Catalan Historical Review, No 1 (2008)

The Treaty of the Pyrenees, 350 Years Later

Eva Serra i Puig


An overall review of the 1659 Treaty between the Hispanic and French monarchies is undertaken. The European scope of the document is established in the light of the territorial clauses and the articles on civil rights, commercial relations and troop withdrawals. While the Rhineland and Alpine front also comes in for attention, the main focus is on the Franco-Catalan Pyrenean front. The author notes that the Pyrenean range was the cradle of Catalonia, not a frontier, and gives an account of how the new delimitation was traced. She also discusses Catalan resistance along the border (in Rosselló). Reference is made to the on-going wars between France and Spain after 1659, to the ill-defined nature of the new border, and to France's offer to exchange Rosselló for the lands lying along its eastern frontier, in which it was primarily interested. This offer was never accepted. The dynastic, patrimonial and military origin and nature of European frontiers, which were established regardless of, and often in opposition to, the existence of peoples, is stressed.

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