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Civilopedia Entry Edit
Traditionally, the granting of a town charter gave it and its inhabitants the right to certain privileges in the feudal system. Townspeople were burghers, as opposed to serfs, and “free” in the sense that they were protected by (and owed allegiance only to) the king rather than the local manor lord. Charters also gave the burghers some semblance of self-government, in that the rich merchants would be allowed to choose a mayor and hold a market or faire under their own auspices … so long as acceptable to the king, of course. As early as the 10th Century AD, German towns were being granted town charters, with their own militia, courts, and taxes … the model for all those after.