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Navarre

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The territory formerly known as Navarre now belongs to two nations, Spain and France, according as it lies south or north of the Western Pyrenees. Spanish Navarre is bounded on the north by French Navarre, on the north-east by the Province of Huesca on the east and south-east by the Province of Saragossa, on the south by the province of Logrono, and on the west by the Basque Provinces of Guipuzcoa and Alava. It lies partly in the mountainous region of the Pyrenees and partly on the banks of the Ebro; in the mountains dwell the Basques; in the south, the Spaniards. It is made up of 269 communes in the five districts of Pamplona Aoiz, Estella Tafalla, and Tudela, Pamplona being the capital. French, or Lower, Navarre (Basse-Navarre) belongs to the Department of Basses-Pyrenees, and forms the western part of the Arrondissement of Mauldeon and the Cantons of Hasparren and Labastide-Clairence in the Arrondissement of Bayonne. It borders on Bearn to the north, on Soule to the east, on the Pyrenees to the south and south-west, on Labourd to the west and northwest, and extends over the districts of Arheroue, Mixe, Ostabares, Osses, Baigorry, Cize. The principal city, Donajouna, or St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port, stands on the River Nive, in the Arrondissement of Mauleon

History

The history of the two divisions of the country is identical until the year 1512, when Spanish Navarre was conquered by Ferdinand the Catholic, the northern part remaining French. Little is known of the earliest history of the country, but it is certain that neither the Romans nor the Visigoths nor the Arabs ever succeeded in permanently subjugating the inhabitants of the Western Pyrenees, who had always retained their own language. The capture of Pamplona by Charlemagne in 778 was not a lasting victory: in the same year the Basques and Navarrese defeated him at the Pass of Roncesvalles. In 806 and 812, Pamplona seems to have been again taken by the Franks. When, however, the Frankish emperors, on account of difficulties at home, were no longer able to give their attention to the outlying borderlands of their empire, the country, little by little, entirely withdrew from their allegiance, and about this time began the formation of a dynasty which soon became very powerful. The first King of Pamplona of this dynasty was Eneco Arista (839), his elder brother, Garcia Semen, having received as a dukedom Vasconia, the original Navarre. After the death of Eneco Arista (852), the two territories were united and Semen Garcia, the eldest son of the Count of Alavaris, was chosen king. In 860, the united Pamplonese and Navarrese gave the Crown to the son of Arista, Garcla II Eneco, who zealously defended his country against the encroachments of Islam, but was killed at Ayhar (882) in a battle against the Emir of Cordova. He was succeeded by his eldest son Fortun Garcia, who was held a prisoner for fifteen years by the infidels, and who, after a reign of twenty-two years, became a monk at Leyra, the oldest convent in Navarre, to which no less than seventy-two other convents were subject.

The choice of the Navarrese now fell upon his son Sancho Garcia I, surnamed Abarca (905-925), who fought against the Moors with repeated success and joined Ultra-Puertos, or Basse-Navarre, to his own dominions, extending its territory as far as Najera. As a thank-offering for his victories, he founded, in 924, the convent of Albelda. Before his death, all Moors had been driven from the country. His successor, Garcia Sanchez (925-70), surnamed El Temblon (the Trembler), who had the support, of his energetic and diplomatic mother Teuda, likewise engaged in a number of conflicts with the Moors. Under the sway of his son, Sancho el Mayor (the Great — 970-1033), the country attained the greatest prosperity in its history. He seized the country of the Pisuerga and the Cea, which belonged to the Kingdom of Leon, conquered Castile, and ruled from the boundaries of Galicia to those of Barcelona. At his death, he unfortunately divided his possessions among his four sons, so that the eldest, Garcia, received Navarre, Guipuzcoa, Vizcaya, and small portions of Bearn and Bigorre; Castile and the lands between the Pisuerga and the Cea went to Fernando; to Gonzalo were given Sobrarbe and Ribagorza; the Countship of Aragon was allotted to the youngest son Ramiro. The country was never again united: Castile was permanently joined to Leon, Aragon enlarged its territory, annexing Catalonia, while Navarre could no longer extend its dominions, and became in a measure dependent upon its powerful neighbours. Garcia III (1035-54) was succeeded by Sancho III (1054-76), who was murdered by his brothers.

In this period of independence the ecclesiastical affairs of the country reached a high state of development. Sancho the Great was brought up at Leyra, which was also for a short time the capital of the Diocese of Pamplona. Beside this see, there existed the Bishopric of Oca, which was united in 1079 to that of Burgos. In 1035 Sancho the Great re-established the See of Palencia, which had been laid waste at the time of the Moorish invasion. When, in 1045, the city of Calahorra was wrested from the Moors, under whose dominion it had been for more than three hundred years, a see was also founded here, which in the same year absorbed that of Najera and, in 1088, that of Alaba, the jurisdiction of which covered about the same ground as that of the present diocese of Vitoria. To Sancho the Great, also, the See of Pamplona owed its re-establishment, the king having, for this purpose, convoked a synod at Leyra in 1022 and one at Pamplona in 1023. These synods likewise instituted a reform of ecclesiastical life with the above-named convent, as a centre.

After the murder of Sancho III (1076), Alfonso VI, King of Castile, and Sancho Ramirez of Aragon, ruled jointly in Navarre; the towns south of the Ebro together with the Basque Provinces fell to Castile, the remainder to Aragon, which retained them until 1134. Sancho Ramirez (1076-94) and his son Pedro Sanchez (1094-1104) conquered Huesca; Alfonso el Batallador (the Fighter — 1104-1134), brother of Pedro Sanchez, secured for the country its greatest territorial expansion. He wrested Tudela from the Moors (1114), re-conquered the entire country of Bureba, which had been lost to Navarre in 1042, and advanced into the Province of Burgos; in addition, Roja, Najera, Logrono, Calahorra, and Alfaro were subject to him, and, for a short time, Bayonne, while his ships-of-war lay in the harbour of Guipuzeoa. As he died without issue (1134), Navarre and Aragon separated. In Aragon, Alfonso's brother Ramiro became king; in Navarre, Garcia Ramirez, a grandson of Sancho the Great, who was obliged to surrender Rioja to Castile in 1136, and Taragona to Aragon in 1157, and to declare himself a vassal of King Alfonso VII of Castile. He was utterly incompetent, and at various times was dependent upon the revenues of churches and convents. His son, Sancho Garcia el Sabio (the Wise — 1150-94), a patron of learning, as well as an accomplished statesman, fortified Navarre within and without, gave charters (fueros) to a number of towns, and was never defeated in battle. The reign of his successor, the last king of the race of Sancho the Great (1194-1234), Sancho el Fuerte (the Strong), was more troubled. He appropriated the revenues of churches and convents, granting them instead important privileges; in 1198 he presented to the See of Pamplona his palaces and possessions in that city, this gift being confirmed by Pope Innocent III on 29 January, 1199. While he was absent in Africa, whither he had been induced to go on an adventurous expedition, the Kings of Castile and Aragon invaded Navarre, and as a consequence, the Provinces of Alava and Guipuzcoa were lost to him.

The greatest glory of Sancho el Fuerte was the part he took in the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212), where, through his valour, the victory of the Christians over the Calif En-Nasir was made decisive. When in 1234 he died in retirement (el Encerrado), the Navarrese chose to succeed him Thibault de Champagne, son of Sancho's sister Blanca, who, from 1234 to 1253, made of his Court a centre where the poetry of the Troubadours was welcomed and fostered, and whose reign was peaceful. His son, Theobald II (1253-70), married Isabel, the second daughter of St. Louis of France, and accompanied the saint upon his crusade to Tunis. On the homeward journey, he died at Trapani in Sicily, and was succeeded by his brother, Henry I, who had already assumed the reins of government during his absence, but reigned only three years (1271-74). His daughter Juana not yet being of age, the country was once more invaded from all sides, and the queen mother, Blanca, sought refuge with her daughter at the court of Philip the Bold of France, whose son, Philip the Fair, had already married Juana in 1284. In 1276, at the time of the negotiations for this marriage, Navarre passed under French dominion, and, until 1328, was subject to Kings Philip the Fair (d. 1314), Louis X Hutin (1314-16), his brother, Philip the Tall (1316-22), and Charles the Fair (1322-28). As Charles died without male issue, and Philip of Valois became King of France, the Navarrese declared themselves independent and called to the throne Joanna II, daughter of Louis Hutin, and her husband Philip of Evreux (1328-1343), surnamed the Wise. Joanna waived all claim to the throne of France and accepted for the counties of Champagne and Brie those of Angoulême, Longueville, and Mortain.

Philip devoted himself to the improvement of the laws of the country, and joined King Alfonso XI of Castile in battle against the Moors (1343). After the death of his mother (1349), Charles II assumed the reins of government (1349-87), and, on account of his deceit and cruelty received the surname of the Wicked. His eldest son, on the other hand, Charles III, surnamed the Noble, gave the land once more a peaceful and happy government (1387-1425), exerted his strength to the utmost to lift the country from its degenerate condition, reformed the government, built canals, and made navigable the tributaries of the Ebro flowing through Navarre. As he outlived his sons, he was succeeded by his daughter Blanca (1425-42) and her husband John II (1429-79), son of Ferdinand I of Aragon. As John II ruled Aragon in the name of his brother, Alfonso V, he left his son, Don Carlos (Charles), in Navarre, only with the rank of governor, whereas Blanca had designed that Charles should be king. In 1450, John II himself repaired to Navarre, and, urged on by his ambitious second wife, Juana Enriquez of Castile, endeavoured to obtain the succession for their son Fernando (1452). As a result a violent civil war broke out, in which the powerful family of the Agramontes supported the king and queen, and that of the Beaumonts, called after their leader, the chancellor, John of Beaumont, espoused the cause of Charles; the highlands were on the side of the prince, the plains on that of the king. The unhappy prince was defeated by his father at Aybar, in 1451, and held a prisoner for two years, during which he wrote his famous Chronicle of Navarre, the source of our present knowledge of this subject. After his release, he sought in vain the assistance of King Charles VII of France and of his uncle Alfonso V of Naples; in 1460 he was again imprisoned at the instigation of his step-mother, but the Catalonians rose in revolt at this injustice, and he was again liberated and named governor of Catalonia. He died in 1461, without having been able to reconquer his kingdom; he named as his heir his sister Blanca, who was, however, immediately imprisoned by John II, and died in 1464.

Her claim descended to her sister Leonor, Countess of Foix and Bearn, and, after her death and that of John II, which occurred almost simultaneously, to her grandson, Francis Phoebus (1479-83). His daughter Catharine, who, as a minor, remained under the guardianship of her mother, Madeleine of France, was sought by Ferdinand the Catholic as a bride for his eldest son; but she gave her hand (1494) to the French Count of Perigord, Jean d'Albret, a man of vast possessions. Nevertheless, Ferdinand the Catholic did not relinquish his long-cherished designs on Navarre. As Navarre refused to join the Holy League against France, declared itself neutral, and would have prevented the passage through the country of Ferdinand's troops, the latter sent his general Don Fabrique de Toledo to invade Navarre in 1512. Jean d'Albret fled, and Pamplona, Estella, Olita, Sanguessa, and Tudela were taken. As the royal House of Navarre and all opponents of the Holy League were under the ban of the Church, the Navarrese declared for Ferdinand, who took possession of the kingdom on 15 June, 1515. Lower Navarre — the part of the country lying north of the Pyrenees — he generously left to his enemies.

Lower, or French, Navarre, received from Henry, the son of Jean d'Albret, a representative assembly, the clergy being represented by the bishops of Bayonne and Dax, their vicars-general, the parish priest of St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, and the priors of Saint-Palais, d'Utziat and Haramples. When, in 1589, its administration was united with that of France, it was still called a kingdom. After Henry IV, the kings of France bore also the title King of Navarre. The Basque language is still spoken in most of the provinces.

In the field of historical research, the most distinguished investigators have been, for Spanish Navarre, Moret and other Jesuit scholars, one of their pupils, Ferreras, and the Augustinian M. Risco; for French Navarre, the Benedictines, de Marca, and others. Chappuys, Histoire du royaume de Navarre (Paris, 1590; 1616); Favyn, Histoire de Navarre (Paris, 1612); Galland, Mémoires sur la Navarre (Paris, 1648); de Marca, Histoire de Bearn (Paris, 1640); Oihenart, Notitia utriusque Vasconiae (Paris, 1656); Moret, Investigationes historicas del reino de Navarra (Pamplona, 1655); Idem, Annales del reino de Navarra (5 vols., Pamplona, 1684-95; 12 vols., Tolosa, 1890-92); Ferreras, La Historia de Espana (Madrid, 1700-27); Risco, La Vasconia in Espana Sagrada, XXXII (Madrid, 1779); Yanguas y Miranda, Cronica de los reyes de Navarra (Pamplona, 1843); Idem, Historia compendiada del reino de Navarra (S. Sebastian, 1832); Idem, Diccionario de las antiguedades de Nayanna (Pamplona, 1840-43); Bascle de Lagreze, La Navarre francaise (Paris, 1881); Blade, Les Vascons espagnols (Agen, 1891); Boissonade, Histoire de la reunion de la Navarre a la Castille (Paris, 1893); Jaurgain, La Vasconie (Pau, 1898--); Ruano Prieto, Anexión del Reino de Navarra en tiempo del Rey Catolico (Madrid, 1899); Ariqita y Lasa, Colección de documentos para la historia de Navarra (Pamplona, 1900).


About this page

APA citation. Hartig, O. (1911). Navarre. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10721a.htm

MLA citation. Hartig, Otto. "Navarre." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10721a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Joseph McIntyre.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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