We propose a route through the rich history of Navarre to better understand the origins of our Kingdom, all the way from the first traces of humanity through the Romanisation, the Navarran and French dynasties and the Carlist wars through to the present day.
Festival romano de Andelos
Remnants of the first settlements in Navarre have been found from the Lower Palaeolithic era in Coscobillo
. Later, the Bronze Age
left dolmens and flint workshops in shepherding areas; in this period the Megalithic architecture was spread across the whole territory. The Iron Age
gave the first primitive Vascon inhabitants new techniques and ways of life, brought by the Celts and Celt-Iberians from Central Europe.Romanisation
The presence of Rome is not strongly marked in the saltus vasconum – the Mountain – where the local language, Basque, prevails, and cultural permeation is scarce; on the other hand, Romanisation was stronger in the ager vasconum - the southern area – which was more accessible and had a larger number of natural resources. Within the saltus, in 75 BC, Pompeii
occupied Pamplona, the largest Vascona city, where the Roman population settled, giving it the name of Pamplona.
With the breakdown of the Roman Empire, the Vascona tribes recovered their influence in the Romanised ager, expanding outwards into neighbouring zones. At the same time they defended themselves from the Visigoths and French monarchies. The Battle of Roncesvalles against Charlemagne in 778 put a stop to the intentions of the powerful French monarchy in this part of the Pyrenees.
First Navarran dynasty
A new threat emerged with the arrival of the Muslims
, who managed to occupy the Ebro Basin in 714. However, their presence was weak and soon a Christian nucleus emerged to challenge them, which in the 9th century would end up uniting for the autochthonous dynasty of los Íñigos
, the first Navarran dynasty.
Los Jimenos would take their place. Sancho Garcés
(905-925), the first monarch in this dynasty, embarked upon a decisive territorial expansion policy against the Muslims, in which he established links with the other Christian kingdoms. Also occupying the town of Estella, reaching Nájera and Calahorra (914), Tudela remained under Muslim control until 1119.The realm of Navarre
Sancho Garcés III el Mayor
(1004-1035) exercised his realm over the most of the Christian mainland territory, establishing the official route of the Santiago Way, introducing the Romanesque and incorporating the Clunaic culture into his kingdoms.
By the end of the 11th century, the kingdom of Pamplona halted its territorial expansion. Hovering between independence and incorporation within the political sphere of the French, Castilian and Aragonese monarchies was the awkward status that prevailed in Navarre during the Early Middle Ages.
Under French influence
Castillo de Olite
The death of Sancho VII el Fuerte in 1234 brought the kingdom in contact with France. The first to be installed on the throne was the House of Champagne
(1234-1274), which was succeeded by the Capetian
dynasty, which between 1274 and 1328 simultaneously occupied the thrones of France and Navarre.
The House of Evreux
(1328-1425) initiated a time of intense relationships in the political life of the Peninsula and Europe. The reign of Charles III the Noble
(1387-1425) struck a balance between cultural and material prosperity, evident in the artistic works such as the Royal Palace in Olite.
The death of Charles III gave rise to a serious conflict, which would be no more than the first signs of a far-reaching institutional and social crisis that would lead to civil war. John II, who headed the camp of the Agramonteses, married Blanca, the heir to the Navarran throne, and became the King of Navarre and Aragon since 1458; opposed to him was his step-son, the legendary Charles, Prince of Viana, who headed the camp of the Beaumontes in their quest, which was never to be fulfilled, to occupy the throne of Navarre.
This state of internal weakness would last for half a century and would finally be exploited by Ferdinand the Catholic
who, in support of the Beaumonteses, invaded Navarre in 1512, thus making it part of the Crown of Castile
Following its conquest by Castile, Navarre was governed by a Viceroy, who exercised the powers of a monarch, which would last for four centuries. Meanwhile, the kingdom’s institutions were maintained, especially the Cortes. The Kingdom’s Council was founded in 1576 as a standing governing body in representation of the Cortes when the latter was not sitting: since1982 the Council has been known as the Government of Navarre.
From the Carlist Wars to the present day
Palacio de Diputación
The situation of political and institutional stability began to deteriorate in the second half of the 18th century, with the centralist policies of the Bourbons, which would generate ever-increasing tension that would explode in 1833 in the form of the First Carlist War. The military conflict concluded in 1839, with an armistice on the part of the Carlists, and with the so-called Ley Paccionada of 1841
By virtue of this law, the historical Kingdom of Navarre became part, under the status of Province, of the liberal state, whilst still maintaining institutions and legislation from its age-old system of Fueros (regional rights), especially those involving taxation and the administration.
This particular situation persisted throughout the Restoration, the 2nd Republic and Franco’s regime. With the advent of democracy and following the Spanish Constitution of 1978, the regional system for Navarre became integrated within the new institutional regime, by virtue of the Organic Law of 1982 for the Reintegration and Improvement of the Regional System of Navarre.The 1980s
were marked by the electoral victories of the Navarran Partido Socialista (Socialist Party), whereas in the 1990s the power shifted, with the conservative party UPN (Navarran People’s Union), which became the most voted party apart from a few months of coalition governance.
The nationalist electorate retained a relatively stable electoral quota, at around 20%.
Since 2015, the Government has been formed by a coalition of nationalist and left-wing forces.