Guifré I 'el Pilós' de Barcelona, XI comte de Barcelona (c.840 - c.897) MP

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Nicknames: "Wilfred o Cabeludo", "El Velloso", "Guifré el Pilós; también conocido como Wilfredo", "Vifredo", "Guifredo o Guilfredo", "Le Velu", "the Hairy", "El /Velloso/", "/Wilfrid/I", "Conde De Besalu", "Wilfred I de Barcelona"
Death: Died in Castellvell del Camp, Tarragona, Cataluña, Spain
Cause of death: killed in battle with the Moors
Occupation: Conde de Barcelona, Berga, Besalú, Greve, 'THE HAIRY', Count, Foi conde de Barcelona desde 878 até 897, ano da sua morte., Comte, de Barcelone, de Besalù, de Girona, d'Osana, d'Urgel, de Cerdagne, COUNT OF BARCELONA, .
Managed by: Jocelynn Elaine Oakes
Last Updated:

About Guifré I 'el Pilós' de Barcelona, XI comte de Barcelona

Count of Cerdanya and of Urgell (870(?) - 897) and of Barcelona, of Girona as Wilfred II, and of Besalú (878-897), he also held the title of Marquis. Son of Sunifred I and Ermessenda. His most important achievement was the repopulation of the centre of Catalonia, devastated and almost deserted after the revolt of Aissó and Guillemó, and the incursion of Abū Marwān in 827. He began the enterprise in the valley of Lord, between 872 and 878, and carried on through Ripollès (from 879), Osona (from 881) and Bages (from 889), until he left an established boundary with the Saracens along the watershed of the Llobregat and the Segre basins. He founded the monastery of Ripoll in 879, as well as that of Sant Joan de les Abadesses, consecrated in 887. He organised the county of Osona, declared in 885, and facilitated the restoration of the bishopric of Vic in 886 or 887. Between 885 and 890, he supported Esclua's attempt to emancipate the Catalan bishoprics from Narbonne. During the years from 888 to 890, he was forced to confront the counts of Empúries, Sunyer II and Delà, who had seized the city of Girona and a part of his county and the county of Besalú, and eventually drove them out. In 877, he married Guinedilda. He attacked Ismā'īl ibn Mūsà, who had seized Saragossa in 871, and between 883 and 884, he fortified Lleida, but in 884, he was defeated and suffered heavy losses. In 897, he forestalled the governor of Lleida, Llop ibn Muhammad, who had set fire to the castle of Aura (possibly near Caldes), but he was overcome and wounded or killed by the spear of Llop himself. His estates were inherited jointly by his wife and his non-ecclesiastic male children, although, perhaps at the suggestion of the authorised advisers, a distribution was made that left Guifré with Barcelona-Girona-Osona, Miró with Cerdanya (together with Berguedà and Conflent), Sunifred with Urgell (with Andorra). Also, finally, Sunyer with Besalú, under the protection of the older brother Guifré, until the death of the paternal uncle Radulf, regent of Besalú. Around the figure of Guifré el Pelós, there soon formed a legendary aura, which already seemed to radiate when Bishop Idalguer of Vic praised his merits in 906. The epithet Hairy is undoubtedly related to his legend, cited only in the initial nucleus of the which credits him with securing the independence of his estates in circumstances which correspond to the era of Borrell II. A later legend credits the emperor Louis the Pious with having drawn his fingers across the count's golden shield with the blood of the count, thus creating the red pallets which were to constitute the Catalan coat-of-arms and the Catalan flag, the (Catalan stripes).

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from Foundation for Medieval Genealogy NOBILITY.htm:

GUIFRÉ [Guifred/Wifredus] [I] "el Pilós/el Velloso/the Hairy" de Barcelona, son of SENIOFREDO Count in the March of Spain & his wife Ermesende --- (-killed in battle near Santa María del Puch [21 Aug 897/31 Dec 898], probably 11 Aug 898, bur Santa María de Ripoll monastery).

The Gesta Comitum Barcinonensium names "Guiffredus…cum filio suo Guiffredo qui cognomento est Pilosus"[78]. The Crónica de San Juan de la Peña names "Guiffré que fue de la villa Darriá, sitiada en la tierra de Conflent cerca el río de Ter" when recording that he received "del Rey de Francia, el Condado de Barschinona", as well as "su fillo…Guiffré Pelloso" (stating that the latter was so-called "porque pellos hauía en lugars do homs nondan acostupnado de hauer")[79], although the Crónica is very confused in its narrative about the early rulers of Barcelona. No other source has so far been found which identifies two separate counts named Guifré, father and son.

He was confirmed by Charles II "le Chauve" King of the West Franks as Comte de Urgell, Cerdanya and Conflent in 870, and as Comte de Barcelona and Girona in 878. A charter dated 23 Sep 873 records the foundation of the church of Notre-Dame de Formiguera by "comitibus…Vuifredo et fratre eius Mirone et comitibus Olibano et fratre eius Ayfredo"[80]. Wifredo "el Velloso" and his wife Winidilda donated property to Ripoll monastery by charter dated 27 Jun 875 which names "fratre meo…Seniofredo"[81].

He encouraged colonisation in the unsettled frontier areas of Urgell and Cerdanya along the valley of the River Lord. He restored the Bishopric of Vic in 887.

The death in 888 of Emperor Karl III marked a decline in Carolingian power and a trend towards independence of the Catalan counties. This was helped by their geographical remoteness from the central Frankish authority, their own relative stability and the direct relations which they had established with the Papacy[82].

A charter dated 21 Aug 897 names Wifredo and his wife Winidilda[83].

Guifré was killed resisting a Moorish incursion which reached Barcelona. The Crónica de San Juan de la Peña records that "Guiffré" (meaning Guifré the father, see above) was killed "cerca de la villa de Senyora Sancta Maria del Puch"[84]. A necrology of San Juan de Ripoll monastery records the death "III Id Aug" of the founder of the monastery (who was Guifré) and his burial there[85]. On his death, his territories were divided between his sons.

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