Union of Aragon
The Union of Aragon was an anti-royalist movement among the nobility and the townsmen of the lands of the Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

 during the last quarter of the thirteenth century. Its efforts culminated in a series of articles confirming the privileges of the aristocracy and the cities and proscribing the power of the monarchy known as the Magna Carta
Magna Carta
Magna Carta is an English charter, originally issued in the year 1215 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions, which included the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority to date. The charter first passed into law in 1225...

 of Aragon

The Union had its origin in the nature of the Crown of Aragon, incorporating various kingdoms at various times, but always Aragon
Kingdom of Aragon
The Kingdom of Aragon was a medieval and early modern kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day autonomous community of Aragon, in Spain...

 and Valencia, as well as most of the Catalan counties, primarily Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

. The various lands vied for the attention of the monarch and struggled to protect their privileges and their influence against the rise of any other. At the same time, King Peter III
Peter III of Aragon
Peter the Great was the King of Aragon of Valencia , and Count of Barcelona from 1276 to his death. He conquered Sicily and became its king in 1282. He was one of the greatest of medieval Aragonese monarchs.-Youth and succession:Peter was the eldest son of James I of Aragon and his second wife...

 was conquering Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 and his Spanish dominions were neglected.

Eventually, Pope Martin IV
Pope Martin IV
Pope Martin IV, born Simon de Brion held the papacy from February 21, 1281 until his death....

 called a crusade, the Aragonese Crusade
Aragonese Crusade
The Aragonese Crusade or Crusade of Aragon, a part of the larger War of the Sicilian Vespers, was declared by Pope Martin IV against the King of Aragon, Peter III the Great, in 1284 and 1285...

, against Peter and his kingdom, dissolving his subjects of their oaths of fealty. Peter had to exact heavy taxes in order to finance resistance to the "crusade" against him. The nobles of the kingdom, believing they should have been consulted before any campaign to Sicily, formed the Union.

In 1283, the nobles and burgers of Aragon held a cortes
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

 in Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

 at which they swore to uphold each others' rights. Within three months, the cortes of Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 swore a similar oath at Tarragona
Tarragona is a city located in the south of Catalonia on the north-east of Spain, by the Mediterranean. It is the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the capital of the Catalan comarca Tarragonès. In the medieval and modern times it was the capital of the Vegueria of Tarragona...

. At both, Peter III had to recognise the ancient customs and fueros of the people and vow to summon the cortes annually. This was known as the General Privilege (Privilegio general).

In December 1286, the Union met at Zaragoza and then in January 1287 at Teruel
Teruel is a town in Aragon, eastern Spain, and the capital of Teruel Province. It has a population of 34,240 in 2006 making it one of the least populated provincial capitals in the country...

. After brief talks with Alfonso III
Alfonso III of Aragon
Alfonso III , called the Liberal or the Free , was the King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona from 1285...

 in May 1287, the Union invaded Valencia and fought some battles with the king's supporters until a Dominican
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 prior from Zaragoza, Valero, organised a meeting in Zaragoza for 20 December. The Union forced many royal concessions from the weak Alfonso, who granted them the Privilege of the Union (Privilegio de la unión). The Privilege named the Union as the "true guardian of Aragonese law" in the Crown's territories. The Privilege devolved many royal functions to the lesser nobility and the Crown of Aragon nearly fell into anarchy, especially during the reign of Peter IV
Peter IV of Aragon
Peter IV, , called el Cerimoniós or el del punyalet , was the King of Aragon, King of Sardinia and Corsica , King of Valencia , and Count of Barcelona Peter IV, (Balaguer, September 5, 1319 – Barcelona, January 6, 1387), called el Cerimoniós ("the Ceremonious") or el del punyalet ("the one...

. Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

 placed Alfonso in his Purgatorio
Purgatorio is the second part of Dante's Divine Comedy, following the Inferno, and preceding the Paradiso. The poem was written in the early 14th century. It is an allegory telling of the climb of Dante up the Mount of Purgatory, guided by the Roman poet Virgil...

, outside the gates, for his part in fostering the chaos of Europe at the time. Alfonso himself, however, was not pleased, saying "en Aragón había tantos reyes como ricoshombres."

The Privilege ordained that the king could not proceed against any nobleman without the prior permission of the Justicia acting on the approval of the cortes. This last was to be summoned annually (in November) to the city of Zaragoza. If the king ever broke his terms of the Privilege, he need not be obeyed and no act against him was to be considered treason. Thus, the king could be deposed by the nobles in extreme circumstances. By January 1288, the Union was appointing the king's councillors.

James II
James II of Aragon
James II , called the Just was the King of Sicily from 1285 to 1296 and King of Aragon and Valencia and Count of Barcelona from 1291 to 1327. In 1297 he was granted the Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica...

 refused to recognise the Privileges and, by the Act of Union, made permanent the Crown of Aragon and the union of Aragon, Valencia, and Catalonia under one crown. The Aragonese union was imitated by a Union of Valencia
Union of Valencia
The Union of Valencia was an anti-royalist movement in the Kingdom of Valencia begun in 1283 and lasting into the fifteenth century. The Union was formed in the aftermath of the formation of the Union of Aragon in October 1283. Its essential purpose was as a tool of the Valencian nobility to be...



  • Chaytor, H. J. A History of Aragon and Catalonia. 1933.
  • Wintle, Justin. The Rough Guide History of Spain. Penguin Group
    Penguin Group
    The Penguin Group is a trade book publisher, the largest in the world , having overtaken Random House in 2009. The Penguin Group is the name of the incorporated division of parent Pearson PLC that oversees these publishing operations...

    , 2003.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.