Last pragmatic decree


The last royal pragmatic decree was issued by Carlos III in 1783.

The general purpose of this pragmatic decree was the same as the first one issued by the Catholic Monarchs: to assimilate Roma, obliterate their culture and make them useful vassals ‒ “vassals like all the rest.” However, it also had goals that were very different to those of previous laws. Let us examine them:

    • Roma are Spanish citizens and can freely choose their place of residence (with the exception of royal properties) and their occupation (with the exception of those that may negatively interfere with the process of sedentarisation and assimilation, which is the law’s intention).
    • Children must attend school from the age of four and this schooling must be paid for by municipal governments. Parents who refuse to enrol them or who educate them improperly will lose the right to have them.
    • No one (not municipalities, communities, unions, clergy or individuals) may deny residence or work opportunities to a person for being Roma. Those who obstruct the integration of Roma will be sanctioned
    • Declaring Roma equal to other citizens effectively prohibits any public expression of their differences (language, dress, customs). They may not be called Roma and this term may not appear in any written document. Roma do not exist. And any Rom who does not wish to abide by these regulations may be punished by being put to death.

This law was proclaimed for all cities and its written text was publicly exhibited in all places where Roma lived.

Covering page and manuscript of the Pragmatic Decree/Sanction, 19 September 1783. ↵
Picture header , ” Hungarian Gypsy Mother ” by National Geographic magazine.
Article from the “Maj Khetane” educational project.
Written by Jesús Salinas.