hist-games: Baraja Espanola

Marianne Perdomo Machin marianne at historiaviva.org
Mon Jan 16 05:07:18 PST 2006


As has been pointed out that sounds just like a standard deck of cards 
from Spain. There are, of course, many games for these cards, as other 
cards are only rarely used in Spain to this day. But I don't know if 
any of them are period. 8's and 9's are used in some games, I think, 
but not in others.

There are some games, in Spanish, here:

If you can read Spanish, google for "Juegos de cartas" or "juegos de 
naipes" ('naipes' is another name for 'playing cards'). A "baraja" is 
a set of cards. These are usually termed "Spanish baraja" or "French 
baraja". The 'french' one is the one with the queens, diamonds, etc.

Note that some cards have special names:

Number    Picture             Name
10        a  soldier          Sota
11        man on horseback    Caballo (horse)
12        king                Rey (king)
1         1                   as (ace)

The names sota, caballo and rey date at least back to the 16th c. (see 

The 4 set names are:
clubs     bastos
coins     oros
swords    espadas

Here you can see a 16th c. deck with looks almost the same:

I got a reproduction of these in modern card paper at the "Museum" 
store in Madrid airport, for fairly cheap (3 euros? perhaps 5?). It 
comes with one card having a bit of historical background, which adds 
that the original deck had 44 cards. The rest is basically on that 

An earlier one in similar style has been dated to the early 15th c.

They have a shop online:
But I couldn't find the cards :(

Leonor, in Alcazar (Spain)
who'd also be interested in simple, period games for these.

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