Mining Town Privileges in Angevin Hungary
The present study examines the privileges obtained by the mining towns during the Angevin Era. It also looks at the extent to which these privileges diverged from those granted to other towns, and how all this led to the development of the mining town as a distinct class of towns. The question itself is interesting not only with respect to urban history, but also because it brings us closer to an understanding of why these towns acted jointly in defense of their interests, and how all this led to the formation of leagues of mining towns, which by the fifteenth century were organizing themselves on a territorial basis. After a detailed examination of the legal, ecclesiastical and economic privileges the study has come to the conclusion that in the area of both legal and economic privileges significant differences and divergences can be discerned in comparison to privileges bestowed on other towns. The reason for the differences naturally is to be sought in mining, and in the need to secure the royal revenue stemming from it. From a legal standpoint, this shows up not only in the appearance of offices linked to mining, but also in the emergence of comites or rectores appointed by the king to head the mining towns. In discussing economic privileges it may be observed that, whereas other towns were motivated primarily by a desire to obtain commercial privileges (e.g., right to hold markets, exemption from tolls), mining towns were moved by the need to secure the rights connected to mining. Thanks to their special freedoms, the mining towns differed from other towns while also forming an organic part of the urban network.