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Count of Barcelona

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The count of Barcelona (Catalan: comte de Barcelona, Spanish: conde de Barcelona, French: comte de Barcelone, Latin: comes Barcinonensis) was the ruler of the County of Barcelona and also, by extension and according with the Usages and Catalan constitutions, of the Principality of Catalonia as Princeps for much of Catalan history, from the 9th century until the 18th century. After 1164, with Alfonso II of Aragon and I of Barcelona, the title of count of Barcelona was united with that of king of Aragon, and after the 16th century, with that of king of Spain.


Catalan counties between 9th and 12th centuries

The Emperor Charlemagne conquered the area north of the river Ebro and captured the city of Barcelona in 801. He then organized these lands, historiographically known as the Marca Hispanica, into various counties, one of which was the County of Barcelona, with the city of Barcelona as its capital. The Count of Barcelona, usually holding other counties simultaneously, eventually obtained primacy over the region. As the County became hereditary in one family, the bond of the Counts to their Frankish overlords loosened, especially after the Capetian dynasty supplanted the Carolingians.

In 1150, Count Raymond Berengar IV married Queen Petronilla of Aragon. Their son Alfonso succeeded as Count and also as King of Aragon, establishing the Crown of Aragon. In the Treaty of Corbeil (1258), King Louis IX of France relinquished France's historical claim to the County. In 1516, Queen Joanna of Castile also succeeded in Catalonia and Aragon, forming the Monarchy of Spain. The title of Count of Barcelona remained one of the many hereditary titles of the Spanish monarchy.

In the 20th century, the title regained some prominence when Juan de Borbón, the exiled heir to the Spanish throne, adopted the title of Count of Barcelona. In doing so, he claimed a historical royal title without claiming to be the current king of Spain, especially after his son Juan Carlos became the prospective successor of the then-ruler of Spain, Francisco Franco. In 1977, after Juan Carlos had become king upon Franco's death in 1975, he officially awarded the comital title to his father, who had renounced his rights to the throne. Juan held that title until his death in 1993, when it reverted to Juan Carlos. Juan de Borbón's widow used the title Countess of Barcelona until her death in 2000.

List of counts of Barcelona[edit]

Non-dynastic (appointed by the rulers of the Carolingian Empire), 801–878[edit]

During this period, the County of Barcelona was one of many Counties at the March located in the Eastern Pyrenees and known as Gothia or Marca Hispanica. The Counts of this March were appointed by the Carolingian authorities.

Name Portrait Reign Notes
Bera 801–820 son of William of Gellone, also Count of Razès and Conflent (790–820), Girona, Besalú, Ausona (812/817–820), deposed.
820–826 also Count of Girona and Besalú
Bernard I
(Bernat I)
826–832 son of William of Gellone, also margrave of Septimania (834–835) and Imperial Chamberlain (829–830), deposed.
Berenguer 832–835 also Count of Toulouse.
Bernard I
(Bernat I)
836–844 restored, executed on orders of Charles the Bald.
Sunifred 844–848 son or son-in-law of Belló of Carcassonne, also Count of Ausona, Besalú, Girona, Narbonne, Agde, Béziers, Lodève, Melgueil, Cerdanya, Urgell, Conflent and Nîmes.
848–850 son of Bernard I, also Count of Toulouse (844–850), rebelled and was killed.
Aleran 850–852 also Count of Empúries and Roussillon and Margrave of Septimania.
Odalric 852–858 son of Hunfrid, Margrave of Istria, also Count of Girona, Roussillon, Empúries and Margrave of Septimania.
Humfrid 858–864 son of Hunfrid II, Duke of Rhaetia, also Count of Girona, Empúries, Roussillon, and Narbonne and Margrave of Gothia.
Bernard II
(Bernat II)
865–878 son of Bernard of Poitiers also Count of Girona and Margrave of Gothia and Septimania, rebelled.

House of Sunifred (Bellonids), 878–1162[edit]

The crisis of the Carolingian Empire, incapable of attending to the requests for help against the Moorish attacks coming from the Catalan counts, resulted in a disconnection between them and the Carolingian central power far North. The County of Barcelona became a hereditary title.

Name Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Wilfred I the Hairy
878 –897
Disputed filiation
10 children
aged 46–47
Wilfred II Borrell I
897 –26 April 911
First son of Wilfred I
and Guinidilda
1 child
26 April 911
aged 36–37
26 April 911 –947
Sixth son of Wilfred I
and Guinidilda
1 child

5 children
15 October 950
aged 59–60
Miro I
947 –966
Second son of Sunyer
and Richilde
Unmarried 966
aged 39–40
Borrell II
947 –992
(joint rule 947-966)
Third son of Sunyer
and Richilde
5 children
aged 64–65
Ramon Borrell
988 –8 September 1017
(joint rule 988–992)
26 May 972
Son of Borrell II
and Luitgarde
Ermesinde of Carcassonne
2 children
8 September 1017
aged 45
Ermesinde of Carcassonne
(joint rule 993–1017);
(regent 1017–1021, 1035–1039)
Daughter of Roger I of Carcassonne
and Adelaide of Melgueil
Ramon I Borrell III
2 children
1 March 1058
Sant Quirze de Besora
aged 85–86
Berenguer Ramon I the Crooked
8 September 1017 –31 March 1035
(under regency of Ermesinde of Carcassonne 1017–1021)
Son of Ramon Borrell
and Ermesinde of Carcassonne
Sancha of Castile
2 children

Guisla of Lluçá
3 children
31 March 1035
aged 30–31
Ramon Berenguer I the Old
31 March 1035 –26 June 1076
(under regency of Ermesinde of Carcassonne 1035–1039)
Son of Berenguer Ramon I
and Sancha of Castile
Élisabeth de Nîmes
3 children

Blanche de Narbonne
16 March 1051
(annulled 1052)
no children

Almodis de La Marche
(together since 1052)
4 children
26 June 1076
aged 52–53
Ramon Berenguer II the Towhead
26 June 1076 –6 December 1082
First/Second son of Ramon Berenguer I
and Almodis de La Marche
Mafalda of Apulia-Calabria
3 children
6 December 1082
Sant Feliu de Buixalleu
aged 28–29
Berenguer Ramon II the Fratricide
26 June 1076 –1097
(joint rule 1076–1082)
First/Second son of Ramon Berenguer I
and Almodis de La Marche
Unmarried 1097
aged 43–44
Ramon Berenguer III the Great
6 December 1082 –19 July 1131
(joint rule 1082–1097)
11 November 1082
Son of Ramon Berenguer II
and Mafalda of Apulia-Calabria
María Díaz de Vívar
2 children

Almodis de Mortain
no children

Douce I, Countess of Provence
3 February 1112
7 children
19 July 1131
aged 48
Ramon Berenguer IV the Saint
19 July 1131 –6 August 1162
Barcelona or Rodez
Son of Ramon Berenguer III
and Douce I, Countess of Provence
Petronilla of Aragon
August 1150
5 children
6 August 1162
Borgo San Dalmazzo
aged 48–49
Tomb of Count Ramon Berenger I (d. 1076).

Jiménez dynasty, 1162–1164[edit]

Name Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
6 August 1162 – 18 July 1164
29 June 1136
daughter of Ramiro II of Aragon and Agnes of Aquitaine
Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona
August 1150
5 children
15 October 1173
aged 37

The succession of Ramon Berenguer IV and Petronilla led to the creation of the Crown of Aragon.

House of Barcelona, 1164–1410[edit]

Name Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Alphonse I the Troubadour
18 July 1164 – 25 April 1196
Alfons I 1-25 March 1157
son of Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona and Petronilla of Aragon
marriage agreement with
Mafalda of Portugal 1159-1162, not fulfilled

Sancha of Castile
18 January 1174
7 children
25 April 1196
aged 44
Peter I the Catholic
25 April 1196 – 13 September 1213
Peter I July 1178
son of Alfons I and Sancha of Castile
Marie of Montpellier
15 June 1204
2 children
12 September 1213
Battle of Muret
aged 35
James I the Conqueror
13 September 1213 – 27 July 1276
James I 2 February 1208
son of Peter I the Catholic and Marie of Montpellier
marriage agreement with
Aurembiaix, Countess of Urgell 1209, not fulfilled

Eleanor of Castile
6 February 1221
1 child

Violant of Hungary
8 September 1235
10 children

Teresa Gil de Vidaure
(lover, then wife)
(uncanonical marriage, repudiated 1260)
2 children
27 July 1276
aged 68
Peter II the Great
27 July 1276 – 2 November 1285
Peter II July or August 1240
son of James I and Violant of Hungary
Constance of Sicily
13 June 1262
6 children
2 November 1285
Vilafranca del Penedès
aged 45
Alphonse II the Liberal
2 November 1285 – 18 June 1291
Alfons II 4 November 1265
son of Peter II and Constance of Sicily
Eleanor of England
15 August 1290
(by proxy and not consummated; death of the groom during bride's way to Aragon)
18 June 1291
aged 27
James II the Fair
18 June 1291 – 2 November 1327
James II 10 August 1267
son of Peter II and Constance of Sicily
Isabella of Castile
1 December 1291
No children

Blanche of Anjou
29 October or 1 November 1295
10 children

Marie de Lusignan
15 June 1315 (by proxy)
27 November 1315 (in person)
No children

Elisenda de Montcada
25 December 1322
No children
5 November 1327
aged 60
Alphonse III the Kind
2 November 1327 – 24 January 1336
Alfons III 2 November 1299
son of James II of Aragon and Blanche of Anjou
Teresa d'Entença
7 children

Eleanor of Castile
5 February 1329
2 children
27 January 1336
aged 37
Peter III the Ceremonious
24 January 1336 – 5 January 1387
Peter III 5 October 1319
son of Alphonse III and Teresa d'Entença
Maria of Navarre
25 July 1337
2 children

Leonor of Portugal
14 or 15 November 1347
No children

Eleanor of Sicily
27 August 1349
4 children

Sibila of Fortia
11 October 1377
3 children
5 January 1387
aged 68
John the Hunter
5 January 1387 – 19 May 1396
John I 27 December 1350
son of Peter III and Eleanor of Sicily
marriage agreement with
Jeanne-Blanche of France 1370-1371, not fulfilled

Martha of Armagnac
24 June 1373
5 children

Violant of Bar
2 February 1380
7 children
19 May 1396
aged 46
Martin the Humanist
19 May 1396 – 31 May 1410
Martí I 1356
son of Peter III and Eleanor of Sicily
Maria de Luna
13 June 1372
4 children

Margaret of Prades
17 September 1409
No children
31 May 1410
aged 54

House of Trastamara 1412-1462[edit]

Martin died without legitimate descendants (interregnum 31 May 1410 – 24 June 1412). By the Compromise of Caspe of 1412 the County of Barcelona and the rest of the dominions of the Crown of Aragon passed to a branch of the House of Trastamara.

Name Portrait Reign Notes
Ferdinand I the Honest 3 September 1412 – 2 April 1416 He was the nephew of Martin I and the first Count of Barcelona of the House of Trastámara.
Alphonse IV the Magnanimous 2 April 1416 – 27 June 1458 He was the son of Ferdinand I.
John II the Faithless or the Just 27 June 1458 – 1462 He was the brother of Alphonse IV. The Catalans confronted him during the Catalan Civil War and in 1462 transferred the title of count to another Trastamara House pretender|-

Catalan Civil War 1462-1472[edit]

During the Catalan Civil War the Catalan authorities transferred the title of Count of Barcelona to a succession of 3 foreign sovereigns.

Name Portrait Reign Notes
Henry I the Impotent 1462 - 1463 He was the Ferdinand I grandson and thus also from the Trastámara House.
Peter IV of Portugal 1463 – 1466 He was the greatgrandson of Peter III.
René I 1466 – 1472 He was the grandson of John the Hunter. He was also the Count of Provence.-

House of Trastamara (reinstated) 1472-1555[edit]

After the Catalan Civil War, the House of Trastamara was restituted as tenants of the Count of Barcelona title and thus sovereigns of the Principality of Catalonia.

Name Portrait Reign Notes
John II the Faithless or the Just 1472 – 20 January 1479 He was the brother of Alphonse IV. The Catalans confronted him during the Catalan Civil War and afterward reinstated him as Count of Barcelona.
Ferdinand II 20 January 1479 – 23 January 1516 He was the son of John II.
Joanna 23 January 1516 – 12 April 1555 She was the daughter of Ferdinand II. Her rule was nominal as it was her son Charles who was co-ruler.

House of Habsburg 1516-1641[edit]

Name Portrait Reign Notes
Charles I (emperor) 14 March 1516 – 12 April 1555 (as regent)
12 April 1555 – 16 January 1556 (as sole ruler)
He was the son of Queen Joanna and Philip I of Castile. Till the death of his mother, in 1555, he was regent but the de facto ruler. From 1555 to 1556, he was the sole ruler. As he was not the Count (till her mother died) and had good relations with Catalan authorities, they awarded him the title of Prince of Catalonia.[1]
Philip I 16 January 1556 – 13 September 1598 He was the son of Charles I.
Philip II 13 September 1598 – 31 March 1621 He was the son of Philip I.
Philip III 31 March 1621 – 1641 He was the son of Philip II. He wanted to reduce the Catalan sovereignties, and the Catalan authorities confronted him during the Reapers' War. The title of Count of Barcelona was transferred by the Catalan Courts to the House of Bourbon in France.

House of Bourbon at France (Reapers' War), 1641–1659[edit]

Name Portrait Reign Notes
Louis I
(Louis XIII of France)
27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643
1641–1643 During the Reapers' War, the States-General (Braços Generals) of the Principality of Catalonia on 21 January 1641 declared the French king Louis XIII Count of Barcelona as Louis I.[2][3]
Louis II
(Louis XIV of France)
5 September 1638 – 1 September 1715
1643–1652 and 1697 He inherits the title of Count of Barcelona from his father during the Reapers' War. In 1652 he renounces the title in favor of Philip III in exchange for the Roussillon.

House of Habsburg (reinstated) 1659-1700[edit]

Name Portrait Reign Notes
Philip III 1641 – 17 September 1665 He was the son of Philip II. He was reinstated as Count of Barcelona.
Charles II 17 September 1665 – 1 November 1700 He was the son of Philip III.

In 1697, French troops under the Duke of Vendôme captured Barcelona, and Louis XIV of France was reinstated as Count of Barcelona for some months. On 9 January 1698, Catalonia (including Barcelona) was returned to Charles II by the Peace of Ryswick.

War of the Spanish Succession (1700-1714)[edit]

Charles II named as his successor Philip of Anjou, a younger grandson of Louis XIV. The other European powers thought that meant too much power for France. They tried to impose another candidate as King of Spain: Archduke Charles of Austria, in the War of the Spanish Succession. The Catalans were caught in the middle of this major conflict. They initially supported Philip, but then shifted their allegiance to Charles, who was committed to maintaining the composite monarchy system and thus respected the Catalan Constitutions. However, Philip won the war.

The first page of the Catalan Constitutions granted by Philip IV, Count of Barcelona in 1704.
Name Portrait Reign Notes
Philip IV 1700 – 1705 He was the great grandson of Philip III.
Charles III 1705 – 1714 He was the son of Philip III.

House of Bourbon (Spanish branch) 1714-1808[edit]

In 1714, Catalan lost their war (within the Spanish war of Succession conflict) against the remaining sole pretender to the Crown of Spain: Philip of Anjou. Through the Nueva Planta decrees, the new king Philip V abolished the Catalan Constitutions and dissolved the Crown of Aragon. The Principality of Catalonia became another province of the Crown of Castille, and thus the title of Count of Barcelona was emptied of real political significance and power. Since then, the numbering of the Counts of Barcelona follows that of the Crown of Castille. That is the reason why Philip of Anjou was called by the Catalan Authorities 'Felip IV' in 1702 but called himself 'Felipe V' when he sized the title of Count of Barcelona in 1714, after winning the war against the Catalans.

The first page of the Catalan Constitutions mentioning Philip V of Spain as 'Felip IV' Count of Barcelona
Name Portrait Reign Notes
Philip V 1714 – 15 January 1724 He was the great grandson of Philip III, previously referred as Philip IV.
Louis I 15 January 1724 – 31 August 1724 He was the son of Philip V of Spain.
Philip V (second reign) 6 September 1724 – 9 July 1746 Previously referred as Philip IV.
Ferdinand VI 9 July 1746 – 10 August 1759 Son of Philip V.
Charles III 10 August 1759 – 14 December 1788 Son of Philip V.
Charles IV 14 December 1788 – 19 March 1808 Son of Charles III.
Ferdinand VII 19 March 1808 – 6 May 1808 Son of Charles IV.

House of Bonaparte 1808-1813[edit]

In 1808 Charles IV and his son Ferdinand resign from their Crown of Spain titles and transfer them to Emperor Napoleon, who kept for himself the title of Count of Barcelona. By 1812, once he had full military control over the Principality of Catalonia, he separated it from the Crown of Spain and annexed it to the French Empire.

Name Portrait Reign Notes
Napoleon I, Emperor 1808–1813 Napoleon annexed Catalonia to the French Empire as 4 new departments.

House of Bourbon (restored) 1813-1868[edit]

Name Portrait Reign Notes
Ferdinand VII (restored) 4 May 1814 – 29 September 1833 Son of Charles IV.
Isabella II 29 September 1833 – 30 September 1868 Daughter of Ferdinand VII.

Isabella of Spain was deposed by a liberal revolution and went into exile.

During Isabella's reign the last coinage from the Principality of Catalonia was minted

House of Savoy 1870–1873[edit]

After a brief Republican period, the Spanish government offered the kingship and its accessory titles (including that of 'Count of Barcelona') to Amadeo Duke of Aosta and son of the king of Italy Victor Emmanuel II.

Name Portrait Reign Notes
Amadeo I 16 November 1870 – 11 February 1873 After a brief kingship Amadeo abdicated.

House of Bourbon (restored) 1874–1931[edit]

A pronunciamiento deposed the Republican government that followed the abdication of Amadeo I and restored the Bourbons as kings of Spain.

Name Portrait Reign Notes
Alfonso XII 29 December 1874 – 25 November 1885 Son of Isabella II.
Alfonso XIII 17 May 1886 – 14 April 1931 Son of Alfonso XII.

In the 12 April 1931 municipal elections, the Republicans short of winning a majority of councilors overall, won a sweeping majority in major cities. These elections were perceived as a plebiscite on the monarchy, and the king left the country and the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed on 14 April 1931.

House of Bourbon (in exile) 1931–1975[edit]

During the 2nd Spanish Republic and Francoist Dictatorship the Bourbons remained in exile and retained their dynastic titles, including 'Count of Barcelona'.

Name Portrait Reign Notes
Alfonso XIII (in exile) 14 April 1931 – 28 February 1941 The deposed and exiled king kept the Crown of Spain and its associated titles.
Juan III (claimant in exile) 15 January 1941 – 22 November 1975 Son of Alfonso XIII. To assert his claim to the throne, after his father's death, he used the title of Count of Barcelona.

House of Bourbon (restored) 1975 – present day[edit]

Although on 26 July 1947, Spain was declared a kingdom, no monarch was designated until 1969, when Franco established Juan Carlos of Bourbon as his official heir. With the death of Franco on 20 November 1975, Juan Carlos became the King of Spain.

Name Portrait Reign Notes
Juan III 1977 – 1993 In 1977 his son Juan Carlos I officially granted him the title of Count of Barcelona as a courtesy in exchange for renouncing his claim to the Spanish throne.
Juan Carlos I 22 November 1975 – 1977 Grandson of Alfonso XIII.
Recovered the title of Count of Barcelona after his father's death. He abdicated in favor of his son Felipe.
Felipe VI 19 June 2014 – Present Current King of Spain and Count of Barcelona (amongst other titles).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Testamento de Carlos V, ISBN 84-276-0606-0
  2. ^ Grau, Jaume. Pau Claris. Una vida amb misteris (in Catalan). Sàpiens [Barcelona], núm. 121, octubre 2012, p.54-57. ISSN 1695-2014
  3. ^ Gelderen, Martin van; Skinner, Quentin (2002). Republicanism: Volume 1, Republicanism and Constitutionalism in Early Modern Europe: A Shared European Heritage. Cambridge University Press. p. 284. ISBN 978-1-139-43961-9