Ramiro II of Aragon

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Ramiro II (c.1075–16 August 1157, Huesca), called the Monk, was King of Aragon from 1134 until withdrawing from public life in 1137 (although he used the royal title until his death). He was the youngest son of Sancho Ramírez, King of Aragon and Navarre, and Felicia of Roucy.

He spent most of his early life as a monk in a French monastery and later as abbot of the monastery of San Pedro el Viejo at Huesca. In 1134, when his brother Alfonso the Battler died heirless, Ramiro was bishop of Barbastro-Roda. He temporarily gave up his monastic vows in order to secure the succession to the crown of Aragon, while losing Navarre, which had formed part of his late brother's dominions but in 1134 became independent under García Ramírez. He fought off two other claimants to the throne, one, Pedro de Atarés, descended from an illegitimate brother of king Sancho Ramírez, and the other, Alfonso VII, king of Castile.

The reign of Ramiro the Monk, as he is known, was tumultuous. At the beginning of his reign he had problems with his nobles, who thought he would be docile and easily steered to their wishes, but discovered him to be inflexible. In order to produce an heir, he married Agnes, daughter of Duke William IX of Aquitaine. Once wed, his wife bore a daughter, Petronila, who was betrothed to Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona at the age of one. The marriage contract, signed at Barbastro on 11 August 1137, made Petronila the heiress to the crown of Aragon, which in event of her childless death would pass to Ramon Berenguer and any children he might have by other wives. Ramon accepted Ramiro as "King, Lord and Father", 'renounced his family name' in favor of the House of Aragon and united the County of Barcelona with the Kingdom. This union, which came to be called the Confederacion Catalanoaragonesa (Catalan-Aragonese Confederation)[1], created the Crown of Aragon,[2] returning the previously-landlocked kingdom of Aragon to the position of peninsular power it had held prior to the loss of Navarre, as well as giving it a window to the Western Mediterranean it would come to dominate.

In the time between his accession and the betrothal of his daughter, Ramiro II had already had to put down a rebellion of the nobles, and knowing himself not to be a war king, he passed royal authority to his son-in-law Ramon Berenguer on 13 November 1137. Ramon became the "Prince of the Aragonese people" (Princeps Aragonensis) and effective chief of the kingdom's armies. Ramiro never formally resigned his royal rights, continuing to use the royal title,[3] and keeping aware of the business of the kingdom, he withdrew from public life, returning to the Abbey of San Pedro in Huesca. He later became known for the famous and passionate legend of the Bell of Huesca. He died there[4] on 16 August 1157, the crown then formally passing to his daughter Petronila.[5]

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