Peasantry and the Government of Rural Communities in the Kingdom of Valencia (XIIIth-XVth Centuries)
After the conquest of the 13th century, dozens of rural communities were founded in the Kingdom of Valencia. Originally, these villages were endowed by the Crown and the lords with incipient mechanisms for managing collective affairs. As the years went by, rural society became established and the peasantry aspired to ... (Show more)
After the conquest of the 13th century, dozens of rural communities were founded in the Kingdom of Valencia. Originally, these villages were endowed by the Crown and the lords with incipient mechanisms for managing collective affairs. As the years went by, rural society became established and the peasantry aspired to obtain greater control over local issues, a project that materialised in the first third of the 14th century. In this context, rural communities incorporated the power to administer justice in their municipal terms, acquired the ability to issue the necessary regulations to administer all aspects related to daily life and obtained the right to manage taxes at the local level. Thanks to all these achievements, the municipal system was institutionalised in the countryside and the peasantry obtained and enormous capacity to govern the villages, without the intervention of royal or seigneurial agents.
Our intention is to study this process of strengthening social and political structures in the Valencia rural areas. To do this, we will combine the analysis of different types of sources –privileges, scrolls, local registers, and regulations– and we will focus our attention on the daily administration of the government of the villages by the peasantry. As a last resort, our objective is to know the functioning of rural municipalities and discern the degree of autonomy achieved by the peasantry in the management of daily affairs, without forgetting the internal conflicts that this caused within rural society. (Show less)