Historia

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Pirineos-Monte Perdido

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The Late Middle Ages: a time of crisis

Pacts or faceras between valleys

In the 14th century, the various valleys began to make significant pacts over controlling and exploiting the pastureland in the Pyrenees.

These agreements were reached by the Broto and Barges valleys and by Bielsa and the Aure Valley.


Pastos en Pineta

The importance of the Aragonese nobility in the Crown of Aragon wanes

Now began a time of poverty caused by poor harvests, disease and hunger, which were exacerbated by the various disputes that arose due to the lack of revenue.
The Aragonese nobility, who were increasingly in disagreement with the Crown, rose up and demanded more privileges from the king.
They also fought amongst themselves in an attempt to gain as large a share as possible of the land grants and anything else of value that they could hold in fee.

Aragon's importance within the confederation of states gradually declined. The Aragonese kings (counts of Aragon) supported the nascent and influential textile and mercantile bourgeoisie of Barcelona in their ventures to conquer land and expand trade. All the while, however, Aragon was paralysed, as its lands were still strongly feudal and controlled by the nobility and hence given more over to agriculture and animal husbandry.

The war against Castile and the system of factions

In the second half of the century, the war against Castile became international, as France supported Aragon and England sided with Castile.

During the fighting, large numbers of foreign soldiers passed through the Pyrenees.

A system of factions was created in Aragon, one being the Gurreas and the other the Urrieses.

The minor nobility, who supported one or other of these factions, had the Brotherhood of San Sebastin in Torla. In Sobrarbe, the lowest ranks of the nobility had their own privilege (fuero), which gave them the right to their own jurisdiction.

15th century

In 1410, King Martn I (the Humane) died. He was the last king in the Ramrez line and his death led to a crisis over who was to succeed him.

In 1412, the Compromise de Caspe resulted in Aragon being handed to a new ruler, Fernando de Antequera, a member of the House of Trastamara, a dynasty of Castilian origin.

The Count of Urgell, however, refused to accept the agreement and the lands of Lleida and the Alto Aragn became Urgell bastions.

The Pyrenees were the scene of bloody fighting. The English and Gascons, who supported the count, passed through Torla on their way to take the Loarre Castle, which remained loyal to King Fernando. In 1413, the count was defeated and fled to Balaguer.

In 1416, Alfonso V launched a new war against Castile and France. There was an evident risk of invasion and so he ordered that the entire Pyrenean line be fortified. In our area, this affected Ansa, Fanlo, Torla, Purtolas, Bielsa, Plan and Gistan, all towns where fortresses were built or improved.

As part of his policy to strengthen the monarchy, Alfonso V reclaimed for the Crown some of the towns formerly held in fee by vassals. These towns were overjoyed at the news and the king promised that he would never again hand them over to others. This occurred in the Broto Valley in 1418, to Ansa in 1428, Boltaa in 1430 and Bielsa in 1445.

When King Juan II (1458-1479) decided to imprison his son Carlos, the Prince of Viana, the towns of Aragon and Catalonia refused to support the king.

Juan II died in Barcelona in 1479 and was succeeded by his son Fernando. As he had married Isabel I, Queen of Castile, in 1469 and was now heir to the kingdom of Aragon, a new historic period began in Spain.