Roussillon

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Roussillon
Rosselló  (Catalan)
Historical province
Arms of Roussillon.svg
Roussillon in France (1789).svg
CountryFrance
Department Pyrénées-Orientales
Largest settlement Perpignan
Area
  Total3,500 km2 (1,400 sq mi)
Population
  Total450,000
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Flag of Roussillon, which was the flag of the Crown of Aragon, to which Roussillon's lords were vassal from the High Middle Ages Flag of Catalonia.svg
Flag of Roussillon, which was the flag of the Crown of Aragon, to which Roussillon's lords were vassal from the High Middle Ages
Roussillon coast Roussillon-catalane.jpg
Roussillon coast
Grape pickers near Maury Wine600.jpg
Grape pickers near Maury
A snow-capped Mount Canigo (Canigou) (2785 m) across the Roussillon plain Canigo.jpeg
A snow-capped Mount Canigó (Canigou) (2785 m) across the Roussillon plain

Roussillon ( UK: /ˈrsɪjɒn/ ROO-si-yon, [1] US: /ˌrsˈjn/ ROO-see-YOHN, [2] French:  [ʁusijɔ̃] ; Catalan : Rosselló [rusəˈʎo] ; Occitan : Rosselhon [ruseˈʎu] ) is a historical province of France that largely corresponded to the County of Roussillon and part of the County of Cerdagne of the former Principality of Catalonia. It is part of the region of Northern Catalonia [lower-alpha 1] or French Catalonia (the former used by Catalan-speakers and the latter used by French-speakers), corresponding roughly to the present-day southern French département of Pyrénées-Orientales (with Roussillon, Conflent, and Fenouillèdes) in Languedoc-Roussillon.

Contents

History

The name Roussillon is derived from Ruscino (Rosceliona, Castel Rossello), a small fortified place near modern-day Perpignan where Gaulish chieftains met to consider Hannibal's request for a conference. The region formed part of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis from 121 BC to AD 462, when it was ceded with the rest of Septimania to the Visigoth Theodoric II. His successor, Amalaric, on his defeat by Childebert I in 531, retired to Hispania, leaving a governor in Septimania.

In 719, the Saracens crossed the Pyrenees and maintained political hegemony of Septimania until their final defeat in 759 by Pepin the Short, who went on to occupy Roussillon after conquering Narbonne. Roussillon was occupied by the Carolingians in 760. Upon the invasion of Hispania in 778, Charlemagne found the Marca Hispanica wasted by war and the inhabitants settled in the mountains. He granted some lands in the plains to Visigothic refugees from Moorish Hispania and founded several monasteries. In 792, the Saracens again invaded France, but they were repulsed by Count Guillaume of Toulouse – regent of the child Louis the Pious, King of Aquitaine – whose hegemony extended into Catalonia.

The different portions of his kingdom in time grew into allodial fiefs and, in 893, Sunyer II became the first hereditary count of Roussillon. But his rule only extended over the eastern part of what became the later province. The western part, the Cerdanya (French, Cerdagne), was ruled in 900 by Miró as first count, and one of his grandsons, Bernat, became the first hereditary count of the middle portion, or Besalú. The counts of Roussillon were allied to their cousins the counts of Empúries in a centuries-long conflict with the surrounding great nobles. Count Girard I participated in the First Crusade in the following of Raymond IV of Toulouse, and was one of the first to set foot in Jerusalem when it was stormed by the Crusaders in 1099. At the beginning of the 12th century, the prestige of the Counts of Barcelona began to rise to such a height that the Counts of Roussillon had no choice but to swear fealty to them.

In 1111, Ramon Berenguer III, count of Barcelona, inherited the fief of Besalú, to which was added in 1117 Cerdanya. The possession of Roussillon by its last count, Girard II, was challenged by his illegitimate brothers. To ensure that his brothers would not inherit his territories, in his will Girard II left all his lands to Alfonso II of Aragon, who took possession in 1172. Under the Aragonese monarchs, economic and demographic growth of the region continued, and Collioure (Catalan : Cotlliure), the port of Perpignan, became an important locus of Mediterranean trade.[ citation needed ]

As the French and Spanish crowns grew in power, the region of Roussillon, forming part of the border between them, was frequently a site of military conflict. By the Treaty of Corbeil (1258), Louis IX of France formally surrendered sovereignty over Roussillon and his claim to the title of Count of Barcelona to the Crown of Aragon, recognizing a centuries-old reality.[ citation needed ]

James I of Aragon had wrested the Balearic Isles from the Moors and joined these islands with Roussillon to create the Kingdom of Majorca, with its capital at Perpignan. In 1276, James I granted this kingdom to his son, who became James II. The subsequent disputes of this monarch with his brother Peter III were exploited by Philip III of France in his quarrel with Peter III for the crown of the Two Sicilies. Philip III espoused James II's cause and led an army into Aragon but, retreating, died at Perpignan in 1285. Lacking the resources to continue the struggle, James then became reconciled to his brother Peter, and in 1311 the former was succeeded by his son Sanç I, or Sancho I, who founded the cathedral of Perpignan shortly before his death in 1324. His successor, James III of Majorca, refused to do homage to Philip VI of France for the seigneury of Montpellier, and applied to Peter IV of Aragon for aid. Peter not only refused, but declared war and seized Majorca and Roussillon in 1344.[ citation needed ]

The province was now reunited to the Crown of Aragon, and it enjoyed peace until 1462. In that year, the disputes between John II of Aragon and his son over the Crown of Navarre spurred Louis XI of France to support John against his subjects, who had risen in revolt. The province, having been pledged as collateral to Louis for 300,000 crowns, was occupied by French troops until 1493, when Charles VIII evacuated the region as part of a settlement with the Catholic Monarchs (Isabel I of the Crown of Castile and Ferdinand II of the Crown of Aragon, who were second cousins and members of the Trastamara dynasty that ruled over the two Crowns).

During a subsequent war between France and the Trastamara dynasty (1496–1498), the people suffered equally from the Castilian garrisons and the French invaders.

The Habsburg dynasty took control of both the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon in 1516 and the two crowns were for the first time ruled by the same physical person. This was under Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (called Charles I of Spain), grandson of the Catholic Monarchs.

The dislike caused by the Castilians during the Trastamara rule was effaced in the pride of sharing the glory of the Emperor Charles I of Spain. When Perpignan was besieged by the forces of Henry, Dauphin of France in 1542, the inhabitants were loyal to Charles V. Perpignan earned the royal sobriquet of "Fedelissima" ("Most Faithful City").

When the Catalans rose against the Spanish Crown in 1641, Louis XIII of France entered the conflict on the side of the former. After a protracted war, the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659) secured Roussillon and part of the Cerdanya (Cerdagne) to the French crown, creating the French province of Roussillon.

The next fifty years saw a concerted effort by Louis XIV both to ensure the political allegiance of his new subjects and to alter their cultural identity.He wassuccessful in the former but failed in the latter. Outside the capital of Perpignan, Roussillon remained distinctly Catalan in outlook and culture until the late nineteenth century, when industrialization began to replace Catalan identity with French.

During the French Revolution, the Ancien Régime province of Roussillon was abolished and a new department, the Department of Pyrénées-Orientales, was created instead. This department corresponds roughly to the old Roussillon, with the addition of the comarca of Fenouillèdes. Pyrénées-Orientales is the name by which this department is officially known in France. The old name of Roussillon did contribute to the French région of Languedoc-Roussillon.

See also

Notes

  1. Catalan: Catalunya Nord

Related Research Articles

Perpignan Prefecture and commune in Occitanie, France

Perpignan is the prefecture of the Pyrénées-Orientales department in Southern France, in the heart of the plain of Roussillon, at the foot of the Pyrenees a few kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea and the scrublands of the Corbières massif. It is the centre of the Perpignan Mediterranée Métropole metropolitan area.

Languedoc-Roussillon Region of France

Languedoc-Roussillon is a former administrative region of France. On 1 January 2016, it joined with the region of Midi-Pyrénées to become Occitanie. It comprised five departments, and borders the other French regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Rhône-Alpes, Auvergne, Midi-Pyrénées on the one side, and Spain, Andorra and the Mediterranean Sea on the other side. It was the southernmost region of mainland France.

Cerdanya Natural region

Cerdanya or often La Cerdanya, is a natural comarca and historical region of the eastern Pyrenees divided between France and Spain. Historically it was one of the counties of Catalonia.

Treaty of the Pyrenees Partition treaty between Louis XIV and Emperor Leopold

The Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed on 7 November 1659, and ended the 1635 to 1659 Franco-Spanish war.

Kingdom of Majorca State on the eastern coast and islands of the Iberian Peninsula from 1231 to 1715

The Kingdom of Majorca was a realm on the east coast of Spain, including certain Mediterranean islands, and founded by James I of Aragon, also known as James The Conqueror. After the death of his firstborn son Alfonso, a will was written in 1262 and created the kingdom to cede it to his son James. The disposition was maintained during successive versions of his will and so when James I died in 1276, the Crown of Aragon passed to his eldest son Peter, known as Peter III of Aragon or Peter the Great. The Kingdom of Majorca passed to James, who reigned under the name of James II of Majorca. After 1279, Peter III of Aragon established that the king of Majorca was a vassal to the king of Aragon. The title continued to be employed by the Aragonese and Spanish monarchs until its dissolution by the 1715 Nueva Planta decrees.

Marca Hispanica Border territory in the Kingdom of the Franks

The Hispanic March or Spanish March, also known as the March of Barcelona, was a military buffer zone beyond the former province of Septimania, established by Charlemagne in 795 as a defensive barrier between the Umayyad Moors of Al-Andalus and the Frankish Carolingian Empire.

Crown of Aragon Composite monarchy which existed between 1162–1716

The Crown of Aragon was a composite monarchy ruled by one king, originated by the dynastic union of the Kingdom of Aragon and the County of Barcelona and ended as a consequence of the Spanish War of Succession. At the height of its power in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Crown of Aragon was a thalassocracy controlling a large portion of present-day eastern Spain, parts of what is now southern France, and a Mediterranean "empire" which included the Balearic Islands, Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, Malta, Southern Italy and parts of Greece.

Northern Catalonia Catalan-speaking and Catalan-culture territory ceded to France by Spain (1659)

Northern Catalonia, French Catalonia or Roussillon refers to the Catalan-speaking and Catalan-culture territory ceded to France by Spain through the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 in exchange of France's effective renunciation on the formal protection that it had given to the recently founded Catalan Republic. The area corresponds roughly to the modern French département of the Pyrénées-Orientales which were historically part of Catalonia since the old County of Barcelona, and lasted during the times of the Crown of Aragon and the Principality of Catalonia until they were given to France by Spain.

Sancho of Majorca King of Majorca

Sancho, called the Pacific or the Peaceful, was King of Majorca, Count of Roussillon and Cerdanya, and Lord of Montpellier from 1311 to his death. His 13-year-long reign was markedly undisturbed by turmoil, which earned him his epithets, and is thus often contrasted to the troublesome reigns of his father, James II, and nephew, James III, his predecessor and successor respectively.

Principality of Catalonia Principality in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula between the 12th century and 1714

The Principality of Catalonia was a medieval and early modern state in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula. During most of its history it was in dynastic union with the Kingdom of Aragon, constituting together the Crown of Aragon. Between the 13th and the 18th centuries, it was bordered by the Kingdom of Aragon to the west, the Kingdom of Valencia to the south, the Kingdom of France and the feudal lordship of Andorra to the north and by the Mediterranean sea to the east. The term Principality of Catalonia remained in use until the Second Spanish Republic, when its use declined because of its historical relation to the monarchy. Today, the term Principat (Principality) is used primarily to refer to the autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain, as distinct from the other Catalan Countries, and usually including the historical region of Roussillon in southern France.

County of Roussillon

The County of Roussillon was one of the Catalan counties in the Marca Hispanica during the Middle Ages. The rulers of the county were the counts of Roussillon, whose interests lay both north and south of the Pyrenees.

County of Barcelona Medieval Catalan county

The County of Barcelona was originally a frontier region under the rule of the Carolingian dynasty. In the 10th century, the Counts of Barcelona became progressively independent, hereditary rulers in constant warfare with the Islamic Caliphate of Córdoba and its successor states. The counts, through marriage, alliances and treaties, acquired the other Catalan counties and extended their influence along Occitania. In 1164, the County of Barcelona entered a personal union with the Kingdom of Aragon. Thenceforward, the history of the county is subsumed within that of the Crown of Aragon, but the city of Barcelona remained preeminent within it. Within the Crown, the County of Barcelona and the other Catalan counties developed a common polity known as the Principality of Catalonia.

Counts of Roussillon

This is a list of the counts of Roussillon who ruled over the eponymous County of Roussillon.

Nuño Sánchez

Nuño Sánchez was a nobleman and statesman in the Crown of Aragon.

Catalan counties

The Catalan counties were the administrative Christian divisions of the eastern Carolingian Hispanic Marches and the southernmost part of the March of Gothia in the Pyrenees created after their rapid conquest by the Franks.

County of Cerdanya

The County of Cerdanya was one of the Catalan counties formed in the last decades of the 8th century by the Franks in the Marca Hispanica. The original Cerdanya consisted of the valley of the upper Segre. Today Cerdanya is a Catalan comarca.

Catalan Civil War 15th-century civil war in Catalonia

The Catalan Civil War, also called the Catalonian Civil War or the War against John II, was a civil war in the Principality of Catalonia, then belonging to the Crown of Aragon, between 1462 and 1472. The two factions, the royalists who supported John II of Aragon and the Catalan constitutionalists, disputed the extent of royal rights in Catalonia. The French entered the war at times on the side on John II and at times with the Catalans. The Catalans, who at first rallied around John's son Charles of Viana, set up several pretenders in opposition to John during the course of the conflict. Barcelona remained their stronghold to the end: with its surrender the war came to a close. John, victorious, re-established the status quo ante.

Pyrénées-Orientales Department of France in Occitanie

Pyrénées-Orientales, also known as Northern Catalonia, is a department of the region of Occitanie, Southern France, adjacent to the northern Spanish frontier and the Mediterranean Sea. It also surrounds the tiny Spanish exclave of Llívia, and thus has two distinct borders with Spain. In 2019, it had a population of 481,691. Some parts of the Pyrénées-Orientales are part of the Iberian Peninsula. It is named after the Pyrenees mountain range.

Occitanie Administrative region of France

Occitanie, Occitany or Occitania is the southernmost administrative region of metropolitan France excluding Corsica, created on 1 January 2016 from the former regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées. The Conseil d'État approved Occitanie as the new name of the region on 28 September 2016, coming into effect on 30 September 2016.

Angelets

The Angelets, or “the Angelets of the Earth”, were peasants who rose up from 1667 to 1675 against the French authorities of the Roussillon province; the group of conflicts of the period is called the Revolt of the Angelets. The cause was the instituting of the gabelle in 1661 — a measure contrary to traditional constitutions of the earldom.

References

  1. "Roussillon". Oxford Dictionaries UK Dictionary. Oxford University Press . Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  2. "Roussillon". Merriam-Webster Dictionary . Retrieved 23 June 2019.

Coordinates: 43°54′09″N5°17′37″E / 43.90255°N 5.29350°E / 43.90255; 5.29350