County of Empúries

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County of Empúries
Comtat d'Empúries (Catalan)
Flag of Empúries
Coat of arms of Empúries
Coat of arms
Territorial evolution of the County of Empúries
Territorial evolution of the County of Empúries
CapitalSant Martí d'Empúries, later Castelló d'Empúries
Common languages
Roman Catholic
Historical eraMiddle Ages
• Establishment
• Annexed into the Principality of Catalonia
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Emirate of Córdoba
Principality of Catalonia
Today part ofFrance
Count Hugh IV of Empúries (left) and Lord Pero Maça of Sangarrén during the war against the Moors in Majorca around 1229. The shield above the figures is the coat-of-arms of Empúries.
Location of the County of Empúries within the Principality of Catalonia

The County of Empúries (Catalan: Comtat d'Empúries, IPA: [kumˈtad dəmˈpuɾiəs]), also known as the County of Ampurias (Spanish: Condado de Ampurias),[1] was a medieval county centred on the town of Empúries and enclosing the Catalan region of Peralada. It corresponds to the historic comarca of Empordà.

After the Franks conquered the regions in 785, Empúries and Peralada came under the authority of the County of Girona. Around 813, Empúries, with Peralada, became a separate county under Ermenguer. He and the other early counts were probably of Visigothic origin. In 817, Empúries was merged with the County of Roussillon, a union which lasted until 989. One of the ninth-century counts of Empúries assembled a fleet powerful enough to conquer the Balearic Islands, but only for a brief time.[2] From 835 to 844, Sunyer I ruled Empúries and Peralada while Alaric I ruled Roussillon and Vallespir.

At the death of Gausfred I in 989, Roussillon and Empúries were separated. Gausfred's elder son Hugh I received Empúries while Giselbert I received Roussillon. Hugh's comital dynasty lasted until 1322, when Empúries passed to a collateral branch of his family. The last count, Hugh VI, sold the county to Peter IV of Ribagorza in 1325 in exchange for the barony of Pego and the towns of Xaló and Laguar, all located within the Kingdom of Valencia. Peter later traded it with Ramon Berenguer d'Aragona for the county of Prades in 1341. From that point on, Empúries was an apanage of the Crown of Aragon.

In a letter of December 1002, Pope Sylvester II confirmed the county of Empúries and the "county of Pedralbes" as a part of the diocese of Girona. The latter is probably to be identified with the Peralada region in the north of Empúries. A portion of the "taxes of the port", consisting of dues and anchorage, were passed on to the diocese.[3]

List of counts[edit]

Empúries escheated to the crown between 1410 and 1436. Subsequently the title is mostly honorific.


  1. ^ Both derive from the Latin comitatus Emporiarum.
  2. ^ Lewis and Runyan (1985), 62.
  3. ^ Letter 260 in Lattin (1961), 356–58.


  • Lattin, Harriet Pratt (ed.) The Letters of Gerbert, with his Papal Privileges as Sylvester II. Columbia University Press, 1961.
  • Lewis, A. R., and Runyan, Timothy J. European Naval and Maritime History, 300–1500. Indiana University Press, 1985.
  • Lewis, A. R. The Development of Southern French and Catalan Society, 718–1050. University of Texas Press, 1965.
  • Riera Fortiana, Enrique. "Etapa barcelonesa del condado de Ampurias (1409–1456)" Annals de l'Institut d'Estudis Empordanesos 11 (1976), 260–85.

External links[edit]