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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hermandad, literally "brotherhood" in Spanish, was a peacekeeping association of armed individuals, which became characteristic of municipal life in medieval Spain, especially in Castile.

As medieval Spanish kings were often unable to offer adequate protection, protective municipal leagues began to emerge in the twelfth century against bandits and other rural criminals, as well as against the lawless nobility or to support a one or another claimant to the crown. These organizations were to be temporary, but became a long standing fixture of Spain.[1] The first recorded case of the formation of an hermandad occurred when the towns and the peasantry of the north united to police the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, and protect the pilgrims against robber knights. Throughout the Middle Ages such brotherhoods were frequently formed by leagues of towns to protect the roads connecting them. The hermandades were occasionally used for political purposes. They acted to some extent like the Fehmic courts of Germany. Among the most powerful was the league of northern Castilian and Basque ports, the Hermandad de las Marismas: Toledo, Talavera, and Villa Real.

As one of their first acts after the war of succession, Ferdinand and Isabella established a centrally organized and efficient Holy Hermandad (Santa Hermandad) with themselves at its head. They adapted the existing form of the hermandad to the purpose of creating a general police force under the direction of officials appointed by themselves, and endowed with large powers of summary jurisdiction, even in capital cases. The original hermandades continued to serve as modest local police units until their final suppression in 1835.

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Notes

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

  1. ^ O'Callaghan, Joseph F. O. A History of Medieval Spain. (Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1975), 448. ISBN 0-8014-0880-6
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HERMANDAD (from hermano, Lat. germanus, a brother), a Castilian word meaning, strictly speaking, a brotherhood. In the Romance language spoken on the east coast of Spain in Catalonia it is written germandat or germania. In the form germania it has acquired the significance of "thieves' Latin" or "thieves' cant," and is applied to any jargon supposed to be understood only by the initiated. But the typical "germania" is a mixture of slang and of the gipsy language. The hermandades have played a conspicuous part in the history of Spain. The first recorded case of the formation of an hermandad occurred in the 12th century when the towns and the peasantry of the north united to police the pilgrim road to Santiago in Galicia, and protect the pilgrims against robber knights. Throughout the middle ages such alliances were frequently formed by combinations of towns to protect the roads connecting them, and were occasionally extended to political purposes. They acted to some extent like the Fehmic courts of Germany. The Catholic sovereigns, Ferdinand and Isabella, adapted an existing hermandad to the purpose of a general police acting under officials appointed by themselves, and endowed with large powers of summary jurisdiction even in capital cases. The hermandad became, in fact, a constabulary, which, however, fell gradually into neglect. In Catalonia and Valencia the "germanias" were combinations of the peasantry to resist the exactions of the feudal lords.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also hermandad

Dutch

Etymology

From Spanish hermandad

Proper noun

Hermandad f.

  1. (slang) police

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