medieval Spanish jurists. As a rule, the letrados came from the urban estate. Beginning in the 11th century, they appeared as members of the royal council of Castile and as representatives of the royal administration in the localities. They carried out the policy of consolidating royal power and played an especially important role in the struggle against the feudal aristocracy and the autonomous cities when absolutism was being established.
At the Cortes of 1480 in Toledo, a special commission that included letrados opposed conferral of new feudal privileges on the feudal aristocracy. The letrados’ domination of the administration aroused the discontent of city councils, which strove to preserve the cities’ medieval liberties. The city plebeians, who suffered from the abuses of the royal administration, demonstrated against the letrados on a number of occasions, such as the rebellion of the guilds on Mallorca from 1521 to 1523 and the rebellion of 1640 in Barcelona.