León, cradle of Parliamentarism
Parliamentarism [es] is, nowadays, the usual system in any state of our environment, but it was not always like this. And, looking back, searching for the modern origin of this tradition, we have to go back to the Middle Ages, when the Kingdom of León [en], one of the independent territories in the Iberian peninsula in that time, was making history…
In the spring of 1188, in a context of social instability, with foreign threats –Castile, Portugal and Almohads– and economic difficulties, the young king Alphonso IX, only a few months after acceding to the throne, summoned to an extraordinary Curia regia [es], something similar to a “Royal Council”, wishing to increase the income and to look for peace in its lands. It took place in the leonese capital, in Saint Isidore [es] –by the way, one of the reference points of the Romanesque– and, in addition to the privileged estates –nobility and clergy–, attended by the representatives of the main cities of the kingdom, which became a milestone because it was the first time in history that the commoners took part in the government decisions at the highest level.
In this Curia regia of 1188 some documents ‘were born’ which, known as Decreta [es], are the most ancient reference to a European parliamentary system. In short, they look for the protection of the people and its goods against abuse of power, ensuring the coexistence and laying the foundations of the rule of law.