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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Juan I 1387 1395 and Mart?n I 1395 1410


Juan I and Mart?n I.]

[Sidenote: The dispute over the succession and the crowning of Ferdinand I.]

The reigns of the next two kings, Juan I (1387-1395) and Mart?n I (1395-1410), were more important from the standpoint of social institutions than in external political events. In the former reign occurred the loss of the duchy of Athens. In the latter, the island of Sicily, as foreseen by Pedro IV, returned to the Aragonese line when Mart?n of Sicily succeeded his father as king of Aragon. On the death of Mart?n without issue, a dispute arose as to the succession to the throne. The most prominent claimants were Ferdinand of Antequera, then regent of Castile, a son of Mart?n's sister, and Jaime, count of Urgel, son of a cousin of Mart?n. Ferdinand was supported by the Aragonese anti-pope, Benedict XIII,[33] by the ecclesiastical and popular elements of most of Aragon proper, by various nobles, and by the political influence of the Castilian state, while Jaime counted on the popular support of Catalonia and Valencia and of part of Aragon, as well as on various noble families. Jaime had the advantage of being a native of the kingdom, while Ferdinand was looked upon as a foreigner, but as a matter of law Ferdinand had the better claim. For two years there were serious disturbances on the part of the noble families, which united their personal rivalries to the question of the dynastic succession. Finally, the matter

was left to a commission of nine, three each from Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia, and this body rendered a decision, in 1412, in favor of the Castilian claimant, who thereby became Ferdinand I of Aragon (1410-1416). Jaime resisted for a time, but was soon obliged to submit, and was imprisoned in a castle, although well treated there.

[Sidenote: Alfonso "the Magnanimous" and Aragonese expansion into Italy.]

Ferdinand was succeeded by his son, Alfonso V, called variously "the Learned" or "the Magnanimous" (1416-1458) under whom the Catalan Policy of Mediterranean expansion advanced to a stage far beyond anything previously attempted. Most of his reign was passed by him in warfare in Italy. Invited by the queen of Naples, who adopted him as her heir, to assist her against the house of Anjou, Alfonso was at length able to dominate the land and to set up a brilliant court at the city of Naples. He also intervened successfully in other wars, and even thought of attempting to reconquer Constantinople from the Turks, for that city had been taken by them in 1453. Meanwhile, his absence from his Spanish dominions permitted of a revival of internal disorders, which were to come to a head in the next reign. Alfonso gave Naples (southern Italy) to his illegitimate son Ferdinand, and the rest of his domains, including Sardinia and Sicily, to his brother Juan.

[Sidenote: Juan II, Juana Enr?quez, and Charles of Viana.]

[Sidenote: The revolt of the Catalans.]

Prior to his succession to the Aragonese throne Juan II (1458-1479) had married the queen of Navarre,

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