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During the Roman Empire, the Vascones, a pre-Roman tribe who populated the southern slopes of the Pyrenees, included the area which would ultimately become Navarre. In the mountainous north, the Vascones escaped large-scale Roman settlement, except for coastal areas—Oiasso (Gipuzkoa nowadays). Not so the flatter areas to the south, which were amenable to large-scale Roman farming—vineyards, olives, and wheat crops.
To the south of the Pyrenees, Navarre was annexed to the Crown of Castile (1515), but keeping a separate ambiguous status, and a shaky balance up to 1610—King Henry ready to march over Spanish Navarre. A Chartered Government was established (the Diputación), and the kingdom managed to keep home rule. Tensions with the Spanish Government came to a head as of 1794, when Spanish premier Manuel Godoy attempted to suppress Navarrese and Basque self-government altogether, with the end of the First Carlist War definitely bringing the kingdom and its home rule (fueros) to an end (1839-1841).
After the 1839 Convention of Bergara, the Compromise Act (Ley Paccionada) was signed with representatives of the Chartered Government of Navarre in 1841, and the kingdom was made into a province in exchange for keeping a reduced version of home rule (fueros).
Institutions and status
After the end of Franco's dictatorship, Navarre became one of the 17 Autonomous Communities in Spain. The community ceremonies, education, and social services, together with housing, urban development, and environment protection policies are under the responsibility of Navarre's political institutions.
As in the rest of communities, Navarre has a Parliament elected every four years, and the majority in this Parliament determines the president of the Community, who is in charge of Navarre's government.
Unlike most other autonomous communities of Spain (but like the Basque Country), Navarre has almost full responsibility for collecting and administering taxes which must follow the overall guidelines established by the Spanish government but may have some minor differences.
The first 3 presidents of the community belonged to the extinct UCD party. After 1984 the government has been ruled by either the Partido Socialista de Navarra (PSN-PSOE, one of the federative components of the PSOE, main centre-left wing party in Spain) or the UPN (a Navarre-based party that had a long alliance with the PP, main right-wing party in Spain).
Basque nationalist parties also represent a sizeable part of the vote, and even a majority in some northern areas.
Politics in Navarre has been marked by fierce rivalry between Basque nationalist parties on the one side and the institutional parties, UPN and PSN, on the other. Basque nationalist parties claim that they are excluded from key political posts and institutions, and they point to the intervention of the Madrid government in internal affairs of Navarre. Another complaint involves the ideological profiling of public school Basque language teachers, billed as "ETA supporting teachers". Since the establishment of Navarre's present status (the Amejoramiento, the 'Betterment'), the successive regional governments have been shaken by political instability and corruption scandals. The most stable and longest term in office was held by UPN's Miguel Sanz (2001-2011).
Between 2012 and 2014, a series of corruption scandals broke out involving regional president Yolanda Barcina and other regional government officials that included influence peddling, embezzlement, misappropriation of funds and mismanagement leading to the bankruptcy of CAN. By November 2012, the PSN—UPN's standing ally in Navarre up to that point—backed down on its support of UPN's Barcina, but refused to impeach her or search new political alliances, leaving a deadlocked government.
The regional president, widely questioned in Navarre as of 2012 and relying only on the Conservative central government's backup and a number of media outlets in Madrid, went on to urge the Constitutional Tribunal to challenge several decisions made by the Parliament of Navarre. After the latest scandal and corruption allegations affecting a secretary of her cabinet (Lourdes Goicoechea, regional public finance secretary) in February 2014, the Spanish home office secretary Jorge Fernández Díaz stepped in warning leading members of PSN that "Navarre is strategic for Spain", and asserting that any other political alliance means "supporting ETA". The Justice secretary in Madrid Alberto Ruiz Gallardón in turn stated that "the worst political error is not corruption" but getting along with Bildu (a Basque pro-independence coalition).
During the Reconquista, Navarre gained little ground at the expense of the Muslims, since its southern boundary had already been established by the time of the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212. Starting in the 11th century, the Way of Saint James grew in importance. It brought pilgrims, traders and Christian soldiers from the North. Gascons and Occitanians from beyond the Pyrenees (called Franks) received self-government and other privileges to foster settlement in Navarrese towns, and they brought their crafts, culture and Romance languages.
Jews and Muslims were persecuted both north and south of Navarre, expelled for the most part during the late 15th century to the early 16th century. The kingdom struggled to maintain its separate identity in 14th and 15th centuries, and after King Fernando forcibly annexed Navarre after the death of his wife Queen Isabella, he extended the Castilian expulsion and forcible integration orders applicable to conversos and mudejars of 1492 to the former kingdom. Therefore, Tudela in particular could no longer serve as a refuge after the Inquisitors were allowed.
This section is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(June 2012)
Navarre leads Europe in its use of renewable energy technology and was planning to reach 100% renewable electricity generation by 2010. By 2004, 61% of the region's electricity was generated by renewable sources consisting of 43.6% from 28 wind farms, 12% from over 100 small-scale water turbines, and 5.3% from 2 biomass and 2 biogas plants. In addition, the region had what was then Spain's largest photovoltaic power plant at Montes de Cierzo de Tudela (1.2 MWp capacity) plus several hundred smaller photovoltaic installations.
Developments since 2004 have included further photovoltaic plants at Larrión (0.25 MWp) and another at Castejón (2.44 MWp), also once the largest in Spain.
Map showing density of Basque speakers, including second-language speakers
Spanish is the official language throughout Navarre. Basque also has official status in the Basque-speaking area. The northwestern part of the community is largely Basque-speaking, while the southern part is entirely Spanish-speaking. The capital, Pamplona, is in the mixed region. Navarre is legally divided into three linguistic regions: regions where Basque is widespread and official (the Basque-speaking area), regions where Basque is present and has reduced official recognition (the mixed region), and regions where Basque is non-official. In 2006 11.1% of people in Navarre were Basque speakers, 7.6% were passive speakers and 81.3% were Spanish-speaking monolinguals, an increase from 9.5% Basque speakers in 1991. The age distribution of speakers is unequal, with the lowest percentages in the above‑35 age group, rising to 20% amongst the 16-24 age group. The 2011 census showed another small increase in the percentage of Basque speakers to 11.7% (63,000 speakers)