Spain has issued a stamp celebrating the 700th anniversary of Era Querimonia of the Aran Valley.The Aran Valley is located in the central Pyrenees in the province of Lleida. The history of this valley is marked by the defence and claim of a series of historical rights that make up its identity.
In the Middle Ages (1175), the Aranese signed a treaty with the king of Aragon granting them the privilege to make use and be in possession of their own pastures, forests and waters. The king took on the obligation to defend them from possible enemies and in return, the Aranese paid an Aranese Galin (equivalent to about 20 litres of wheat) as tax per household.
In 1313 the dwellers of the valley agreed to swear allegiance to King James II in return for keeping their charters, privileges and freedoms. On August 23 1313, James II King of Aragon, Valencia … and Count of Barcelona, drew up the document known as Era Querimonia in which the Aranese were awarded a series of rights.
Era Querimonia consists of twenty two chapters. The first few refer to the right of the Aranese to their own lands, vineyards, orchards, fishing waters, mills and irrigation.
They are entitled to their own woodland and forests with freedom to cut wood for their own use and convenience. They may hunt in the woods, cut grass for winter and allow their animals to graze in these lands. Other chapters refer to: communal rights, the king\’s army, offenses and penalties; notaries and judges\’ salaries, among others.
Particularly important is the chapter on the right of pre-emption and buyout because of kinship which obliged any man wanting to sell a property to offer it first to his brothers and relatives. Another interesting chapter is the one on the system of economic conjugal rights, referring to the rights and partitions of the consorts. The privileges of the Era Querimonia have remained, albeit partially.
With the advent of democracy and the 1990 Act of the Parliament of Catalonia part of the historical and linguistic rights of the Aran Valley were restored.
The stamp depicts one Galin and the coat of arms of the Aran Valley.