Aragonese Overseas Expansion

The Kingdom of Aragon, 1035-1250

After the Arab conquest of Spain in 711, the heartland of Aragon formed part of the SPANISH MARCH, a stretch of buffer territory established between Umayyad Spain and the Frankish kingdom. The Spanish March soon disintegrated, and from it, Aragon later emerged.
In the 10th century, Aragon was just one of the Iberian statelets fighting the Moors. King SANCHO THE GREAT (1004-1035) unified Navarra, Castille and Aragon in Personal Union. His realm was divided among his sons, Aragon allocated to RAMIRO SANCHEZ and elevated to a kingdom. Between 1076 and 1134, Navarra and Aragon were united in DYNASTIC UNION; in 1118, ZARAGOZA and TARRAGONA were annexed. In 1137, the County of CATALONIA was unified with Aragon in Dynastic Union, in 1172 the County of ROUSSILLON. The Aragonese expansion continued : 1229, MALLORCA was gained, 1232 MENORCA (lost again and finally gained in 1283), 1238 VALENCIA, 1248 JATIVA.
The Kingdom of Aragon, capital Zaragoza, and the County of Catalonia, capital Barcelona, remained separate entities, the former speaking Castillian, the latter Catalan. Each territory had it's own set of laws. The CORTES of Aragon is first documented for 1071, at which time both nobility and clergy were represented. Later, from the 12th century onward, 4 estates were represented : Caballeros and ricoshombres (both nobility), clergy and the towns. Catalonia had it's own cortes, where 3 estates were represented - clergy, nobility and the towns. General cortes for bith Aragon and Catalonia were called since 1162, but the regional cortes continued to assemble, keenly defending their privileges, the region's laws, thus preserving the regional identity. With the conquest of Valencia, the new Kingdom of Valencia would have it's own regional cortes.

With the conquest of Jativa, Aragon's expansion on the Spanish peninsula ended. Aragon now faced the Mediterranean, looking for conquests across the sea. Aragon was an Iberian kingdom with strong connections to the Languedoc and the Provence. The Kings of Aragon owned considerable estates in southern France. When King Philip II. Auguste of France launched the crusade against the Albigensians in 1211, Aragon lost much of it's possessions in the Languedoc and the Provence. Hatred of the French now became a long-lasting feature of Aragonese policy.
BARCELONA grew to become one of the major trading ports of the Mediterranean.

List of Kings of Aragon, 1035-1250
Ramiro I.
Sancho I. Ramirez
Peter I.
Alfonso I.
Ramiro II.
Raimond Berengar
Alfonso II.
Peter II.
James I. the Conqueror

union with Navarra since 1076
union with Navarra
union with Navarra

union with Catalonia
union with Catalonia
union with Catalonia
union with Catalonia

Lists of Rulers of medieval Aragon, from obsidian
Titles of European Rulers : Aragon
Origin of the Catalan Political Institutions, from Generalitat
The Finest Castle in the World (Jativa, 1244) by R.I. Burns and P.E. Chevedden; Aragonese Historiography in the 11th and 12th centuries, by Lynn H. Nelson, aarhms library at ukans
A Medieval Catalan Noble Family, the Montcadas 1000-1230, by Joseph H. Shideler, from Libro
The Diocese of Vic. Tradition and Regeneration in Medieval Catalonia, by Paul H. Freedman, from Libro
The Town In Service Of War In The Medieval Crown Of Aragon by Donald Joseph Kagay, from E-Hawk, academic, w. weird map
DOCUMENTS Regests of Medieval Aragonese Documents, 6th century-1149, from aarhms at ukans
Documents from the Arxiu Capitulare of Vic (Catalonia), 1131-1215, from ukans
Maps showing the Division of the Estates of Sancho the Great, and of Aragon 1063-1131, and of Aragon 1162-1327 , from LIBRO/H.J. Chaytor 1933
Atlas de Historia de Aragon, from Univ. of Zaragoza, in Spanish, many commented maps
Political Maps, Europe 1000, 1100, 1200

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 9th 2004

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