Arzila Insurance Exchange
In 1520, or perhaps the year before, a collective fund was established in Arzila to repair the damage caused by the war, and more precisely to pay for the horses that the portuguese lost during the military missions they constantly undertook against the moors.
The initiative seems to have come from the governor of that war square, Count João Coutinho (2nd Count of Redondo). The fund was made up of 20,000 reals from the royal farm (an amount that was in the tales, i.e. that constituted a permanent charge of the State), and annual contributions of one penny (100 reals) per resident and 10 crusaders (4,000 reals) paid by him, governor of the square.
We are aware of this institution by Bernardo Rodrigues who, in his “Anais de Arzila” tells us that “…the first time the Exchange worked was to pay for the horse that the moors took to a soldier named João Martins when he, in the company of other Portuguese, swam in the waters of the Doce river, in the vicinity of the city.”
But the Exchange did not go far. Entrusted with it, the hunting-loving soldiers subjected their horses to unnecessary effort, which was much censored by those who were not addicted to hunting and felt
“A Companhia de Seguros Bonança – Notícia Histórica” by José Hermano Saraiva
Image caption in detail
Photo: Círculo Leitores archive, extracted from the book “História da Arte Portuguesa” – Volume I
Detail of Pastrana’s Tapestry “The Disembarkation”. Cut at the bottom, it identifies King Dom Afonso V and Prince Dom João on their way to the walls of Arzila. The two figures are duly identified and highlighted, either in the richness of the armatures or in the crown that girded the king’s helmet.
“História da Arte Portuguesa” – Volume I, Direcção de Paulo Pereira, Círculo de Leitores (1995)