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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

When Jaime I conquered Valencia


[Sidenote: The royal power in the social and political life of Valencia.]

When Jaime I conquered Valencia, he had an opportunity to put into effect some of his ideas with regard to strengthening the principle of monarchy, and did not fail to take advantage of it. In the distribution of lands among the nobles, the king was recognized as the only lord; furthermore, the majority of the lands were given outright, in small parcels, to middle class proprietors, subject only to the royal and the neighborhood taxes. Most of the recipients were Catalans, and thus the Catalan civilization came to predominate in Valencia. The most numerous body of the population, however, was that of the Mud?jares. Many of these were not molested in their estates and their business, and some were even granted lands, but the majority were obliged to pay heavy taxes in return for the royal protection. The Mud?jar uprisings led to the introduction of more rigorous measures. In political affairs, too, Jaime I established a system more favorable to monarchy. The nobles wished to have the Aragonese law apply, but the king introduced new legislation whereby the greater part of the authority rested with him. The Valencian _Cortes_, of three branches, dates from 1283.

_Balearic Islands_

[Sidenote: Similarly in the Balearic Islands.]


I pursued the same policy in the Balearic Islands as in Valencia, avoiding the evils of feudalism, and treating the Mud?jares well,--for here too they were in the majority.


[Sidenote: Feudalism and French influences in Navarre.]

The extreme of feudal organization, similar to that in Aragon, existed in Navarre. French peoples were an important element in the population, and the power of the monks of Cluny was unusually great. Although the kings established hereditary succession, the nobles continued to be virtually absolute on their estates. The towns did not become as important a power as elsewhere in Spain, and it was not until the next era, possibly in the year 1300, that their representatives were admitted to the _Cortes_.



_Moslem Spain_

[Sidenote: Economic vicissitudes.]

The political vicissitudes of Moslem Spain could not fail to have an unfavorable effect on industry and commerce. The economic decline did not at once manifest itself and was not continuous in any event, for the periods of depression were often followed by others of great prosperity. Agriculture, industry, and the arts profited by new impulses, and trade was carried on with eastern Mediterranean lands. The Christian conquests meant an end of these commercial relations, but many of the industries survived in the hands of Moslems, now become Mud?jares.

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