[MR] Kingdom of Navarre

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Wed Dec 4 03:51:10 PST 2019

Noble Friends,

Today in history in the year 1270, King Theobold of Navarre died.
Ordinarily I would overlook commenting on this as unimportant and of
marginal interest to Scadians. But today a lightbulb went off. Where was
the Kingdom of Navarre (actually I knew this), and why does this little
territory float to the surface so often in the histories of France and
Spain? Ah, ha! Comment time!

Navarre was a small Basque-speaking country on what is now the border of
France and Spain, with its capitol at Pamplona (of "bull-running" fame). It
wasn't particularly Navarre itself that was so important to history, but
rather its rulers. Like many small ruling houses, its kings and queens had
family links to other countries, France and Spain, being the major ones in
this case. This meant that Navarre punched way above its weight, so to
speak, in European affairs.

The most famous, or infamous, of its rulers was Charles II (1332-1387,
ruled from 1349). Not only king of Navarre (which he visited only briefly a
few times, and didn't even try to speak the language), Charles was also
son-in-law to King John II of France. Charles had been born and raised in
France, and held extensive lands there. He had a dual, though distant,
claim to the French crown and apparently wanted to be King of France, as
well as Duke of Burgundy (to which he also had a strong claim). Charles
played the French and the English off against each other to further his own
interests during the Hundred Years War, as well as poisoning people right
and left (maybe even King John). In the end, he earned the title "Charles
the Faithless", or more often "Charles the Bad".

During its later years, Navarre was riven by civil war as various factions
fought for its crown, and used the opportunity to settle old scores in
personal feuds. Eventually the little country was divided, with the
southern part being annexed by Spain in 1512. The northern corner of
Navarre remained an independent kingdom for a while, but eventually was
absorbed into France shortly after the end of our SCA period of interest.

So if you would like to know more about Navarre and its complicated
history, go here for a good summary:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Navarre .

The famous Camino de Santiago, the principal pilgrimage route to
Campostela, passes through Navarre and Pamplona:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camino_de_Santiago .

And though I've commented upon Charles the Bad before, he still makes
interesting reading, especially is grim demise:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_II_of_Navarre .

Yours Aye,

Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆

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