Town privileges

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Town charter of Flensburg, of 1284

Town privileges were important things. They were special treaties or royal charters used in the Middle Ages. In such a charter, a sovereign, a monarch granted the town or city special rights. These usually included

  • The right to have a market, to form guilds
  • Some freedoms, like to determine the government of the town or city, or to judge criminals.
  • Some people who permanently lived in the town or city (called Burghers) had special rights. Getting these rights was a special privilege (and not granted to everyone).

Many of those charters were very similar. In the end, only few charters remained in use. Notable ones in the territory of modern-day Germany include the Lübeck law, the Magdeburg rights and the Kulm law.