Archive for May 11th, 2011

May 11, 2011

The Frontier of the Pyrénées mountains

They form a magnificent natural barrier of two wonderful countries which I love very much. I am from both ,and have or are living in one.  Not to mention of the picturesque Andorra. They run for about 430 kms or 267 miles along the border. The highest peak is the Aneto at  3 404 meters or 11 233 feet. 

The have over 4500 species of flora including 160 that are natives and hundred of thousands of fauna including over 300 species of butterflies.  You have many parks in the geography of the chain with the most famous to be the Parc National des Pyrénées , the parc National d’Aigûestortes, and Lake Saint Maurice at Encantats in France as well as the Parque Nacional de Ordessa, and Parque National del Monte Perdido in Spain. to these you have the adjacent parks such as the Parc Naturel Régional des Pyrénées Catalanes and the Parc Naturel Régional Pyrénées Ariégeoises.

Some of the historical dates that created, contained ,and enhance this wonderful area are noted below, history buffs go at it ::)

1213 Battle of Muret, victory of Simon de Montfort over a coalitions of Occitans lords, and death of king Peter II of Aragon who had a project to unite in a big State the occitano-Aragonais people.

1258 signature of Treaty of de Corbeil, established the frontiers between France and Aragon by Corbiéres and Capcir.

1276 creation of the kingdom of Majorca based at Perpignan.

1288 Signature by the Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix for the co -Principality of Andorra.

1344 king Peter IV of Aragon annexed the Roussillon and Cerdagne with the frontier limit at Pas de Salses.

1375 establishement of the Junta of Roncal, creating laws for the passages in the valleys of Roncal (Aragon) and Barétous (Béarn). 1419 bishop of Urgell authorised the creation of the Autonomous council of Andorrans.

1462 Treaty of Bayonne, king John 11 of Aragon  (the Faithless) gives the counties of Cerdagne and Roussillon to king Louis XI of France, these counties were gain back by Spain in 1493. 1512 kings of Aragon take over the high Navarra region and the Catalan possessions of the family of Foix-Béarn, the low Navarra remains French.

1607 annexation of Béarn and Navarra to the crown of France thanks to king Henry III of Navarra, which became king Henri IV of France in 1589.

1641 Treaty of Peronne, the king of France ,Louis XIII becames the new count of Barcelona, Roussillon ,and Cerdagne. 1642 Perpignan  surrenders to French troops of king Louis XIII. 1649 French troops occupies the Valley of Aran.

1652 The French leave Barcelona and renounce possession of Catalunya. 1659 Treaty of the Pyrénées on the ile of Faisans in Basque country is signed between France and Spain. 1660 the French and Spanish redraw the map to arrange for the frontiers of the two countries,and by 1663-66 the restitution of lands taken on both sides is given to owners .

1674 conspiration at Villefranche-de-Conflent and Perpignan in favor of the Spanish, and the Spanish forces entered the Roussillon. 1678 The French army goes into Cerdagne and destroy Puigcerdà, peace is signed between France and Spain again. 1784 creation of the Commission International Caro-d’Ornano to cartographier the region and fix limits of boundary, interrupted for the war in 1792.

1790 creation of the French departments of Basses-Pyrénées(Pyrénées Atlantique after 1969), Hautes Pyrénées, Haute Garonne,Ariége,Aude,and Pyrénées Orientales. 1793-1795 Spain entered in war against the French revolution.  1808-1813 passage of Napoleonic troops by the mountains in the Pyrénées towards conquering Spain (later repulse by the Spaniards in what they call Day of Independance May 2,and immortalised in paintings by Goya)

1856 first line of treaties to fix the boundaries again signed at Bayonne, the frontier is fix from the ocean to the table des trois rois. 1862 second treaty of limits fixing the frontier from table de trois rois to port de boet. 1866 third treaty of limits fixing frontier from Portella Blanca to the Mediterranean. 1868 Final act of  the frontier with 600 bornes place along the mountains along the edge of the La Bidasoa to Cap Cerbére, and 45 bornes around the village of Llivia in French cerdagne. 1875 Creation of the International commission on limits or Commission of the Pyrénées that is in charge to enforce the boundary limits.

1912 opening of the train tunnel at Somport in the Valley of the Aspé (Béarn). 1928 opening of train station at Canfranc (Aragon) linking Toulouse with Barcelona.

1939 opening of French borders to thousands upon thousands of Spaniards fleeing the dictatorship of Franco in Spain.1944 Franco builts the Linea P a line of bunkers over 450 kms (279 miles) to protect Spain from a French invasion. 1946-1948 closing of the Spanish borders. 1949 the commission of the Pyrénées meeting in Madrid ordered the counting of the bornes and lining of the frontiers as per the 19C drawing that had disappeared.

1970 closing of the railroad line between Bedous and Canfranc, and reduced over the portion Pau-Oloron-Sainte-Marie from 1980. 1973 France and Spain signed treaty to fix the frontiers, name delegates to enforce the limits, and the maintenance of  it.

1976 Opening of the first automobile tunnel between the two countries ,the tunnel of Bielsa-Aragnouet between the Valleys of Aure (Haute Pyrénées) and Cinca (Aragon). 1985 signing of the first Schengen agreement ratify by France and Spain in 1990. 1986 Spain entered the European Union. 1993 Customs postes are eliminated in the frontier. 1998 Hendaye,Irun and Hondarribia form the first agglomeration of the region in the UE, name the consorcio bidasoa-Txingudi.

2003 opening of the Tunnel of Somport (and I try it first yes!!!) . 2007-2009 piercing of the TGV tunnel for the line Perpignan Barcelona that should be operational by 2013!

Some webpages of reading material. The Pyrénées tourism at http://www.lespyrenees.net/en/ Ski info also great in the Pyrénées at http://www.skiinfo.co.uk/Country/France-EFR-9671-en.jhtml

The parc naturel in French side http://www.parc-pyrenees.com/ :the lakes on both sides in Spanish, French http://www.lacsdespyrenees.com/

guide of the Pyrénées in Spanish, http://www.pirineo.com/ ,and the official Commission of the Pyrenees http://www.ctp.org/ and a wonderful family site on lodging,eating ,mountaneers etc the world of the pyrenees in Spanish, http://www.elmundodelospirineos.com/ . This is in addition to the normal tourist sites for each autonomous region or department with contact with the Pyrénées or Pirineos. I have another post on my passing by here with my wife once, the rest have been solo, and always by car.

Enjoy the mountains. Cheers

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