Val d'Aran
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Aran (; ; ) (previously officially called in Occitan Val d'Aran, Catalan: ''Vall d'Aran'', Spanish: ''Valle de Arán'') is an administrative entity (formerly considered a
comarca A ''comarca'' (, or ) is a traditional region or local administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as ma ...
) in
Lleida Lleida (, ; es, Lérida ) is a city in the west of Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Spain, designated as a ''na ...
,
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in the northeastern corner of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, na ...

Catalonia
,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
, consisting of the Aran Valley, in area, in the
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineus ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of and . It extends nearly from its union with the to on the coast. It reaches a ma ...

Pyrenees
mountains, in the northwestern part of the
province of Lleida The Province of Lleida (; es, Lérida ; oc, Lhèida) is one of the four provinces of Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous ...
. This valley constitutes the only contiguous part of Catalonia located on the northern side of the Pyrenees. Hence, this valley holds the only Catalan rivers to flow into the
Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
(for the same reason, the region is characterized by an Atlantic climate, instead of a Mediterranean one). The
Garonne The Garonne (, also , ; Occitan language , Occitan, Catalan language , Catalan, Basque language, Basque, and es, Garona, ; la, Garumna or ) is a river of southwest France and northern Spain. It flows from the central Spanish Pyrenees to the G ...

Garonne
river flows through Aran from its source on the Pla de Beret (Beret Flat) near the
Port de la Bonaigua Port de la Bonaigua (el. 2072 m., 6,798 ft) is a mountain pass A mountain pass is a navigable route through a mountain range or over a ridge A ridge or a mountain ridge is a geographical feature consisting of a chain of mountains or hi ...
. It is joined by the Joèu river (from the slopes of
Aneto mountain
Aneto mountain
) which passes underground at the '' Forau de Aigualluts''. It then reappears in the Val dera Artiga de Lin before reaching the Aran valley, then through France and eventually to the
Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
. The
Noguera Pallaresa The Noguera Pallaresa (; oc, Noguèra Palharesa, ) is a river in Catalonia, Spain. It is named after the Pallars region. Course Its source is at ''Era Font d'era Noguereta'' in the municipality of Naut Aran (Aran Valley) at an elevation of abou ...
river, whose source is only a hundred meters from that of the Garonne, flows the opposite way towards the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
Mediterranean
. Aran borders
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its extends from the to the and from the to the and the ; overseas territories include in , in the N ...

France
on the north, the Autonomous Community of
Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, comunidade autónoma oc, comunautat autonòma an, comunidat autonoma ast, comunidá autónoma , alt_n ...

Aragon
to the west and the
Catalan Catalan may refer to: Catalonia From, or related to Catalonia: * Catalan language, a Romance language * Catalans, an ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia * Països Catalans, territories where Catalan is spoken * Ca ...

Catalan
comarques This is a list of the 42 ''comarques'' (singular ''comarca'', ) into which Catalonia is divided. A ''Comarcas of Spain, comarca'' is a group of municipalities of Catalonia, municipalities, roughly equivalent to a "county" in the U.S.A. or the U.K. ...
of
Alta Ribagorça Alta Ribagorça () is one of the comarques This is a list of the 42 ''comarques'' (singular ''comarca'', ) into which Catalonia is divided. A ''Comarcas of Spain, comarca'' is a group of municipalities of Catalonia, municipalities, roughly equiv ...

Alta Ribagorça
to the south and Pallars Sobirà to the east. Its capital is Vielha, with 5,474 inhabitants (2014). The entire population of the valley is about 9,991 (2014). As of 2001, a plurality of people in Aran spoke Spanish (38.78%) as their native language, followed by Aranese (34.19%), then Catalan (19.45%) with 7.56% having a different native language. While Aranese is the mother tongue of 62.87% of people born in the region, it is less frequent among residents born outside the valley.


History

In 1313,
James II of Aragon James II (Catalan: ''Jaume II''; Spanish: ''Jaime II;'' 10 April 1267 – 2 or 5 November 1327), called the Just,, an, Chaime lo Chusto, es, Jaime el Justo. was the King of Aragon This is a list of the kings and queens of Aragon. Th ...

James II of Aragon
granted administrative and political autonomy to the Aran Valley, the legal details of which are described in a
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant la ...
manuscript called the
Querimonia
Querimonia
. The devolution of power was a reward for the Aranese pledging allegiance to James II in a dispute with the kingdoms of France and Mallorca over control of the valley. This status was suppressed in 1834, when the Valley was integrated into the new Province of Lleida, in the context of the establishment of the Spanish provinces at the beginning of the liberal state. On 19 October 1944,
Spanish Communist Party The Spanish Communist Party (in es, Partido Comunista Español), was the first communist party in Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de Españ ...
guerrilla warfare, guerrillas Spanish maquis#Invasion of Aran Valley, invaded the valley in an attempt to bring about the fall of the Spanish Francisco Franco, dictatorship. They took control of several villages until October 27, 1944, but were forced to retreat back into France after Franco sent reinforcements to defend Vielha. Before the construction of the Vielha tunnel, opened in 1948, the Aran valley had no direct communication with the south side of the mountains during winter. In 1987 it became an administrative comarca. In 1990 the special status of Aran within Catalonia was restored by the Parliament of Catalonia, reestablishing the Conselh Generau, granting it a degree of home rule and declaring Occitan as official language. In 2015 the Catalan Parliament passed a new law which increased the powers of the Conselh Generau and recognized Aran as an "Occitan national reality". The population of Val d'Aran has generally been opposed to the Catalan independence movement due to lack of a strong Catalan identity.


Name and local language

Aranese is the standardized form of the local Gascon language, Gascon variety of the Occitan language. Aranese has been regularly taught at school since 1984. Like several other minority languages in Europe that recently faced decline, Aranese is experiencing a renaissance. The name Aran comes from Basque language, Basque ''haran'', meaning valley. Maps and road signs in Spain use the name "era Val d'Aran" to refer to the valley, where ''era'' is the Aranese singular feminine article. The same practice goes for all towns and other locations in Aran, for example, the Aranese spelling ''Vielha'' is used instead of Catalan and Spanish ''Viella'' to refer to the capital of Aran. Basque toponyms reveal that Basque was spoken further east along the Pyrenees than today. The growing influence of
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant la ...
began to drive Basque out after the turn of the first millennium.


Government and economy

Administratively, Aran is a "unique territorial entity" roughly equivalent to a Comarques of Catalonia, ''comarca'' with additional powers, and informally referred to as a comarca. This status was most recently formalised in February 2015. The area is divided into six administrative divisions called ''terçons'' :oc:terçon, (oc) (meaning "thirds", as there were formerly three divisions). The current arrangement of the divisions dates from the 15th century. Since 1991, Aran has an autonomous government called the ''Conselh Generau d'Aran, Conselh Generau'' ( oc, General Council). The major political parties are the Unity of Aran, Unity of Aran - Aranese Nationalist Party (the local chapter of the Socialists' Party of Catalonia), the Aranese Democratic Convergence (the local chapter of the (Democratic Convergence of Catalonia). The Occitan Republican Left party was founded in 2008. The main economic activity in the valley is tourism; from the ski resorts in the winter and from other tourist activity in the summer. Other primary sectors of the economy include forest products, cattle ranching and agriculture, all of which have become progressively less important since the opening of ski resorts.


Municipalities


Fauna

Many native animals of Aran are endangered species, in danger of extinction. There are programs to reintroduce and/or protect: * Brown bear (''Ursus arctos'') * Rock ptarmigan (''Lagopus mutus'') * Aran rock lizard (''Lacerta aranica'') * Lammergeier, Bearded vulture (''Gypaetus barbatus'')


References


External links


Page of the Conselh Generau d'Aran

Information from the Generalitat de Catalunya

Touristic information about the Val d'Aran
* Smith, Dominic
"Language planning in the Val d’Aran: The recent work of the Conselh Generau d’Aran’s ‘Oficina de Foment e Ensenhament der Aranés’ and its effects on the Aranés-speaking population."
(PDF). 2003. {{Authority control Val d'Aran, Valleys of Catalonia Pyrenees