Navarre (Spanish: Navarra, Basque: Nafarroa) is a region in northern Spain, constituting one of its autonomous communities - the "Foral Community of Navarre" (Spanish: Comunidad Foral de Navarra; Basque: Nafarroako Foru Erkidegoa).
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. The Vascones managed to maintain their separate Basque language and traditions even under the Roman rule.
The area was never fully subjugated either by the Visigoths or by the Arabs. In A.D. 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 A.D. 1515, the bulk of Navarre below the Pyrenees—Upper Navarre—was at last absorbed into a re-united Kingdom of the Spains but retained some rights specific to it. The small portion of Navarre lying north of the Pyrenees—Lower Navarre—later came under French rule when its Huguenot sovereign became King Henri 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.