Glossaries – Commons – Spain

This glossary will provide you with explanations (and sometimes also translations) of Spanish words and expressions, used within the datasets on the commons and the related webtexts. Explanation/translation will only be given at the word or expression most commonly used. In case other words or expressions have the same meaning, a term in italics refers the explanation of the word/expression at the word/expression most commonly used.

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Authority functions of government and justice.


1) Extraordinary means proposed for achieving some end, such as taxes imposed on an interim basis by municipalities to meet certain expenses.

2) Municipally owned land being put on lease with the approval of the King to address specific expenditures and of limited duration.


1) Land of which the ownership was unclear on which the King could claim the ultimate dominion.

2) Uncultivated land of poor quality and poor performance.

Bienes comunales

see: Comunales.

Bienes concejiles

Property belonging to the municipality.

Bienes de aprovechamiento común

Lands exempt from confiscation (Desamortización), since they were considered to be necessary for the survival of the inhabitants of a village, who may use them free of charge.

Bienes de propios

see: Propios.

Bienes municipales

see: Bienes concejiles.

Caja de Arbitrios

Separate account in which the income from the taxes imposed by the council to support certain public expenditures was managed.

Camara de Comptos

Court of Accounts of the ancient Kingdom of Navarre.

Cartas pueblas

see: Fueros.

Censo reservativo

Formula transfer of ownership of a property, that includes financing the purchase in a way that the buyer does not deliver the money for the value of the property, but return agrees to pay an annual pension in return.


Lands freely accessible, to be used by all residents.


1) Assembly of the neighbors.

2) Municipality.


Land generally intended to pasture.

Dehesa boyal

Pasture land intended exclusively for the feeding of cattle work of neighbors.

Derrota de mieses

The free common use of grass, growing on privately owned open fields after the crops had fully grown.


The political proces since the late eighteenth century up to one hundred years later, which was, by state standards and based on a conscious policy, the conversion into national assets from the assets and rights that had hitherto been the heritage amortized various entities to immediately dispose of individual citizens at public auction (Tomás y Valiente 1986, 786).


Untilled common, adjacent to the village it belongs to, usaually used for gathering cattle and for threshing.


In Navarre, land ownership and use of the common shared by two or more villages.


Letters containing inmunity privileges, provided by the Crown in order to attract settlers.





Set of individuals appointed to direct the affairs of a community.


Local guilds of sheep breeders that regulated access to pasture, the functioning of its labor market and animal health measures.


Zone with spontaneously grown tree or shrub vegetation.



Montes de Propios

see: Propios.

Montes de Utilidad Pública

Forest land declared to be used for public utility that should be preserved as publicly owned and that should be managed under the supervision of the State.

Montes del Estado

Lands owned by the State.

Montes enajenables

Lands that, under the Confiscation Act of 1855, were intended to be privatized.

Montes exceptuados

Lands that meet given conditions, as expressed in the law of confiscation, and that  should not be privatized.

Montes municipales

see: Bienes concejiles.



Collections of rules and regulations adopted by the community.


Royal officer representing the interests of the heritage of King of Navarre.

Plan de Aprovechamiento

Document, prepared annually by the engineer of a forest district, in which was stated the amount of resources and the way they should be used, based upon requests made by residents of the affected villages.

Plan de Ordenación

Long-term planned intervention of the central state administration, often through private dealers, with the (theoretical) objective to support the growth of capital and income from the forest through specialization in the production of a resource (cork, raisins, wood, etc.) and improving its management.


The properties of a municipality or minor local entity, which properties were not meant to be used as a common by the neighbors, but were meant to be used for obtaining patrimonial rents.


Territory of which the domain belonged to the King.


Distribution of land after the Reconquista over the Muslims among warriors and Christian settlers.


Distribution of plots of land for cultivation among the residents of a village in ownership, usufruct or long-term lease.


Conversion of forest land or pasture to farmland through the use of fire, ax and plow, often accompanied by the distributiion of lots of land among neighbors.


see: Rompimiento.


Piece of land for grazing or cultivation, distribution and use of which was awarded by lottery.

Tierras baldías

see: Baldío.

Tierras comunales

see: Comunales.

Tierras de propios

see: Propios.


In Navarra, revenue for grazing herd, collected by the King.