guillermo león valencia

León's Spanish Parliament

The Spanish Parliament of the Kingdom of León (1188) was the first sample of modern parliamentarism in Western Europe's History.

After coming to the power, the King Alfonso IX, before the situation of crisis of Kingdom of León, attacked by their two neighbors, Castile and Portugal, he decided to summon the "Royal Curia".

This one was a medieval organisation composed by aristocrats and bishops. But, because of the gravity of the situation and ready to assemble the maximum political support, the king Alfonso IX took a revolutionary decision: he called the representatives of the urban middle class of the most important cities and assembled them with the nobility and the Church in "Cortes" or Parliament. For the first time since the Ancient Greece, not only the nobility and the Church were taking part in the elaboration of the laws of a country.

León's Parliament approached topics that today are the base of the juridical classification of any democratic state: the limits of the executive power, the defense of the citizen opposite to the power public and deprived of the epoch and especially, the cleanliness of the judicial processes.

In this respect it is necessary to emphasize the right to the private property, the resource to being able to come to the Justice opposite to the King, the obligation of the King to consult to the Parliament to enter war, the "habeas corpus" and the inviolability of the domicile.

From León's Parliament, Europe's numerous kingdoms assembled parliaments with participation of the cities: England, Catalonia, Aragón, Valencia.

When the Founding Fathers of the United States of America elaborated the American constitution, one of the juridical models who studied they were the laws arisen from the parliament of the Kingdom of León.John Adams known the text of the Fuero of León in his travel to Spain, as it's related in his biography.


  • Encyclopedia Britannica. Article: "History of Europe" (Birth of parliamentary bodies)
  • John Adams' biography.
  • O'Callaghan,J.F. "The beginninings of the Cortes of León-Castile», American History Review 1969, p. 1504.
  • O'Callaghan, Joseph F. "A History of Medieval Spain". Ithaca 1975.
  • Procter, Evelyn. "Curia and Cortes in León and Castile 1072-1295". Cambridge 1980.
  • Procter, Evelyn."The Interpretation of Clause 3 in the Decrees of León," EHR 85 (1970
  • Merriman, Roger B. "The Cortes of the Spanish Kingdoms in the Later Middle Ages," AHR 16 (1911)
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