Crown of Aragon

Crown of Aragon

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The Crown of AragonCorona d'Aragón (koˈɾona ðaɾaˈɣon)
Corona d'Aragó (kuˈɾonə ðəɾəˈɣo, koˈɾona ðaɾaˈɣo)
Corona Aragonum (koˈroːna araˈgoːnũ
Corona de Aragón (koˈɾona ðe aɾaˈɣon)
was a personal
Personal union
A personal union is the combination by which two or more different states have the same monarch while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It should not be confused with a federation which is internationally considered a single state...

 and dynastic union
Dynastic union
A dynastic union is the combination by which two different states are governed by the same dynasty, while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct...

 of multiple titles and states in the hands of the King of Aragon. At the height of its power in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Crown of Aragon was a thalassocracy
Thalassocracy
The term thalassocracy refers to a state with primarily maritime realms—an empire at sea, such as Athens or the Phoenician network of merchant cities...

 (a state with primarily maritime realms) controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France
Northern Catalonia
Northern Catalonia is a term that is sometimes used, particularly in Catalan writings, to refer to the territory ceded to France by Spain through the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659...

, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece. The component realms of the Crown were not united politically except at the level of the king. Put in contemporary terms, the lands of Aragon functioned more as a confederacy
Confederation
A confederation in modern political terms is a permanent union of political units for common action in relation to other units. Usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution, confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues such as defense, foreign...

 rather than as a single country. In this sense, the larger Crown of Aragon must not be confused with one of its constituent parts, the Kingdom of Aragon
Kingdom of Aragon
The Kingdom of Aragon was a medieval and early modern kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day autonomous community of Aragon, in Spain...

, from which it takes its name.

In 1469, a new dynastic familial union of the Crown of Aragon with the Crown of Castile
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

 by the Catholic Monarchs
Catholic Monarchs
The Catholic Monarchs is the collective title used in history for Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. They were both from the House of Trastámara and were second cousins, being both descended from John I of Castile; they were given a papal dispensation to deal with...

 led to what would become the Kingdom of Spain under King Philip II
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

. The component titles of the Aragonese Crown as subsidiary titles of the Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 inheriting Monarch were used until 1716, when they were abolished by the Nueva Planta decrees
Nueva Planta decrees
The Nueva Planta decrees were a number of decrees signed between 1707 and 1716 by Philip V—the first Bourbon king of Spain—during and shortly after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession which he won....

 as a consequence of the defeat of the pretender representing the former components of the Crown of Aragon, in the settlement following the War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought among several European powers, including a divided Spain, over the possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. As France and Spain were among the most powerful states of Europe, such a unification would have...

.

Context


Formally, the political center of the Crown of Aragon was Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

 where kings were crowned in the La Seo Cathedral
La Seo Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Savior is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Zaragoza, Spain. It is part of the World Heritage Site Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon....

. Leading economic centres of the Crown of Aragon were the cities of Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

 and Valencia. Finally, Palma
Palma de Mallorca
Palma is the major city and port on the island of Majorca and capital city of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain. The names Ciutat de Mallorca and Ciutat were used before the War of the Spanish Succession and are still used by people in Majorca. However, the official name...

 (Majorca) was an additional important city and seaport.

The Crown of Aragon eventually included the Kingdom of Aragon
Kingdom of Aragon
The Kingdom of Aragon was a medieval and early modern kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day autonomous community of Aragon, in Spain...

, the County of Barcelona, the Kingdom of Valencia
Kingdom of Valencia
The Kingdom of Valencia , located in the eastern shore of the Iberian Peninsula, was one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon. When the Crown of Aragon merged by dynastic union with the Crown of Castile to form the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Valencia became a component realm of the...

, the Kingdom of Majorca
Kingdom of Majorca
The Kingdom of Majorca was founded by James I of Aragon, also known as James The Conqueror. After the death of his first-born son Alfonso, a will was written in 1262 which created the kingdom in order to cede it to his son James...

, Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily
The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy...

, Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

, the Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

 and Kingdom of Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia
The Kingdom of Sardinia consisted of the island of Sardinia first as a part of the Crown of Aragon and subsequently the Spanish Empire , and second as a part of the composite state of the House of Savoy . Its capital was originally Cagliari, in the south of the island, and later Turin, on the...

. For brief periods the Crown of Aragon also controlled Montpellier
Montpellier
-Neighbourhoods:Since 2001, Montpellier has been divided into seven official neighbourhoods, themselves divided into sub-neighbourhoods. Each of them possesses a neighbourhood council....

, Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

, Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

, the Duchy of Neopatria
Duchy of Neopatria
The Duchy of Neopatria or Neopatras was one of the Crusader States set up in Greece after the conquest of the Byzantine Empire during the Fourth Crusade...

 in Latin Greece and the Duchy of Athens
Duchy of Athens
The Duchy of Athens was one of the Crusader States set up in Greece after the conquest of the Byzantine Empire during the Fourth Crusade, encompassing the regions of Attica and Boeotia, and surviving until its conquest by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century....

.

The countries that are today known as Spain and Portugal spent the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 after 722 in an intermittent struggle called the Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

. This struggle pitted the northern Christian kingdoms against the Islamic taifa
Taifa
In the history of the Iberian Peninsula, a taifa was an independent Muslim-ruled principality, usually an emirate or petty kingdom, though there was one oligarchy, of which a number formed in the Al-Andalus after the final collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba in 1031.-Rise:The origins of...

 petty kingdom
Petty kingdom
A petty kingdom is one of a number of small kingdoms, described as minor or "petty" by contrast to an empire or unified kingdom that either preceded or succeeded it...

s of the South
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 and against each other.

In the Late Middle Ages, the expansion of the Aragonese Crown southwards met with the Castilian
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

 advance eastward in the region of Murcia
Region of Murcia
The Region of Murcia is an autonomous community of Spain located in the southeast of the country, between Andalusia and Valencian Community, on the Mediterranean coast....

. Afterward, the Aragonese Crown focused on the Mediterranean, acting as far as Greece and Barbary, whereas Portugal, which completed its Reconquista in 1272, focused on the Atlantic Ocean. Mercenaries from the territories in the Crown, known as almogàvers
Almogavars
The almogavars were a class of soldiers from the Crown of Aragon, well-known during the Christian Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula. They were much employed as mercenaries in Italy, Latin Greece and the Levant during the 13th and 14th centuries.-History:The Almogavars came mainly from the...

 participated in the creation of this Mediterranean "empire", and later found employment in countries all across southern Europe.

The Crown of Aragon has been considered by some as an empire which ruled in the Mediterranean for hundreds of years, with the power to set rules over the entire sea
Thalassocracy
The term thalassocracy refers to a state with primarily maritime realms—an empire at sea, such as Athens or the Phoenician network of merchant cities...

 (for instance, the Llibre del Consolat del Mar or Book of the Consulate of the Sea
Consulate of the Sea
The Consulate of the Sea was a quasi-judicial body set up in the Crown of Aragon, later to spread throughout the Mediterranean basin, to administer maritime and commercial law...

, written in Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

, is one of the oldest compilation of maritime laws in the world). It was indeed, at its height, one of the major powers in Europe.

However, its different territories were only connected through the person of the monarch, an aspect of empire as early as Achaemenid Persia. A contemporary, the Marqués de Lozoya described the Crown of Aragon as being more like a confederacy
Confederation
A confederation in modern political terms is a permanent union of political units for common action in relation to other units. Usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution, confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues such as defense, foreign...

 than a centralized kingdom, let alone an empire. Nor did official documents ever refer to it as an empire (Imperium or any cognate word); instead, it was considered a dynastic union of autonomous kingdoms.

Origin



The Aragonese "empire" originated in 1137, when the Kingdom of Aragon
Kingdom of Aragon
The Kingdom of Aragon was a medieval and early modern kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day autonomous community of Aragon, in Spain...

 and the County of Barcelona (with the County of Provence) merged by dynastic union
Dynastic union
A dynastic union is the combination by which two different states are governed by the same dynasty, while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct...

 by the marriage of Raymond Berengar IV of Barcelona and Petronilla of Aragon; their titles were combined in the person of their son Alfonso II of Aragon
Alfonso II of Aragon
Alfonso II or Alfons I ; Huesca, 1-25 March 1157 – 25 April 1196), called the Chaste or the Troubadour, was the King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona from 1164 until his death. He was the son of Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona and Petronilla of Aragon and the first King of Aragon who was...

, who ascended to the throne in 1162. This union respected the existing institutions and parliaments of both territories. Although the County of Barcelona was the wealthier, given its position on the Mediterranean, the combined state was known as Aragon, given its higher ranking as a kingdom due to lineage from Imperator Hispaniae Sancho III of Navarre
Sancho III of Navarre
Sancho III Garcés , called the Great , succeeded as a minor to the Kingdom of Navarre in 1004, and through conquest and political maneuvering increased his power, until at the time of his death in 1035 he controlled the majority of Christian Iberia, bearing the title of rex Hispaniarum...

.
Also Petronilla's father King Ramiro
Ramiro II of Aragon
Ramiro II , called the Monk, was King of Aragon from 1134 until withdrawing from public life in 1137...

, known as "The Monk" for his incapacity to rule the Aragonese troops, was the youngest brother of all three. He was raised in the Saint Pons de Thomières Monastery in the south of France. His brothers Peter I and Alfonso I El Batallador (The Battler) who re-conquered Murcia had died in battle. Then, knowing nothing about war he decided to make an alliance with his neighbour Raymond Berengar IV the Count of Barcelona. Raymond was forged in the wedding contract to recognise Ramiro II as "My King, My Lord, and my Father" he became part of the Aragonese dynasty. Then Raymond was entitled as "Prince of the Aragonese" (Chief of the Aragonese Army).

Raymond Berengar IV of Barcelona, the new ruler of the united dynasty, still called himself count of Barcelona and merely "prince" of Aragon.

Expansion


Alfonso II tried to conquer Valencia when favorable circumstances offered, but the opportunity was lost when Sancho VI of Navarre
Sancho VI of Navarre
Sancho VI Garcés , called the Wise , was the king of Navarre from 1150 until his death in 1194....

 invaded Aragon. Alfonso II signed the treaties of Cazola
Treaty of Cazorla
The Treaty of Cazola was signed in 1179 in Soria between Alfonso II of Aragon and Alfonso VIII of Castile. The pact divided Andalusia into separate zones of conquest for the two kingdoms, so that the work of the Reconquista would not be stymied by internecine feuding over spoils among the Christians...

 with Alfonso VIII of Castile
Alfonso VIII of Castile
Alfonso VIII , called the Noble or el de las Navas, was the King of Castile from 1158 to his death and King of Toledo. He is most remembered for his part in the Reconquista and the downfall of the Almohad Caliphate...

 in order to secure the Aragonese frontiers. The treaty also delimited anew their zones of prospective Moorish conquest—the Kings of Aragon were to have Valencia
Kingdom of Valencia
The Kingdom of Valencia , located in the eastern shore of the Iberian Peninsula, was one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon. When the Crown of Aragon merged by dynastic union with the Crown of Castile to form the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Valencia became a component realm of the...

, leaving Murcia
Murcia
-History:It is widely believed that Murcia's name is derived from the Latin words of Myrtea or Murtea, meaning land of Myrtle , although it may also be a derivation of the word Murtia, which would mean Murtius Village...

 to Castile.

From the 9th century, the dukes of Aquitaine, the counts of Foix
Counts of Foix
The counts of Foix ruled the independent County of Foix, in what is now southern France, during the Middle Ages. Later they extended their power to almost the entire Pyrenees mountain range, moving their court to Pau, in Béarn, until eventually the last count of Foix acceded to the French throne as...

, the counts of Toulouse
Counts of Toulouse
The first Counts of Toulouse were the administrators of the city and its environs under the Merovingians. No succession of such royal appointees is known, though a few names survive to the present...

 and the Aragonese kings rivalled in their attempts at controlling the various pays of Occitania
Occitania
Occitania , also sometimes lo País d'Òc, "the Oc Country"), is the region in southern Europe where Occitan was historically the main language spoken, and where it is sometimes still used, for the most part as a second language...

. The Crown of Aragon was widespread in the area that is now south of France, under the control of vassal local princes, such as the Counts of Toulouse
Counts of Toulouse
The first Counts of Toulouse were the administrators of the city and its environs under the Merovingians. No succession of such royal appointees is known, though a few names survive to the present...

. The rebellion of the Cathars or Albigensians rejected the authority and the teachings of the Catholic Church and led to the loss of the southern France possessions. Pope Innocent III called upon Louis IX of France to suppress the Albigensians—The Albigensian Crusade, which led to bring the Occitania region firmly under the control of the King of France, and the Capetian dynasty from northern France.

Peter II
Peter II of Aragon
Peter II the Catholic was the King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona from 1196 to 1213.He was the son of Alfonso II of Aragon and Sancha of Castile...

 returned from Las Navas
Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, known in Arab history as the Battle of Al-Uqab , took place on 16 July 1212 and was an important turning point in the Reconquista and in the medieval history of Spain...

 in autumn 1212 to find that Simon de Montfort
Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester
Simon IV de Montfort, Seigneur de Montfort-l'Amaury, 5th Earl of Leicester , also known as Simon de Montfort the elder, was a French nobleman who took part in the Fourth Crusade and was a prominent leader of the Albigensian Crusade...

 had conquered Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

, exiling Count Raymond VI of Toulouse
Raymond VI of Toulouse
Raymond VI was count of Toulouse and marquis of Provence from 1194 to 1222. He was also count of Melgueil from 1173 to 1190.-Early life:...

, who was Peter's brother-in-law and vassal. Peter's army crossed the Pyrenees and arrived at Muret
Muret
Muret is a commune in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern France.It is an outer suburb of the city of Toulouse, even though it does not belong to Greater Toulouse, which it has declined to join...

 accompanied by Raymond of Toulouse's forces, in September 1213 to confront Montfort's army.

The Battle of Muret
Battle of Muret
At the Battle of Muret on 12 September 1213 the Crusading army of Simon IV de Montfort defeated the Aragonese and Catalan forces of Peter II of Aragon, at Muret near Toulouse.-Background:...

 began on September 12, 1213. The Aragonese forces were disorganized and disintegrated under the assault of Montfort's squadrons. Peter himself was caught in the thick of fighting, and died as a result of a foolhardy act of bravado. So, the nobility of Toulouse, vassals of the Crown of Aragon, was defeated. The conflict culminated in the Treaty of Meaux-Paris in 1229, in which it was agreed the integration of the Occitan territory in the French crown.

King James I
James I of Aragon
James I the Conqueror was the King of Aragon, Count of Barcelona, and Lord of Montpellier from 1213 to 1276...

 (13th century) started the era of expansion, by conquering and incorporating Majorca and a good part of the Kingdom of Valencia
Kingdom of Valencia
The Kingdom of Valencia , located in the eastern shore of the Iberian Peninsula, was one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon. When the Crown of Aragon merged by dynastic union with the Crown of Castile to form the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Valencia became a component realm of the...

 to the Crown. With the Treaty of Corbeil (1258)
Treaty of Corbeil (1258)
The Treaty of Corbeil was an agreement signed on 11 May 1258, in Corbeil between Louis IX of France and James I of Aragon....

, which was based upon the principle of natural frontiers, French claims over Catalonia came to an end. The general principle was clear, that Aragonese influence north of the Pyrenees was to cease. James I had realized that wasting his forces and distracting his energies in attempts to keep a footing in France could only end in disaster. On January 1266, James I besieged and captured Murcia, settled his own men, mostly Catalans, there; and handed Murcia over to Castile by the treaty of Cazorla.

Majorca, together with the counties of Cerdanya
Cerdanya
Cerdanya is a natural comarca and historical region of the eastern Pyrenees divided between France and Spain. Historically it has been one of the counties of Catalonia....

 and Roussillon
Roussillon
Roussillon is one of the historical counties of the former Principality of Catalonia, corresponding roughly to the present-day southern French département of Pyrénées-Orientales...

 and the city of Montpellier
Montpellier
-Neighbourhoods:Since 2001, Montpellier has been divided into seven official neighbourhoods, themselves divided into sub-neighbourhoods. Each of them possesses a neighbourhood council....

, was held independently from 1276 to 1279 by James II of Majorca
James II of Majorca
James II was King of Majorca and Lord of Montpellier from 1276 until his death. He was the second son of James I of Aragon and his wife Violant, daughter of Andrew II of Hungary...

 as a vassal of the Crown after that date, becoming a full member of the Crown of Aragon in 1344.

Valencia was made a new kingdom with its own institutions, and so was the third member of the crown—the legal status of Majorca was not as consistent as those of Aragón, Catalonia.

On 1282, the Sicilians rose up against the second dynasty of the Angevins
Capetian House of Anjou
The Capetian House of Anjou, also known as the House of Anjou-Sicily and House of Anjou-Naples, was a royal house and cadet branch of the direct House of Capet. Founded by Charles I of Sicily, a son of Louis VIII of France, the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century...

 on the Sicilian Vespers
Sicilian Vespers
The Sicilian Vespers is the name given to the successful rebellion on the island of Sicily that broke out on the Easter of 1282 against the rule of the French/Angevin king Charles I, who had ruled the Kingdom of Sicily since 1266. Within six weeks three thousand French men and women were slain by...

 and massacred the garrison soldiers. Peter III
Peter III of Aragon
Peter the Great was the King of Aragon of Valencia , and Count of Barcelona from 1276 to his death. He conquered Sicily and became its king in 1282. He was one of the greatest of medieval Aragonese monarchs.-Youth and succession:Peter was the eldest son of James I of Aragon and his second wife...

 responded to their call, and landed in Trapani
Trapani
Trapani is a city and comune on the west coast of Sicily in Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Trapani. Founded by Elymians, the city is still an important fishing port and the main gateway to the nearby Egadi Islands.-History:...

 to an enthusiastic welcome five months later. This caused Pope Martin IV
Pope Martin IV
Pope Martin IV, born Simon de Brion held the papacy from February 21, 1281 until his death....

 to excommunicate the king, place Sicily under interdict, and offer the kingdom of Aragon to a son of Philip III of France
Philip III of France
Philip III , called the Bold , was the King of France, succeeding his father, Louis IX, and reigning from 1270 to 1285. He was a member of the House of Capet.-Biography:...

.

When Peter III refused to impose the Charters of Aragon in Valencia, the nobles and towns united in Zaragoza to demand a confirmation of their privileges, which the king had to accept on 1283. Thus began the Union of Aragon
Union of Aragon
The Union of Aragon was an anti-royalist movement among the nobility and the townsmen of the lands of the Crown of Aragon during the last quarter of the thirteenth century...

, which developed the power of the Justícia to mediate between the king and the Aragonese rich men.

When James II of Aragon
James II of Aragon
James II , called the Just was the King of Sicily from 1285 to 1296 and King of Aragon and Valencia and Count of Barcelona from 1291 to 1327. In 1297 he was granted the Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica...

—not to be confused with James II of Majorca—completed the conquest of the kingdom of Valencia, the Crown of Aragon established itself as one of the major powers in Europe.

By grant of Pope Boniface VIII
Pope Boniface VIII
Pope Boniface VIII , born Benedetto Gaetani, was Pope of the Catholic Church from 1294 to 1303. Today, Boniface VIII is probably best remembered for his feuds with Dante, who placed him in the Eighth circle of Hell in his Divina Commedia, among the Simonists.- Biography :Gaetani was born in 1235 in...

 to James II, the kingdoms of Sardinia and Corsica
Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica
The Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica was a constituent country of several States through six centuries...

 were added to the Crown in 1297, though it would not be for more than a century that they were brought under control. By marriage of Peter IV
Peter IV of Aragon
Peter IV, , called el Cerimoniós or el del punyalet , was the King of Aragon, King of Sardinia and Corsica , King of Valencia , and Count of Barcelona Peter IV, (Balaguer, September 5, 1319 – Barcelona, January 6, 1387), called el Cerimoniós ("the Ceremonious") or el del punyalet ("the one...

 to Maria of Sicily, the Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily
The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy...

, as well as the duchies of Athens
Duchy of Athens
The Duchy of Athens was one of the Crusader States set up in Greece after the conquest of the Byzantine Empire during the Fourth Crusade, encompassing the regions of Attica and Boeotia, and surviving until its conquest by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century....

 and Neopatria, were added to the Crown in 1381. The Greek possessions were permanently lost to Nerio I Acciaioli
Nerio I Acciaioli
Nerio I Acciaioli was as Italian aristocrat from Florence who rose to power in Frankish Greece during the last decades of the fourteenth century, eventually becoming Duke of Athens....

 in 1388 and Sicily was dissociated in the hands of Martin I
Martin I of Sicily
Martin I of Sicily , called "The Younger", was King of Sicily from 1390 to 1409.Martin's father was the future King Martin I of Aragon, and his grandparents were King Peter IV of Aragon and Eleanor of Sicily. In 1389/1390/February, 1392 he married Maria of Sicily, born in 1362/1363...

 from 1395 to 1409, but the Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

 was added finally in 1442 by conquest of Alfonso V
Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso the Magnanimous KG was the King of Aragon , Valencia , Majorca, Sardinia and Corsica , and Sicily and Count of Barcelona from 1416 and King of Naples from 1442 until his death...

.

It must be noted that the King's possessions outside of the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands were ruled by proxy through local elites as petty kingdom
Petty kingdom
A petty kingdom is one of a number of small kingdoms, described as minor or "petty" by contrast to an empire or unified kingdom that either preceded or succeeded it...

s, rather than subjected directly to a centralized government. They were more an economic part of the Crown of Aragon than a political one.

The fact that the King was keen on settling new kingdoms instead of merely expanding the existing kingdoms was a part of a power struggle that pitted the interests of the king against those of the existing nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

. This process was also under way in most of the European states that successfully effected the transition to the Early Modern state. Thus, the new territories gained from the Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

—namely Valencia and Majorca—were usually given fuero
Fuero
Fuero , Furs , Foro and Foru is a Spanish legal term and concept.The word comes from Latin forum, an open space used as market, tribunal and meeting place...

s—Catalan furs—as an instrument of self-government in order to limit the power of nobility in these new acquisitions and, at the same time, increase their allegiance to the monarchy itself. The trend in the neighbouring kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of Castile was one of the medieval kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. It emerged as a political autonomous entity in the 9th century. It was called County of Castile and was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region...

 was similar, both kingdoms giving impetus to the Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 by granting self-government either to cities or territories, instead of placing the new territories under the rule of nobility.

Union with Castile


In 1410, King Martin I
Martin I of Aragon
Martin of Aragon , called the Elder, the Humane, the Ecclesiastic, was the King of Aragon, Valencia, Sardinia, and Corsica and Count of Barcelona from 1396 and King of Sicily from 1409...

 died without surviving descendants. As a result, by the Pact of Caspe, Ferdinand of Antequera from the Castilian dynasty of Trastámara
Trastámara
The House of Trastámara was a dynasty of kings in the Iberian Peninsula, which first governed in Castile beginning in 1369 before expanding its rule into Aragón, Navarre and Naples.They were a cadet illegitimate line of the House of Burgundy....

, received the Crown of Aragon as Ferdinand I of Aragon
Ferdinand I of Aragon
Ferdinand I called of Antequera and also the Just or the Honest) was king of Aragon, Valencia, Majorca, Sardinia and Corsica and king of Sicily, duke of Athens and Neopatria, and count of Barcelona, Roussillon and Cerdanya...

.

Later, his grandson King Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand the Catholic was King of Aragon , Sicily , Naples , Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of...

 recovered the northern Catalan counties—Roussillon and Cerdagne—which had been lost to France and also the kingdom of Navarre
Navarre
Navarre , officially the Chartered Community of Navarre is an autonomous community in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Country, La Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Aquitaine in France...

, which had recently joined the Crown of Aragon but had been lost after internal dynastic disputes.

In 1469, Ferdinand married Infanta Isabella of Castile
Isabella I of Castile
Isabella I was Queen of Castile and León. She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to both kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain. Later the two laid the foundations for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor...

, half-sister of King Henry IV of Castile
Henry IV of Castile
Henry IV , King of the Crown of Castile, nicknamed the Impotent , was the last of the weak late medieval kings of Castile...

, who became Queen of Castile and León after his death in 1474. Their marriage was a dynastic union which became the constituent event for the dawn of the Kingdom of Spain. At that point both Castile
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

 and the Crown of Aragon remained distinct territories, each keeping its own traditional institutions, parliaments and laws. The process of territorial consolidation was completed when King Charles I
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

, known as Emperor Charles V, in 1516 united all the kingdoms on the Iberian peninsula minus the Kingdoms of Portugal and the Algarve under one monarch—his co-monarch and mother Queen Joanna I
Joanna of Castile
Joanna , nicknamed Joanna the Mad , was the first queen regnant to reign over both the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon , a union which evolved into modern Spain...

 in confinement—thereby furthering the creation of the Spanish state, albeit a decentralized one.

Dissolution


The literary evocation of past splendour recalls correctly the great age of the 13th and 14th centuries, when Valencia, Majorca and Sicily were conquered, the population growth could be handled without social conflict, and the urban prosperity, which peaked in 1345, created the institutional and cultural achievements of the Crown.
The Aragonese crown's wealth and power stagnated and its authority was steadily transferred to the new Spanish crown after that date—the demographic growth was partially offset by the expulsion of the Jews
Alhambra decree
The Alhambra Decree was an edict issued on 31 March 1492 by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain ordering the expulsion of Jews from the Kingdom of Spain and its territories and possessions by 31 July of that year.The edict was formally revoked on 16 December 1968, following the Second...

 from Spain (1492), Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s (1502) and the expulsion of the Moriscos
Expulsion of the Moriscos
On April 9, 1609, King Philip III of Spain decreed the Expulsion of the Moriscos . The Moriscos were the descendants of the Muslim population that converted to Christianity under threat of exile from Ferdinand and Isabella in 1502...

 (1609). It was unable to prevent the loss of Roussillon in 1659, the loss of Minorca and its Italian domains in 1707–1716, and the imposition of French language on Roussillon (1700) and Castilian as the language of government in all the old Aragonese Crown lands in Spain (1707–1716).

The Crown of Aragon and its institutions were abolished in 1716 only after the War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought among several European powers, including a divided Spain, over the possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. As France and Spain were among the most powerful states of Europe, such a unification would have...

 (1702–1713) by the Nueva Planta decrees
Nueva Planta decrees
The Nueva Planta decrees were a number of decrees signed between 1707 and 1716 by Philip V—the first Bourbon king of Spain—during and shortly after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession which he won....

, issued by Philip V of Spain
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

. The old regime was swept away, the administration was subsumed into the Castilian administration, the lands of the Crown were united formally with those of Castile to legally form a single state, the kingdom of Spain, as it moved towards a centralized government
Centralized government
A centralized or centralised government is one in which power or legal authority is exerted or coordinated by a de facto political executive to which federal states, local authorities, and smaller units are considered subject...

 under the new Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 dynasty.

Nationalist revisionism


The creation of the nation of Spain was shaped by Castilian nationalism ignoring the reality and history of Spain, under "favorable" revisions of history and the predominance of the Castilian language (later known as Spanish) over other languages in the Iberian Peninsula. Until the restoration of democracy in 1975 in Spain, all languages but Spanish and regional specific laws were banned under the former fascist regime. There is still political pressure from Spanish nationalism to identify Spain with the Spanish language and culture, by using the term Spanish instead of Castilian, ignoring other Spanish languages, and accusing others of separatism when using one of the other languages. This discrimination was finally removed by the Spanish Constitution of 1975 which recognizes the plurality of languages, rights and freedom of all Spaniards to keep their own culture.

The punishments on the territories that had fought against Philip V
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

 in the War of Succession are used by some Valencian and Catalan nationalists
Catalan nationalism
Catalan nationalism or Catalanism , is a political movement advocating for either further political autonomy or full independence of Catalonia....

 as arguments against the centralism of Castilian nationalism and in favor of federalism, confederation, or even independentism. Some Aragonese took refuge in the myth of an ancient constitution dated before the beginnings or recorded medieval time, while the Catalans remembered their privileges, which they associated with their Generalitat and resistance to Castile. Because restoration of fueros was one of its tenets, Carlism
Carlism
Carlism is a traditionalist and legitimist political movement in Spain seeking the establishment of a separate line of the Bourbon family on the Spanish throne. This line descended from Infante Carlos, Count of Molina , and was founded due to dispute over the succession laws and widespread...

 won support in the lands of the Crown of Aragon during the 19th century.

The Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 of the 19th century Catalan Renaixença
Renaixença
The Renaixença was an early 19th century late romantic revivalist movement in Catalan language and culture, akin to the Galician Rexurdimento or the Occitan Félibrige movements. The first stimuli of the movement date of the 1830s and 1840s, but the Renaixença stretches up into the 1880s, until it...

 evoked a "Pyrenean realm" that corresponded more to the vision of 13th century troubadour
Troubadour
A troubadour was a composer and performer of Old Occitan lyric poetry during the High Middle Ages . Since the word "troubadour" is etymologically masculine, a female troubadour is usually called a trobairitz....

s than to the historical reality of the Crown. This vision survives today as "a nostalgic programme of politicized culture".

Pennon


The origin of Coat of arms of the Crown of Aragon is the familiar coat of the Counts of Barcelona and Kings of Aragon. The Pennon was used exclusively by the monarchs of the Crown and was expressive of their sovereignty. James III of Majorca
James III of Majorca
James III , called the Rash or the Unfortunate, son of Ferdinand of Majorca and Isabelle de Sabran, heiress of Principality of Achaea, was the King of Majorca from 1324 to 1344. He was the last independent king of Majorca of the House of Barcelona.James was born at Catania...

, vassal of the Kingdom of Aragon, used a coat of arms with four bars, as seen on the Leges Palatinae
Leges palatinae
The Leges palatinae were the laws governing the functioning of the royal court of the Kingdom of Majorca, promulgated by James III at Palma on 9 May 1337. The Leges were probably conceived to lend weight to James's position as an independent king...

 miniatures.

Institutions


Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia each had a legislative body, known as the Cortes in Aragon or Corts in Catalonia and Valencia. A Diputación General was established in each, becoming known as a Generalidad in Aragon and Generalitat
Generalitat
Generalitat is the name of the autonomous systems of government of two of the present Spanish autonomous communities: Catalonia and the Valencian Community. The term is also used for the government of the semi-autonomous comarca of Val d'Aran, the Generalitat a l'Aran.Generalitat refers to all...

 in Catalonia and Valencia.

Capital


During the 15-16th century the Crown's de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 capital was Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

: after Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso the Magnanimous KG was the King of Aragon , Valencia , Majorca, Sardinia and Corsica , and Sicily and Count of Barcelona from 1416 and King of Naples from 1442 until his death...

, also Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand the Catholic was King of Aragon , Sicily , Naples , Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of...

 settled the capital in Naples. Alfonso, in particular, wanted to transform Naples into a real Mediterranean capital, lavishing also huge sums to embellish it further. Later the courts were itinerant until Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

. The Spanish historian Domingo Buesa Conde has argued that Zaragoza ought to be considered the political capital, but not economic or administrative, due to the obligation of the kings to be crowned at the Seo
La Seo Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Savior is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Zaragoza, Spain. It is part of the World Heritage Site Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon....

 of Zaragoza.Domingo J. Buesa Conde, in El rey de Aragón (Zaragoza, CAI, 2000:57–59. ISBN 84-95306-44-1) postulates that the Crown of Aragon's political capital of Zaragoza, though it was not the economic one, nor the administrative one, due to the court being itinerative in the 14th century, took its start from the decrees of Peter IV of Aragon establishing his coronation there.: "Pedro IV parte (...) de la aceptación de la capital del Ebro como "cabeza del Reino". [...] por eso hizo saber a sus súbditos que Mandamos que este sacrosanto sacramento de la unción sea recibido de manos del metropolitano en la ciudad de Zaragoza al tiempo que recordaba: "...y como quiera que los reyes de Aragón están obligados a recibir la unción en la ciudad de Zaragoza, que es la cabeza del Reino de Aragón, el cual reino es nuestra principal designación—esto es, apellido—y título, consideramos conveniente y razonable que, del mismo modo, en ella reciban los reyes de Aragón el honor de la coronación y las demás insignias reales, igual que vimos a los emperadores recibir la corona en la ciudad de Roma, cabeza de su imperio. Zaragoza, antigua capital del reino de Aragón, se ha convertido en la capital política de la Corona (...).

Lands of the Crown


  • Andorra
    Andorra
    Andorra , officially the Principality of Andorra , also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, , is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of...

  • Corsica
    Corsica
    Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

  • Duchy of Neopatria
    Duchy of Neopatria
    The Duchy of Neopatria or Neopatras was one of the Crusader States set up in Greece after the conquest of the Byzantine Empire during the Fourth Crusade...

  • Kingdom of Aragon
    Kingdom of Aragon
    The Kingdom of Aragon was a medieval and early modern kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day autonomous community of Aragon, in Spain...

  • Kingdom of Mallorca
  • Kingdom of Naples
    Kingdom of Naples
    The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

  • Kingdom of Sardinia
    Kingdom of Sardinia
    The Kingdom of Sardinia consisted of the island of Sardinia first as a part of the Crown of Aragon and subsequently the Spanish Empire , and second as a part of the composite state of the House of Savoy . Its capital was originally Cagliari, in the south of the island, and later Turin, on the...

  • Kingdom of Sicily
    Kingdom of Sicily
    The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy...

  • Kingdom of Valencia
    Kingdom of Valencia
    The Kingdom of Valencia , located in the eastern shore of the Iberian Peninsula, was one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon. When the Crown of Aragon merged by dynastic union with the Crown of Castile to form the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Valencia became a component realm of the...

  • Malta
    Malta
    Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

  • Principality of Catalonia
    Principality of Catalonia
    The Principality of Catalonia , is a historic territory in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula, mostly in Spain and with an adjoining portion in southern France....

  • Roussillon
    Roussillon
    Roussillon is one of the historical counties of the former Principality of Catalonia, corresponding roughly to the present-day southern French département of Pyrénées-Orientales...

  • Provence
    Provence
    Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

  • Montpellier
    Montpellier
    -Neighbourhoods:Since 2001, Montpellier has been divided into seven official neighbourhoods, themselves divided into sub-neighbourhoods. Each of them possesses a neighbourhood council....

  • Gévaudan
    Gévaudan
    Gévaudan is a historical area of France, nowadays situated in Lozère département. It took its name from the Gabali, a Gallic tribe subordinate to the Arverni.- History :...


External links