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The Manueline reform
Weight Standards of the Municipalities

Padrão Manuelino de 1 quintal

According to the Regulations of the Officials of the Cities, Villages and Places of these Realms and the first systems of the Manueline Ordinances, the municipalities should have had a standard similar to the royal standard, which was one quintal of 4 arrobas.

This did not happen in the version, whose first edition appeared in 1521 and became definitive, replacing the previous ones. The standard of each county became dependent on the demographic size of the municipality.

Padrão Manuelino de 2 arrobas

Thus, the municipalities with a population of more than 400 free men continued to have the larger standard, of one quintal, composed of 16 pieces, of which the largest was the box, which weighed half a quintal, which was 2 arrobas.

The municipalities with populations between 200 and 400 free men need have only one standard with half of that weight.

Smaller municipalities, with fewer than 200 free men, only needed to have one standard which, in total, weighed one arroba, which was one quarter of the larger ones.

Padrão Manuelino de 1 arrobaThis evolution may be related to the fact that the standards were made in Flanders and paid for by the municipalities themselves. It would be unjustifiable to require that the smaller municipalities, with less commerce, should have to incur the expense involved in acquiring the larger standards.

Further information​

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