James I of Aragon:
Improvement of Harbor Facilities in Barcelona, 1243
King James made an effort to improve the shipping facilities of Barcelona and to
protect the interests of the seafaring men.
James, by the grace of God, King of Aragon, Majorca, and Valencia, Count of Barcelona
and Urgell, and Lord of Montpellier. Be it known to all that because the citizens of
Barcelona do daily improve, by God's grace, by reason of their activity in shipping, we
have desired to increase their wealth and to improve the town for our benefit.
Therefore we have decreed, granted, and firmly ordained that for the future, from
Arazana in the west as far as the new building which Bernard Olzeto has made in the east,
and from the sea itself as far as the houses which are constructed of rock or limestone,
no one shall dare to construct houses, residences, workshops, shops, or any other kind of
building, big or little, nor shall any one have his place or court there; but the whole
part is set aside for common use for making, placing, and maintaining ships and other
small boats there. Nor shall any one on account of any acquisition made, or to be made, by
us or ours, or on account of long standing use, have within the said place a shop, house,
or other building, or any place or court of his own. And if any house or shop or other
building should be made within the confines of that area, we wish and grant that without
petition to us, such buildings may be destroyed and utterly demolished without any
penalty, civil or criminal, so that no one may continue to reside there at all.
Done at Barcelona on the ninth of September, in the year of the Lord 1243. Seals, etc.
From: A. de Capmany, ed., Memorias Sobre la Marina, Comercio, y Artes de la Antigua
Ciudad de Barcelona, (Madrid, 1779-92), Vol. II, p. 18; 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