Barcelona county

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Coat of arms of the Counts of Barcelona

The county of Barcelona , in Catalan Comtat de Barcelona , was one of the historic Catalan counties that the Franks established in the Spanish mark . In addition to Barcelona and the surrounding area, the county also included the area of Terrassa and that of today's Comarques Vallès Oriental and Occidental , the Maresme and Penedès .


Arc de Berà on Via Augusta
(on today's national road N340)

The origins of the county go back to the times before the Frankish conquest. The borders largely coincide with those of ancient Iberian tribes and the area already formed a political-administrative unit in the times of the Romans and Visigoths , even if it was not yet a county. The county of Barcelona has always formed the border region to Al-Andalus , the part of the Iberian Peninsula occupied by the Moors .

With the Frankish conquest of the year 801 under William of Aquitaine , the county of Barcelona extended to the so-called Arc de Berà , a Roman triumphal arch on today's national road N340, between the places Roda de Berà and Creixell . This arch from 13 BC Chr. Received its name in use today after Berà , the son of Wilhelm and first count of Barcelona. But soon the Franks had to withdraw the boundaries of the county to the Llobregat on the southern outskirts of today's Barcelona. These did not change during the entire 9th and 10th centuries.

Frankish rule (9th century)

The Frankish rule over the county of Barcelona lasted almost the entire 9th century. During this time the counts were appointed and deposed by the emperor or the sub-king of Aquitaine at will. But after the death of King Ludwig II , known as "the Stammler" in 879, the Carolingian power waned and in Barcelona, ​​as in the entire Frankish empire , the counts became small sovereigns with hereditary nobility. In 897 after the death of Wilfried the Hairy , who had been appointed Count by Ludwig the Stammler, the county passed to the sons Wilfried II. Borrell (897 to 911) and Sunyer I (911 to 947) - without intervention by the emperor.

When Wilfried the Hairy was named Count, the county of Barcelona bordered the sea to the south and the counties of Girona and Osona to the north . Beyond the Llobregat , the Penedès was an almost depopulated no man's land, constantly exposed to attacks and counter-attacks - both from the Muslim and the Christian side. During Wilfried's reign, the county of Barcelona regained its original borders by recapturing the hinterland at Montserrat and a small part of the Penedès. This remained the true border mark of the county, that is, the Frankish border to Islam . The Vallès also remained practically depopulated in 897 after a Moorish raid in which Wilfried the Hairy was killed.

The union with Girona and Osona

In 870 Wilfried the Hairy had been installed as Count of Urgell and Cerdanya ; In 878 he also received the title of Count of Barcelona and Girona . He initiated the repopulation ( Repoblación ) of the hinterland by establishing the county of Osona and the diocese of Vic . After his death (897), his sons ruled all the counties together, and eventually they shared the inheritance. Wilfried II Borrell received the counties of Barcelona, ​​Girona and Osona . After his death in 911, the three counties went to his younger brother Sunyer I. From then on, the counties of Barcelona, ​​Girona and Osona remained united under one count and formed a territorial unit that was only briefly broken when Berengar Raimund I (1017– 1035) separated the county of Osona from the other two and founded the county of Penedès in the south of the county of Barcelona . But already his son and successor, Raimund Berengar I (1035-1076), managed to unite the heartlands of Barcelona - Girona - Osona under his rule.

The development in the 10th and 11th centuries

At the beginning of the 10th century, with the repopulation of parts of the Vallès, the expansion via the Llobregat began. After a campaign up to the river Gaià , Sunyer I managed to build various fortifications in the Penedès in 936 and 937. From then on, the county of Barcelona developed southwest to the gates of Tarragona . The new borders in the west have now been secured by numerous fortifications between the rivers Anoia and Gaià. In addition, Borrell II (948 to 992) established diplomatic contacts with the Caliphate of Cordoba . However, that did not prevent Almansor from raiding in 985 and capturing and looting Barcelona. Due to the close economic ties with al-Andalus, the county of Barcelona experienced an economic boom in the last third of the 10th century and so the consequences of the destruction and looting were quickly overcome. At the beginning of the 11th century, Count Raimund Borrell (992 to 1017) took advantage of the weakness of the Caliphate of Córdoba and moved against Córdoba in 1010. Under Raimund Borrell I, the Penedès was repopulated and finally secured. Today's Comarque Conca de Barberà and part of Camp de Tarragona were located within the boundaries of the county .

The uprising of the landed gentry

After the death of Raimund Borrells I (1017), the counties of Barcelona, ​​Girona and Osona were administered by his widow Ermessenda (1017-1057) and their son Berengar Raimund I (1017-1035). He was a weak ruler. Contrary to the interests of the landed gentry, who longed for fame and booty, he wanted to keep peace with Islamic Spain. Without support from the nobility, the county's weakest phase began in 1017. The loss of power accelerated even after the death of Berengar Raimund I (1035), who divided the inheritance among his three underage sons: Wilhelm, Count of Osona, Raimund Berengar I, Count of Barcelona and Girona, and Sanç, Count des Penedès . When Raimund Berengar I tried to exercise his rights in the county from 1041 onwards, a series of uprisings began under the leadership of the landed gentry in Penedès, which could not be put down until 1060. However, the renunciation of Sanç on the County of Penedès (1049) and of Wilhelm on the County of Osona (1054) made it possible for Raimund Berengar I to reunite the Barcelona-Girona-Osona area. After the death of Raimund Berengar I (1076), the counties were ruled jointly by his two sons: Raimund Berengar II (1076-1082) and Berengar Raimund II (1076-1097). Under their rule, the expansion in the west reached what is now the Comarque Pla d'Urgell .

The county of Barcelona in the 12th century

The county of Barcelona (red) in the context of the expansion of the Aragon Crown

Raimund Berengar III. (1086–1131) had to face the attacks of the Almoravids , who devastated the Penedès in 1107 and attacked Barcelona in 1115. Finally he managed to beat her in 1126. Since the dynasties in the counties Besalú and Cerdanya had died out, Raimund Berengar III annexed. (1111) and (1118) these counties and integrated them into the core area Barcelona-Girona-Osona. He also succeeded in gaining power over Tarragona in 1118 and making it a bishopric. Before that there was an ecclesiastical dependency on the Archdiocese of Narbonne .

The conquest of Tortosa and Lleida took place under Raimund Berengar IV. (1131–1162) in the years 1148 and 1149. As the last Taifa kingdom in Catalonia, the Waliat (= viceroyalty) Siurana could be conquered in 1153 . The subsequent repopulation of this now "New Catalonia" area by people from the Catalan counties (also " Old Catalonia " or Spanish Mark ) blurred the old boundaries of the county and created a new territorial unit: Catalonia . The "County of Barcelona" as a name for this region was lost. However, the title of Hereditary Count of Barcelona remained. The current bearer is the King of Spain , Felipe VI.

Complementary topics

Web links

Commons : Barcelona County  - Collection of images, videos and audio files