Aran Valley History

The exceptional personality of the Aran Valley is a direct consequence of its special situation in the Pyrenees giving place to the aranese (the language spoken in Val d'Aran) and to their own folklore.

The Aran Valley was incorporated into the Occitanian county of Comminges at the end of the Muslim occupation and changed allegiance several times before being united, in 1220, with the Kingdom of Catalonia and Aragon.

Documents written in Aranese Gascon and dating from the 13th century still exist. By means of a charter granted in 1313, King James II of Catalonia and Aragon recognized the traditions and customs of the valley, including its governing bodies (the Conselh Generau and Sindic). These institutions, unlike those of Catalonia, survived the measures of centralization imposed by the Bourbon monarchy in 1714, and the Conselh Generau was not abolished until the Aran Valley was incorporated into the province of Lleida in 1834.

The first autonomy statute of modern Catalonia, adopted in 1932, did not provide for any special regime for the Aran Valley, despite the demands of its inhabitants. Under the Francoist dictatorship, the Aran Valley, like the whole of Spain, was subjected to monolingual centralism. Following the restoration of democracy, the new Catalonian Autonomy Statute (1979) guaranteed teaching, respect and protection of Aranese and provided for the reestablishment of the Conselh Generau, which was finally accomplished in 1990 when the Catalan Parliament adopted the law establishing the special regime for the Aran Valley.

Flag of Aran Valley