History ETDs


Keith Algier

Publication Date

Winter 1-1-1963


One of man's most consistent patterns of behavior is the tendency to associate himself with other individuals who have common interests or needs. Some associations are formed to provide protection for the individual, others are organized for the purposes of worship, and still others take more frivolous forms. Many associations in our own society are designed to promote the economic self-interest of their numbers, and it is with an institution of this type that this study is concerned. The monarchs of medieval Castile organized and actively encouraged the development of an organization called the Mesta, a body which represented the economically important sheep industry. This action was taken in part to foster the growth of the wool export trade upon which Castile so heavily depended during the Middle Ages. Perhaps an even greater spur for royal patronage was the pressing need by the crown for a counterpoise to be used against certain elements in the country which had managed to subvert royal authority during the centuries of conflict with the Moslems. In any event, the Mesta did become extremely rich and powerful, and it was used as an effective instrument of royal consolidation of power during the latter part of the fifteenth century and the early part of the sixteenth.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Troy S. Floyd

Second Committee Member

Edwin Lieuwen

Third Committee Member

Donald C. Cutler




New Spain, Viceroyalty, Castillian Institutions

Project Sponsors

Dr. France V. Scholes

Document Type


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