Representative assembly of the medieval Iberian kingdoms. The Cortes developed in the Middle Ages when elected representatives of the free municipalities acquired the right to take part in the affairs of the Curia Regis (“King's Court”). They were admitted because the crown was short of funds and lacked the right to raise taxes without the consent of the municipalities. Cortes were established in León and Castile by the early 13th century and soon appeared in Catalonia (1218), Aragon (1274), Valencia (1283), and Navarra (1300). Today the term refers to the national legislatures of Spain and Portugal.
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