Navarre is a community in northernSpain, bordering the Basque Country, La Rioja, Castile and León and Aragon in Spain and Aquitaine in France. The capital is the city of Pamplona. During the time of the Roman Empire, the territory of the province was inhabited by the Vascones, a pre-Roman tribe who populated the southern slopes of the Pyrenees. In the northern, mountaineous areas the Vascones escaped large-scale Roman settlement but not so in the flatter areas to the south which were amenable to large-scale Roman farming. The area was never fully subjugated either by the Visigoths or by the Moors. In AD 778, the Basques defeated a Frankish army in the Battle of Roncevaux Pass. Two generations later, in 824, the chieftain Iñigo Arista was chosen King of Pamplona, laying a foundation for the later Kingdom of Navarre. That kingdom reached its zenith during the reign of Sancho III of Navarre and covered the area of the present-day Navarre, Basque country, and La Rioja, together with parts of modern Cantabria, Castile and León, and Aragon. After Sancho III died, the Kingdom of Navarre was divided between his sons and never fully recovered its importance. The army of Navarre fought beside other Christian Spanish kingdoms in the decisive battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, after which the Muslim conquests on the Iberian Peninsula were slowly reduced to a small territory in the south.In AD 1515, the bulk of Navarre south of the Pyrenees—Upper Navarre—was at last absorbed into the incipient Kingdom of Spain but retained some exclusive rights. The small portion of Navarre lying north of the Pyrenees—Lower Navarre—later came under French rule when its Huguenot sovereign became King Henry IV of France; with the declaration of the French Republic and execution of Louis XVI, the last King of France and Navarre, the kingdom was merged into a unitary French state.
Despite its relatively small size, Navarre features stark contrasts in geography, from the Pyrenees mountain range that dominates the territory to the plains of the Ebro river valley in the south. The highest point in Navarre is Hiru Erregeen Mahaia, with an elevation of 2,428 metres (7,965 feet). Other important mountains are Txamantxoia, Kartxela, the Larra-Belagua Massif, Sierra de Alaiz, Untzueko Harria, Sierra de Leyre, Sierra del Perdón, Montejurra, Ezkaba, Monte Ori, Sierra de Codés,Urbasa, Andia and the Aralar Range.
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