Berenguer Ramon I, Count of Barcelona

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Berenguer Ramon I, Count of Barcelona
Berenguer Ramon I. BarcelonskýPergamen Poblet.jpg
Spouse(s) Sancha Sánchez
Guisla of Lluca
Noble family House of Barcelona
Father Ramon Borrell, Count of Barcelona
Mother Ermesinde of Carcassonne
Born 1005
Died 26 May 1035(1035-05-26)
Barcelona
Buried Santa Maria de Ripoll

Berenguer Ramon I the Crooked, also called the Hunchback (in Catalan, Berenguer Ramon I el Corbat; and in Spanish, Berenguer Ramón I el Corvado or el Curvo) (1005 – 26 May 1035) was the count of Barcelona, Girona, and Ausona from 1018 to his death.

He was the son of Ramon Borrell, Count of Barcelona, Girona, and Ausona and his wife Ermesinde of Carcassonne. He accepted the suzerainty of Sancho the Great of Navarre, and in 1021, he married the king's sister-in-law, Sancha Sánchez, daughter of Sancho I Garcés, Count of Castile. By her he had two sons: his successor, Ramon Berenguer (b. 1023), and Sancho (birth year unknown). In 1027, he married secondly Guisla of Lluca, with whom he had two more sons, William (b. 1028) and Bernard (b. 1029). Two daughters have also been tentatively assigned to this couple: Clemencia, who married Ermengol III of Urgell and another, incorrectly referred to as Sibylla, who was the mother of Hugh I and Eudes I, Dukes of Burgundy, and of Henry, Count of Portugal.

Berenguer Ramon as a historical figure is enigmatic, shrouded in incomprehensible contradictions and ambiguities. First, he was a man of peace, and peace ruled throughout his reign. He pacified his neighbours as well, bringing to heel the Count of Urgell, Ermengol II. He reestablished amicable relations with Hugh I, Count of Empúries, and maintained them with William I of Besalú and Wilfred II of Cerdanya. He was a son of the church who maintained relations with the papacy and went on a pilgrimage to Rome in 1032. On many occasions he travelled to Zaragoza and Navarre to discuss with Sancho III the Great, King of Navarre their mutual stance against the Counts of Toulouse. His confidantes and councillors were the Abbot Oliva, the judge Ponç Bofill, Gombau de Besora, and the Bishops Pedro of Girona and Deudado of Barcelona. In 1025, he decreed that the proprietors of entails (men holding land in fee tail) were free from taxation.

On the other hand, the government of Berenguer Ramon I marks the beginning of the decline of the comital power in Catalonia. At the death of his father in 1018, Berenguer Ramon was a minor and his mother Ermesinde served as regent until 1023. But even when he attained his majority, his mother would not relinquish the powers of regency and reigned with him. According to some chroniclers, Berenguer's character left some things to be desired. He is described as weak and indecisive. Moreover, his policy of peace with the Moors was a bone of contention with the noblesse, who saw war with the Muslims as a way of obtaining glory, wealth, and possibly even salvation. This led some nobles to act independently of the count's wishes. Ermesinde, contra her son, was energetic and decisive, intent on imposing the authority of Barcelona on the baronage. But, as a woman, her capability to exercise control of the military was greatly impeded and organizing a raid or expedition to satisfy the wants of the aristocracy was virtually impossible.

The obliteration of comital authority became evident shortly before his death in 1035, as Ermisende partitioned his patrimony amongst his sons. Ramon Berenguer received Girona and Barcelona as far as the river Llobregat; Sancho received the frontierland from the Llobregat to the Moorish lands, which constituted the new county of Penedès with its capital in Olèrdola; and William was given the County of Ausona. Berenguer Ramon died on 26 May 1035 and was buried in Santa Maria de Ripoll.


Berenguer Ramon I, Count of Barcelona
House of Barcelona
Born: 1005 Died: 26 May 1035
Preceded by
Raymond Borrel
Count of Barcelona
1018–1035
Succeeded by
Ramon Berenguer I