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'City rights' redirects here. See also: municipal charter.

Town privileges or city rights were important features of European towns during most of the second millennium.

Judicially, a town was distinguished from the surrounding land by means of a charter from the ruling monarch that defined its privileges and laws. Common privileges were related to trading (to have a market, to store goods, etc.) and the establishment of guilds. Some of these privileges were permanent and could imply that the town obtained the right to be called a city, hence the term city rights (stadtrecht in German). Some degree of self-government, representation in a diet, and tax-relief could also be granted.

See also


Simple English

. These were granted in 1261. They follow the Magdeburg law.]]Town privileges were important things. They were special treaties or charters used in the Middle Ages. In such a charter, a sovereign, a monarch granted the city special rights. These usually included

  • The right to have a market, to form guilds
  • Some freedoms, like to determine the government of the city, or to judge criminals.
  • Some people who permanently lived in the city (called citizens) had special rights. Getting these rights was a special privilege (and not granted to everyone).

There were only a few of these charters, notable for them was perhaps the Lübeck law, the Magdeburg rights and the Kulm law.


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