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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Sidenote War of the Comunidades in Castile


[Sidenote:

War of the _Comunidades_ in Castile.]

Meanwhile, a riot in Toledo, promoted by the nobles whom Charles had ordered arrested, converted itself into a veritable revolt when the royal _corregidor_ was expelled from the city. This action was stated to have been taken in the name of the _Comunidad_, or community, of Toledo, and served to give a name to the uprising which now took place in all parts of Castile. Deputies to the _Cortes_ who had been faithless to their trust, some of whom had accepted bribes from the king, were roughly handled upon their return home, and city after city joined Toledo in proclaiming the _Comunidad_. In July, 1520, delegates of the rebellious communities met, and formed the _Junta_ of ?vila, which from that town and later from Tordesillas and Valladolid served as the executive body of the revolution. For a time the _Junta_ was practically the ruling body in the state; so complete was the overturn of royal authority that Cardinal Adrian and his advisers made no attempt to put down the rebellion. Time worked to the advantage of the king, however. The revolt of Toledo had begun as a protest of the nobles and clergy against the imposition of taxes against them. The program of the _Junta_ of ?vila went much further than that, going into the question of the grievances of the various social classes. At length many of the _comuneros_ began to indulge in acts of violence and revenge against those by whom they regarded themselves

as having been oppressed, and the movement changed from one of all the classes, including the nobles, against the royal infractions of law and privileges, to one of the popular element against the lords. Thus the middle classes, who objected to the disorder of the times as harmful to business, and the nobles, in self-defence, began to take sides with the king. City after city went over to Charles, and late in 1520 the government was strong enough to declare war on the communities still faithful to the _Junta_. Dissension, treason, and incompetent leadership furthered the decline of the popular cause, and in 1521 the revolt was crushed at the battle of Villalar. Charles promised a general pardon, but when he came to Spain in 1522 he caused a great many to be put to death. Not until 1526 did he show a disposition to clemency. Moreover he retained his Flemish advisers.

[Sidenote: Social wars in Valencia and Majorca.]

During the period of the revolt of the _Comunidades_ in Castile even more bitter civil wars were going on in Valencia (1520-1522) and Majorca (1521-1523). The contest in Valencia was a social conflict from the start, of plebeians against the lords, whereas the Castilian conflict was fundamentally political. In Majorca the strife began over pressure for financial reforms, but developed into an attempt to eliminate the nobility altogether. Both uprisings were independent of the Castilian revolt, although serving to aid the latter through the necessary diversion of troops. As in Castile, so in Valencia and Majorca, Charles took sides against the popular element, and put down the insurrections, displaying great severity toward the leaders.

[Sidenote: Charles' difficulties in Germany and war with France.]

While the civil wars were at their height Charles was having more than his share of trouble in other quarters. The princes of Germany compelled him to sign


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