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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

The Almohades were particularly intolerant


_Navarre_

[Sidenote: Navarre passes under French rule.]

There is little worth recording in the history of Navarre in this period. After the separation from Aragon in 1134 Navarre engaged periodically in civil strife and in wars with Aragon or Castile. When the throne became vacant in 1234 the French count of Champagne was elected king, and, with this, Navarre was, for many years, more involved in the history of France than in that of Spain. At length the heiress of Navarre married Philip IV of France, whereupon Navarre ceased to be a kingdom, becoming a mere dependency of the French monarch.

CHAPTER VIII

SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ORGANIZATION IN SPAIN, 1031-1276

_Moslem Spain_

[Sidenote: Absolutism in government.]

The principle of absolute monarchy continued to be followed in Moslem Spain, and was even accentuated, whether in the eras of the _taifas_, or at times of a single dominion. Indeed, this was virtually the case while the _taifas_ were still republics, although they soon converted themselves into confessed monarchies. In furtherance of absolutism an excess of court ceremonial was introduced, and the rulers rarely allowed their faces to be seen, holding audiences, for example, from behind a curtain.

The _taifa_ kings amassed great wealth, and their palaces were overflowing with luxury.

[Sidenote: Social factors in Moslem Spain.]

The most important social change was the complete overthrow of the Arabic element, leaving the Berbers and Renegados in control. Arabic influence had already done its work, however, and the passing of the contemporary members of that race did not mean the uprooting of Arabic traits in Spain. Social well-being declined, owing to the various factors of war, the development of vast landed estates (at the expense of the small proprietor), and the increase in taxation. The Jews enjoyed great consideration for a while, exercising an important influence in material, intellectual, and even political affairs. Under the Almoravides and Almohades they were severely persecuted, and many of them emigrated to Castile, where for the time being they were well received. The Moz?rabes were also persecuted, and in increasing degree with the advance of the Christians, for they aided not a little in the reconquest. Many of them were taken north by the Christian kings when they returned from their invasions, whereupon those remaining in Moslem territory were all the more harshly treated. The Almohades were particularly intolerant.

_Le?n and Castile_

[Sidenote: Nobles and clergy.]

The nobility continued to be the most important social class, with much the same differences of grade among themselves, the same authority and privileges, and the same tendencies to war against the king and with one another and to commit acts of violence and robbery as in the preceding period. The conflict of the nobility as a class against the king took definite shape, and a numerous new nobility, the _caballeros_ (knights), sprang up. The _caballeros_ proceeded from the plebeian ranks, being composed of those who could equip themselves for war as cavalrymen. Although they gained certain privileges, such as exemptions from taxation, thus weakening the king's power, they served in fact as a counterpoise to the hereditary noble class. They were much favored by the kings, who needed well-equipped soldiers for their wars. The clergy made distinct gains as regards personal immunities and the freedom of their lands from the usual obligations, especially from that of taxation. This bettering of their position was not the result of general laws, but rather of the accumulation of individual privileges, granted now to one religious institution, now to another. Their advantages in these respects were not always well received by others, and objections were made, especially by the popular element, through their representatives in the national _Cortes_ (Congress, or Parliament),--of which institution presently.


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