“Lay Confraternity of the Village of Beja”
The historian Henrique Gama Barros in “History of Public Administration in the 12th to 15th Centuries”, reported that “…it was on 8th July 1297, in Beja, that the first Mutualist Association was founded, by initiative of merchants and other good men of this city, through the creation of a confraternity of charity, mutual help and piety.”
It is one of the oldest organized forms of mutualism in Portugal, the “Confraternity of Good Men of Beja” was granted by King Dom Dinis, its protector being Queen Dona Isabel.
By way of example it was the rule: “If any confrere dies his horse in the service of the kingdom or in the service of the council, he will receive 50 pounds to buy another. If the horse costs less, he will return the difference to the brotherhood.”
“História da Administração Pública nos Séculos XII a XV” by Henrique Gama Barros
“Anuário de Seguros”, 1941
King Dom Dinis (1261-1325) was king of Portugal and the Algarve. Considered one of the most strategical portuguese monarchs of all times.
Image provided by the National Library of Portugal
“Alvará da Confraria Leiga da Vila de Beja”, Chancelaria de D. Diniz
Lº III fls 4v e 5
Image provided by ANTT