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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Distribution within Castile was not well developed


_Valencia_

[Sidenote: Distinctive features in Valencian political life.]

In some parts of Valencia the law of Aragon applied, but the usual rule, especially after the victory of Pedro IV, was the jurisdiction of the laws, or _furs_, granted by Jaime I, added to, or modified by, the grants of different kings and the ordinances of the _Cortes_. The law of Barcelona applied in a number of towns which were joined to that city by the institution of _carreratge_. In general administration the practices were much the same as those mentioned for Castile. The extreme harshness of judicial punishments, possibly surpassing other regions, may be noted. The death penalty was habitually given, and various cruel methods of execution were employed. A sentence of imprisonment was rarely inflicted. The greatness of the city of Valencia was almost as noteworthy in this part of Spain as that of Barcelona in Catalonia. Valencia put itself at the head of the Union which fought Pedro IV, only to go down in defeat.

CHAPTER XV

ECONOMIC ORGANIZATION IN SPAIN, 1252-1479

_Castile_

[Sidenote: General factors of Castilian economic life.]

A continuation in this era of the factors which had tended in the preceding period to develop

material resources brought about progress in agriculture, stock-raising, mining, industry, and commerce, although it was not great enough to cause general economic prosperity. The stock-raisers, as before, received more favors than their rivals, the farmers, and it was at this time that the powerful corporation of sheepmen, the _Mesta_, was formed. Alfonso X granted charters to various of these corporations, entitling them to elect _alcaldes_ with special jurisdiction in the affairs of the _Mesta_ and its disputes with the farmers. The different organizations were united in the reign of Alfonso XI to form a single Castilian _Mesta_, a body which possessed immense power. Gold, silver, quicksilver, and lead mines were worked to some extent; these, with salt mines and fisheries, constituted a royal monopoly, but were exploited by private individuals who paid rent to the kings. The advance in industry was particularly marked. Santiago de Compostela no longer enjoyed a unique position as a manufacturing centre, for every important town now had its industries devoted to supplying the needs of daily life and the exigencies of a growing artistic refinement, as evidenced by the wealth in jewelry, arms, architecture and its appurtenances, furniture, rich embroideries, and other articles far superior in quality and quantity to those of the preceding era. The towns conquered from the Moslems, especially the city of Seville, were particularly noteworthy for their industrial life. Among the principal commercial outlets for Castilian products were the ports of the Basque provinces; their exports seem to have been chiefly raw materials, but there were also such items as cloth, wine, oil, and sugar. It is probable, however, that most of the manufacturing done in the Castilian towns was for the consumption of the towns themselves and a very limited neighboring area. Distribution within Castile was not well developed, for many of the same (or similar) products as those exported were also imported. Industry and commerce were very largely in the hands of foreigners, Jews, and Mud?jares.


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