- Two thousand years ago
- Roman Pamplona
- The kingdom of Pamplona
- The union of three cities
- The modern age
- The expansion of the cities
TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO
The early Vascons were probably the first people to settle in Pamplona and it is the Vascons who, according to historians, gave the city the name of Iruñea. Although no archaeological remains have been found to prove so, it is believed that this first settlement was situated in the upper part of the city, on the land which is currently occupied by the Cathedral.
Its advantageous location made it into the capital city of the region and it was known as the capital city even outside its borders. Estrabon wrote that it was the main city inhabited by the Vascons. It is also believed that this very primitive settlement became a place of passage and rest for the first Indo-European migrations. (up)
It was not until the arrival of the Roman General Gnaeus Pompeius Magnuis"The Great" that Pamplona was officially founded between the year 75 and 74 b.c. This was due to the fact that he needed a camp
Its strategic position at the cross-roads of routes to Gallia, the Cantabrian area and the Ebro, meant that it was mainly a trading city . The golden age for the Pamplona was between the last quarter of the first century and the end of the second century a.d.. The city, which was evangelized in the 1st century by Saint Saturnino was razed to the ground around the year 275 by an invasion of Germanic tribes. After partial recovery,
the city was attacked again in 409 by Vandals and Alans who completely destroyed it and wiped out all vestiges of Roman remains in Pamplona.
After these Barbarian invasions the city, which at that time extended to the area which is now known as the "Navarrería" neighbourhood, was controlled by the Visigoths .
This situation remained so from the year 466 until 711, when it fell into Muslim hands, even though from the end of the 6th century it appears as an Episcopal See.
The Muslim period was a lot less turbulent than previous ones since in spite of this being a time of hostilities, Pamplona had a fairly good relationship with the Arabs. In exchange for a tax, the Arabs allowed the nobles of Pamplona to conserve their Christian religion.
In 778, Charlemagne, on his return from Zaragoza, destroyed the city walls and looted the city's dwellings. Charlemagne then continued on his journey until reaching Roncesvalles where he was defeated in the historic battle of Roncesvalles. (up)
THE KINGDOM OF PAMPLONA
The origins of the Kingdom of Navarre, which was initially called the Kingdom of Pamplona, sprang from the city's wish to remain independent from Muslim and French influence. Thus, in the ninth century the Kingdom of Pamplona was created as a result of the marriage between a member of the Vascon family of Iñigo and the Banu Qasi family from Tudela who had converted to Islam. That is how Iñigo Ximenez "Aritza" (oak) was crowned the first king of Pamplona. This gave rise to a new independent family, which was to be the seed of the future Kingdom of Navarre.
It was during the tenth century with the coming to the throne of Sancho Garcés I of the Jimena dynasty that the kingdom was truly consolidated and began to grow . He was the first monarch to definitively establish Pamplona as the kingdom's capital. The kingdom's expansion culminated with Sancho the Old (1004-35) who held the titles of King of Pamplona, Aragón, Sobrarbe, Ribagorza, Gascony, Castilla-Leon and Astorga.
The creation of this new Kingdom did not prevent the Muslims from attacking
Pamplona on several occasions during the tenth century. During one such an attack, led by the caliph from Cordoba Abd al Rahman 3rd in 924, the city was completely destroyed.
All Pamplona subsequently amounted to was a little peasant village called first Iruña and later Navarrería which was ruled by the Bishop until, in 1319 and to try and bring to a close the continuous power struggles between the church and the monarchy, the church gave the king of Navarre (Phillip II, the - or "Phillip the long"), power over the city.
The popularity of the Santiago Way and the repopulation of the city fostered by the monarchy of Navarre, meant that from the 11th century onwards Pamplona became an important trading post, with craftsmen and traders settling outside the city walls in the suburbs of the Navarrería borough. Whilst the inhabitants of Navarrería and San Miguel (which belonged to the same borough) were peasants or serfs, it was French craftsmen and merchants who settled in the borough of San Cernin and French and Navarran tradesmen in the borough of San Nicolás. The proximity of three boroughs inhabited by different races and classes , with their own mayors, courts and rents, each of which was separated by walls, was the cause of continuous disturbances and fighting between the inhabitants of these three neighbourhoods. Things became so bad that in 1222.
The proximity of three boroughs inhabited by different races and classes , with their own mayors, courts and rents, each of which was separated by walls, was the cause of continuous disturbances and fighting between the inhabitants of these three neighbourhoods. Things became so bad that in 1222, the inhabitants of the borough of San Cernin set fire to the church of San Nicolás. (up)
THE UNION OF THE THREE CITIES
This in-fighting between the three boroughs carried on throughout the Middle Ages in spite of attempts at pacification by the Kings of Navarre. In 1266 the population of all the boroughs planned their joining together but in 1273 King Henry the 1st authorised the inhabitants of la Navarrería and San Miguel to separate from the other boroughs.
This gave rise to a war which ended in the total destruction of the San Miguel and Navarrería boroughs which did not reunite until 1324 . On the other hand San Nicolás and San Cernin came together to form a new jurisdictional area in 1287 which, however did not last.
In 1422 with the arrival in pamplona of Charles the 3rd, the noble and his grandson, the Prince of Viana, therewere serious differences between the thre borough's courts, which once again meant that peace was jeopardised.
The king realised that at the root of all the city's problems lay the fact that it was comprised of three different boroughs with different jurisdictions, mayors, courts, rents and boundaries and that it was only by bringing all the boroughs together that dissent would end.
With the approval of the population and the "Cortes", each of the boroughs was ordered to appoint procurators to settle differences and to bring together the three jurisdictions under one single city council, with common rents, advantages and boundaries. This work bore its fruits and on the 8th of September 1423, the Privilege of the Union was passed. It was confirmed and approved by the three areas of the kingdom and registered in the Book of Ancient Rights as law and right. This meant that the three boroughs were brought together with one single city council built in "no mans land" , a piece of land near to the three boroughs and with a common jurisdiction that was the same for everyone. This meant the special privileges and laws which some boroughs had over others came to an end, the building of fortresses to separate one neighbourhood from another was forbidden and the separation landmarks were removed.
The document registered in the Book of Ancient Rights contains 29 items and it was the document that finally brought an end to all the struggles and age-old disputes that enabled the people of Pamplona to enjoy the peace that had been so desperately lacking until then. Even though it obviously contained the necessary modifications to adapt it to the times, The Privilege of the Union was Pamplona's municipal code until well into the nineteenth century. Likewise, it is this document which gives the city the title of "most noble" and which provided it with the coat of arms which it still bears today, a passant lion on a field of azure and a crown (symbolising the oath that the Kings of Navarre swore in the cathedral) all surrounded by the chains of Navarre. (up)
THE MODERN AGE
The joining of the three boroughs not only brought an end to the continuous disputes, but also marked the beginning of modern Pamplona. Houses and institutional buildings were built in the areas between the three boroughs and a process of political, administrative and social integration began.
Castile' conquest and annexation of Navarre in 1512 was to convert Pamplona into the political capital of peninsular Navarre and head of the Viceroyalty. Fernando the Catholic ordered the city to be fortified and thus Pamplona increased its value as a fortified city with the construction, in the sixteenth century of the citadel and also the strengthening of Pamplona's city walls in 1516 and 1521.
During the eighteenth century, the city's fortification continued, but urbanistic worries also arose, leading to Pamplona's modernisation and the creation of municipal services such as the drains and sewage system finished in 1772, water (1790) and street lighting (1799). Similarly, the houses were numbered, street-names were put up, roads were paved and several palaces were built, including the town hall (1752). Likewise, religious monuments were built, including the cathedral's neoclassic façade.
And yet it was not long before armed conflict returned.
But this was not the end to the fighting. In 1823 the city was besieged and bombarded by the "Hundred thousand sons of Saint Luis" who had come to fight against Pamplona's "liberal" garrison to return Fernando VII to power. But above all, Pamplona suffered during the Carlist wars (1833-1877). During these wars, Pamplona supported Queen Isabel whilst rural Navarre supported Charles, the pretender. In 1873, during the last Carlist war, Pamplona was bombarded from Mount Saint Christopher, the same mountain where Alfonso XII later built his fortress.
At the end of the nineteenth century there was an uprising of the people of Navarre. This uprising has come to be popularly known as the Gamazada. Eighty thousand people from all over Navarre came together in Pamplona on the 4th of June 1895 to protest against a decision taken by the Inland Revenue which attacked Navarre's System of Ancient Rights. In view of this protest, Gamazo, the Minister was forced to resign and the decision was reversed. After this, the people of Navarre contributed money from their own pockets to erect a Monument to Ancient Rights (built in 1903) in the Paseo de Sarasate. (up)
THE CITY'S EXPANSION
Population growth (by 1900 Pamplona had a population of 28,886) meant that the city began to have serious problems of space, since expansion was limited by the city walls. That was when the people of Pamplona realised there was a need to enlarge the city and is why at the beginning of this century demolition of the city walls began and work on the first and second enlarging began. The area that was built at that time is characterised by large, wide streets.
In the middle of this century the city was still
expanding and its population increasing. In 1950 Pamplona had over
72,000 inhabitants and the boroughs which had been built outside the
city walls also began to grow. Economic and industrial growth lead to
the founding of Navarre University and the Landaben industrial
area. A Demographic expansion continued during
the 70s (147,000 inhabitants and the 3rd Expansion - with
the creation of areas such as la Vuelta del Castillo and
Taconera). At this time the peripheral boroughs were
consolidated and the municipalities of the river basin also
A Demographic expansion continued during the 70s (147,000 inhabitants and the 3rd Expansion - with the creation of areas such as la Vuelta del Castillo and Taconera). At this time the peripheral boroughs were consolidated and the municipalities of the river basin also grew.
In spite of this expansion and thanks to some military land which was not built upon, Pamplona is lucky enough to have several parks scattered around the city covering a total area of 22 square kilometres.
The city is currently comprised of nine boroughs: The Old Quarter, Ensanche (Enlargement) I and II, San Juan, Iturrama, Milagrosa, Echavacoiz, Chantrea, Rochapea. San Jorge,and Mendebaldea. The city is also expected to shortly include the borough of Mendillorri. (up)