Count of Barcelona

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The Count of Barcelona (Catalan: Comte de Barcelona, Spanish: Conde de Barcelona, French: Comte de Barcelone, Latin: Comites Barcinonenses) was the ruler of the County of Barcelona and, by extension, the Principality of Catalonia for much of Catalan history, from the 9th century until the 18th century.


The Spanish March.

The County of Barcelona was created by Charlemagne after he had conquered lands north of the river Ebro and Barcelona, after a siege in 801. These lands, called the Marca Hispanica, were partitioned into various counties, of which the count of Barcelona, usually holding other counties simultaneously, eventually obtained the 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 the 12th century, the counts of Barcelona became kings of Aragon through inheritance, establishing the Crown of Aragon. In 1258, the king of France relinquished his claim of feudal authority over the county in the Treaty of Corbeil. The counts were also hereditary kings of Castile from the 16th century, eventually forming the Kingdom 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, 801–878[edit]

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, 878–1162[edit]

Name Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Wilfred I the Hairy
(Guifré el Pilós)
878 –897
Estatuas Plaza de Oriente Madrid 19 (16569217757).jpg c.840
Disputed filiation
10 children
aged 46–47
Wilfred II Borrell I
(Guifré II Borrell)
897 –26 April 911
Wifred II of Barcelona.jpg c.874
First son of Wilfred I
and Guinidilda
1 child
26 April 911
aged 36–37
26 April 911 –947
Rotlle-genealogic-sunifred-I-de-barcelona.jpg c.890
Sixth son of Wilfred I
and Guinidilda
1 child

5 children
15 October 950
aged 59–60
Miro I
947 –966
Rotlle-genealogic-mir-I-de-barcelona.jpg c.926
Second son of Sunyer
and Richilde
Unmarried 966
aged 39–40
Borrell II
947 –992
(joint rule 947-966)
Rotlle-genealogic-borrell-II-de-barcelona.jpg c.927
Third son of Sunyer
and Richilde
5 children
aged 64–65
Ramon Borrell
988 –8 September 1017
(joint rule 988–992)
Rotlle-genealogic-ramon-borrell-I-de-barcelona.jpg 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)
Ermesenda de Carcasona.jpg 972
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
El Corbat
8 September 1017 –31 March 1035
(under regency of Ermesinde of Carcassonne 1017–1021)
Berenguer Ramon I. BarcelonskýPergamen Poblet.jpg 1004
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
El Vell
31 March 1035 –26 June 1076
(under regency of Ermesinde of Carcassonne 1035–1039)
Raimundo Berengário I de Barcelona1.jpg 1023
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
Almodis de La Marche
1052 –16 October 1071
(joint rule)
Almodis de La Marche.jpg c.1020
Daughter of Bernard I de La Marche
and Amélie de Rasès
Hugh V of Lusignan
(annulled c.1040)
3 children

Pons, Count of Toulouse
1040 or 1045
(annulled 1052)
4 children

Ramon Berenguer I
(together since 1052)
4 children
16 October 1071
aged 50–51
Ramon Berenguer II the Towhead
El Cap d'Estopes
26 June 1076 –6 December 1082
Ramon Berenguer II.jpg c.1053
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
el Fratricida
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
El Gran
6 December 1082 –19 July 1131
(joint rule 1082–1097)
Berenguer el Gran P1210429.jpg 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
El Sant
19 July 1131 –6 August 1162
Jazpert de Peralada renders tribute to Count Raymond Berenguer III for the town of Peralada..jpg c.1113
Barcelona or Rodez
Son of Ramon Berenguer III
and Douce I, Countess of Provence
Petronilla of Aragon
August 1050
5 children
6 August 1162
Borgo San Dalmazzo
aged 48–49
Tomb of Count Ramon Berenger I (d. 1076).

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
El Trobador
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
El Catòlic
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
El Conqueridor
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
El Gran
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
El 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
El Just
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
El Benigne
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
El Cerimoniós
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
El Caçador
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

Martin was the last direct descendant of Wilfred the Hairy to rule; died without legitimate heirs (interregnum 31 May 1410 – 24 June 1412). By the Compromise of Caspe of 1412 the County of Barcelona and all its associated dominions passed to a branch of the House of Trastámara.

The County of Barcelona formed a constituent part of the Crown of Spain under the rule of the House of Habsburg, until the Nueva Planta decrees (1707 and 1716), when Philip de Bourbon declared that all the territories from the Crown of Aragon should merge into Castile, building the centralized Kingdom of Spain. In Barcelona this was promulgated in 1716, and the title of Count of Barcelona became one of the many unused hereditary titles of the modern Spanish monarchy.

Reapers' War, 1641–1659[edit]

During the Reapers' War, the States-General (Braços Generals) on 21 January 1641 declared the French king Louis XIII Count of Barcelona as Louis I.[1][2] Despite the reconquest of Barcelona by Spain in 1652, the kings of France held on to the part of Catalonia north of the Pyrénées, where Catalan institutions remained. This lasted until the conclusion of the Franco-Spanish War and the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, where French authorities renounced Catalonia, but received Northern Catalonia, which became the French province of Roussillon.

House of Bourbon, 1641–1659[edit]

Name Portrait Reign
Louis I
(Louis XIII of France)
27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643
Louis XIII (de Champaigne).jpg 1641–1643
Louis II
(Louis XIV of France)
5 September 1638 – 1 September 1715
Louis XIV by Juste d'Egmont.jpg 1643–1659

Courtesy title[edit]

House of Bourbon, 1977–1993[edit]

Name Portrait Reign Notes
John III
(Juan III)
J. de Borbón.jpg 1977–1993 claimed title from 1941; officially granted by his son Juan Carlos I in exchange for renouncing his claim to the Spanish throne

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Grau, Jaume. Pau Claris. Una vida amb misteris (in Catalan). Sàpiens [Barcelona], núm. 121, octubre 2012, p.54-57. ISSN 1695-2014
  2. ^ 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 9781139439619