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The Manueline reform
The Manueline Ordinances
Xilogravura das Ordenações Manuelinas The Ordinations of the Kingdom that were published between 1512-13 and 1521 established the weights and measures that should be used, as well as a few metrological control measures, including the frequency of the calibrations and the penalties for non-compliance with the law.

With the last version published in 1521 that contains some changes and updates of the previous ones, the Manueline Reform appears in its final version:

  • The measures of Lisbon become the standard for the entire country;
  • The weights standards of each municipality are made to depend on the number of inhabitants (not all need to have standards as large as the quintal);
  • The fines for misuse of the municipal standards dropped from 4000 to 2000, and then to 1000 reais in 1521.
Imagem retirada das Ordenações Manuelinas

As for metrological control:

  • with a few exceptions, the verification of the weights and measures will no longer have to be done every 2 months and will instead be done twice a year (in January and July);
  • some professions and measures not contemplated initially (wine and olive oil – volume;
textiles – côvado and vara) are now included;
  • in other situations, if the error in weights and measures is the fault of the inspector, then he will be responsible for paying the fine;
  • some clarifications will be made (e.g. fine for error in the côvado) and other minor changes.
  • Further information​

    António Neves: aneves@ipq.pt
    Museum of Metrology: museu.metrologia@ipq.pt