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Aragon

Autonomous community in Spain

Top 10 Aragon related articles

Aragon

Aragón  (Spanish)
Aragón  (Aragonese)
Aragó  (Catalan)
Anthem: Himno de Aragón (officially)
Unofficial Anthem: "Canto a la libertad"
Location of Aragon within Spain
Coordinates: 41°00′N 1°00′W / 41.000°N 1.000°W / 41.000; -1.000Coordinates: 41°00′N 1°00′W / 41.000°N 1.000°W / 41.000; -1.000
CountrySpain
CapitalZaragoza
Government
 • PresidentJavier Lambán (PSOE)
 • LegislatureCortes of Aragon
Area
(9.4% of Spain; ranked 4th)
 • Total47,720 km2 (18,420 sq mi)
Population
 (2016)
 • Total1,308,563
 • Density27/km2 (71/sq mi)
 • Pop. rank
11th
 • Percent
2.82% of Spain
Demonym(s)Aragonese
ISO 3166 code
ES-AR
Official languagesSpanish
Recognised languagesAragonese, Catalan[1]
Statute of Autonomy16 August 1982
18 April 2007 (current version)
National day23 April
ParliamentAragonese Corts
Congress seats13 (of 350)
Senate seats14 (of 265)
HDI (2018)0.898[2]
very high · 6th
WebsiteGobierno de Aragón

Aragon (/ˈærəɡɒn/ or /ˈærəɡən/, Spanish and Aragonese: Aragón [aɾaˈɣon], Catalan: Aragó [əɾəˈɣo]) is an autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. In northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces (from north to south): Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza. The current Statute of Autonomy declares Aragon a historic nationality of Spain.

Covering an area of 47720 km2 (18420 sq mi),[3] the region's terrain ranges diversely from permanent glaciers to verdant valleys, rich pasture lands and orchards, through to the arid steppe plains of the central lowlands. Aragon is home to many rivers—most notably, the river Ebro, Spain's largest river in volume, which runs west–east across the entire region through the province of Zaragoza. It is also home to the highest mountains of the Pyrenees.

As of January 2016, the population of Aragon was 1308563,[3] with over half of it living in its capital city, Zaragoza. During the same year, the economy of Aragon generated a GDP of €34687 million, which represents 3.1% of Spain's national GDP,[4] and is currently 6th in per capita production behind Madrid, Basque Country, Navarre, Catalonia and La Rioja.[5]

In addition to its three provinces, Aragon is subdivided into 33 comarcas or counties. All comarcas of Aragon have a rich geopolitical and cultural history from its pre-Roman, Celtic and Roman days, four centuries of Islamic rule as Marca Superior of Al-Andalus or kingdom (or taifa) of Saraqusta, as lands that once belonged to the Frankish Marca Hispanica, counties that later formed the Kingdom of Aragon, and eventually the Crown of Aragon.

Aragon Intro articles: 18

Geography

Location

The area of Aragon is 47720 km2 of which 15636 km2 belong to the province of Huesca, 17275 km2 to the province of Zaragoza and 14810 km2 to the province of Teruel.[3] The total represents a 9.43% of the surface of Spain, being thus the fourth autonomous community in size behind Castile and León, Andalusia, and Castile-La Mancha.

It is located in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, at a latitude between 39º and 43º'N in the temperate zone. Its boundaries and borders are in the north with France (the regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie), in the west with the autonomous communities of Castile-La Mancha (provinces of Guadalajara and Cuenca), Castile and León (province of Soria), La Rioja and Navarre, and in the east with the autonomous communities of Catalonia (provinces of Lérida and Tarragona) and the Valencian Community (provinces of Castellón and Valencia).

Relief

The orography of the community has as central axis the Ebro valley (with heights between 150 and 300 meters approx.) which transits between two foothills, the Pyrenean and the Ibérico, preambles of two great mountain formations, the Pyrenees to the north and the Sistema Ibérico to the south; the Community has the highest peaks of both mountain ranges, the Aneto and the Moncayo respectively.

Pyrenees

Aneto peak is the highest point of all Pyrenees. It is located in the Posets–Maladeta Natural Park.

The Aragonese Pyrenees is located in the north of the province of Huesca and is arranged longitudinally in three large units: High Pyrenees, Intrapirenaic Depression and Outer Ranges.

The Aragonese High Pyrenees contains the maximum heights of all the Pyrenees mountainous chain. The High Pyrenees is formed in turn by the axial Pyrenees and the Inland Ranges.

In the axial Pyrenees are the oldest materials: granites, quartzites, slates and limestones and the highest peaks like: the Aneto (3404 m), Maladeta (3309 m) and the Perdiguero (3221 m). The inner Pre-Pyrenees, composed of more modern rocks (limestones) also has large mountains such as Monte Perdido (3355 m), Collarada (2886 m) and Tendeñera (2853 m).

La Besurta trail in the Benasque Pyrenean Valley.
Abbey of San Pedro de Siresa, monastic, political and cultural center of the ancient County of Aragon, where Alfonso I was educated. It is located in the Hecho Pyrenean Valley.

The main Pyrenean valleys are formed by the rivers that are born there, which are:

Mallos de Riglos conglomerate rock formations, in Las Peñas de Riglos.

The intrapirenaic depression is a broad perpendicular corridor. Its best represented section is the Canal de Berdún. The southern limit of the Depression corresponds to the energetic reliefs of San Juan de la Peña (1552 m) and Oroel Rock (1769 m), modeled on conglomerates of the Campodarbe Formation.

The pre-Pyrenean outer ranges are in the Huescan foothills and constitute the southernmost unit of the Pyrenees; formed by predominantly calcareous materials, reach heights between 1500 and 2000 meters. The Sierra de Guara, one of the most important mountain ranges of the Spanish Pre-Pyrenees, stands out; its summit, the Guara Peak, reaches 2077 metres.[6] The Mallos de Riglos, near the town of Ayerbe, stand out for their beauty.

Depression of the Ebro

It extends a wide plain, after passing the foothills, corresponding to the Depression of the Ebro. To the southwest is the Sierra de Alcubierre ranges (811 m) one of the typical limestone plateaus of the Depression.

The depression of the Ebro is a tectonic pit filled with sedimentary materials, accumulated in the Tertiary age in horizontal series. In the center, fine materials such as clays, plasters and limestones were deposited. To the south of the Ebro have been the limestone plateaus of Borja and of Zaragoza.

Sistema Ibérico

Moncayo Massif seen from Tarazona. Moncayo, with its height of 2314.3 m, is the maximum summit of the Sistema Ibérico mountainous chain.

The Aragonese Sistema Ibérico is divided between the provinces of Zaragoza and Teruel. It is a set of hills without a clear structural unit, which can be divided into two zones: Sistema Ibérico del Jalón and Sistema Ibérico turolense. In the first, the Moncayo stands out with 2314 m, formed by Paleozoic quartzites and slates, partly covered by Mesozoic limestones; to the southeast of the Moncayo the Sistema Ibérico descends of height. The second is formed by elevated terrain (from 1000 to 2000 m in general), but flattened and massive. To the southwest of the depression the summits of the Sierra de Albarracín range are reached above 1800 m, southeast the 2000 m are reached in the Sierra de Javalambre range and finally we arrive at the Sierra de Gúdar range (2024 m) transition to Maestrazgo.

Climate and vegetation

Formigal Town.

Although the climate of Aragon can be considered, in general, as a continental Mediterranean climate, its irregular orography creates several climates or microclimates throughout the entire community. From the High mountain climate of the central Pyrenees to the north, with perpetual ice (glaciers), to the steppe or semi-desert zones, such as the Monegros, passing through the intense Continental climate of the Teruel-Daroca area.

The main characteristics of the Aragonese climate are:[7]

  • It is very dry, placed as it is in a 'bowl' of low ground between the Pyrenean mountain ranges to the north and the Sistema Ibérico to the south. This situation means that the rain falls mainly in the foothills, leading to great contrasts of temperatures, the very cold winters and hot summers of the continental climate of the Iberian Peninsula.
Monegros site, of arid climate and extreme temperatures.
  • The irregularity of the rains due to the component Mediterranean climate, with alternating dry and wet years.
  • The air currents that are encased in the middle Ebro Valley from northwest to southeast (cierzo), which stands out for its intensity and frequency, and from southeast to northwest (heat index).

Average temperatures are very dependent on height. In the Ebro Valley the winters are relatively moderate, although the frosts are very common and the thermal sensation can decrease a lot with the cierzo, temperatures in summer can reach near the 40 °C. In mountain areas winters are long and rigorous, average temperatures can be up to 10 °C lower than in the valley.

The two most important winds of Aragon are the cierzo of the north and the heat index of levant. The first is a very cold and dry wind that crosses the Ebro Valley from northwest to southeast and that can present great strength and speed. The second is a warm wind, more irregular and smooth coming from the south-east.

The vegetation follows the oscillations of relief and climate. There is a great variety, be it wild vegetation or human crops. In the high areas you can find forests (pines, firs, beech trees, oaks), bushes and meadows, while the areas of Ebro Valley evergreen oak and juniper are the most numerous trees, apart from the lands exploited for agricultural use.

Hydrography

The Ebro River runs through Zaragoza.

Most Aragonese rivers are tributaries of the Ebro River, which is the largest river in Spain and divides the community in two. Of the tributaries of the left bank of the river, the ones originating in the Pyrenees, the Aragón River stands out. Its headwaters are in Huesca, but it ends at the community of Navarre, the Gállego and the Cinca, which joins the Segre just before emptying into the Ebro at the height of Mequinenza. On the right bank, the Jalón, Huerva and Guadalope stand out.

In the stream bed of the Ebro river, near the border with Catalonia, the Mequinenza Reservoir, of 1530 hm3 and a length of about 110 km; it is popularly known as the "Sea of Aragon".

The small Pyrenean mountain lakes called ibones merit special mention. These lakes are very scenic, originating during the last glaciation, and are usually found above 2000 m.

The Autonomous Community lies within three hydrographic regions, the Ebro River, the Tagus River (which originates in the Sierra de Albarracín range), and the Júcar, which has as its main river in this community the Turia.

Protected spaces

In Aragon, protected natural spaces are managed through the Red Natural de Aragón, an entity created in 2004 to protect all elements with ecological, landscape and cultural value and at the same time coordinate and establish common standards that contribute to their conservation and sustainable use. In this entity are integrated national parks, natural parks, nature reserves, biosphere reserves and other protected natural areas that have been declared by the autonomous community, the Ramsar Convention or the Natura 2000.[8]

Within the protected areas is the only national park of Aragon: the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, the second national park created in Spain, in 1918, it is found in the Pyrenees in the comarca of Sobrarbe, occupies an area of 15608 ha, a part of the 19679 ha of the peripheral area of protection. It also enjoys other figures of protection like the Biosphere Reserve of Ordesa-Viñamala and is cataloged as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.[9]

In addition there are other 4 natural parks: the Moncayo Natural Park with an extension of 11144 ha, the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park with 47453 ha and 33286 ha of peripheral area of protection, the Posets-Maladeta Natural Park with 33440.6 ha and 5920.2 ha of peripheral area of protection, and the Valles Occidentales Natural Park with 27073 ha and 7335 ha of peripheral area of protection.

There are also three nature reserves, five natural monuments and three protected landscapes.[10]

Aiguabarreig Segre-Cinca-Ebro

Aereal view of Aiguabarreig in Mequinenza

At the confluence of the Segre and Ebro rivers, the Aiguabarreig Ebro-Segre-Cinca is a space with great natural wealth and a great variety of ecosystems that range from Mediterranean steppes to impenetrable riverside forests, making this space a paradise for biodiversity. Territorially, the Aiguabarreig is at the center of the Middle Depression of the Ebro. It borders to the west with the Monegros, to the east with the Tossals de Montmeneu and Almatret and to the south with the tail of the Ribarroja reservoir. This space is named with Catalan word of origin that designates the place where two or more water streams meet and form one. The Segre and Cinca form a first Aiguabarreig between the towns of La Granja d'Escarp, Massalcoreig and Torrente de Cinca, a few kilometers downstream they converge with the waters of the Ebro, already in the municipality of Mequinenza, forming one of the largest river confluences of the entire Iberian Peninsula.

Aragon Geography articles: 98

History

Aragon, occupying the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula has served as a bridge between the Mediterranean Sea, the peninsular center and the coasts of the Cantabrian Sea. The human presence in the lands that today form the autonomous community date back several millennia, but the current Aragon, like many of the current historical nationalities, were formed during the Middle Ages.

Prehistory

Paleolithic in Aragon.

The oldest testimonies of human life in the lands that today make up Aragon go back to the time of the glaciations, in the Pleistocene, some 600000 years ago. This population left the Acheulean industry that found its best weapons in the hand axes of flint or the cleavers of quartzite. In the Upper Palaeolithic appeared two new cultures: Solutrean and Magdalenian. The Epipaleolithic was centered in Lower Aragon, occupying the epoch between the 7th and the 5th millennium.

In the first half of the 5th millennium BCE, Neolithic remains are found in the Huescan Outer Ranges and in Lower Aragon. The Eneolithic was characterized in the province of Huesca presenting two important megalithic nuclei: the Pre-Pyrenees of the Outer Ranges and the High Pyrenean valleys.

The Late Bronze Age begins in Aragon around 1100 BCE with the arrival of the Urnfield culture. They are Indo-European people, with an alleged origin in Central Europe, who incinerate their dead by placing the ashes in a funeral urn. There are examples in the Cave del Moro of Olvena, the Masada del Ratón in Fraga, Palermo and the Cabezo de Monleón in Caspe.

From the metallurgical point of view there seems to be a boom given the increase in foundry molds that are located in the populations.

The Iron Age is the most important, since throughout the centuries it is the true substratum of the Aragonese historical population. The arrival of Central Europeans during the Bronze Age by Pyrenees until reaching the Lower Aragon area, supposed an important ethnic contribution that prepared the way to the invasions of Iron Age.

Ancient history

The remains of the Roman walls of Zaragoza.
Bust of Augustus found in Tarazona.

The Mediterranean contributions represented a commercial activity that will constitute a powerful stimulus for the iron metallurgy, promoting the modernization of the tools and the indigenous armament, replacing the old bronze with the iron. There is presence of Phoenician, Greek and Etruscan products.

In the 6th century BCE there are six groups with different social organization: products Vascones, Suessetani, Sedetani, Iacetani, Ilergetes and Citerior Celtiberians. They are Iberized groups with a tendency towards stability, fixing their habitat in durable populations, with dwellings that evolve towards more enduring and stable models. There are many examples in Aragon, among which Cabezo de Monleón in Caspe, Puntal of Fraga, Roquizal del Rullo or Loma de los Brunos. The type of social organization was based on the family group, consisting of four generations. Self-sufficient societies in which the greater part of the population was dedicated to agricultural and livestock activities. In the Iberian scope the power was monarchical, exercised by a king; there was a democratic assembly with participation of the male population. There were visible social differentiations and established legal-political statutes.

The Romans arrived and progressed easily into the interior. In the territorial distribution that Rome made of Hispania, the current Aragon was included in the Hispania Citerior. In the year 197 BCE, Sempronius Tuditanus is the praetor of the Citerior and had to face a general uprising in their territories that ended with the Roman defeat and the own death of Tuditanus. In view of these facts the Senate sent the consul Marcus Porcius Cato with an army of 60000 men. The indigenous peoples of the area were rebelling, except for the Ilergetes who negotiated peace with Cato. There were different uprisings of the Iberian peoples against the Romans, in 194 BCE sees a general uprising with elimination of half of the Roman army, in 188 BCE Manlius Acidinus Fulvianus, praetor of the Citerior, must confront in Calagurris (Calahorra) with the Celtiberians, in the 184 BCE Terentius Varro did it with the Suessetani, to those who took the capital, Corbio. In the 1st century BCE Aragon was the scene of the civil war to seize the power of Rome where the governor Quintus Sertorius made Osca (Huesca) the capital of all the territories controlled by them.

Denarius silver from Huesca.

Already in the 1st century BCE, the today Aragonese territory became part of the province Tarraconensis and there was the definitive romanization of it creating roads and consolidating ancient Celtiberian and Iberian cities such as Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza), Turiaso (Tarazona), Osca (Huesca) or Bilbilis (Calatayud).

In the middle of the 3rd century the decay of the Roman Empire began. Between the years 264 and 266 the Franks and the Alemanni, two Germanic peoples who passed through the Pyrenees and came to Tarazona, which they sacked. In the agony of the Empire groups of bandits emerged who were dedicated to pillage. The Ebro Valley was ravaged in the 5th century by several gangs of evildoers called Bagaudae.

Middle Ages

The Aljafería, of the 11th century, was residence of the Banu Hud kings of the Taifa of Saraqusta.

After the disintegration of the Western Roman Empire, the current area of Aragon was occupied by the Visigoths, forming the Visigothic Kingdom.

In the year 714 muslims from North Africa conquered the central area of Aragon, converting to Islam the ancient Roman cities such as Saraqusta (Zaragoza) or Wasqa (Huesca). It was at this time that an important Muwallad family arose, the Banu Qasi (بنو قاسي), their domains were located in the Ebro Valley between the 8th and 10th centuries. After the disappearance of the Caliphate of Córdoba at the beginning of the 11th century, the Taifa of Zaragoza arose, one of the most important Taifas of Al-Andalus, leaving a great artistic, cultural and philosophical legacy.

The name of Aragon is documented for the first time during the Early Middle Ages in the year 828, when the small County of Aragon of Frankish origin, would emerge between the rivers that bear its name, the Aragón river, and its brother the Aragón Subordán river.

Castle of Loarre was built and expanded to serve as a frontier advance towards Muslim territories. It is one of the most important intact Romanesque castles in Europe.
Royal Monastery of San Juan de la Peña. In its Royal Pantheon a good number of kings of Aragon and some kings of Navarre are buried.

That County of Aragon would be linked to the Kingdom of Pamplona until 1035, and under its wing it would grow to form a dowry of García Sánchez III of Pamplona to the death of the king Sancho "the Great", in a period characterized by Muslim hegemony in almost the entire Iberian Peninsula. Under the reign of Ramiro I of Aragon would be extended borders with the annexation of the counties of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza (year 1044), after having incorporated populations of the historical comarca of Cinco Villas.

In 1076, on the death of Sancho IV of Pamplona, Aragon incorporated part of the Navarrese kingdom into its territories while Castile did the same with the western area of the former domains of Sancho "the Great". During the reigns of Sancho Ramírez and Peter I of Aragon and Pamplona, the kingdom extended its borders to the south, established threatening fortresses on the capital of Zaragoza in El Castellar and Juslibol and took Huesca, which became the new capital.

This leads to the reign of Alfonso I of Aragon that would conquer the flat lands of the middle Ebro Valley for Aragon: Ejea de los Caballeros, Valtierra, Calatayud, Tudela and Zaragoza, the capital of the Taifa of Saraqusta. At his death the nobles would choose his brother Ramiro II of Aragon, who left his religious life to assume the royal scepter and perpetuate the dynasty, which he achieved with the dynastic union of the House of Aragon with the owner of the County of Barcelona in 1137, year in which the union of both patrimonies would give rise to the Crown of Aragon and would add the forces that to its they would make the conquests of the Kingdom of Majorca and the Kingdom of Valencia possible. The Crown of Aragon would become the hegemonic power of the Mediterranean, controlling territories as important as Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia or Naples.

The monarch was known as King of Aragon and also held the titles of King of Valencia, King of Majorca (for a time), Count of Barcelona, Lord of Montpellier, and (temporarily) Duke of Athens and Neopatria. Each of these titles gave him sovereignty over the specific region, and the titles changed as territories were lost and won.

According to Aragonese law, the monarch had to swear allegiance to the Kingdom's laws before being accepted as king. Like other Pyrenean and Basque realms, the Aragonese justice and decision making system was based on Pyrenean consuetudinary law, the King was considered primus inter pares ('first among equals') within the nobility. A nobleman with the title "Chustizia d'Aragón"[11] acted as ombudsman and was responsible for ensuring that the King obeyed the Aragonese laws. An old saying goes, "en Aragón antes de Rey hubo Ley" ("in Aragon Law came before King"), similar to the saying in Navarre, "antes fueron Leyes que Reyes", with much the same meaning.

The subsequent legend made the Aragonese monarchy eligible and created a phrase of coronation of the king that would be perpetuated for centuries:

We, who are worth as much as you we make you our King and Lord, as long as you keep our fueros and liberties, and if not, not.

— The Chustizia d'Aragón
The Crown of Aragon in the middle of the 15th century.

This situation would be repeated in the Commitment of Caspe (1412), which avoids a war that had dismembered the Crown of Aragon when a good handful of aspirants to the throne emerged after the death of Martin of Aragon a year after the death of his first-born, Martin I of Sicily. Ferdinand I of Aragon is the chosen one, of the Castilian House of Trastámara, but also directly connected with the Aragonese king Peter IV of Aragon, through his mother Eleanor of Aragon.

Aragon is already a large-scale political entity: the Crown, the Cortes, the Deputation of the Kingdom and the Foral Law constitute its nature and its character. The marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon with Isabella I of Castile, celebrated in 1469 in Valladolid, derived later in the union of the crowns of Aragon and Castile, creating the bases of the Modern State.

Early Modern Age c. 1500–1789

The Early Modern Age was marked by increasing tension between the power of the Spanish Monarchy and those of the regions. The appointment of a Castilian as Viceroy in 1590, contrary to the agreement all Royal officials be Aragonese caused widespread unrest; when the Madrid authorities attempted to arrest the Aragonese writer and politician Antonio Perez in May 1591, it caused street violence in Zaragossa and a revolt known as the Alterations of Aragon.[12] The unrest was largely confined to Zaragossa and quickly suppressed, with Perez going into exile. Philip then ordered a reduction in the proportion of taxes retained by the Generality of Aragon to lessen their capacity to raise an army against him.[13]

Aragonia Regnum, map of the Blaeu based on that of João Baptista Lavanha published circa 1640.

The decay of independent institutions meant political activity focused instead on the preservation of Aragonese history, culture and art. The Archive of the Kingdom of Aragon preserved legal documents and records from the Justiciar and the Palace of Deputation or Parliament, unfortunately largely destroyed by the French in the battles of 1809. Debates on the causes of the 1590/91 revolt became a contest between opposing views of history that arguably persist in modern Spain.

The new emphasis on Aragonese history led to the creation of the position of Chronicler or Historian of Aragon; its holders included Jerónimo Zurita y Castro, the De Argensola brothers, Bartolomé and Lupercio, Juan Costa and Jerónimo Martel. Much of the work produced by Aragonese writers challenged Philip II's version of events and were censored by the central government. In retaliation, the Generality of Aragon ordered the work of Castilian historian Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas to be burned and commissioned Vicencio Blasco de Lanuza to write an alternative. His 'History of Aragon' was published in two volumes, 1616 and 1619 respectively; the urgency shows the importance placed on responding to Herrera. Other works commissioned at this time for the same purpose include a History of the Aragonese Deputation by Lorenzo Ibáñez de Aoiz and a detailed cartography of the Kingdom of Aragon by João Baptista Lavanha.

In 1590/91, the Spanish monarchy was at the height of its strength but during the 17th century Spanish power declined for a number of reasons.[14] Famine, disease and almost continuous warfare, largely in the Spanish Netherlands drained money, energy and men and weakened the economy; it is estimated the population of Spain fell nearly 25% between 1600 and 1700.

War and economic decline inevitably led to increases in taxes, with predictable results; the refusal of the Catalan Cortes to contribute their share of the 1626 Union of Arms eventually led to a full-scale revolt in 1640.[15] While Aragon itself remained relatively peaceful, it had to be treated with care by the Madrid government; during the reign of Charles II from 1665 to 1700, it provided his half-brother John of Austria with a power base in his battle for control of government with the Queen Regent Mariana of Austria.

During the 1701–1714 War of the Spanish Succession, Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia and Majorca supported the Austrian claimant Charles. The victory of Philip V accelerated the trend towards greater centralisation; the Nueva Planta decrees of 1707 abolished the fueros and Aragonese political structures with their powers transferred to the Deputation of the Kingdom in Madrid; Aragon and Valencia were brought into the system in 1712, Catalonia and Majorca following in 1767.[16]

1790–1936

1820 Emblem of the Political Government of Aragon under the Liberal Triennium (1820).

The French invasion of 1808 that made Joseph Bonaparte King led to the outbreak of the Guerra de la Independencia Española or War of Independence in May. Zaragoza was largely destroyed in February 1809 during the Second Siege of Zaragoza, bringing a halt to its economic development. The 1812 Constitution proposed a number of reforms, including the creation of provincial territories and dividing Aragon into the four provinces of Calatayud, Teruel, Soria and Guadalajara. However, these reforms were delayed by Ferdinand VII's refusal to accept the constitution and finally implemented in 1822 during the 1820-23 Trienio Liberal. When Ferdinand was restored by French Bourbon forces in 1823, he abolished the Constitution along with the provincial reforms. When he died in 1833, the provincial division of 1833 divided Aragon into its current three provinces.

French troops storm the Abbey of Santa Engracia, February 1809, painted by Lejeune.

Throughout the 19th century, Aragon was a stronghold of the Carlists, who offered to restore the fueros and other rights associated with the former Kingdom of Aragon. This period saw a massive exodus from the countryside into the larger cities of Aragon such as Huesca, Zaragoza, Teruel or Calatayud and other nearby regions, such as Catalonia or Madrid.

The history of Aragon in the first half of the 20th century was similar to that of the rest of Spain; the building of infrastructure and reforms made by Miguel Primo de Rivera led to a brief economic boom, with new civil and individual liberties during the Second Spanish Republic. In June 1936, a draft Statute of Autonomy of Aragon was presented to the Cortes Generales but the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War prevented the development of this autonomist project.

1936 to present

During the 1936–1939 civil war, Aragon was divided between the two sides. The Eastern Area which was closer to Catalonia was run by the Republican Regional Defence Council of Aragon, while the larger Western Area was controlled by the Nationalists. Some of the most important battles were fought in or near Aragon, including Belchite, Teruel and Ebro. After the defeat of the Republic in April 1939, Aragon and the rest of Spain was governed by the Francoist dictatorship.

Belchite town, destroyed during the Battle of Belchite became a symbol of the Spanish Civil War.

Especially during the 1960s, there were large migrations, with a depopulation of the rural areas, towards the industrial areas like the provincial capitals, other areas of Spain, and other European countries. In 1964, one of the so-called Development Poles was created in Zaragoza.

In 1970's, the old town of Mequinenza was demolished almost completely due to the construction of the Ribarroja reservoir. The inhabitants of Mequinenza had to leave their homes to move to the new town on the banks of the River Segre. A part of the inhabitants left for more industrial areas such as Barcelona or Zaragoza or even abroad to continue working in mining industries. By the end of 1974 all population had already abandoned the Old Town of Mequinenza and was living in the new town.

In the 1970s a period of transition as in the rest of the Country was experienced, after the extinction of the previous regime, with the recovery of democratic normality and the creation of a new constitutional framework.

It began to demand an own political autonomy, for the Aragonese historical territory; sentiment that was reflected in the historic manifestation of April 23 of 1978 that brought together more than 100000 aragoneses through the streets of Zaragoza. Not having plebiscited, in the past, affirmatively a draft Statute of autonomy (second transitory provision of the constitution) and not making use of the difficult access to autonomy by Article 151 whose aggravated procedure required, apart from the initiative of the process autonomic follow the steps of article 143, which was ratified by three quarters of the municipalities of each of the affected provinces that represent at least the majority of the electoral census, and that this initiative was approved by referendum by the affirmative vote of the majority absolute of the electors of each province, Aragon acceded to the self-government by the slow way of article 143 obtaining lower competence top, and less self-management of resources, during more than 20 years.

On August 10, 1982, Aragon's autonomy statute was approved by the Cortes Generales, signed by the then president of the Government, Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo, and sanctioned by His Majesty Juan Carlos I of Spain.

On May 7, 1992 a Special Commission of the Aragonese Corts, elaborated a reformed text that was approved by the Aragonese Corts and by the Spanish Cortes. Again, a small statutory reform in the year 1996 extended the competence framework, forcing a definitive comprehensive review for several years, a new statutory text was approved in 2007, by majority but without reaching total unanimity.

In the 1990s the Aragonese society increases a significant qualitative step in the quality of life due to the economic progress of the State at all levels.

At the beginning of the 21st century, a significant increase in infrastructures was established, such as the arrival of the High Speed Train (AVE), the construction of the new dual carriageway Somport-Sagunto and the promotion of the two airports in the Autonomous Community, Zaragoza and Huesca-Pirineos. At the same time, large technological projects are being undertaken, such as the Walqa Technology Park and the implementation of a telematic network throughout the community.

General view of the Expo 2008 from the Torre del Agua.

In 2007 the Statute of Autonomy of Aragon was reformed again -which was approved by a broad consensus in the Aragonese Corts, having the support of the PSOE, the PP, the PAR and the IU, whereas CHA abstained- granting the Autonomous Community the recognition of historical nationality (since the Organic Law of 1996 reform of the statute, it had the condition of nationality[17]), includes a new title on the Administration of Chustizia and another on the rights and duties of the Aragoneses and guiding principles of public policies, the possibility of creating an own tax agency in collaboration with that of the State, and also the obligation to public authorities to ensure to avoid transfers from watersheds such as transfer of the Ebro, among many other modifications of the Statute of Autonomy.

The designation of Zaragoza as the venue for the 2008 International Exhibition, whose thematic axis was Water and Sustainable development, represented a series of changes and accelerated growth for the autonomous community. In addition, two anniversaries were celebrated that same year, the bicentennial of Sieges of Zaragoza of the War of Independence against the Napoleonic invasion, occurred in 1808 and the centenary of the Hispano-French Exposition of 1908 that it supposed as a modern event, to demonstrate the cultural and economic thrust of Aragon and at the same time serve to strengthen ties and staunch wounds with the French neighbors after the events of the Napoleonic Wars of the previous century.

Aragon History articles: 162