Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona

Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona

Ramon Berenguer III "the Great" was the count of Barcelona, Girona, and Osona from 1082 (jointly with Berenguer Ramon II and solely from 1097), Besalú from 1111, Cerdanya from 1117, and Provence, in the Holy Roman Empire, from 1112, all until his death in Barcelona in 1131. As Ramon Berenguer I, he was Count of Provence from 1112 in right of his wife.

Born in 1082 in Rodez, he was the son of Ramon Berenguer II. He succeeded his father to co-rule with his uncle Berenguer Ramon II. He became the sole ruler in 1097, when Berenguer Ramon II was forced into exile.

During his rule Catalan interests were extended on both sides of the Pyrenees. Bymarriage or vassalage he incorporated into his realm almost all of the Catalan counties (except those of Urgell and Peralada). He inherited the counties of Besalú (1111) and Cerdanya (1117) and in between married Douce, heiress of Provence (1112). His dominions then stretched as far east as Nice.

In alliance with the Count of Urgell, Ramon Berenguer conquered Barbastro andBalaguer. In 1118 he captured and rebuilt Tarragona, which became the
metropolitan seat of the church in Catalonia (before that, Catalans had dependedecclesiastically on the archbishopric of Narbonne). He also established relationswith the Italian maritime republics of Pisa and Genoa and in 1114 and 1115raided with them the Moorish pirate strongholds of Majorca and Ibiza.They became his tributaries and many Christian slaves there were recovered and set free. Ramon Berenguer also raided mainland Muslim dependencies with Pisa's help, such as Valencia, Lleida and Tortosa.

Toward the end of his life Ramon Berenguer became a Templar. He gave his five Catalonian counties to his eldest son Ramon Berenguer IV and Provence to the younger son Berenguer Ramon.

Ramon Berenguer's marriages and descendants

* First wife, María Rodríguez de Vivar, second daughter of Cid, died ca. 1105
** María -> married Bernat III, Count of Besalú (d. 1111)
** Jimena, a.k.a. Eixemena -> married Roger III, Count of Foix

* Second wife, Almodis

* Third wife, Douce or Dolça de Gévaudaun, heiress of Provence, d. ca. 1127
** Almodis -> married Ponce de Cervera, mother of Agalbursa, who married Barisone II of Arborea
** Berenguela or Berengaria, b. 1116, d. 1149 -> married Alfonso VII of Castile
** Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona, b. 1115, d. 1162
** Berenguer Ramon I, Count of Provence, b. ca. 1115, d. 1144
** Bernat -> died young

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