The Context

Jews and Muslims in Christian Kingdoms

Initially, the terms of surrender as Christian forces gradually re-conquered the peninsula gave the local communities of Jews and Muslims a wide autonomy and respect for their laws, customs and religious beliefs if, in exchange, they recognised the sovereignty of the Christian monarchs and paid their taxes. So Muslims and Jews living under Christian rule were protected by the king. They were seen as part of his heritage, his royal domain. This ensured that they had a legal framework of protection and autonomy which protected them, in principle, from abuses of power or violation of their rights by the new local authorities and the feudal hierarchy. Nevertheless, they had to pay lots of taxes.

Over time, however, the situation of these communities deteriorated.