Former kingdom in the northeastern part of the Iberian peninsula, now forming part of the department of Basses Pyrenees, France, and the districts of Pamplona, Aoiz, Estella, Tafalla, and Tudela in Spain.
The inhabitants of the western Pyrenees successfully resisted the Romans, Visigoths, and Arabs, but were vanquished by the Franks in the 9th century.
They later regained independence, and their first king was Eneco Arista (839) whose son, Garcia II Eneco, intrepidly resisted the Moors. Garcia's son, Fortun Garcia, after a reign of 22 years became a monk at Leyra, the oldest convent in Navarre.
Fortun's son, Sancho Garcia I, surnamed Abarca (905-925), pushed the Moors back to Najera, and in thanksgiving for his victories founded the convent of Albelda, 924.
Under his grandson, Sancho the Great (970-1033), the realm rose to its greatest importance, extending from Galicia to Barcelona.
At his death the lands were divided never to be reunited, and Navarre became dependent upon its more powerful neighbors.
Ecclesiastical activity attained prominence in the period of independence.
The dioceses of Pamplona and Oca were united in 1079 to Burgos, in 1035 Palencia was reestablished by Sancho the Great, and Calahorra, wrested from the Moors after 300 years of occupation, absorbed those of Najera (1045) and Alaba (1088).
Sancho also reestablished the See of Pamplona and arranged synods at Leyra (1022) and Pamplona (1023) to reform ecclesiastical life.
Sancho el Fuerte took the revenues of churches and convents in return for important privileges, and in 1198 granted to the See of Pamplona his palaces and possessions in that city.
After his death his subjects awarded the crown to Thibault de Champagne who fostered the poetry of the troubadours.
His son, Thibault II (1253-1270), married Isabel, daughter of Saint Louis of France whom he accompanied on a crusade to Tunis.
In 1276 Navarre passed to France and remained until 1328, when the Navarrese proclaimed independence and awarded the crown to Philip of Evreux.
Refusing to join the Holy League against France, Navarre came under the ban of the Church and was seized by Don Fabrique de Toledo (1512) for Ferdinand the Catholic of Aragon, who was recognized as king.
Lower Navarre north of the Pyrenees was left to France, and Spanish Navarre remained a vice-royalty until formally incorporated into the Spanish monarchy in 1833.
New Catholic Dictionary