...one joint shout heaven’s airy concave tears:
A dreadful pause ensues, while conscious pride
Strives on each face the heart-felt doubt to hide.
— Luís Vaz de Camões, Lusiads (Bk 4, trans Burton)
Quadrilheiros are a form of "Skirmisher Levy" available to Portugal, which are not actually local law enforcement, but more of a paramilitary organisation. These men are in fact armed with spear and bucklers, and so can be used as a form of light spearmen, capable of guarding the flanks of your armies or increasing your numbers, but they should not be expected to hold against the most formidable of foes. More important is their extensive line of sight, meaning that they can be used as armed pickets for your armies.
The origins of the Portuguese police force can be traced back to the fourteenth century, when they were invested by a charter of Fernando I, forming the quadrilheiros of Lisbon. This was the first single-purpose police body established to fight crime and ensure the security of the community on behalf of the king. Bodies of similar nature were also being founded around Europe, most notably the hermandades of Spain, as feudal agrarianism gave way to dependence on trade and urban industry. These new law enforcement bodies, however, were not always effective and in many cases ended up becoming little more than protection rackets run by corrupt officials — many of these primordial law enforcement agencies had little in the way of forensic investigation capabilities. To this day, the term "quadrilheiro" in Portuguese can also be taken to mean "gangster" in some circles.
- Light spear militia units unique to the Portuguese - only good against melee cavalry, but have very good line of sight.
- Thousand-Mile Stare — The best asset Quadrilheiros can give to your army is their extensive line of sight — they are cheaper than light cavalry, and unlike Explorers can defend themselves if so needed.
- Charge of the Light Spearmen — Armed with spear and bucklers, Quadrilheiros can be used as a form of light spearmen, capable of guarding the flanks of your armies or increasing your numbers, but should not be expected to hold against heavy infantry.
In RKC 1, the Quadrilheiros could not be selected by clicking on them directly. The only way the player can do so would be to use "Ctrl + ," to select all military units, and then select the Quadrilheiros by clicking their unit icons. This bug however is now fixed, but has been replicated for two other units: the Peasant Levy and the Fundeiros Levy.