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The Jewish And Muslim Minorities In Medieval Portugal

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Chapter Summary

This chapter introduces the reader to the history of the Jewish and Muslim minorities in Portugal during the medieval period up to the 1480s and considers various questions relating to their origins, organisation into autonomous communities under royal protection, the special tax system to which they were subjected and their relations with both the dominant Christian population and the Crown. Vernacular Portuguese documents of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries clearly distinguish between two concepts: the comuna dos judeus or comuna dos mouros and the judiaria or mouraria. The geographical distribution of the Muslim and Jewish comunas in Portugal was markedly different. From the fourteenth century, the Crown frequently granted the taxes rendered by Muslims and Jews to individuals just like any other benefices. The Portuguese legislation of the later Middle Ages enshrined the particular status of Jews and Muslims as protected but inferior subjects of the Crown.

Keywords: Christian kingdom; comuna dos judeus; comuna dos mouros; Islamic taxation; Jewish minority; medieval Portugal; Muslim minority; royal protection



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