Few historians and fewer lay people know that the first feudal constitution to recognize equality between the burghers and nobles was established in 1150 in Catalunya, sixty-five years before the signing of the Magna Carta in England. In the fifteenth century the Corts of Barcelona (a legislative body) established the principle of a ?limited? monarchy obliged to govern according to laws, while guarding a degree of royal power. These facts lie at the foundation of a culture of nonviolent resistance to assimilation that has been used to combat state power in France and Spain ever since.

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