Biography of Conde de Barcelona Ramón Berenguer IV (1113-1162)

Count of Barcelona, Girona, magazine Ausona, Besalú and Cerdanya from year 1131 to the 1162, and Prince of Aragon and count of Ribagorza from the year 1137 to the 1162; born in the town of the Bosgo at the end of the year 1113, and died on 6 August of the year 1162 Dalmacio San (Genoa). Son of Ramón Berenguer III and Mrs. Dulce de Provence, under his Government held the reconquest of the last Catalan territories that were still in the hands of the Muslims, and also joined the catalan County with the Crown of Aragon, circumstances is carried out thanks to his marriage with the Aragonese Princess Petronila, only daughter and heiress of the Aragonese King Ramiro II the monk.

Ramón Berenguer IV succeeded his father in the year 1131, when he/she was only seventeen years old, what did not stop to show a great capacity and maturity to take the reins of the County Government, thanks, above all, successful advice from his team of advisers, headed by San Olegario, Bishop of Barcelona. Just take care of the County Government, Ramón Berenguer IV took opportunity to demonstrate his excellent skills as ruler and his successful political long-term vision in the inheritance problem emerged in the Crown of Aragon. After the death of the Aragonese King Alfonso I the Battler in the year 1134, climbed to the Aragonese throne his brother Ramiro II the monk, who died three years later, in 1137, leaving as the only heir to the throne to a daughter newly born. The precarious situation of the Aragonese Kingdom was immediately exploited by the Castilian-Leonese monarch, Alfonso VII, who is annexed all territories which could in the western part of Navarre, seriously threatening the Catalan and Aragonese frontiers.

Ramiro II realized immediately the great qualities of the young catalan count, so it started a series of contacts with Ramón Berenguer IV to attract their Alliance. The Aragonese monarch was helped in talks by various relevant characters of County, settled in the Aragonese Court, as Ermengol VI of Urgell, Arnan Mirs of Pallars and Guillem Ramon IV of Montcada.

Finally, before dying, Ramiro II could arrange the marriage of his daughter Petronila with promising Barcelona, born count out in the town of Barbastro, in August of the year 1137, thus achieving the union of the two dynastic houses. That union did not prevent both entities to maintain their own institutions and idiosyncrasy. Ramón Berenguer IV inherited the title of King of Aragon, but never used it, even taking all the right to do so, since he/she preferred the title of Prince, avoiding thus awaken potential susceptibilities within closed and powerful Aragonese nobility. With title King or not, the truth is Ramón Berenguer IV behaved as a true sovereign, dynamic, showing a great political about their States and eager to carry it out.

His first action, as Prince of Aragon, was the resolve border differences that were taking place from very old between the kingdoms of Castile and León and Aragón. The Castilian-Leonese King, Alfonso VII, claimed its claims over the city of Zaragoza, under an old commitment vasallatico signed with the Moorish King of the city, Beni-Hud. By the Treaty of Carrion, signed on 2 February the year 1140, Ramón Berenguer IV obtained the withdrawal of ample troops of the city and the recognition of his authority over this in Exchange for its entry into vassalage to Alfonso VII. Both rulers also concluded the deal between the two kingdoms of all future lands conquered to Islam, later confirmed by the Treaty of Tudillen, in the year 1151. The Treaty of Carrion was reaffirmed with the marriage of the daughter of Ramón Berenguer IV, Doña Berenguela, with the Castilian-Leonese monarch.

Another important issue which had to solve Ramón Berenguer IV was the testamentary disposition made by Alfonso I the Battler, who died left his whole Kingdom to the military orders of the Holy Sepulchre, the Hospital and the Temple. After a long period of talks, finally, in the year 1143, he/she was able to convince the three orders so they declare null the testament of the Aragonese, although until the year 1158 monarch, the Pope Adriano IV did not accept the fait accompli, to change that Ramón Berenguer IV was declared a vassal of the Holy See.

Solved its internal problems, Ramón Berenguer IV returned his gaze to the Provencal territories of his brother Berenguer Ramon, he/she helped in his struggle to appease several aristocratic revolts and to curb the expansionist desires of the count of Toulouse and the emperor himself German, Federico I Barbarossa, who also had territorial interests in the area. On the death of his brother, in the year 1144, Ramón Berenguer IV took over, temporarily, Provencal Affairs due to the minority of age of his nephew Ramón Berenguer III of Provence. The Aragonese Prince returned to demonstrate his great diplomatic skill getting counter enemy all forces after signing several treaties of Alliance with Trancavell of Béziers, Ermengarde of Narbonne, Montpellier Guillermo and with King Henry II of England, who lent him a valuable help in the siege of Toulouse, in the year 1159. After this brilliant military and diplomatic victory, Ramón Berenguer IV got all the Provencal nobility to recognize his authority, and by extension, that of his nephew, the future count of Provence Ramon Berenguer III.

In the year 1147, as a result of the previous oath of allegiance signed on behalf of the Castilian-Leonese King, Ramón Berenguer IV participated actively in the siege that Alfonso VII took place against the city of Almería, in possession of the Muslim forces, which ended up falling on 17 October of the same year. Before leaving for Almeria, Ramón Berenguer IV signed several treated in collaboration with the Genoese and the Templars for, once completed the siege to Almeria, restart the reconquest in catalono-Aragon.

Thus, on 31 December of the year 1148, Ramón Berenguer IV reconquered the desired city of Tortosa to, then immediately start the simultaneous attack on Lleida and Fraga, with the assistance of the counts of Urgel, Pallars, and Ampurias. After a long and tiring campaign, two populations were delivered to the Aragonese Prince on October 24, the year 1149. At the end of that same year, the Muslim forces abandoned the town of Mequinenza, action with which he/she ended the old Muslim Kingdom of Lleida. The subsequent conquests of Miraret, Prades and Siurana, carried out in the year 1153, were completed the Muslim presence in Catalonia and increased the prestige of the nascent catalano-Aragonese monarchy, with which Ramón Berenguer IV reached his political peak.

In the year 1151, Alfonso VII and Ramón Berenguer IV returned to gather in the town of Tudillen to renew the Treaty signed in Carrión, in the year 1140, whereby both monarchs handed his future conquests over navarro and Muslim territory. The Crown of Aragon was reserved the rights of conquest of Valencia, Denia and Murcia.

As a solution to the repopulation issue caused by the great territorial conquests expansion achieved after the reconquistador impulse, Ramón Berenguer IV deployed an active demographic policy, granting a large number of villas letters pueblas to attract settlers, as well as supported materially to a multitude of monasteries so that they do the same.

Ramón Berenguer IV spent the last years of his Government, absorbed by the problems originated from beyond the Pyrenees. Not only had to defend the authority of his nephew in the Provencal County, they also had serious clashes with the German Emperor Federico I Barbarroja, since it contained serious territorial claims over maritime Provence. Ramón Berenguer IV, pressured by Federico I Barbarroja, signed with a military cooperation pact whereby Aragon pledged to help the Empire in its fight against the Papacy as well as recognize as legitimate Pope imposed by the Emperor, Víctor, prelate and plead vassal of the Emperor, breaking fidelity vasallatica who previously made to the papacy. Federico I Barbarroja, for its part, recognized the authority of his nephew minor, Ramón Berenguer III, on the maritime Provence, he/she married her granddaughter Richeza, which put an end to the litigation between Aragon and the Empire. Before his death, Ramón Berenguer IV managed to further extend its authority and influence in the year 1154, once a diet held in Canfranc chose guard and Governor of Navarre Bearn.

The work of Ramón Berenguer IV in the religious field was also highlighted. Introduced in the peninsula the Cistercian, with the Foundation of the monastery of Poblet, and his protection and patronage of the de Santes Creus. He/She founded more than three hundred churches in the new territories re-conquered the Muslims. In the cultural field, Ramón Berenguer IV that led with its patronage in Catalonia for the first national troubadours.

Ramón Berenguer IV died in the town of Dalmacio San, in the year 1162, when he/she headed for the imperial court of Turin, to ratify the oath of allegiance made previously with Federico I Barbarroja. It was moved to Catalonia and buried in the monastery of Poblet, which he/she himself had commissioned. It was succeeded by his son Alfonso II, who became a style as King of Aragon.


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