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27 Jul

Kingdom of Pamplona or Navarre (9th -13th c.)

The Kingdom of Pamplona or Navarre emerged in the 9th century when the Franks withdrew from the country. At the same time began to rise the power and influence of the Vasconic dynasty and Inigo Arista became the first King of Pamplona in 825. The Kingdom of Pamplona greatly extended its territory under Inigo’s successors and came to be known as the Kingdom of Navarre.

The Kingdom of Navarre reached its height under successors of Sancho II Garces (970-994), especially during the reign of Sancho III the Great (1000-1035) who ruled Pamplona, Castile and Aragon, and conquered kingdoms of Castile and Leon at the end of his reign. He divided his kingdom among his four sons on his death: Garcia of Najera inherited the Kingdom of Pamplona, his eldest son Fernando received Castile, Gonzalo gained Sobrarbe and Ribagorza, while his illegitimate son Ramiro inherited the County of Aragon. The division resulted in severe conflicts between Sancho’s successors and led to further partition of the Kingdom of Navarre. Assassination of Sancho IV (1054-1076) in 1076 caused a dynastic crisis which enabled the Castilian and Aragonese kings to seize the territory of the Kingdom of Navarre.

Location of the Kingdom of Navarre

Location of the Kingdom of Navarre

The Kingdom of Navarre reached its territorial peak under Aragonese overlordship from 1074 to 1134. Garcia V of Navarre (1134-1150) restored Navarrese independence from Aragon in 1134 and tried to recapture the historic lands of Navarre from Castile. His son and successor Sancho the Wise (1150-1194) continued the fight against Castile. The dispute between the kingdoms of Navarre and Castile was settled by an arbitration of Henry II of England in 1177. Henry II gave each side what they actually controlled. However, Alfonso VIII of Castile took advantage of the absence of Sancho the Strong (1194-1234) and conquered western Navarre in 1200.

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