Navarra / Nafarroa, officially the Comunidad Foral de Navarra / Nafarroako Foru Komunitatea is an autonomous community in northern Spain, bordering the Comunidad Autónoma Vasca, La Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Aquitaine in France. The capital city is Pamplona / Iruña. During the Roman Empire, the Vascones, a pre-Roman tribe populated the occupied the area south of the Pyrenees which ultimately became Navarre. In the mountainous north, the Vascones escaped large-scale Roman settlement, but not so in the flatter areas to the south, which were used for large-scale Roman farming.
In 1515, after the War of the League of Cambrai, the bulk of Navarre south of the Pyrenees (Upper Navarre) was at last absorbed into Spain, but retained some autonomy. Navarra’s royal family fled into the small portion of Navarra lying north of the Pyrenees (Lower Navarre), and their military attempts to regain their kingdom failed.
Queen Jeanne d’Albret became a famous Huguenot and her son became King Henry IV of France, founder of the House of Bourbon dynasty, a branch of which much later came to rule Spain. With the declaration of the French Republic and execution of Louis XVI, the last King of France and Navarra, the kingdom was merged into a unitary French state.
The community ceremonies, education, and social services, together with housing, urban development, and environment protection policies are under the responsibility of its own institutions. Unlike most other autonomous communities of Spain (but like the Basque Country), Navarra has almost full responsibility for collecting and administering taxes which must follow the guidelines established by the central government..
Navarra consists of 272 municipalities and has a total population of 601,874 (2006), of which approximately one-third live in the capital, Pamplona (195,769 pop.), and one-half in the capital’s metropolitan area (315,988 pop.). The next largest municipalities are Tudela (32,802), Barañáin (22,401), Burlada (18,388),Estella (13,892), Zizur Mayor (13,197), Tafalla (11,040), Villava/Atarrabia (10,295), and Ansoáin (9,952).
Despite its relatively small size, Navarra features stark contrasts in geography, from the Pyrenees mountain range that dominates the territory to the plains of the Ebro river valley in the south. The highest point in Navarre is Mesa de los Tres Reyes, with an elevation of 2,428 metres (7,965 feet).
Other important mountains are Txamantxoia,Kartxela, the Larra-Belagua Massif, Sierra de Alaiz, Untzueko Harria, Sierra de Leyre, Sierra del Perdón, Montejurra, Ezkaba, Monte Ori, Sierra de Codés, Urbasa, Andia, and the Aralar Range. In the north,climate is an Oceanic west coast climate. At central Navarra a mediterranean climate and at the southernmost part of Navarra the climate is cool semiarid.
Navarre is a mixture of its Vasconic tradition, the Trans-Pyrenean influx of people and ideas and Mediterranean influences coming from theEbro. The Ebro valley is amenable to wheat, vegetables, wine, and even olive trees as in Aragon and La Rioja. It was a part of the Roman Empire, inhabited by the Vascones, later controlled on its southern fringes by the Muslims Banu Qasi, whose authority was taken over by the taifa kingdom of Tudela in the 11th century.
During the Reconquista, Navarra gained little ground at the expense of the Muslims, since its southern boundary had already been established by the time of the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212. Starting in the 11th century, the Way of Saint James grew in importance. It brought pilgrims, traders and Christian soldiers from the North.
Gascons and Occitanians from beyond the Pyrenees, called Franks, received self-government and privileges to foster settlement in Navarra bringing their crafts, culture and Romance languages.
Jews and Muslims were persecuted and expelled for the most part during the late 15th century to the early 16th century. The kingdom struggled to maintain its separate identity in 14th and 15th centuries, and after King Fernando forcibly annexed Navarra after the death of his wife Queen Isabella, he extended the Castilian expulsion and forcible integration orders applicable to conversos and mudejars of 1492 to the former kingdom.
Navarra leads Europe in its use of renewable energy technology as by 2004, 61% of the region’s electricity was generated by renewable sources consisting of 43.6% from 28 wind farms, 12% from over 100 small-scale water turbines, and 5.3% from 2 biomass and 2 biogas plants.
In addition, the region had what was then Spain’s largest photovoltaic power plant at Montes de Cierzo de Tudela (1.2 MWp capacity) plus several hundred smaller photovoltaic installations. Developments since 2004 have included further photovoltaic plants at Larrión (0.25 MWp) and another at Castejón (2.44 MWp), also once the largest in Spain.