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But they never got the chance. Every rebellion forced concessions to Pisa or Genoa. The Aragonese paid heavily for what was in effect a commercial and political condominium. 29 Much of the crippling cost seems to have been borne by merchants of Barcelona, who, for the sake of commercial footholds on the coast, were prepared to finance a continuing war for an inland empire in which they had little interest. Their enthusiasm, unrestrained at first, lasted at least until the mid-century. After another half-century of war, the disillusionment of Barcelona was complete and in the Corts of 1408-9 the merchants called for withdrawal from the Sardinian imbroglio.

These three between them elected two more. These institutions seem to belong to a solidly established society, with deeply rooted settlements. Yet in about the same period - in the mid to late fourteenth century - the insecurity of life on small islands in corsair-infested seas was thrown into relief by the abandonment of Formentera. By 1403, there was nobody left there. 18 'Proceeding Eastwards': Minorca and Sardinia Majorca and lbiza were the first in a series of islands, of the western and central Mediterranean, conquered by the House of 34 BEFORE COLUMBUS Barcelona at long intervals over a period of about a hundred years.

Growing popular resentment in the second half of the fourteenth century was their undoing. Their public delinquencies afford scant clues to their fate. Two characteristically Jewish crimes were false coining and- in the reign of Jaume II, when it was an offence,'dwelling in Saracen lands'. The first reflects their prominence in the handling of precious metals, the second their leading position in the Barbary trade. But what most seem to have vexed their Christian neighbours were, first, their discharge of detested functions as moneylenders and tax farmers and, secondly, the conspicuous distinctions which set their society apart.

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