RAMON Berengar IV, King of Aragon

RAMON Berengar IV, King of Aragon. The Saint.
Born in 1113; son of RAMON Berenguer III the Great, and Douce or Dolça de Gévaudaun, heiress of Provence

most known for effecting the union between Aragon and Catalonia.

He inherited the county of Barcelona from his father Ramon Berenguer III on August 19, 1131. On 11 August 1137 in Huesca he was betrothed to the infant Petronila of Aragon, aged 3 at the time. Her father, Ramiro II of Aragon the Monk, who sought Barcelona's aid against Alfonso VII of Castile, abdicated on November 13 that same year, leaving his kingdom to Petronila and her husband. The latter essentially became ruler of Aragon, although he was never king himself, but instead Count of Barcelona, Prince of the Kingdom of Aragon. He was the last Catalan monarch to use the title of Count as his first; starting with his son Alfonso II of Aragon the counts of Barcelona styled themselves, in the first place, as kings of Aragon.

The treaty between Ramon Berenguer and his father-in-law stipulated that their descendants would rule jointly over both realms. Even should Petronila die before the marriage could be consummated, Berenguer would still inherit the title of King of Aragon. Both realms would preserve their laws, institutions and autonomy, remaining legally distinct but federated in a dynastic union under one ruling House.

Historians consider this arrangement the political masterstroke of the Hispanic Middle Ages. Both realms gained greater strength and security and Aragon got its much needed outlet to the sea. On the other hand, formation of a new political entity in the southeast at a time when Portugal seceded from Castile in the west gave more balance to the Christian kingdoms of the peninsula.

Ramon Berenguer successfully pulled Aragon out of its pledged submission to Castile, aided no doubt by the beauty and charm of his sister Berenguela, wife of Alfonso the Emperor, for which she was well-known in her time. After that, in the middle years of his rule, his attention turned to campaigns against the Moors. In 1147 he helped Castile to conquer Almería. In 1148 he turned against the lands of the Almoravid taifa kingdom of Valencia and Murcia, capturing Tortosa and, the next year, Fraga, Lleida and Mequinenza in the confluence of the Segre, Cinca and Ebro. The reconquista of the actual Catalonia was complete.

Ramon Berenger also campaigned in Provence, helping his brother Berenguer Ramon and his infant nephew Ramon Berenguer II against Counts of Toulouse. During the minority of Ramon Berenger II the Count of Barcelona also acted as the regent of Provence (between 1144 and 1157).

In 1151 Ramon Berenguer the Saint founded and endowed the royal monastery of Poblet. He died in 1162 in Borgo Sam Dalmazzo, Piedmont, Italy, leaving the title of Count of Barcelona to his eldest son Ramon Berenguer, who that same year inherited the title of King of Aragon from her mother's abdication Petronila of Aragon (Ramiro II was already dead), and, in compliment to the Aragonese, changed his name to Alfonso and became Alfonso II of Aragon, I of Catalonia. Ramon Berenguer's younger son Pedro inherited the county of Cerdanya and lands north of the Pyrenees.

He died on 6 August 1162.

PETRONILA of Aragon. (Spanish: Patronilla Ramírez; French: Pétronille; also sometimes Petronella). Queen of Aragon from 1137 until 1162.
Born in 1135; daughter of RAMIRO II, King of Aragon, and Agnes of Aquitaine.

Petronila came to the throne through special circumstances. Her father, Ramiro, was bishop of Barbastro-Roda when his brother, Alfonso I, died heirless in 1134. As king, Ramiro received a papal dispensation to abdicate from his monastic vows in order to secure the succession to the throne. King Ramiro the Monk, as he is known, married Agnes, daughter of Duke Wiliam IX of Aquitaine and Gascony, and through her produced an heiress, Petronila. At two years old, Petronila was bethrothed to Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona and, immediately thereafter, Ramiro abdicated in favour of his daughter and returned to monastic life.

The Aragonese monarchy had previously passed only to males, thus Petronila's succession was an exception at the time. Bastardy was not an impediment of succession in Aragon, the ancestor of this line, Ramiro I having been a bastard. The heir in male line, Garcia VI of Navarre, was genealogically relatively distant, son of Ramiro II's second cousin. Petronila's succession created a new case in succession custom in Aragon.

Petronila married Ramon Berenguer in 1150. While he was alive, they nominally ruled their possessions separately, although the count had the final say over both Aragon and Catalonia. Upon his death, Petronila renounced the crown of Aragon in favour of her eldest son, Ramon, who, in compliment to the Aragonese, changed his name to Alfonso. Her son was the first ruler of both Aragon and Catalonia (where he is known as Alfonso I) thereby establishing the dynastic union between the two countries that lasted until the Crown of Aragon was dissolved in 1707.

She died on 17 October 1174 in Barcelona.

CHILDREN of RAMON Berengar IV and Petronila:
  1. Dolça or Dulce Berenguer (b. 1152, d. 1198) -> married King Sancho I of Portugal the Populator
  2. ALFONSO II, King of Aragon (Alfonso I of Catalonia and Provence)(Alfons I of Provence and Barcelona, 1152-1196). The Chaste. The Trobadour. Born Ramon Berenguer in 1157. He was a noted poet of his time and a close friend of King Richard the Lionheart. He married Sancha of Castile, daughter of king Alfonso VII of Castile He died in 1196.
  3. Pedro, Count of Cerdanya, Carcassonne and Narbonne, (born 1152, d. in the 1160s).
  4. Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Provence (born Pedro, 1158, d. 1181)
  5. Sancho, Count of Provence, Regent of Aragon (b. 1161, d. 1226).


CHILDREN of RAMON Berengar [98660672] and Beatrice [98660675]:
  1. Ramon Berenguer, Abbot of Montearagon, Archbishop of Narbonne.