The Repartition Books

Following major military conquests to the South and the East by the Crowns of Aragon and Castile in the mid-13th century, these areas were settled by Christians to whom the homes and estates of the Muslim inhabitants were redistributed. To carry out this programme, the kings appointed commissions (whose members were known as partitores or partitioners) who divided up the homes, lands, assets and rights among the conquerors, according to their merits and social standing. These transfers of property were formalized in the form of deeds given to the beneficiaries, but they were also recorded in books in abbreviated form, stating the names of the beneficiaries, the assets transferred, measurements, location and other information, along with the legal transactions relating to the distribution of lands, property and rights among the conquerors and new settlers. This undertaking was in this way documented in these register books known as repartimientos or repartition books.

Salto de línea It is not known exactly how many of these books were produced over the course of the 13th century by the Crown of Castile. One of the very oldest is that of Córdoba (dated 1236). The most well-known is that of Seville (dated 1253-58), but in this kingdom alone another five books from the 13th century have been preserved (in order of antiquity, those of Carmona, Écija, Jerez, Cádiz and Véjer de la Frontera), although there are references to others, such as that of Niebla. In the Levante region, those of Murcia, Lorca and Orihuela have been conserved (produced circa 1272-1273). In the Crown of Aragon, the same system was also used in the kingdoms of Majorca and Valencia. Four codices remain of the “repartition books” of Majorca, originally written around 1230-1232, one of them, a later one is kept at the Archives of the Crown of Aragon. That of Valencia has a completely different format to others that were made in the 13th century.Salto de línea