Ordenações do Reino

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Ordenações do Reino

Ordenações do Reino (Afonsinas, Filipinas, Manuelinas), the laws of the realm of Portugal and its territories, first compiled in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries to systematize the complex legal inheritance of the early modern state. The first collection, Ordenações afonsinas (1446–1448), was instigated by petitions of the Cortes to King Duarte, and issued in the reign of Afonso V. Although it was soon outdated and remained in manuscript form until the eighteenth century, it was a notable work for its time, manifesting the centralizing tendencies of the Aviz dynasty. Disparate elements of law, which included proclamations of previous rulers, Roman and canon law, and local custom, were brought together in five "books," subdivided by titles and paragraphs according to the following scheme: (1) royal, municipal, and other administrative bodies' decrees, including regulations emanating from the treasury, justice, and military; (2) rights and duties of the monarchy, nobility, clergy, Jews, and Moors; (3) civil procedure; (4) civil law; and (5) criminal law and procedure.

The need for revision was recognized in the reign of Manuel I, which resulted in the first printing of the Ordenações manuelinas (1514–1521). A further revision, the Ordenações filipinas (1603), was published during the Hapsburg era. It rescinded all legislation that was not incorporated into the revised compilation with the exception of treasury laws (Ordenações da fazenda), tax regulations (Artigos das sisas), and those registered by the superior appeals tribunal at court, the Casa Da Suplicação. Despite being marred by numerous errors, characterized as filipismos, which stem from incorrect transcription and failure to eliminate obsolete regulations, the code was confirmed by the Bragança dynasty in 1643 and remained in effect in Portugal and its colonies, and even in the ex-colony of Brazil (after 1822) until the issuance of the first modern codifications of the law, in 1867 in Portugal and 1917 in Brazil.

See alsoJudicial Systems: Brazil; Judicial Systems: Spanish America.


See Mário Júlio De Almeida Costa, História do direito português (1989). Facsimile editions have been published by the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian: Ordenações afonsinas, 5 vols. (1984), reprint of Ordenações do Senhor Rey D. Afonso (1792); Ordenações Manuelinas, 5 vols. (1984), reprint of Ordenações do Senhor Rey d. Manuel (1797); Ordenações filipinas, 5 vols. (1985), and reprint of Ordenações filipinas (1870).

Additional Bibliography

Nazzari, Muriel. Disappearance of the Dowry: Women, Families, and Social Change in São Paulo, Brazil (1600–1900). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1991.

                                      Catherine Lugar