Rural History 2015

Panel 38

Organizers: Baydal, Vicent (1); Esquilache, Ferran (2)

Affiliation: 1: University of Oxford, United Kingdom; 2: University of Valencia, Spain

Title: The management of natural resources in the medieval Iberian Peninsula. Common institutions?

"One of the particularities of the feudal society in the Iberian Peninsula in comparison with the rest of Europe is that most of its territories were the result of the process of expansion developed between the 11th and 14th centuries against Al-Andalus. Therefore the Christian rural communities were created then, so that they did not evolve from the high middle ages. The conquerors built a new agrarian landscape in accordance with the socioeconomic system prevailing in Western Europe. However, they also inherited a large quantity of farming areas, which they reused and adapted to their own needs, from the Muslim society. Thus, the legislation that let manage those areas was the result of the combination of feudal and Muslim practices.
On another note, the Mediterranean climate is another of the features that differentiate most of the Iberian Peninsula to Atlantic Europe. The shortage of pastures implied regional and social struggles, which were not always dealt by communal institutions. Furthermore, the aridity of the Iberian lands demanded the use of water for irrigation and its scarcity originated conflicts amongst those who had right to use it as a common property. In this connection, irrigation communities of Valencia have been one of the examples used by Elionor Ostrom to establish the basic points of a stable management. Said that, new researches have proved that the control of the water was not always in the hands of irrigators.
Hence, in this session, we seek if there was a true communal management of grazing lands and water sources in the medieval rural communities of the Iberian Peninsula. And if that, how landlords, urban oligarchies and rural elites acted to control them, despite peasantry."



Chair: Frederic Aparisi, University of Valencia, Spain

Paper 1: Who can make use of it? Conflicts for natural resources in the medieval Kingdom of Valencia

Vicent Baydal, University of Oxford, UK; Frederic Aparisi, University of Valencia, Spain

Paper 2: The management of natural resources in the eastern part of the modern-day province of Guadalajara after the Christian conquest

Guillermo García-Contreras, University of Reading-University of Granada, UK-Spain

Paper 3: Rights on water resources in Lleida during feudal colonisation, 1150-1250

Josep Marfull, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain

Paper 4: Governing irrigation. The conflict between feudal power and collective management in the medieval and pre-modern Horta of Valencia

Enric Guinot, University of Valencia, Spain; Ferran Esquilache, University of Valencia, Spain

Paper 5: The domain of water: institutional conflict and social reality. South of the Kingdom of Valencia, 14th-15th centuries

Miriam Parra, University of Alicante, Spain


Suggested deadline for sending completed papers 31 july 2015

© 2014 Rural History 2015