Aragon (Spanish: Aragón; Aragonese language: Aragón; Catalan: Aragó) is an autonomous community of north-eastern Spain. It has an area of 47,719 km² with a population of 1,217,514 (2003).
Aragon is bounded on the north by France, on the east by Catalonia, on the south by Valencia, and on the west by Castile-La Mancha, Castile-Leon, La Rioja, and Navarre (Spanish: Navarra). It comprises the provinces of Zaragoza (English: Saragossa), Huesca, and Teruel.
Its capital is Zaragoza.
In addition to its three provinces, Aragon is subdivided into 33 comarcas (counties).
In addition to Spanish, there is an original Aragonese language, still spoken in some valleys of the Pyrenees, which is different from the Aragonese dialect of Castilian Spanish language.
Catalan is spoken as well in some comarques (counties) adjacent to Catalonia, in particular: the Ribagorzan dialect in Ribagorza (capital Benabarre) and Litera (capital Binefar ), and a dialect similar to that of Terra Alta in Matarraña (capital Valderrobres) and Bajo Cinca (capital Fraga).
Aragón was a French feudal county (Jaca) before becoming a self-proclaimed kingdom, which was united to the kingdom of Pamplona (later Navarre) in 925. Split from the kingdom of Navarre, the kingdom of Aragón was re-established in 1035 and lasted until 1707. Aragón was also the name of the crown, because of the dynastic union of a Count of Barcelona (Ramon Berenguer IV) with a Queen of Aragón (Petronila of Aragon), their son inheriting all their respective territories. This Crown was effectively disbanded after the dynastic union with Castile (see below). The Kings of Aragón (called by some present-day historians "Catalan Kings of Aragón", "Catalan Kings", "Count-Kings", or "Counts of Barcelona and Kings of Aragón" so that the role played by Catalonia in the crown is not ignored inadvertently) ruled territories that consisted of not only the present administrative region of Aragón but also Catalonia, and later the Balearic Islands, Valencia, Sicily, Naples and Sardinia (see Catalan-Aragonese Empire).
The King of Aragón was the direct King of the Aragonese region, and held also the title of King of Valencia , King of Mallorca (for a time), Count of Barcelona, Lord of Montpellier, and, only temporally, Duke of Athens and Neopatria. Each of these titles gave him sovereignty over a certain region, and these titles changed as he lost and won territories.
The real centre of this kingdom was Barcelona, since it had a seaport and was near the geographical centre of the Crown of Aragon, while Valencia was the most important seaport for trade until approximately the 18th century. Present-day historians usually call the Crown the "Crown of Aragón", the "Catalan-Aragonese Confederation" or simply "Catalonia-Aragón", many times depending on whether that historian lives in Aragón or in Catalonia. The Kingdom of Aragón is called simply Kingdom of Aragón. Saying just "Aragón" is ambiguous and should be avoided. 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, in Catalan).
See list of Kings of Aragón.
See list of Chancellors and Council Presidents of Aragón
See list of Lieutenants of the Kingdom of Aragón
The dynastic union of Castile and Aragon in 1479, when Ferdinand II of Aragon wed Isabella I of Castile, led to the formal creation of Spain as a single entity in 1516. See List of Spanish monarchs and Kings of Spain family tree
Aragon is also the name of a commune in the Aude département, in France
Last updated: 06-02-2005 02:08:53
Last updated: 09-03-2005 18:37:12