What are castile, navarre, and aragon?

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Feb 6, 2018


Medieval Spain, between the Muslim Invasion of 711 and the Reconquista in 1492, was divided into several small kingdoms and political entities: Among these were Castile, Navarre and Aragon.


The Iberian Peninsula -- as the Romans and the successor Gothic kingdoms well knew -- was difficult to govern as a single entity. When the Muslim Invasions began in 711, Spain soon fragmented. The history of each of those fragments is rich and complex; especially given the Feudal systems of Medieval Spain.

With the support of Carolingian France to the north in the late 8th and 9th Centuries, a series of border-kingdoms appeared in what is now the Northern half of Spain. They include

Aragon (in northeastern Spain) was set up by the Carolingian Rulers of France in the 10th Century, and remained a vassal state of Pampalona/Navarre until becoming a kingdom of its own in 1035. Originally it was land-locked

Castile is to the west of Aragon and incorporates Basque terrorites and reaches to the Bay of Biscay. Originally it belonged to Leon (which lies to its west), but became independent in 1065 and became a kingdom in its own right. In the 13th Century it absorbed Leon.

Navarre was the first of these border polities, and was centred on Pampalona, and has a history going right back to the 8th Century. It lay between Aragon, Castile and France,

With the 15th Century, the Spanish Reconquista was almost complete and Aragon and Castile were united with the wedding of Ferdinand and Isabella. Navarre attempted to remain independent of the new united Kingdom of Spain, but failed -- although French portions to the north remained a seperate entity within France for another Century.

As occasional turbulence (even today, in Barcelona) still shows; the old regional identities often remain important, and one theme of Spanish history remains constant: Trying to keep one country out of so many strong local identities.

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