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Marca Hispanica

Marca Hispanica

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The Marca Hispanica also known as Spanish March or March of Barcelona was a buffer zone
Buffer zone
A buffer zone is generally a zonal area that lies between two or more other areas , but depending on the type of buffer zone, the reason for it may be to segregate regions or to conjoin them....

 beyond the province of Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

, created by Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 in 795 as a defensive barrier between the Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came 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...

 of Al-Andalus
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 the Frankish Kingdom
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

.

In its broader meaning, Marca Hispanica refers to a group of early Iberian lordships or counts created by the Franks, of which 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...

 is the sole autonomous survivor. As time passed, these lordships merged or gained independence from Frankish imperial rule.

Geographical context


The area broadly corresponds to the region between the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

 and the Ebro River. The local population of the March was diverse, including Iberians
Iberians
The Iberians were a set of peoples that Greek and Roman sources identified with that name in the eastern and southern coasts of the Iberian peninsula at least from the 6th century BC...

, Basques, Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 and Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 who had been conquered or subjugated by the 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...

 emirate
Emirate
An emirate is a political territory that is ruled by a dynastic Muslim monarch styled emir.-Etymology:Etymologically emirate or amirate is the quality, dignity, office or territorial competence of any emir ....

 to the south or the Frankish Empire
Frankish Empire
Francia or Frankia, later also called the Frankish Empire , Frankish Kingdom , Frankish Realm or occasionally Frankland, was the territory inhabited and ruled by the Franks from the 3rd to the 10th century...

 to the north. The territory changed with the fortunes of the Empires and the feudal ambitions of those, whether the Counts or Walis
Wali
Walī , is an Arabic word meaning "custodian", "protector", "sponsor", or authority as denoted by its definition "crown". "Wali" is someone who has "Walayah" over somebody else. For example, in Fiqh the father is wali of his children. In Islam, the phrase ولي الله walīyu 'llāh...

, appointed to administer the counties. Eventually the rulers and people of the March became autonomous and claimed independence. Out of the welter of counties in the region emerged the principalities 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...

, Aragon
Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

, and Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

.

Counties that at various times formed part of the March included: Pamplona
Pamplona
Pamplona is the historial capital city of Navarre, in Spain, and of the former kingdom of Navarre.The city is famous worldwide for the San Fermín festival, from July 6 to 14, in which the running of the bulls is one of the main attractions...

, Sangüesa
Sangüesa
Sangüesa is a city in Navarre, Spain, 44.5 kilometers from Pamplona. It is close to the River Aragon and is located on the Way of Saint James. It has been an important stopping point for pilgrims since the Middle Ages...

, Jaca
Jaca
Jaca is a city of northeastern Spain near the border with France, in the midst of the Pyrenees in the province of Huesca...

, Sobrarbe
Sobrarbe
Sobrarbe is one of the Comarcas of Aragon, Spain. It is located in the northern part of the province of Huesca, part of the autonomous community of Aragon in Spain...

, Ribagorza, Pallars, Urgell
Urgell
The County of Urgell is one of the historical Catalan counties, bordering on the counties of Pallars and Cerdanya.The county was carved by the Franks out of a former section of the Mark of Toulouse when the Alt Urgell area became part of the Carolingian Empire between 785 and 790.The original...

, 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....

, Conflent
Conflent
Conflent is a historical Catalan comarca of Northern Catalonia, now part of the French Département of Pyrénées-Orientales. In the Middle Ages it comprised the County of Conflent....

, 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...

, Vallespir
Vallespir
Vallespir is a historical Catalan comarca of Northern Catalonia, part of the French Département of Pyrénées-Orientales. The capital of the comarca is Ceret, and it borders Conflent, Rosselló, Alt Empordà, Garrotxa and Ripollès...

, Perelada, Empúries
County of Empúries
The County of Empúries was a medieval county centred on the town of Empúries and enclosing the Catalan region of Peralada. It corresponds to the historic comarca of Empordà....

, Besalú
Besalú
Besalú is a town in the comarca of Garrotxa, in Catalonia, Spain.The town's importance was greater in the early Middle Ages, as capital of the county of Besalú, whose territory was roughly the same size as the current comarca of Garrotxa but sometime extended as far as Corbières, Aude, in France....

, Ausona (Osona), Barcelona and Girona
Girona
Girona is a city in the northeast of Catalonia, Spain at the confluence of the rivers Ter, Onyar, Galligants and Güell, with an official population of 96,236 in January 2009. It is the capital of the province of the same name and of the comarca of the Gironès...

.

Origins


The Marca Hispanica developed as the result of three generations of fighting by the Franks and 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 (Moors) in the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

. The Muslim invasions
Umayyad conquest of Hispania
The Umayyad conquest of Hispania is the initial Islamic Ummayad Caliphate's conquest, between 711 and 718, of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania, centered in the Iberian Peninsula, which was known to them under the Arabic name al-Andalus....

 reached the Pyrenees in the Iberian Peninsula. In 719 the forces of Al-Samh ibn Malik surged up the east coast, overwhelming the remaining Visigoth
Visigoth
The Visigoths were one of two main branches of the Goths, the Ostrogoths being the other. These tribes were among the Germans who spread through the late Roman Empire during the Migration Period...

 kingdom of Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

 and establishing a fortified base at Narbonne
Narbonne
Narbonne is a commune in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It lies from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Once a prosperous port, it is now located about from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea...

. Control was secured by offering the local population generous terms, inter-marriage between ruling families or treaties.

Further expansion was halted by defeat in the Battle of Toulouse
Battle of Toulouse (721)
The Battle of Toulouse was a victory of an Aquitanian army led by Duke Odo of Aquitaine over an Umayyad army besieging the city of Toulouse, and led by the governor of Al-Andalus, Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani...

. Wāli
Wali
Walī , is an Arabic word meaning "custodian", "protector", "sponsor", or authority as denoted by its definition "crown". "Wali" is someone who has "Walayah" over somebody else. For example, in Fiqh the father is wali of his children. In Islam, the phrase ولي الله walīyu 'llāh...

s were installed in Girona
Girona
Girona is a city in the northeast of Catalonia, Spain at the confluence of the rivers Ter, Onyar, Galligants and Güell, with an official population of 96,236 in January 2009. It is the capital of the province of the same name and of the comarca of the Gironès...

 and 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...

. The Muslim forces however continued to raid their Frankish and Aquitanian
Duchy of Vasconia
The Duchy of Vasconia , or Wasconia, was originally a Frankish march formed by 602 to keep the Basques in check. It comprised the former Roman province of Novempopulania and, at least in some periods, also the lands south of the Pyrenees centred on Pamplona.In the ninth century, civil war within...

 neighbours to the north, reaching as far as Autun
Autun
Autun is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in Burgundy in eastern France. It was founded during the early Roman Empire as Augustodunum. Autun marks the easternmost extent of the Umayyad campaign in Europe.-Early history:...

.

Peace was signed in 730 between the victor at 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...

, the Duke of Aquitaine
Duke of Aquitaine
The Duke of Aquitaine ruled the historical region of Aquitaine under the supremacy of Frankish, English and later French kings....

, and 'Uthman ibn Naissa (Munuza), the Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 deputy governor of Narbonne
Narbonne
Narbonne is a commune in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It lies from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Once a prosperous port, it is now located about from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea...

. A peace treaty was sealed with the marriage of the Duke’s daughter to Munuza. However, when Munuza rebelled against his Andalusian masters, he was defeated and another period of Muslim expansion commenced.

In 732, Muslim forces again attacked Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 and Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

 and secured initial victories, including the sacking of Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

. The Duke of Aquitaine failed to secure support from his Frankish overlord, Charles Martel
Charles Martel
Charles Martel , also known as Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks. In 739 he was offered the...

, who wanted to re-impose control over the dukedom. At the Battle of Tours
Battle of Tours
The Battle of Tours , also called the Battle of Poitiers and in Battle of the Court of the Martyrs, was fought in an area between the cities of Poitiers and Tours, located in north-central France, near the village of Moussais-la-Bataille, about northeast of Poitiers...

, Charles defeated the Muslim army and repelled the invasion. Seeking to secure the southern boundary of their kingdom from further Muslim attacks, the Carolingian monarchs established a firmer control over Aquitaine.

Further campaigns in 736–37 drove the Moors further south, although Charles failed to recapture Narbonne, which was defended by both its Muslim and Visigoth citizens; however, in 759 Narbonne fell to Pippin
Pippin the Younger
Pepin , called the Short or the Younger , rarely the Great , was the first King of the Franks of the Carolingian dynasty...

, Charles’s son.

Pippin's son, Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

, fulfilled the Carolingian goal of extending the defensive boundaries of the empire beyond Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

, creating a strong barrier state between the Umayyad Emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

ate/Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

ate of Iberia
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 and the Frankish Kingdom, besides tightening control over the Duchy of Vasconia by establishing the Kingdom of Aquitaine ruled by son Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

 in 781.

Creation


The Franks created the Marca Hispanica by conquering former Visigoth states which had been captured by the Muslims or had become allied with them.

The first county to be conquered was 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...

 (with Vallespir
Vallespir
Vallespir is a historical Catalan comarca of Northern Catalonia, part of the French Département of Pyrénées-Orientales. The capital of the comarca is Ceret, and it borders Conflent, Rosselló, Alt Empordà, Garrotxa and Ripollès...

) in around 760. In 785 the county of Girona
Girona
Girona is a city in the northeast of Catalonia, Spain at the confluence of the rivers Ter, Onyar, Galligants and Güell, with an official population of 96,236 in January 2009. It is the capital of the province of the same name and of the comarca of the Gironès...

 (with Besalú
Besalú
Besalú is a town in the comarca of Garrotxa, in Catalonia, Spain.The town's importance was greater in the early Middle Ages, as capital of the county of Besalú, whose territory was roughly the same size as the current comarca of Garrotxa but sometime extended as far as Corbières, Aude, in France....

) to the south of the Pyrenees was taken. Ribagorza and Pallars were linked to 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...

 and were added to this county around 790. Urgell
Urgell
The County of Urgell is one of the historical Catalan counties, bordering on the counties of Pallars and Cerdanya.The county was carved by the Franks out of a former section of the Mark of Toulouse when the Alt Urgell area became part of the Carolingian Empire between 785 and 790.The original...

 and 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....

 were added in 798. The first records of the county of Empúries
Empúries
Empúries , formerly known by its Spanish name Ampurias , was a town on the Mediterranean coast of the Catalan comarca of Alt Empordà in Catalonia, Spain. It was founded in 575 BC by Greek colonists from Phocaea with the name of Ἐμπόριον...

 (with Perelada) are from 812 but the county was probably under Frankish control before 800.

After a series of struggles the County of Barcelona (with Ausona) was taken by Frankish forces in 801. A number of castles were established in Aragón
Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

 between 798 and 802. Pamplona
Pamplona
Pamplona is the historial capital city of Navarre, in Spain, and of the former kingdom of Navarre.The city is famous worldwide for the San Fermín festival, from July 6 to 14, in which the running of the bulls is one of the main attractions...

 (and Sangüesa
Sangüesa
Sangüesa is a city in Navarre, Spain, 44.5 kilometers from Pamplona. It is close to the River Aragon and is located on the Way of Saint James. It has been an important stopping point for pilgrims since the Middle Ages...

) were briefly controlled by the Franks until 817, when it was lost to Basque
Basque people
The Basques as an ethnic group, primarily inhabit an area traditionally known as the Basque Country , a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.The Basques are known in the...

 and Christian Iberian forces. The date Sobrarbe
Sobrarbe
Sobrarbe is one of the Comarcas of Aragon, Spain. It is located in the northern part of the province of Huesca, part of the autonomous community of Aragon in Spain...

 was incorporated into the March is unsure.

After the loss of Pamplona (817) and Aragón (820) the March was often called Gothia after the Visigoth population. In addition, as the Counts often held land in Septimania, the whole region was sometimes referred to as Septimania.

Structure


The local population of the Marches was diverse including Hispano-Romans, Iberians, Basques, Jews and Goths who had been conquered or subjugated by the Muslim or Frankish Empires to the north and south. The area changed with the fortunes of the Empires and the feudal ambitions of the Counts or Walis appointed to administrate the Counties. As Frankish imperial power waned, the rulers of the March became independent fiefs. The region would later become part of the principalities of Navarre, Aragon, and Catalonia.

Charlemagne's son Louis
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

 took 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...

 from its Moorish ruler in 801, thus securing Frankish power in the borderland between the Franks and the Moors. The Counts of Barcelona then became the principal representatives of Frankish authority in the Spanish March. The March included various outlying smaller territories, each ruled by a lesser Miles with his armed retainers and who theoretically owed allegiance through the Count to the Emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

. The rulers were called Counts, when they governed several Counties they often took the name Duke. When the County formed the border with the Muslim Kingdom the Frankish title, Marquis was chosen.

Counties formed in the 9th century at the eastern end of Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

 as an appanage
Appanage
An apanage or appanage or is the grant of an estate, titles, offices, or other things of value to the younger male children of a sovereign, who would otherwise have no inheritance under the system of primogeniture...

s of the Counts of Barcelona included 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....

, Girona
Girona
Girona is a city in the northeast of Catalonia, Spain at the confluence of the rivers Ter, Onyar, Galligants and Güell, with an official population of 96,236 in January 2009. It is the capital of the province of the same name and of the comarca of the Gironès...

 and Urgell
Urgell
The County of Urgell is one of the historical Catalan counties, bordering on the counties of Pallars and Cerdanya.The county was carved by the Franks out of a former section of the Mark of Toulouse when the Alt Urgell area became part of the Carolingian Empire between 785 and 790.The original...

.

In the early 9th century, Charlemagne began issuing a new kind of land grant, the Aprisio, which reallocated land previously held by the imperial crown fisc
Fisc
Under the Merovingians and Carolingians, the fisc applied to the royal demesne which paid taxes, entirely in kind, from which the royal household was meant to be supported, though it rarely was...

 in deserted or abandoned areas. This included special rights and immunities that allowed considerable independence from the imperial control. Historians have interpreted the aprisio both as an early form of feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 and in economic and military terms as a mechanism to entice settlers to a depopulated border region. Such self-sufficient landholders would aid the Counts in providing armed men to defend the Frankish frontier
Frontier
A frontier is a political and geographical term referring to areas near or beyond a boundary. 'Frontier' was absorbed into English from French in the 15th century, with the meaning "borderland"--the region of a country that fronts on another country .The use of "frontier" to mean "a region at the...

. Aprisio grants (the first ones were in Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

) were given personally by the Carolingian king, so that they reinforced loyalty to central power, to counterbalance the local power exercised by the Marcher Counts.

However poor communications and a distant central power allowed basic feudal entities to develop often self-sufficient and heavily agrarian. Each was ruled by a small hereditary military elite. These developments in Catalonia follow similar patterns in other borderlands and Marches. For example the first Count of Barcelona Bera
Bera, Count of Barcelona
Bera was the first count of Barcelona from 801 until his deposition in 820.He was also the count of Girona and Besalú from 812 or 817 and count of Razès and Conflent from 790 until his deposition.-Origins:...

 was appointed by the King in 801), however subsequently strong heirs of Counts were able to inherit the title such as Sunifred, fl. 844–848. This gradually became custom until Countship became hereditary (for Wifred the Hairy in 897). The County became 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...

independent under count Borrell II, when he ceased to request royal charters after the Frankish kings Lothair
Lothair of France
Lothair , sometimes called Lothair IV, was the Carolingian king of West Francia , son of Louis IV and Gerberga of Saxony.-Regency:...

 and Hugh Capet failed to assist him in the defense of the County against Muslim leader al-Mansur
Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir
Abu Aamir Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Abi Aamir, Al-Hajib Al-Mansur , better known as Almanzor, was the de facto ruler of Muslim Al-Andalus in the late 10th to early 11th centuries. His rule marked the peak of power for Moorish Iberia.-Origins:He was born Muhammad Ibn Abi Aamir, into a noble Arab...

, although the change of dynasty may have played a part in that decision.

Certain Counts aspired to the Frankish (Germanic) title "Prince of Gothia
Prince of Gothia
The title Prince of Gothia or Prince of the Goths was a title of nobility, sometimes assumed by its holder as a sign of supremacy in the region of Gothia and sometimes bestowed by the sovereign of West Francia to the principal nobleman in the south of the realm, in the ninth and tenth centuries...

". A "Margrave" is a Graf ("Count") of the March. The early History of Andorra
History of Andorra
Andorra is the last independent survivor of the Marca Hispanica, the buffer states created by Charlemagne to keep the Islamic Moors from advancing into Christian France. Tradition holds that Charlemagne granted a charter to the Andorran people in return for their fighting the Moors...

in the Pyrenees provides a fairly typical example of a lordship of the region, and is the only modern survivor of the Spanish March that has not been incorporated into either France or Spain.

External links