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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Thus the ordinance of Valladolid


[Sidenote:

Improved basis of rural society.]

[Sidenote: Slavery.]

The rural servile classes, which had all but won complete personal liberty in the preceding period, attained both that and nearly complete economic liberty at this time. Thus the ordinance of Valladolid, in 1325, prohibited the lords from retaining either the realty or the personalty of any man who should move from seigniorial to royal lands, preserving the owner's right to cultivate or sell his lands, and to make any use he saw fit of his personal effects. The ordinance of Alcal?, of 1348, took a step backward, limiting the owner's freedom of sale, lest the lands fall into privileged, non-taxpaying hands, and requiring him to keep somebody on the land, so that there might always be a taxpayer there. Finally, the ideal of the ordinance of Valladolid prevailed. At the same time, the old servile relation whereby the lord procured the cultivation of his own lands changed to one of landlord and tenant, based on the payment of a stipulated rent. The fact that there were no social struggles in Castile in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries is evidence of the comparatively satisfactory condition of the rural classes. Naturally, there were abuses of an extra-legal character by the nobles, such as the forced loans exacted by them, the compulsory marriages of rich widows to members of a lord's following, and outright robbery, but the real interests of the lords

called for them to use conciliatory measures to attract population, and some of them at least did follow that policy. Personal slavery still continued, but the number of slaves was very greatly diminished and gradually got smaller,--a tendency which was favored by the laws.

[Sidenote: Treatment of the Mud?jares.]

The free Mud?jares continued to receive lenient treatment, and their numbers increased greatly; many of the Moslem faith preferred to leave Granada and live in Christian Castile. The legislation of Alfonso X put them under the royal protection and allowed them to have their own courts and their own law. They were permitted to retain the mosques they already had, but were forbidden to build new ones; they could not worship in public in places settled chiefly by Christians, but otherwise no objection was made; the obligations of former times as regards taxation, mode of dress, and dealings with Christians were also retained; and the gathering of Mud?jares into the cities, despite the greater number of restrictions imposed upon them, went on, caused by the abuses of an unofficial character to which they were subjected at the hands of the Christian population in the country. In later reigns the restrictions were increased, but many of them were not enforced. In fact, the Mud?jares enjoyed greater prosperity in the last reign of the era than at any other time of the period, being a wealthy and important social element, represented at court even, and enjoying a number of advantages which for a long time had been denied them.

[Sidenote: Harsh measures against the Jews.]

[Sidenote: The Marranos.]

For a while the legal situation of the Jews was comparable to that of the Mud?jares, but the Christian clergy was particularly vindictive against the former, and


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