Catalan Republic (1641)

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Catalan Republic
República Catalana (Catalan)
Location of the Catalan Republic
Location of the Catalan Republic
StatusRepublic under French protection
Common languages
Roman Catholicism
President of the Deputation 
• 1641
Pau Claris
LegislatureJunta de Braços
Historical eraReapers' War
• Proclaimed
17 January 1641
• Louis XIII of France appointed Count of Barcelona
23 January 1641
CurrencyCroat and others
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Principality of Catalonia
Principality of Catalonia
Today part ofFrance

The Catalan Republic (Catalan: República Catalana, IPA: [rəˈpubːlikə kətəˈlanə]) was a short-lived independent state under French protection proclaimed in 1641 by the Junta de Braços (assembly of Estates) of the Principality of Catalonia led by the President of the Generalitat, Pau Claris, during the Reapers' War (1640-1652).[1]

As the conflict with the Spanish Monarchy escalated and its armies were approaching to Barcelona, the Junta de Braços of Catalonia, headed by the President of the Deputation of the General of Catalonia (or Generalitat) Pau Claris, proclaimed the Catalan Republic on 17 January 1641. On 23 January 1641,due to the desperate military situation and French pressure, the Braços Generals led by Pau Claris proclaimed Louis XIII of France as Count of Barcelona, putting the Principality of Catalonia under French sovereignty. Louis XIII was succeeded upon his death in 1643 by Louis XIV, who remained Count of Barcelona until 1652, when Catalonia was reincorporated into the Spanish Monarchy.


Pau Claris i Casademunt
Map of Europe with the Catalan Republic (c. 1641) by Willem Blaeu.

During the Reapers' War which started in 1640 (and included as a part of the Franco-Spanish War) the Catalan: Junta de Braços or Braços Generals (States-General) of Catalonia, an extraordinary assembly of members of the three Estates in the Catalan Courts without the king, summoned by the Generalitat on 10 September, sought support in France and Bernard du Plessis-Besançon [fr] was appointed plenipotentiary of the King of France on 29 August 1640. On 27 October an agreement was finally reached with du Plessis-Besançon to obtain supplies against the army of the King of Spain directed by Pedro Fajardo, Marquis of los Vélez.

With the victory of the army of the Marquis of Los Vélez in Tarragona on 23 December it continued its advance towards Barcelona, while the French army of d'Espenan proceeded to leave Catalonia to France at the beginning of January 1641. Negotiations with the French intensified, on 3 January a delegation of three Catalans met with Cardinal Richelieu who assured them protection if they were an independent republic like Genoa. On 14 January du Plessis-Besançon went at the residence of the president of the Deputation of the General of Catalonia or Generalitat, Pau Claris, to still conferring.[2]

As a result of the negotiation, on 16 January, Pau Claris presented a proposal before the Junta de Braços by which the King of France agreed to put the Principality under his protection if Catalonia changed its government to a republic. On 17 January 1641, the Junta de Braços proclaimed for the first time in history the Catalan Republic under French protection. However, a week later, following the defeat of the Catalan armies in the Battle of Martorell [ca], near Barcelona, du Plessis-Besançon managed to convince the Catalan authorities that the help they needed could only be obtained from France if they recognized Louis XIII of France as sovereign. Pau Claris appealed on 23 January to Louis XIII, recognizing him as Count of Barcelona (as Louis I) and placed the Principality of Catalonia under French sovereignty.

On 26 January 1641, at the end of the Battle of Montjuïc, the army of Philip IV was defeated by a Franco-Catalan army and had to withdraw. Pau Claris died a month later. The formal agreement of personal union between Catalonia and France was ratified by the Treaty of Peronne on 19 September 1641.

Louis XIV was titled as Count of Barcelona (as Louis II) in succession to his father in 1643. Finally, the dismissal of the Count-Duke of Olivares, the ravages caused by the famine and the plague, the commitment made by Philip IV to respect the Catalan constitutions and institutions, and the retaking of Barcelona by Philip's army put an end to the war in 1652, and the Principality of Catalonia was reincorporated into the Monarchy of Spain.[3]


  1. ^ Gelderen, Martin van; Skinner, Quentin (2002). Republicanism: Volume 1, Republicanism and Constitutionalism in Early Modern Europe: A Shared European Heritage. Cambridge University Press. p. 284. ISBN 9781139439619
  2. ^ Coll i Alentorn, Miquel (1992). Història I. L'Abadia de Montserrat. p. 427 ISBN 9788478262991
  3. ^ Florensa i Soler, Núria (2004). La declinación de la monarquía hispánica en el siglo XVII. Univ. de Castilla La Mancha. ISBN 8484272966.

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