Thanks to Txabi of SUBO for giving us the heads up about the information in English regarding Navarre, the kingdom of the Basques, at Wikipedia.
It is a lot of information so I will post it here in subsequent entries, here you have the intro:
Kingdom of Navarre
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Kingdom of Navarre (Spanish: Reino de Navarra, Basque: Nafarroako Erresuma, French: Royaume de Navarre), originally the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a European kingdom which occupied lands on either side of the Pyrenees alongside the Atlantic Ocean.
The kingdom of Navarre was formed when a local Basque leader Íñigo Arista was elected or declared King in Pamplona (traditionally in 824) and led a revolt against the regional Frankish authority.
The southern part of the kingdom was absorbed by the Kingdom of Castile in 1513, and thus became part of the unified Kingdom of Spain. The northern part of the kingdom remained independent, but it was joined with France in a personal union in 1589 when King Henry III of Navarre inherited the French throne as Henry IV of France, and in 1620 it was merged into the Kingdom of France.
There are similar earlier toponyms but the first documentation of Latin navarros appears in Eginhard's chronicle of the feats of Charles the Great. Other Royal Frankish Annals give nabarros. There are two proposed etymologies for the name of Navarra/Nafarroa/Naparroa:
- Basque nabar (declined nom. sing. intr. nabarra): "brownish", "multicolor" (which would be a contrast with the green mountain lands north of the original County of Navarre).
- Basque naba/Castilian nava ("valley", "plain", present across Spain as in Las Navas de Tolosa) + Basque herri ("people", "land").
Note that Joan Corominas does not consider naba as clearly Basque in origin, but as part of a wider pre-Roman substrate.
See also: Duchy of Vasconia
The kingdom of Pamplona and then Navarre formed part of the traditional territory of the Vascones, a pre-Roman tribe who occupied the southern slope of the western Pyrenees and part of the shore of the Bay of Biscay.The area was completely conquered by the Romans by 74 BC. It was first part of the Roman province of Citerior, then of the Tarraconensis province and after that of the conventus Caesaraugustanus. Rome left a clear mark in the area in urbanization, language, infrastructure, commerce, and industry.
After the decline of the Western Roman Empire neither the Visigoths nor the Arabs ever succeeded in permanently occupying the Western Pyrenees. The western Pyrenees passages were the only ones allowing good transit through the mountains, other than those on the Southern Pyrenees. That made the region strategically important early in its history.
The Franks under Charlemagne extended their influence and control towards the south, occupying several regions of the north and east of the Iberian Peninsula. It's not clear how solid was the Frankish control over Pamplona. In August 15, 778, after the retreating Charlemagne had demolished the walls of Pamplona, the Basque tribes annihilated his rearguard, led by Roland, in a confrontation at a mountain passage known to history as the Battle of Roncevaux Pass.
In 806 and 812 Pamplona fell again into the Franks' hands. 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 Vasconic dynasty which soon became very powerful. In 824 the Basque chieftain Íñigo Arista was chosen king of Pamplona, which was expanded under his successors and became known as the kingdom of Navarre.
In 905, the dynasty founded by Íñigo Arista was overtrown through the machinations of neighboring princes, and Sancho I Garcés (905–25), nephew of the Count of Ribagorza, was placed in the throne. He fought against the Moors with repeated success and joined Ultra-Puertos, or Basse-Navarre, to his own dominions, also extending its territory as far as Nájera. As a thanksgiving for his victories, he founded, in 924, the convent of Albelda. Before his death, all Moors had been driven from the country. His son and eventual successor, Garcia Sanchez I (931–70), who had the support of his energetic and diplomatic mother Toda (Teuda) Aznárez of the line of Arista, likewise engaged in a number of conflicts with the Moors. At this time, the county of Aragon, previously only nominally a vassal state, came under the direct control of the kings of Pamplona.
In the year 905 a Leonese chronicle mentions the extension of the Kingdom of Pamplona for the first time, being clear that it extended then to Nájera and Arba (arguably Araba), what for some implies that it included the Western Basque Country as well:
In era DCCCCXLIIII surrexit in Panpilona rex nomine Sancio Garseanis. Fidei Xpi inseparabiliterque uenerantissimus fuit, pius in omnibus fidefibus misericorsque oppressis catholicis. Quid multa? In omnibus operibus obtimus perstitit. Belligerator aduersus gentes Ysmaelitarum multipficiter strages gessit super Sarrazenos. Idem cepit per Cantabriam a Nagerense urbe usque ad Tutelam omnia castra. Terram quidem Degensem cum opidis cunctam possideuit. Arbam namque Panpilonensem suo iuri subdidit, necnon cum castris omne territorium Aragonense capit. Dehinc expulsis omnibus biotenatis XX' regni sue anno migrauit a seculo. Sepultus sancti Stefani portico regnat cum Xpo in polo (Obiit Sancio Garseanis era DCCCCLXIIII (A marg.)).
In the Era 944 [AD 905] arose in Pamplona a king named Sancio Garseanis. He was a man of unbreakable devotion to the faith of Christ, pious with all the faithful and merciful with oppressed Catholics. What more? In all his actions he performed as a great warrior against the people of the Ismailites; he inflicted multiple disasters on the Saracens. This same captured all the fortified places in the Cantabria, from the city of Nájera to Tudela. Indeed he possessed all the land of Degium [Monjardín, near Lizarra] with its towns. The "Arba" of Pamplona he submitted to his law, and conquered as well all the country of Aragon [then Jaca and nearby lands] with its fortresses. Later, after suppressing all infidels, the twentieth year of his reign he left this world. Buried in the portal of Saint Stephen [Monjardín], he reigns with Christ in Heaven (King Sancho Garcés died in the era 964  (marginal note)).
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