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Count of Barcelona

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Title: Count of Barcelona  
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Subject: County of Melgueil, Alfonso III of Aragon, Alfonso IV of Aragon, Crown of Aragon, History of Catalonia
Collection: Counts of Barcelona, Crown of Aragon, House of Barcelona, Lists of Counts, Lists of Monarchs
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Count of Barcelona

The Count of Barcelona (Catalan: Comte de Barcelona, Spanish: Conde de Barcelona) was the ruler of Catalonia for much of Catalan history, from the 9th until the 15th century.

Counties in the Spanish March.

The County of Barcelona was created by Charlemagne after he had conquered lands north of the river Ebro. These lands, called the Marca Hispanica, were partitioned into various counties, of which the Count of Barcelona, usually holding other counties simultaneously, eventually obtained the primacy over the region.

As the county became hereditary in one family, the bond of the counts to their Frankish overlords loosened, especially after the Capetian dynasty supplanted the Carolingians.

In the 12th century the Counts formed a dynastic union with the Kingdom of Aragon, merging the two realms under a single ruler. In 1258, the king of France relinquished his feudal authority over the County in the Treaty of Corbeil.

Barcelona remained, as a part of the Principality of Catalonia, part of the Crown of Aragon when the latter around 1500 entered into a union with the Crown of Castile, thereby forming the Spanish Monarchy. Catalonia maintained its own laws, institutions, taxes and privileges until they were removed after the War of the Spanish Succession in the 18th century.

Count of Barcelona remained one of the many hereditary titles of the Spanish monarchy.

In the 20th century, the title regained some prominence when Juan de Borbón, the exiled heir to the Spanish throne, adopted the title of Count of Barcelona. In doing so, he claimed a historical royal title without claiming to be the current king of Spain, especially after his son Juan Carlos became the prospective successor of the then-ruler of Spain, Francisco Franco. In 1977, after Juan Carlos had become King upon Franco's death in 1975, he officially awarded the title of Count of Barcelona to his father, who had renounced his rights to the throne. Juan held that title until his death in 1993, when it reverted to the King who has held it ever since. Juan de Borbón's widow used the title Countess of Barcelona until her death in 2000.


  • List of Counts of Barcelona 1
    • Non-dynastic, 801-878 1.1
    • House of Sunifred, 878-1162 1.2
    • House of Barcelona, 1164–1410 1.3
  • Courtesy title 2
    • House of Bourbon, 1977–1993 2.1
  • References 3
  • See also 4

List of Counts of Barcelona

Non-dynastic, 801-878

Name Portrait Reign Notes
Berà, Count of Barcelona 801-820 son of Guilhèm I of Razès, brother of Bello of Razès, also Count of Razès and Conflent (790-820), Girona, Besalú, Ausona (812/817-820), deposed.
820-826 also Count of Girona and Besalú
Bernard I
(Bernat I)
826-832 son of William of Gellone, also margrave of Septimania (834-835) and Imperial Chamberlain (829-830), deposed.
Berenguer 832-835 also Count of Toulouse.
Bernard I
(Bernat I)
836-844 restored, executed on orders of Charles the Bald.
Sunifred 844-848 son or son-in-law of Belló of Carcassone, also Count of Ausona, Besalú, Girona, Narbonne, Agde, Béziers, Lodève, Melgueil, Cerdanya, Urgell, Conflent and Nîmes.
848-850 son of Bernard I, also Count of Toulouse (844-850), rebelled and was killed.
Aleran 850-852 also Count of Empúries and Roussillon and Margrave of Septimania.
Odalric 852-858 son of Hunfrid, Margrave of Istria, also Count of Girona, Roussillon, Empúries and Margrave of Septimania.
Humfrid 858-864 son of Hunfrid II, Duke of Rhaetia, also Count of Girona, Empúries, Roussillon, and Narbonne and Margrave of Gothia.
Bernard II
(Bernat II)
865-878 son of Bernard of Poitiers also Count of Girona and Margrave of Gothia and Septimania, rebelled.

House of Sunifred, 878-1162

Name Portrait Reign Notes
Wilfred I
(Guifré I)
el Pelós (the Hairy)
878-897 son of Sunifred, managed to establish hereditary succession
Wilfred II Borrell I
(Guifré II Borrell)
897-911 son of Wilfred the Hairy
Sunyer 911-947 son of Wilfred the Hairy, retired to a monastery
Borrell II 947-992 son of Sunyer
jointly with Miro (947-966) and Ramon Borrell (988-992),
also Count of Urgell (948-992). Unsuccessfully asked King Lothair of France for aid against the Saracens, refused to recognise Hugh Capet as King of France in 987. The feudal link with France was broken, so that the County of Barcelona became independent de facto.
Miro 947-966 son of Sunyer, jointly with Borrell II
Ramon Borrell 988-1018 son of Borrell II, jointly with his father (988-992)
Berenguer Ramon I
el Corbat (the Crooked)
1018/1023–1035 son of Ramon Borrell, under the regency of Ermesinde of Carcassonne (1018–1023), forced to recognise the suzerainty of Sancho the Great of Navarre.
Ramon Berenguer I
el Vell (the Old)
1035/1039–1076 son of Berenguer Ramon I
Ramon Berenguer II
el Cap d'Estopes (the Towhead)
1076–1082 son of Ramon Berenguer I, jointly with his twin brother Berenguer Ramon II
Berenguer Ramon II
el Fratricida (the Fratricide)
1076–1097 son of Ramon Berenguer I, jointly with his twin brother Ramon Berenguer II (1076–1082) and later his nephew Ramon Berenguer III (1082–1097)
Ramon Berenguer III
el Gran (the Great)
1082–1131 son of Ramon Berenguer II
Ramon Berenguer IV
el Sant (the Saint)
1131–1162 son of Ramon Berenguer III, engaged Petronilla of Aragon in 1137 and married her in 1150.
Tomb of Count Ramon Berenger I (d. 1076).

The succession of Ramon Berenguer IV and Petronilla led to the creation of the Crown of Aragon.

House of Barcelona, 1164–1410

|Alphonse I the Troubadour
18 July 1164 – 25 April 1196||Alfons I||1157
son of Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona and Petronilla of Aragon||Sancha of Castile
7 children||25 April 1196
aged 44 |- |Peter I the Catholic
25 April 1196 – 13 September 1213||Peter I||1178
son of alfons I and Sancha of Castile||Marie of Montpellier
15 June 1204
2 children||12 September 1213
Battle of Muret
aged ca. 35 |- |James I the Conqueror
13 September 1213 – 27 July 1276||James I||2 February 1208
son of Peter I the Catholic and Marie of Montpellier||Leanor of Castile
1 child

Violant of Hungary
10 children

Teresa Gil de Vidaure
2 children||27 July 1276
aged 68 |- |Peter II the Great
27 July 1276 – 2 November 1285||Peter II||1240
son of James I and Violant of Hungary||Constance of Sicily
13 June 1262
6 child||2 November 1285
Vilafranca del Penedès
aged 45 |- |Alphonse II the Liberal
2 November 1285 – 18 June 1291||Alfons II||1265
son of Peter II and Constance of Sicily||Eleanor of England
15 August 1290
No children||18 June 1291
aged 27 |- |James II the Fair
18 June 1291 – 2 November 1327||James II||10 August 1267
son of Peter II and Constance of Sicily||Isabella of Castile
1 December 1291
No children

Blanche of Anjou
29 October 1295
10 children

Marie de Lusignan
15 June 1315
No children

Elisenda de Montcada
25 December 1322
No children||5 November 1327
aged 60 |- |Alphonse III the Kind
2 November 1327 – 24 January 1336||Alfons III||1299
son of James II of Aragon and Blanche of Anjou||Teresa d'Entença
7 children

Eleanor of Castile
2 children||27 January 1336
aged 37 |- |Peter III the Ceremonious
24 January 1336 – 5 January 1387||Peter III||5 October 1319
son of Alphonse III and Teresa d'Entença||Maria of Navarre
2 children

Leonor of Portugal
No children

Eleanor of Sicily
4 children||5 January 1387
aged 68 |- |John the Hunter
5 January 1387 – 19 May 1396||John I||27 December 1350
son of Peter III and Eleanor of Sicily||Martha of Armagnac
1 child

Yolande of Bar
3 children||19 May 1396
aged 46 |- |Martin the Humanist
19 May 1396 – 31 May 1410||Martí I||1356
son of Peter III and Eleanor of Sicily||Maria de Luna
13 June 1372
4 children

Margaret of Prades
No children||31 May 1410
aged 54 |- |}

Martin was the last direct descendant of Wilfred the Hairy to rule; died without legitimate heirs (interregnum 31 May 1410 – 24 June 1412). By the Compromise of Caspe of 1412 the County of Barcelona and all its associated dominions passed to a branch of the House of Trastámara.

The County of Barcelona formed a constituent part of the Crown of Spain under the rule of the House of Habsburg, until the Nueva Planta decrees (1707 and 1716), when Philip de Bourbon declared that all the territories from the Crown of Aragon should merge into Castile, building the centralized Kingdom of Spain. In Barcelona this was promulgated in 1716, and the title of Count of Barcelona became one of the many unused hereditary titles of the modern Spanish monarchy.

Courtesy title

House of Bourbon, 1977–1993

Name Portrait Reign Notes
John III
(Juan III)
1977–1993 claimed title from 1941; officially granted by his son Juan Carlos I in exchange for renouncing his claim to the Spanish throne


See also

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