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Catalonia Defiant 72 War, Civil And Foreign The Drawing of Swords Catalonia at Bay: Enter Castile Diplomacy, or War by Other Means The Portuguese Saviour In Extremis, France The Castilian Marriage A Rebellion in Ruins The Lost Lands Part Iii. Fernando The Catholic The Monarch Triumphant Bibliography Notes Bibliography: p. View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"?

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The Wreck of Catalonia

University of Sydney Library. Open to the public ; UNSW Library. Open to the public ; Online: Not available for loan Book; Illustrated English Show 0 more libraries OSO version 0. University Press Scholarship Online. Sign in. Not registered? Sign up. Publications Pages Publications Pages. Search my Subject Specializations: Select Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. The Wreck of Catalonia: Civil War in the Fifteenth Century Alan Ryder Abstract This book examines the fate that overtook the principality of Catalonia in the 15th century, reducing it from dominance within the state of Aragon to a marginal role in the Iberian power created by the union of Aragon and Castile.

More This book examines the fate that overtook the principality of Catalonia in the 15th century, reducing it from dominance within the state of Aragon to a marginal role in the Iberian power created by the union of Aragon and Castile. Their demands centered on what had be- redemption fine, the traditional but burdensome pay- come customary ties to their lords that rendered them ments now abolished included seigneurial demands occa- legally unfree, subordinated by more than just being sioned by the death of a peasant without a male heir ex- peasants and paying rent to a landlord.

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These exactions constituted seigneu- wanted to leave their tenancy and be considered free. This some- nature. This so-called ius maletractandi was at once The prolonged uprising in the late 15th century is a legal privilege and yet clearly unjust, even more flagrant- known as the Guerra de les Remences. It is a fundamental ly so than the mals usos.

This, too, was abolished by the event in Catalan history and European history in general decree of which ended the Catalan Civil War. It is as it represents a rare example of a sustained and ultimate- important to emphasise not only the catalogue of differ- ly successful peasant insurrection. A royal decree issued ent exactions weighing on the remences but also the fact by King Ferdinand II of Aragon-Catalonia in the that their subordination was unbreakable except by manumission and was transmitted to their heirs and de- scendants.

Department of History, Yale University.

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell (full audiobook)

Box , New Haven, CT E-mail: paul. Elsewhere, peasant re- Catalan Historical 6 Eng. Throughout the continent, a large class put down but its goals were tacitly achieved with the of agriculturalists tilled the land for both their own sur- weakening of servile impositions, such as in England after vival and the benefit of their lords. There were just a few the unsuccessful rising.

Thus, Catalonia was not at small geographically remote regions where the control of all unusual in experiencing a peasant revolt in the tumul- the rural areas was not exercised by a military, ecclesiasti- tuous social upheaval brought on after the Black Death of cal or commercial elite. Agricultural revenues were in the hands of an aristocracy whose rights extended beyond merely renting out land to cultivators to include jurisdictional control. Although the rulers of Catalonia tended to be quite powerful in comparison with those in other parts of Europe, they were not the sole possessors of legal or mili- tary force.

The landscape of castles that still dominates so much of Catalonia is the legacy of an era in which aristo- cratic domination of the countryside was exercised by military intimidation and competition among members of this privileged upper class. With the fragmentation of political authority, lords ex- ercised rights over peasant tenants that combined what we would consider rent and taxes, blurring the difference between public authority and private property. Lords ob- tained their income from peasants in three basic forms: labour, produce and money. More commonly, the Catalan peasant had to pay a per- centage of what he cultivated.

Standard arrangements included the tasca of one- eleventh of produce and an often supplementary one- seventeenth payment known as braciaticum; however, Figure 1.

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Ferdinand II in the conflict with their lords. Extra percentages might also be tacked on, including tithes, Catalan Historical 6 Eng. The peas- urban settlement. In addition, there and even nobles whose ancestors had been simple cogs in were various forms of seigneurial monopolies which the seigneurial machine. This was a society with consider- could include prohibitions on certain kinds of activities able social dynamism despite its hierarchical ideology.

The oppres- also for a fee. Here, arbitrary power overstepped the bounds oth- er parts of Europe. Serfdom was not the same as slavery Given the onerous nature of the seigneurial regime, because the serfs were allowed to marry and occupied par- the question arises of what distinguished the remences ticular pieces of land rather than being moved around at from free peasants?


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In northeast- ing tool, as slaves were. They might be considered a However, there were tenants who had extensive proper- lower order of humanity, but unlike slaves they formed ties and considerable economic means even though their valid marriages and held property in both land and mov- legal standing was lowly.

Saracens captured for the salt works of Ibiza or the labour of the peasantry to the projects of the elite, but Tartars purchased as household slaves in Barcelona were of course it was hardly the only economic system in world living property, and because they were foreign, there was history to operate for the benefit of a privileged minority.


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  • This was not as vidual fortune, especially in the expansive economic cli- clear for remences, who were not only Christian and so mate of the 12th to 14th centuries. In all parts of medieval Europe there were signs or indi- The difficulty of enforcing such complicated dues affected ces of servitude: payments and obligations that deter- each manse or peasant differently, not to mention the mined whether one was free or enserfed.

    The come an investment, not merely a source of seigneurial abolition of redemption and the other symbolically sig- revenue. There were forms of tenancy in which peasants nificant customs rendered them legally free. Catalonia could gain effective control by subdividing increasingly was unusual not because a substantial number of its peas- valuable land. The aristocratic owner earned a steady in- ants were serfs, but because serfdom was never complete- come while the enterprising tenant could keep the profits ly free of the sense that it violated or at least tended to go from the division and inflation of property characteristic against good customs and the freedom of Catalans.

    Why did peasant servitude seem from peasants. Against the long backdrop of feudalism — to affect only Old Catalonia, the territories ruled by the aristocratic domination of the countryside — and its Christian counts in the post-Carolingian age, and not the complicated methods of control, servile condition is per- regions to the south and west conquered from the Mus- haps not so important. The imposition of the seigneurial lims in the 12th century?

    Why was serfdom in Catalonia regime dated back to the 11th century, perhaps earlier, so significant in terms of numbers of peasants affected and the seigneurial regime persisted well into the modern and the survival of the landed economy when it was ei- era. And why were the peasants successful in important in itself. The legal subordination of the peas- destroying the legal apparatus of serfdom in the 15th antry was a vehicle for economic exploitation, and in ad- century?

    These are fundamental questions connected dition, the conditions of Catalan servitude had a number with the history of Catalan society in the transition from of unusual features that distinguish its history within the the mediaeval to the modern world. The monarch was an ally of the peasants, the imposition of aristocratic control over the lower or- although later Catalan historical memory regards the ders. The great and il war. They also at various times and places regulated been easy to incorporate into either official or romantic commerce and coined money.

    One aspect of this essen- history. Both the remences and the medieval Generalitat the ability to arbitrarily decide what served their own in- have been assimilated into the modern Catalan identity, terests. Castilian domination. The Catalan counts enjoyed unusual power until , It is interesting that the first studies on serfdom in when their position was destabilised in favour of aris- Catalonia were by non-Catalans.

    Vladimir Piskorski wrote tocratic domination by a combination of the influx of Catalan Historical 6 Eng. This recognised the seigneurial rulers and the usurpation by powerful lords who built cas- right to levy a manumission payment, and the king, in tles, defied royal justice, warred against each other and ex- effect, gave up the possibility of settling new tenants re- erted their authority over the peasants.

    The constitution therefore, the origin of the remences, a subjugated class of went further than that of in distinguishing differ- peasants, should be sought in the era of aristocratic domi- ent degrees of lordship based on geography. It refers to nation. As early as the 12th among Catalan tenants, as well as for an unusual exam- century, we have peasant grievances brought before the ple of different laws applied within Catalonia, otherwise king concerning the oppression of lords and royal bailiffs conceived of as a place with a single public law.

    There is a significant dif- new territories disproportionately. A measure of their ference between illicit raids and depredations and the exer- success was that in certain areas of Old Catalonia, espe- cise of institutionally sanctioned repression, even if the cially those near the northern frontier, the lords were hapless victim does not experience the distinction.

    Another forced to grant similar charters in order to prevent the significant element of Catalan serfdom is that it was sup- peasants from leaving to find better conditions nearby posed to receive recognition from the counts, whose power and to induce them to populate the newly-fortified settle- was resurgent after but who nevertheless engaged in a ments.

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    In were serfs. The constitution prohibited peasant second half of the 13th century. The jurist Pere Albert, the tenants of magnates from taking allegations of mistreat- author of what became the authoritative statement of feu- ment to the royal courts. This does not mean that mis- dal customs, defines Old Catalonia as consisting of the treatment was morally justified, but the law made it im- bishopric of Girona, most of the diocese of Vic and that possible to contest it and was thus understood by jurists as part of the diocese of Barcelona lying to the east of the conferring a right exempting lords from normal legal Llobregat.