Madrid, Archivo Histórico Nacional de España, Códices 1166B y 1167B

Cartularies of Valpuesta Facsimile Edition

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The Cartularies of Valpuesta are two interesting examples of documents preserved in a monastery in the locality of Valpuesta, in the province of Burgos. Containing a total of 184 documents which date back to the 12th century, these cartularies are considered the oldest document featuring the earliest words written in Spanish.

From Valpuesta to the National Archives

Today housed in the National Archives of Spain, these cartularies are identified as Becerro Gotico and Becerro Galicano (becerro meaning both cartulary and calf) according to the script they respectively bear.

It does not come as a surprise that the small village of Santa Maria de Valpuesta was home of these important documents, for it was an Archdeaconship with documentarily rich archives.

The Origin of Spanish Language

The contents range from donations to confessions to inventories, featuring even churches repair contracts. However, what is most striking about these documents is that they represent significant evidence of the evolution from Latin into Castilian Romance, so much so that the Real Academia has declared the Valpuesta Cartularies the oldest document featuring the earliest words written in Spanish.

The Gothic Cartulary – written in Visigothic script – features 117 pages while the Galician Cartulary only 64 pages. The oldest documents of these cartularies date back to 804, 844, 864, 875 providing a significant cultural heritage. Because the Valpuesta Cartularies cover a long period of time, starting from the 9th century, an exceptional amount of 34 hands has been identified.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Cartularies of Valpuesta": Cartulario de Valpuesta facsimile edition, published by Siloé, arte y bibliofilia, 2016

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Manuscript book description compiled by the publisher.
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Cartulario de Valpuesta

Burgos: Siloé, arte y bibliofilia, 2016

  • Limited Edition: 898 copies + 89 copies in Roman numbers
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Cartularies of Valpuesta: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

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