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Catalan Revolt
Batalla de Montjuïc de 1641.jpg
Battle of Montjuïc
Date 1640-1652
Location Catalonia, eastern Spain, southern France
Result Spanish victory. Catalonia partitioned by Treaty of Pyrenees
Catalonia Catalans
France France

The Catalan Revolt (known in Catalan as the Guerra dels Segadors or Reapers' War) affected a large part of Catalonia between the years of 1640 and 1659. It had an enduring effect in the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659), which ceded the county of Roussillon and the northern half of the county of Cerdanya to France (see French Cerdagne), thereby splitting the Catalan population.



The war had its roots in the discomfort generated in Catalan society by the presence of Castilian troops during the wars between France and Spain as part of the Thirty Years' War. Count-Duke Olivares, the chief minister of Philip IV, had been overusing Catalan resources in his wars against France. Catalan peasants, who were forced to quarter Castilian troops, responded on Corpus Christi day, May 1640, with an uprising known as 'Bloody Corpus' (Catalan Corpus de Sang), under the slogans "Long live the faith of Christ!", "Long live the king of Spain, our lord", "Long live the land, death to bad government". This 'Bloody Corpus' which began with the death of a segador, a reaper, and led to the somewhat mysterious death of Dalmau de Queralt, the Count of Santa Coloma and Spanish viceroy of Catalonia, marked the beginning of the conflict. The irregular militia involved were known as 'Miquelets'.

The situation took Olivares by surprise, with most of the Spanish army fighting on other fronts far from Catalonia.

"Corpus de Sang" d'Antoni Estruch (1907)

Pau Claris, head of the Generalitat of Catalonia, turned the social unrest of the Catalans into a political cause and proclaimed a Catalan Republic.


The Generalitat obtained an important military victory in the Battle of Montjuïc (January 26, 1641). A little later, the death of Pau Claris created a difficult local and international situation, which resulted in the proclamation of Louis XIII of France as sovereign count of Barcelona as Lluís I de Barcelona. For the next decade the Catalans and French fought as allies, until in 1652 a Spanish offensive captured Barcelona bringing the Catalan capital under Spanish control again. Irregular resistance continued for several years afterwards, but the successful siege of Barcelona marked the end of major fighting.


Map of Catalonia with the resulting division.

The conflict extended beyond the Peace of Westphalia, which concluded the Thirty Years' War in 1648, with the confrontation between two sovereigns and two Generalitats, one based in Barcelona, under the control of Spain and the other in Perpinyà (Perpignan), under the occupation of France. In 1652 the French authorities renounced Catalonia, but held control of Roussillon, thereby leading to the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659.

See also


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