The origins of the Generalitat

Pau Claris 94th president of the Generalitat

The Generalitat is the popular name for the "Deputació del General de Catalunya" which literally translates as the General Council of Catalonia. It is a political body that has been in existence since the Late Middle Ages and was essentially a governing structure under the Catalan Corts, or parliament. This parliamentary assembly representing the entire country had emerged from an agreement between the main political actors of the time. The arrangement is considered to be not only the first, but also one of the most democratic and pluralistic institutions in Europe.

Great Seal of the General Council of the Principality of Catalonia (15th c.)  (s. XV)
Great Seal of the General Council of the Principality of Catalonia (15th c.) (s. XV)

As an institution, during the reign of King Jaume I the Conqueror, the Generalitat gradually emerged from a committee of the Catalan parliament, or Corts, to a fully consolidated and permanent Parliament during the reign of King Jaume I, or James I the Conqueror, in the 13th century. For over four hundred years the Corts, represented the entire Catalan nation through the three branches of government establish during the Middle and Modern ages: the ecclesiastical, the noble and the royal societies. Agreements on taxation, laws and royal prerogative would be decided upon in each parliamentary session, or Cort, convened by the King.

Additionally, the Generalitat was the permanent body administering these accords and would later go on to issue its own sovereign debt and have its own armed forces. It would not have to depend directly on the Crown and would guarantee the preservation as well as the protection of Catalan laws and interests.

The origins of the Generalitat are considered to date back to 1359, when King Peter the Ceremonious convened a parliamentary session in Cervera, known as the Cort de Cervera, in Western Catalonia to raise funds in the case an invasion by King Peter the Cruel of Spain were to take place. The gravity of the situation prompted a further consolidation of the Generalitat, which led to its establishment as permanent institution. From that year on, the ruling body would be composed of group of representatives who would govern on a collegial basis. However, due to the previously established tradition, only the representatives of the Ecclesiastical branch could be considered as the legitimate heads of government, henceforth the list of presidents of the Generalitat begins with Berenguer de Cruïlles, Bishop of Girona.

The Generalitat existed as fully consolidated institution from 1359 until King Philip V of Spain abolished it in 1714, after Catalonia's military was defeated in the War of the Spanish Succession which ended with the siege of Barcelona on September 11th. As a result, Castilian law was imposed on the territories of the Kingdom of Catalonia and Aragon through an absolutist monarchical form of government.

In 1931, an agreement was made with the Spanish State to have a new form of self-government, under the name of Generalitat of Catalonia, acknowledging the historical and political significance of the ancient institution. It remained in exile, however, following the Spanish Civil War and was not fully recognised until 1977, after the restoration of democracy in Spain.

The 131 President of the Generalitat

14th
century

  • 1.Berenguer de Cruïlles. 1359-1362
  • 2.Romeu Sescomes. 1363-136(4)
  • 3.Ramon Gener. 136(4)-1365
  • 4.Bernat Vallès. 1365
  • Bernat Vallès. 1365-1367[*]
  • Romeu Sescomes. 1375-1376[*]
  • 5.Joan I d'Empúries. 1376
  • 6.Guillem de Guimerà. 1376-1377
  • 7.Galceran de Besora. 1377-1378
  • Ramon Gener. 1379-1380 [*]
  • 8.Felip d'Anglesola. 1380
  • 9.Pere Santamans. 1381-1383
  • 10.Arnau Descolomer. 1384-1389
  • 11.Miquel de Santjoan. 1389-1396
  • 12.Alfons de Tous. 1396-1413

15th
century

  • 13.Marc de Vilalba. 1413-1416
  • 14.Andreu Bertran. 1416-1419
  • 15.Joan Desgarrigues. 1419-1422
  • 16.Dalmau de Cartellà. 1422-1425
  • 17.Felip de Malla. 1425-1428
  • 18.Domènec Ram. 1428-1431
  • Marc de Vilalba. 1431-1434[*]
  • 19.Pere de Palou. 1434-1437
  • 20.Pere de Darnius. 1437-1440
  • 21.Antoni d'Avinyó i de Moles. 1440-1443
  • 22.Jaume de Cardona i de Gandia. 1443-1446
  • 23.Pero Ximénez de Urrea. 1446-1449
  • 24.Bertran Samasó. 1449-1452
  • 25.Bernat Guillem Samasó. 1452-1455
  • 26.Nicolau Pujades. 1455-1458
  • 27.Antoni Pere Ferrer. 1458-1461
  • 28.Manuel de Montsuar. 1461-1464
  • 29.Francesc Colom. 1464-1467
  • 30.Ponç Andreu de Vilar. 1467-1470
  • 31.Miquel Samsó. 1470-1473
  • 32.Joan Maurici de Ribes. 1473-1476
  • 33.Miquel Delgado. 1476-1478
  • 34.Pere Joan Llobera. 1478-1479
  • 35.Berenguer de Sos. 1479-1482
  • 36.Pere de Cardona. 1482-1485
  • Ponç Andreu de Vilar. 1485-1488[*]
  • 37.Juan Payo Coello. 1488-1491
  • 38.Joan de Peralta. 1491-1494
  • 39.Francí Vicens. 1494-1497
  • 40.Pedro Mendoza. 1497-1500

16th
century

  • 41.Alfons d'Aragó. 1500-1503
  • 42.Ferrer Nicolau de Gualbes i Desvalls. 1503-1504
  • 43.Gonzalo Fernández de Heredia. 1504-1506
  • 44.Luís Desplà i d'Oms. 1506-1509
  • 45.Jordi Sanç. 1509-1512
  • 46.Joan d'Aragó. 1512-1514
  • 47.Jaume Fiella. 1514-1515
  • 48.Esteve de Garret. 1515-1518
  • 49.Bernat de Corbera. 1518-1521
  • 50.Joan Margarit i de Requesens. 1521-1524
  • 51.Lluís de Cardona i Enríquez. 1524-1527
  • 52.Francesc de Solsona. 1527-1530
  • 53.Francesc Oliver i de Boteller. 1530.1533
  • 54.Dionís de Carcassona. 1533-1536
  • 55.Joan Pasqual. 1536-1539
  • 56.Jeroni de Requesens i Roís de Liori. 1539-1542
  • 57.Miquel Puig. 1542-1545
  • 58.Jaume Caçador. 1545-1548
  • 59.Miquel d'Oms i Sentmenat. 1548-1551
  • 60.Onofre de Copons i de Vilafranca. 1551-1552
  • 61.Miquel de Ferrer i de Marimon. 1552
  • 62.Joan de Tormo. 1552-1553
  • 63.Miquel de Tormo. 1553-1554
  • 64.Francesc Jeroni Benet Franc. 1554-1557
  • 65.Pere Àngel Ferrer i Despuig. 1557-1559
  • 66.Ferran de Lloaces i Peres. 1559-1560
  • Miquel d'Oms i de Sentmenat. 1560-1563[*]
  • 67.Onofre Gomis. 1563-1566
  • 68.Francesc Giginta. 1566-1569
  • 69.Benet de Tocco. 1569-1572
  • 70.Jaume Cerveró. 1572-1575
  • 71.Pere Oliver de Boteller i de Riquer. 1575-1578
  • Benet de Tocco. 1578-1581 [*]
  • 72.Rafael d'Oms. 1581-1584
  • 73.Jaume Beuló. 1584
  • Pere Oliver de Boteller i de Riquer. 1584-1587[*]
  • 74.Martí Joan de Calders. 1587
  • 75.Francesc Oliver de Boteller. 1587-1588
  • 76.Jaume Caçador i Claret. 1590-1593
  • 77.Miquel d'Agullana. 1593-1596
  • Francesc Oliver de Boteller. 1596-1598 [*]
  • 78.Francesc Oliveres. 1598-1599
  • 79.Jaume Cordelles i Oms. 1599-1602

17th
century

  • 80.Bernat de Cardona i de Queralt. 1602-1605
  • 81.Pere Pau Caçador i d'Aguilar-Dusai. 1605-1608
  • 82.Onofre d'Alentorn i de Botella. 1608-1611
  • 83.Francesc de Sentjust i de Castre. 1611-1614
  • 84.Ramon d'Olmera i d'Alemany. 1614-1616
  • 85.Miquel d'Aimeric. 1616-1617
  • 86.Lluís de Tena. 1617-1620
  • 87.Benet Fontanella. 1620-1623
  • 88.Pere de Magarola i Fontanet. 1623-1626
  • 89.Francesc Morillo. 1626- 1629
  • 90.Pere Antoni Serra. 1629-1632
  • 91.Esteve Salacruz. 1632
  • 92.Garcia Gil de Manrique y Maldonado. 1632-1635
  • 93.Miquel d'Alentorn i de Salbà. 1635-1638
  • 94.Pau Claris i Casademunt. 1638-1641
  • 95.Josep Soler. 1641
  • 96.Bernat de Cardona i Raset. 1641-1644
  • 97.Gispert d'Amat i Desbosc de Sant Vicenç. 1644-1647
  • 98.Andreu Pont. 1647-1650
  • 99.Pau del Rosso. 1650-1654
  • 100.Francesc Pijoan. 1654-1656
  • 101.Joan Jeroni Besora. 1656-1659
  • 102.Pau d'Àger. 1659-1662
  • 103.Jaume de Copons i de Tamarit. 1662-1665
  • 104.Josep de Magarola i de Grau. 1665-1668
  • 105.Joan Pagès i Vallgornera. 1668-1671
  • 106.Josep de Camporrells i de Sabater. 1671-1674
  • 107.Esteve Mercadal i Dou. 1674-1677
  • 108.Alfonso de Sotomayor. 1677-1680
  • 109.Josep Sastre i Prats. 1680-1683
  • 110.Baltasar de Muntaner i de Sacosta. 1683-1686
  • 111.Antoni de Saiol i de Quarteroni. 1686-1689
  • 112.Benet Ignasi de Salazar. 1689-1692
  • 113.Antoni de Planella i de Cruïlles. 1692-1695
  • 114.Rafael de Pinyana i Galvany. 1695-1698
  • 115.Climent de Solanell i de Foix. 1698-1701

18th
century

  • 116.Joan Antoni Valls i Pandutxo. 1701
  • Antoni de Planella i de Cruïlles. 1701-1704[*]
  • 117.Francesc de Valls i Freixa. 1704-1706
  • 118.Josep Grau. 1706-1707
  • 119.Manuel de Copons i d'Esquerrer. 1707-1710
  • 120.Francesc Antoni de Solanell i de Montellà. 1710-1713
  • 121.Josep de Vilamala. 1713-1714

1714 / 1931

20th
century

21th
century

[*] The names of representatives who were chosen more than once appear in cursive lettering and have been counted only once among the 129 presidents of the Generalitat.

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