Principality of Catalonia

Principality in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula between the 12th century and 1714 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Principality of Catalonia (Catalan: Principat de Catalunya; Occitan: Principat de Catalonha; Spanish: Principado de Cataluña; Latin: Principatus Cathaloniæ) was a medieval and early modern state[2][3][4][5][6] in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula. During most of its history it was in dynastic union with the Kingdom of Aragon, constituting together the Crown of Aragon. Between the 13th and the 18th centuries, it was bordered by the Kingdom of Aragon to the west, the Kingdom of Valencia to the south, the Kingdom of France and the feudal lordship of Andorra to the north and by the Mediterranean Sea to the east. The term Principality of Catalonia was official until the 1830s, when the Spanish government implemented the centralized provincial division, but remained in popular and informal contexts. Today, the term Principat (Principality) is used primarily to refer to the autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain, as distinct from the other Catalan Countries,[7][8] and usually including the historical region of Roussillon in Southern France.

Quick facts: Principality of CataloniaPrincipat de Catalun...
Principality of Catalonia
Principat de Catalunya (Catalan)
Principatus Cathaloniæ (Latin)
12th century – 1714/1833
Territory of the Principality of Catalonia until 1659. Location superimposed to current borders
Territory of the Principality of Catalonia until 1659. Location superimposed to current borders
Common languages
GovernmentMonarchy subject to constitutions
Alfons I (first)
Charles III (last)
President of the Deputation 
Berenguer de Cruïlles (first)
Josep de Vilamala (last)
LegislatureCatalan Courts
Historical eraMedieval / Early modern
 Reign of Alfons I
 Reign of Charles I
c. 500,000
CurrencyCroat, Ducat, Florin, and others
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png County of Barcelona
Flag_of_Roussillon.svg County of Roussillon
Bandera_del_Comtat_d%27Emp%C3%BAries.svg County of Empúries
Flag_of_the_County_of_Urgell.svg County of Urgell
Bandera_dels_Comtes_de_Pallars.png County of Pallars Sobirà
Banner_of_the_Moors_%281212%29.svg Almoravid empire
Roussillon Royal_Standard_of_the_King_of_France.svg
Bourbon Spain Flag_of_Spain_%281701%E2%80%931760%29.svg
Province of Barcelona Flag_of_Barcelona_province%28official%29.svg
Province of Girona Bandera_antiga_de_la_provincia_de_Girona.svg
Province of Lleida Bandera_antiga_de_la_prov%C3%ADncia_de_Lleida.svg
Province of Tarragona Bandera_actual_de_la_provincia_de_Tarragona_%28alternate%29.svg
Today part of

The first reference to Catalonia and the Catalans appears in the Liber maiolichinus de gestis Pisanorum illustribus, a Pisan chronicle (written between 1117 and 1125) of the conquest of Majorca by a joint force of Italians, Catalans, and Occitans.[9] At the time, Catalonia did not yet exist as a political entity, though the use of this term seems to acknowledge Catalonia as a cultural or geographical entity. The counties that eventually made up the Principality of Catalonia were gradually unified under the rule of the count of Barcelona. In 1137, the County of Barcelona and the Kingdom of Aragon were unified under a single dynasty, creating what modern historians call the Crown of Aragon; however, Aragon and Catalonia retained their own political structure and legal traditions, developing separate political communities along the next centuries. Under Alfons I the Troubador (reigned 1164–1196), Catalonia was regarded as a legal entity for the first time.[10] Still, the term Principality of Catalonia was not used legally until the 14th century, when it was applied to the territories ruled by the Courts of Catalonia.

Its institutional system evolved over the centuries, establishing political bodies analogous to the ones of the other kingdoms of the Crown (such as the Courts, the Generalitat or the Consell de Cent) and legislation (constitutions, derived from the Usages of Barcelona) which largely limited the royal power and secured the political model of pactism.[clarification needed] Catalonia contributed to further develop the Crown trade and military, most significantly their navy. Catalan language flourished and expanded as more territories were added to the Crown, including Valencia, the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, Sicily, Naples and Athens, constituting a thalassocracy across the Mediterranean. The crisis of the 14th century, the end of the rule of House of Barcelona (1410) and a civil war (1462–1472) weakened the role of the Principality in Crown and international affairs.

The marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in 1469 laid the foundations of the monarchy of Spain. In 1492 the Spanish colonization of the Americas began, and political power began to shift away towards Castile. Tensions between Catalan institutions and the monarchy, alongside the peasants' revolts, provoked the Reapers' War (1640–1659). By the Treaty of the Pyrenees the Roussillon was ceded to France. During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714), the Crown of Aragon supported the Archduke Charles of Habsburg. After the surrender of Barcelona in 1714, king Philip V of Bourbon, inspired by the French model, imposed absolutism and a unifying administration across Spain, and enacted the Nueva Planta decrees for every realm of the Crown of Aragon, which suppressed the main Catalan, Aragonese, Valencian and Majorcan political institutions and rights and merged them into the Crown of Castile as provinces. However, the Principality of Catalonia remained as an administrative unit until the establishment of the Spanish provincial division of 1833, which divided Catalonia into four provinces.