Aragonese Empire

From Academic Kids

Template:History of Spain The Aragonese Empire was the regime of a large portion of what is now Spain, plus numerous Mediterranean possessions, for much of the later Middle Ages. The regime began in 1035, as the Kingdom of Aragon, ruling roughly the area still known as Aragon. From 1137, the Crown of Aragon also ruled Catalonia, and later, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, Sicily and Sardinia, and at least temporarily Roussillon, Provence, Naples and Athens, until 1479 when the marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon to Isabella I of Castile unified their kingdoms.

During most of this time, the Crown of Aragon united two or even three separate kingdoms; the scope of this article is the empire that effectively resulted from that dynastic union, rather than with these kingdoms individually.

The real centre of this empire was Barcelona, since it was a seaport located near the geographical center of the Crown, and also one of the political centers of the Crown, with its Consell de Cent ruling according to the laws of Catalonia. Other important seaports were Valencia and Palma de Mallorca. Both Zaragoza and Valencia had more population than Barcelona until the 18th century (long after the Aragonese Empire had been absorbed into Spain), when the walls of Barcelona were taken down and the city outgrew all others in the territories of this former Crown.

Some present-day historians (and Catalan nationalists) may call the Crown the Catalan-Aragonese Confederation, since this reflects the composition of the state, but its most usual name was "Crown of Aragon". Barcelona was the center of what was in many ways a Mediterranean Empire, ruling the Mediterranean Sea and setting rules for the entire sea (for instance, in the Llibre del Consolat del Mar, a compilation of maritime law in Catalan).

Context

The countries that we now know as Spain and Portugal spent the Middle Ages after 722 in an intermittent struggle called the Reconquista. This struggle pitted the northern Christian kingdoms against the Islamic kingdoms of the South and among themselves.

In the Late Middle Ages, the Aragonese expansion southwards met with the Castilian advance northward in the region of Murcia . Afterward, the Aragonese empire focused in the Mediterranean, acting as far as Greece and Barbary.

History

The union of the two territories of Catalonia and Aragon was caused by the marriage of Ramon_Berenguer_IV,_Count_of_Barcelona and Petronila of Aragon, later Queen Regnant of Aragon. This merged the County of Barcelona with the Kingdom of Aragon under the name of "Crown of Aragon". Their son, Alfonso II, inherited both titles. This union was made while respecting the existing institutions of both places. This situation was mostly maintained until the abolition of the Crown of Aragon early in the 18th century.

King James I (13th century) conquered new territories and incorporated Majorca and the region of Valencia to the state. Valencia was made a new kingdom with its own institutions, and so the third member of the confederation. Majorca, together with the counties of Cerdagne and Roussillon and the city of Montpellier, were given to his son James and were named Kingdom of Majorca, but these territories were reincorporated later, in 1349.

Expansion through the Mediterranean continued (Sicily, Minorca, Sardinia). In 1410, King Martin I died without surviving descendants. As a result, by the Pact of Caspe, Ferdinand of Antequera from the Castilian dynasty of Trastamara, received the Crown of Aragon.

In 1443, Naples was conquered. Later, King Ferdinand II of Aragon recovered the northern Catalan counties, as well as Iberian Navarre, and married Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1479. However, Castile and the Crown of Aragon remained different states, each keeping its own institutions and laws.

The Crown of Aragon was abolished after the War of the Spanish Succession (1702–1713) and all its lands were incorporated, as provinces, into Spanish administration.

See List of Spanish monarchs, Kings of Spain family tree, and Spanish Empire.

See also

es:Corona de Aragn ja:アラゴン王国

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