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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Sancho was at least an energetic character


Sancho "the Brave."]

That the elements which supported Sancho were really fighting for their own independent jurisdiction was early made clear. In 1282 they obtained an acknowledgment from Sancho of the right of the nobles and towns to rise in insurrection against the illegal acts of the king, and to bring royal officials and judges to trial for their maladministration, being privileged to inflict the death penalty on them. With their aid he was able to set aside his father's will and become King Sancho IV (1284-1295), later styled "the Brave." Once in possession of the throne he too showed a disposition to check the turbulence of the nobles, for it was as impossible for a king to admit the arbitrary authority of the lords as it was for the latter to accept the same attribute in the king. Internal strife continued, but the pretext changed, for Sancho's opponents alleged the will of Alfonso in justification of their insurrections. Sancho was at least an energetic character, and put down his enemies with a stern hand, on one occasion having no less than four thousand partisans of his nephew put to death. His brother Juan, whom Sancho had deprived of the small kingdom which Alfonso had left him, gave him the most trouble, at one time enlisting the aid of the Benimerines, but without success.[28]

[Sidenote: Ferdinand "the Summoned."]

[Sidenote: Mar?a de Molina.]

justify;">Ferdinand IV "the Summoned"[29] (1295-1312) was only nine years old when his father died, wherefore the opponents of strong monarchy seized the occasion for a new period of civil strife which lasted fourteen years. His uncle, Juan, and his cousin, Alfonso,[30] renewed their pretensions, furnishing an opportunity for the lords and towns to join one side or the other, according as they could best serve their own interests, as also affording a chance for the intervention of Portugal, Aragon, France, and Granada with a view to enlarging their kingdoms. Although the towns usually supported the king, they did so at the price of such privileges as had been exacted from Sancho in 1282, showing that they had the same spirit of feudal independence as the lords, despite the monarchical sentiment of the middle class and the interest which they had in common with the king in checking the turbulence of the lords. That the king was able to extricate himself from these difficulties was due in greatest measure to his mother, Mar?a de Molina, one of the regents during his minority. By her political skill, added to the prestige of her word and presence, she was able to attract many towns and nobles to Ferdinand's side and to separate the more dangerous foreign enemies from the conflict against him. This she did not do without making concessions, but, at any rate, by the time the king had attained his majority at the age of sixteen the most serious perils had been overcome. Ferdinand IV showed himself an ingrate, demanding a strict account from his mother of her use of the public funds. Not only was she able to justify her administration, but she also demonstrated her devotion to her son's interests on later occasions, causing the failure of two insurrections headed by Ferdinand's uncle, Juan. Ferdinand made several minor campaigns against the Moslems, but died while engaged in one of them, leaving as his heir a year old boy.

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