Tag: Kingdom of Navarre

April 27, 1435: First group of Romani people arrive in Basque Country

Arrival of Romani group in Bern, Switzerland, 1485. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Arrival of Romani group in Bern, Switzerland, 1485. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Romani (colloquially known as Roma or Gypsies) have been a long established presence in the Basque Country and even developed their own distinct tongue, Erromintxela, which is a mixed language that incorporates most of its vocabulary from Kalderash Romani and its grammar from Basque. The first documented presence of the Romani in the Basque Country dates from April 27, 1435 when a group of fifty people passed through Olite, Navarre, on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The group was led by “Thomas, the Count of Lower Egypt,” and received a donation from Blanche I, Queen of Navarre.

Document signed by Miguel García de Barasoain, secretary to Queen Blanche I of Navarre, detailing the donation, 1435. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Document signed by Miguel García de Barasoain, secretary to Queen Blanche I of Navarre, detailing the donation, 1435. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

August 7, 1357: The Faltzes Uprising

On August 7, 1357 the people of Faltzes (Falces) in Navarre rose up en masse in protest against the retinue of Prince Luis, governor of the Kingdom of Navarre during the reign of Charles II–known as le Mauvais, the Bad.

Faltzes-Falces today. Photo by Ibon, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The peasant uprising or matxinada (on which see a previous post here) was the result of Charles II raising taxes in Faltzes in order to finance the battles he was waging in France during the Hundred Years’ War. When the people of Faltzes refused to pay the increased taxes, Charles sent his brother Louis to the area, but on arriving he came across an angry response and fled in fear of his life.

Some of the people involved in the resistance subsequently fled Faltzes, fearful of reprisals by Charles, southward to the Kingdom of Castile.  Charles subsequently ordered the destruction of the town’s crops and property, and eight of nineteen people arrested were condemned to death by hanging.

In September that same year, however, Charles offered a general pardon and those individuals that had fled the area returned home.

Charles II having the leaders of the Jacquerie executed by beheading. Illustration from the Chroniques de France ou de St Denis, BL Royal MS. 20 C vii, f. 134v, made after 1380. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Interestingly, Charles II is known more widely for his harsh repression of another peasant uprising, the Jaquerie just outside Paris, one year later.

November 16, 1528: Birth of Jeanne d’Albret, Queen of Navarre

Born on November 16, 1528, to Marguerite of Angoulême and King Henry II of Navarre, Jeanne d’Albret would eventually become not only an important historical figure in general in her role as the spiritual and political leader of the Protestant Huguenots but also a major personality in Basque history for introducing the Protestant faith into the Basque Country and sponsoring the publication of a key text in the Basque language. Besides all this, she also stands out for being a strong, forthright woman leader of a significant sixteenth-century European power, the Kingdom of Navarre.

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Jeanne d’Albert (1528-1572), Queen of Navarre, c. late-16th century. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Jeanne married Antoine de Bourbon, the Duke of Vendôme, in 1548 and, on Henry II’s death in 1555, they were crowned joint rulers of Navarre. Influenced by her mother, she had taken an early interest in humanism and individual liberty, which led ultimately to her conversion to Calvinism in 1560. Jeanne d’Albert was a hands-on ruler, with a sharp intellect and a conviction in her beliefs. As Queen of Navarre between 1555 and 1572 (and Queen Regnant on the death of her husband in 1562), as well as carrying out a series of important economic and judicial reforms, she made Calvinism the official religion of her territories. To this end, she commissioned the priest and Protestant-convert Joannes Leizarraga (1506-1601), himself a central figure in Basque letters and one of the first people to attempt to create a standardized version of the Basque language, to translate the New Testament into Basque. This was eventually published under the title Iesus Christ Gure Iaunaren Testamentu Berria (The New Testament of Jesus Christ our Lord) in 1571.

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The New Testament, as translated into Basque by Joannes Leizarraga (1571). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Her attempts to instill Calvinism in her lands led to a series of religious wars throughout the 1560s, during which her husband Antoine was fatally wounded in 1562, with pressure applied on her by the surrounding Catholic monarchs, Charles IX of France and Philip II of Spain. These wars culminated in the Peace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1570), whereby hostilities would end, Jeanne’s son,  Henry, would marry the French King Charles IX’s Catholic sister Marguerite, and the Protestant Huguenots would have the right to hold public office in France, a privilege which they had previously been denied. Jeanne died in June 1572, two months before her son’s marriage. On her death, he became King Henry III of Navarre; and in 1589 he ascended the French throne as Henry IV, founding the Bourbon royal house that came to dominate both France and, ultimately, Spain.

Jeanne d’Albret left her mark on Basque history in many ways. She ranks as a strong-willed ruler with a clear vision of how she wanted to reform the society over which she ruled. She held strong humanist values that championed individual freedom and she did all she could to try and instill those values on those around her. And, it should be remembered, she was responsible for commissioning one of the most important historical publications in and contributions to the development of the Basque language.

Further reading:

http://womenshistory.about.com/od/protestant/a/jeanne_dalbret.htm

http://www.reformed.org/webfiles/antithesis/index.html?mainframe=/webfiles/antithesis/v1n2/ant_v1n2_royalty.html

In The Basques of Lapurdi, Zuberoa, and Lower Navarre: Their History and Their Traditions, Philippe Veyrin discusses the impact of Jeanne d’Albret, especially with regard to her religious reform, at length.

Flashback Friday: A Young Man’s Fight In An Old Man’s War

On December 4, 1270, Theobald II, King of Navarre, died at the age of thirty-two as a consequence of the plague while he was taking part in a religious military campaign in Tunisia, North Africa. In 1238, he was born of Theobald I and Marguerite de Bourbon. In 1253, after the death of his father, Theobald II was crowned when he was only fourteen years old. Since he was regarded as too young to govern the kingdom, at first his mother assumed these duties. In November 1253, in the context of Navarre-Castile warfare, the “Young,” as he was nicknamed, swore an oath to preserve all the statutes, rights, and privileges of the entire territory of Navarre and its people. Soon after, Theobald II moved with his mother to Champagne, France, with the aim of gaining  the support of and an alliance with Louis IX against Castile. This alliance was strengthened through the marriage of Theobald II to Isabella, Louis IX’s daughter. As soon as they got the French support, Theobald II returned to the Basque Country to resume his title as King of Navarre.  In 1267, due to his alliance with Louis IX of France, Theobald II swore an oath to fight a holy war against Tunisia. In 1270, a military incursion into this African territory was launched that turned out to be a fatal disaster. After his death, Theobald was embalmed and his body was placed in a sarcophagus inside a mausoleum in the French town of Provins, located in the vicinity of Paris. This was destroyed some centuries later during the French Revolution (1789-1799).

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Portrait of Theobald II

 


Every Friday we look into our Basque archives for interesting historic events that happened on the same day.

 

Flashback Friday: Condemned to Hang

On November 20, 1775, Josefa Arostegui Gaztambide from Bera, Navarre, was hanged by the neck until dead. Arostegui became the first Basque woman condemned to hang. She was condemned for killing her husband and her sentence was death by hanging. Because of the brutality of the gibbet, the defense asked for her to be put to death by the garrote, which surprisingly enough, was considered a less cruel execution than hanging. Despite the opposition of prominent religious figures, Josefa was eventually executed by hanging. In the late eighteenth century, a large number of statutes specified death as the penalty for violations and crimes.

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Drawing of a hangman


Every Friday we look into our Basque archives for interesting historic events that happened on the same day.

 

Flashback Friday: The Resistance

On October 30, 1512, during the conquest of Navarre, troops loyal to the Navarrese King Juan de Labrit surrendered to the forces of the Spanish King Ferdinand II of Aragon in Lizarra (Navarre). Some months earlier, on July 25, after the Spaniards occupied a large part of the territory of Navarre,  the Lizarra nobility had rejected the authority of the new Spanish monarch and legitimized Juan de Labrit’s power. Indeed, only the Navarre noblesse of Lizarra and Tutera, as well as that of the Erronkari, Zaraitzu, and other valleys, did not recognize Ferdinands’ authority. These so-called Navarre legitimists organized themselves to overthrow Ferdinand’s rule. Thus, on October 5, they rose in rebellion to take over the city of Lizarra. Some days later, Ferdinand’s army, for its part, counterattacked the rebellion. The resistance persisted during the whole month of October.  On the 30th day, eventually, the Navarrese defenders of Labrit surrendered, after they signed the agreement to lay down their arms.

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Portrayal of Lizarra


On the history of Navarre, see Navarra: The Durable Kingdom, by Rachel Bard.

Every Friday we look into our Basque archives for interesting historic events that happened on the same day.