views updated May 17 2018


Aragon, northeastern region and former kingdom of Spain united with Castile through the marriage of Ferdinand II and Isabella I.

The states of Catalonia, Aragon, and Valencia composed the crown of Aragon, which in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries acquired a commercial empire in the Mediterranean. Aragonese prosperity was eclipsed in the fifteenth century by plague, civil war, and a financial crisis which led to a decline in trade and industry. Although the marriage of the "Catholic kings" (1469) united the crowns of Castile and Aragon, the three Aragonese states retained separate courts (cortes) and distinct feudal privileges (fueros), which limited the Castilian monarch's ability to raise armies and taxes. However, this unification, alongside the defeat of the Moors, gave the kingdom the necessary stability to look to overseas commerce. Consequently, Ferdinand and Isabella funded Christopher Columbus's expedition to find a new trade route to the Indies. This project ultimately led to Europe's invasion of the New World.

When the Aragonese sensed an infringement on their traditional liberties by the Spanish crown, they characteristically rebelled (1591–1592, 1640–1652). In the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) Aragon supported the Archduke Charles of Austria, and consequently Philip V abolished its political privileges (1716) as punishment for supporting his rival claimant to the Spanish throne.

See alsoCastile .


Gerald Brenan, The Spanish Labyrinth (1943), esp. pp. 87-130.

John H. Elliott, Imperial Spain, 1469–1716 (1963), esp. pp. 17-43, 273-280, 317-353.

Raymond Carr, Spain 1808–1975, 2d ed. (1982), esp. pp. 1-78.

Henry Kamen, Spain, 1469–1714: A Society of Conflict (1983, 2d ed. 1991) esp. pp. 9-15, 139-144, 235-240.

Additional Bibliography

Cawsey, Suzanne F. Kingship and Propaganda: Royal Eloquence and the Crown of Aragon, C. 1200–1450. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002.

López Pérez, María Dolores. La corona de Aragón y el Magreb en el siglo XIV, 1331–1410. Barcelona: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1995.

                            Suzanne Hiles Burkholder


views updated May 11 2018

Aragon an autonomous region of NE Spain, bounded on the north by the Pyrenees and on the east by Catalonia and Valencia; capital, Saragossa. Formerly an independent kingdom, which was conquered in the 5th century by the Visigoths and then in the 8th century by the Moors, it was united with Catalonia in 1137 and with Castile in 1479.


views updated May 17 2018

Aragón Region in ne Spain. In 1479 the Kingdom of Aragón became part of Spain, but retained its own government, currency and military forces until the early 18th century. It is now an autonomous region, comprising the provinces of Huesca, Teruel, and Zaragoza. It produces grapes, wheat, and sugar-beet. Industries: textiles, chemicals, iron ore, marble, and limestone. Area: 47,670sq km (18,500sq mi). Pop. (1998) 1,183,234.