Medieval Colonialism: Postcrusade Exploitation of Islamic Valencia

Medieval Colonialism: Postcrusade Exploitation of Islamic Valencia

Robert Ignatius Burns
Copyright Date: 1975
Pages: 424
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Medieval Colonialism: Postcrusade Exploitation of Islamic Valencia
    Book Description:

    This first major study of tax structure in pre-Renaissance Spain gives new insight into the condition of the conquered people of postcrusade Valencia. Drawing on tax records, it provides the reader with a fascinating glimpse of life among the thirteenth century Mudejars. By showing the financial links between a medieval ethnic enclave and the dominant society, the author illuminates aspects of intergroup relations that have previously been neglected. This volume is the second in the author's trilogy on Muslim society in Eastern Spain.

    Originally published in 1976.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6759-2
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xxiv)
    (pp. xxv-2)
  6. CHAPTER I The Crusader Kingdom of Valencia
    (pp. 3-16)

    King James the Conqueror had just turned twenty-five when he rode out of Teruel, late in the spring of 1233, to lead his invading army down a hinterlands road into the heart of the Moorish kingdom of Valencia. Young in years, he was haloed by the charisma of greatness. Already he had humbled the island principality of Majorca, littering its battlefields with slain Muslims and taking its walled capital bloodily by storm. Now, as he rode under the crimson-and-gold barred standard of his confederated Arago-Catalan realms, his royal person caught even the casual eye. “This king was the most imposing...

  7. CHAPTER II The Economics of Crusade Victory
    (pp. 17-40)

    At the ideological level, the subordination of Islam was the main preoccupation of the crusaders. At the more immediate human or social level the theme of chivalric function was repeatedly sounded. In terms of abiding advantage, however, the permanent acquisition of tax sources moved crusade leaders deeply. Understanding of the crusade begins here, according to one historian of Valencia, so that explanations in terms of opposed religions disorient the researcher by posing a false problem; to get taxes the crusaders would concede almost anything.¹ He makes his point too strongly, but it remains true that official and administrative leadership saw...

  8. CHAPTER III Public Monopolies and Utilities
    (pp. 41-78)

    Community services, centering on some establishment vital to daily living, were often reserved as a monopoly for tax purposes. Such a rental harvest inevitably provided a basic source of crown income. The concomitant records open a window on the life of the common man. Service concessions recur constantly in Christian property grants, sometimes released to a vassal, community, or individual, sometimes retained for farming at a share of profits or for a flat rent, and sometimes managed by a salaried executive responsible to the local bailiff. Mudejar communities, when not sharing the Christians’ utilities, operated their own in much the...

  9. CHAPTER IV Life and Work: Household, Community, Commercial, and Agrarian Charges
    (pp. 79-120)

    Besides the daily utilities to which a steady flow of customers had recourse, the most obvious sources of Mudejar tax revenue were static social units and productive activity. The units were family and aljama; the economic activity was commercial or agrarian. A central tax fell in each area, with auxiliary taxes as circumstances warranted. Of auxiliary taxes, the irrigation and military were important enough to require separate consideration in the next chapter, where lesser auxiliary charges can join them in a miscellany of the pastoral, esoteric, occasional, or relatively trivial. Antecedent to all else were the fundamental taxes on life...

  10. CHAPTER V Spectrum: Water, War, Salt, Moneyage, Livestock, Labor Services, Hospitality, and Fines
    (pp. 121-179)

    The tributary, monopoly-utility, industrial, commercial, and agrarian charges framed in turn a complex of lesser burdens. The Valencian Muslim paid compulsory religious alms and a salt gabelle; his aljama yielded its share of punitive fines. A baker’s dozen of general impositions completed the structure: especially the water tax, host and cavalcade, hospitality, labor services, moneyage, pasturage, stock fees, protection money, treasure trove, and contract fees. Some of these varied their names, bred allied subforms, or found multiple application; into the interstices of their structure the purely local or specialized taxes fitted. Though often collected separately, hardly any were uniquely Mudejar....

  11. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  12. CHAPTER VI Treasure, Tithe, Fees, and Miscellany
    (pp. 180-210)

    No matter how infrequent or trivial, any tax can illumine the daily life of its supporters. Some charges are of so bizarre a nature, or so obscure in the surviving records, as to call for treatment apart. Most Mudejars did not pay tithe; few chanced upon buried treasure; and those who contributed toward the vice taxes remained, one piously trusts, a minority. Yet each of these revenue sources tells something about Valencia’s Mudejars. Entering upon marriage, on the other hand, drawing a will, gathering firewood, buying property, or traveling overseas were more common undertakings, shared by a goodly percentage of...

  13. CHAPTER VII Harvesting the Taxes
    (pp. 211-247)

    The administrative structure of King James’s realms was as yet rudimentary, his bureaucracy embryonic and thinly staffed. How then could he manage so many taxes? Mudejar custom provided the framework for solution at the local level. Mechanisms within aljamas, moreover, could be preserved and somehow controlled. The kingdom-wide scale of collection posed a special problem. The formative status of Valencia insured as well a certain amount of squabbling. Complicating the study of all facets of Mudejar tax collection is a chronological factor. During the fluid first phases of colonial government, especially in areas dominantly Mudejar, it made sense to intrude...

  14. CHAPTER VIII Collectories: Muslim, Christian, Jew
    (pp. 248-322)

    Despite the general evidence of Mudejars acting as financiers and tax farmers, there is a dearth of specific detail and examples. Did the Muslim work at so low a collecting level, or at so peripheral a fringe, as not to enter the overall tax records? Were his accounts all assumed and transformed as part of some intermediary Christian’s accounts? Or is he lying concealed in surviving documents under a different formality and name?

    Approaching the problem aprioristically, one explanation might be that theamīnreceiving an aljama’s revenues was in fact an entrepreneurial tax farmer, like his counterpart the Christian...

  15. CHAPTER IX Delinquents, Anomalies, and Exemptions
    (pp. 323-343)

    If the revenue collector’s lot is not a happy one, much less so is the path of the tax delinquent. What happened when Mudejars found themselves in straitened circumstances or refused to pay the rent? Several lines of retreat lay open: public reduction of the community’s debt, personal or group exemption, temporary postponement of the obligation, borrowing from the local usurer, or flight.

    Private or public, debt was a serious fault. The tax collector was empowered to confiscate the delinquent’s assets until he paid and even to auction them off. As a final dire fate for Christian or Muslim the...

  16. CHAPTER X The Human Factor
    (pp. 344-348)

    Money talks; but its conversational range is limited. Tax records cannot recreate the full life of Valencia’s Mudejar community. They tell little about its spiritual or intellectual dynamics. The cautionary tale of its interrelations with Christians, issuing both in violent riots and in curiously osmotic adaptations, lies in a penumbra just beyond the field of vision afforded by revenue rolls. What insights they do contribute are considerable, however; had circumstances destroyed all other documentation, tax materials alone would suffice to discover whole facets of that society. They reveal it moreover from a novel vantage, uncovering a view not otherwise accessible....

    (pp. 349-376)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 377-394)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 395-395)