The Catalan-Aragonese Empire
The Catalan-Aragonese Empire was won by sea power. The fleet was commanded by Roger de Llúria, an innovative Admiral and sea-warrior whose dominion over the Mediterranean led him to say to an emissary from the French King:
“Sir, not only do I not think that any galley nor other ship dare sail the seas without a safe conduct from His Majesty, but I doubt any fish dare break surface unless it carries the shield of Catalunya and Aragon on its tail as a sign of safe conduct.”
Pere the Great, Jaume’s son gained Sicily, a great producer of grain and gateway to the East, by more peaceful means – marriage to the Princess. The occupation was also peaceful and fruitful and Catalan was co-official language on the island for 250 years.
Sardinia, another strategically important island, proved a tougher nut to crack and was never brought under effective control. There, as on Menorca, the Catalans showed they could be as barbaric as any other conqueror and carried out a policy of slaughter and enslavement. On Sardinia, Pere III slaughtered the whole population of Alghero and re-populated it with Catalan settlers. Even today, a kind of Catalan is spoken there. On Menorca, that had been a peaceful vassal state for years, the entire population was put to the sword or sold into slavery and the island lay almost completely desolate for 200 years.
By the end of the XV Century, Catalan was the most widely spoken language in the Mediterranean, except for Arabic, and there were 126 Catalan Consulates dotted around its shores.
Next: Gothic Barcelona
Barcelona has more Gothic buildings than any other city. Saló de Cent, Saló del Tinell, La Llotja… and more
Back to Barcelona History
Back to Barcelona Tourist Information Home