Guarding the frontier: Castilian settlers on the border with Granada in the fifteenth century

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Abstract

© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The border between the Crown of Castile and the Sultanate of Granada lasted for two hundred years, from 1246 until the conquest of the latter in 1492. Due to the scarcity of available written records, very little is known about the Castilian frontier towns and their inhabitants, who guarded the border. It has often been assumed that these guards were professional soldiers exclusively devoted to the defence of Castile. However, the study of unpublished documents from the early sixteenth century indicates that many of them were, in fact, settlers who combined their military duties with other civilian occupations, especially agriculture. This paper analyses the composition of the population of Olvera and Archidona, two Castilian towns on the border with Granada, during the second half of the fifteenth century, and shows the fluid nature of these late medieval settlers, who performed regular military service and spearheaded the colonisation of newly conquered territories while retaining their primary role as farmers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-402
JournalJournal of Medieval Iberian Studies
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2018

Keywords

  • Archidona
  • Castilian settlers
  • conquest of al-Andalus
  • Frontier towns
  • Olvera
  • Sultanate of Granada

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