Sheep in Downtown Madrid: Medieval Rights During Modern Times

Medieval history is living history — just ask Madrileños (or local residents of Madrid, Spain). 

The Telegraph reports,

Jesus Garzon, president of a shepherds council established in 1273, said some 5,000 sheep and 60 cattle crossed the city to exercise the right to droving routes that existed before Madrid grew from a rural hamlet to the great capital it is today.

Following an age-old tradition, a chief herdsman paid 25 maravedis – coins first minted in the 11th century – to use the crossing, Mr Garzon said.

Shepherds have a right to use 78,000 miles of paths for seasonal livestock migrations from cool highland pastures in summer to warmer grazing in winter. The movement is called transhumance and in Spain it involves around a million animals, mostly sheep and cattle.

Read more at The Telegraph“Spanish shepherds lead 5,000 sheep through Madrid”

Also, see this wonderful youtube video of the livestock and herdsman in Madrid:

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About Roger L. Martinez

Assistant Professor of History University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
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2 Responses to Sheep in Downtown Madrid: Medieval Rights During Modern Times

  1. Robin Lynch says:

    This is really interesting. Can you imagine what Denver would look like with that many animals on a downtown boulevard?

  2. As I am not a native of Colorado, I don’t know about animal herd drives in this region, but in Texas they are a part of local lore!

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