His son, Alfons I, became the ruler of the most powerful state in Southern Europe, the Catalan-Aragonese Confederation, which consisted of Catalonia, Aragon and the whole of the south of France.With considerable help from the Knights Templar, the Moorish threat became a thing of the past.Just when Catalonia’s Golden Age was at its height, disaster struck the House of Barcelona.
During the reign of Felipe IV, the monarch came under the influence of the autocratic Count-Duke Olivares, who when war broke out with France in 1635 demanded a disproportionate contribution of money and men.
Since, according to her constitution, Catalonia should only pay those taxes which had been approved by her own government, the answer was a firm no.
As Castilians, he and his successors had little knowledge of Catalonia’s rule by consensus.
They rarely visited their kingdom and imposed Castilian legislators who managed to incite the people so much that civil war broke out during the reign of the tellingly named Joan II Without Faith.
The situation came to a head in 1640 when the reapers, who gathered in Barcelona to work on the harvest, revolted, burned down government buildings and murdered Felipe IV’s Viceroy.
The destructive 19-year Guerra dels Segadors, the three-way Reapers’ War involving Castilian, French and Catalan troops ensued, and in the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, Felipe IV ceded all Catalonia’s French territories to the French Crown. Things went from bad to worse when Felipe IV’s son, the half-wit Carlos II, died without heir in 1700.
Spaniards claim that the reign of the Catholic Kings marks the beginning of Spain as a nation.
However, although from the reign of Carlos I onwards the Catalan-Aragonese Confederation was ruled by the same monarch as Spain, technically it was still an independent state with its own laws, and when it traded with the rest of the peninsula customs taxes were levied.
Having received no military support from the Franks, Count Borrell II declared independence, and although not recognised by the Franks until 1258, an independent state called Catalonia was born.
The next two centuries were spent consolidating their territory and pushing the Moors south towards the Ebro, and in 1137 Count Ramon Berenguer IV married Petronella, the infant daughter of the King of Aragon.
Introduction Though Catalonia has formed part of Spain for nearly 300 years, Catalans only grudgingly admit the fact.