Pamplona (pämplōˈnä) [key], city (1990 pop. 183,525), capital of Navarre, N Spain, on the Arga River. An older spelling is Pampeluna. It is an important communications, agricultural, and industrial center, manufacturing crafts, paper, and chemicals. The Univ. of Navarre (1952) is there.
An ancient city of the Basques, it was repeatedly captured (5th–9th cent.) by the Visigoths, the Franks, and the Moors, but none of the conquerors—not even Charlemagne, who took it in 778 and razed its walls—exercised control for long. In 824 the Basque kingdom of Pamplona, later called the kingdom of Navarre, was founded. Pamplona remained the capital of Navarre until 1512, when Ferdinand V united the major part of Navarre with Castile. In the Peninsular War, Pamplona was taken (1808) by the French and (1813) by the English.
The city is still surrounded by old walls and fortifications and has retained its Gothic cathedral (14th–15th cent.). The celebration of the feast of San Fermin, described in Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, is marked by running bulls to the bullring. Many residents and visitors run with the bulls through the streets, risking injury and even death.