James I of Aragon:
Grant of Trade Privileges to Barcelona, 1232
James I, King of Aragon, did much to establish order and good civil government at
the expense of feudal dignitaries. This grant of a charter is the equivalent of the
establishment or confirmation of a gild. Freedom from the attentions of such a variety of
officials must have had a favorable reaction on the commerce of the city.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Be it known to all, both present and future, that
we, James, by the grace of God, King of Aragon, and of the kingdom of Majorca, Count of
Barcelona and Urgell, and Lord of Montpellier, mindful of the many and praiseworthy
services and kindnesses, which you, our beloved and faithful citizens of Barcelona, have
always shown to us and to our predecessors, and which, with faith and devotion, you freely
show today, and wishing to show you special favor, the benefit of which both you and yours
may enjoy forever, we, therefore, by this charter, given on behalf of us and our
successors, enfranchise and make free in every way each and all of our beloved and
faithful citizens, both now and in the future, the inhabitants of Barcelona, with all your
goods and merchandise from all tolls, bridge tolls, municipal tolls, and all tolls and
customs, new and old, decreed or to be decreed, and from all taxes on your goods
everywhere throughout all places in our kingdoms and lands and all places under our
dominion, both by land and sea, and on the river, and going from, staying at, or returning
to the harbor.
Therefore we decree and firmly ordain that no toll-gatherer, collector, taxgatherer,
prefect, majordomo, treasurer, justiciar, bailli, justice or judge, alcalde, mayor, or
bailiff, or any other official of ours, or servant, present or future, shall impede, take
or detain, you, or any one of you, or your officials or messengers, or any of your goods
or merchandise, in any place, by reason of those things from which, as we have said, we
have enfranchised you and yours, but you shall be free, exempt, and quit of all the said
things everywhere, always, and to the innermost parts of our kingdom. And whoever, against
the tenor of this our charter, shall attempt to tax you, or your servants or messengers,
or your goods or merchandise, which you have or shall have in the future, let him know
that he will have incurred without any remedy both our anger and a penalty of a thousand marabotins,
to his cost and at his expense, and that he must make restitution to you fully and in
Given at Barcelona on the 12th of April, in the year of the Lord 1232.
From: A. de Capmany, ed., Memorias Historicas sobre la Marina Comercio y Artes de la
Antigua Ciudad de Barcelona, (Madrid, 1779), Vol. II, p. 13; reprinted in Roy C. Cave
& Herbert H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee:
The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998