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27 Jul

Kingdom of Aragon (13th – 15th c.)

Alfonso II of Aragon was succeeded by his son Peter II (1196-1213) who joined the forces of Castile, Navarre and Portugal against the Moors in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212. The Moors were decisively defeated and their power in the Iberian Peninsula rapidly declined.

Portrait of James I the Conqueror

James I

Peter II was killed against Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester in the Battle of Muret in 1213 and was succeeded by his son James I the Conqueror (1213-1276) who became one of the greatest kings of Aragon. He consolidated the royal power, seized the Balearic Islands and Valencia from the Moors and achieved renouncement of the French rights to Catalonia in return for renouncing his claim to the lands in southern France with the Treaty of Corbeil in 1258. James I the Conqueror divided the Kingdom of Aragon between his two sons upon his death: Peter III (1276-1285) succeeded him as King of Aragon, Count of Barcelona and King of Valencia, while his younger son James II inherited the Balearic Islands, the counties of Roussillon and Cerdanya, the dominion of Montpellier, the barony of Aumelas and the viscounty of Carlades.

Peter III came into conflict with France over the Sicilian throne. He married Constance, daughter of the Sicilian King Manfred in 1262 and took advantage of the Sicilian rebellion against Charles of Anjou known as the War of the Sicilian Vespers in 1282. He invaded Sicily and was crowned King of Sicily in Palermo in 1282. His elder son Alfonso III (1285-1291) succeeded him as King of Aragon, Count of Barcelona and King of Valencia, while his younger son James II inherited the Kingdom of Sicily. However, the latter inherited the Crown of Aragon on the death of his brother Alfonso III in 1291. James II was forced to give up Sicily with the Treaty of Anagni in 1295 but gained Sardinia and Corsica as a compensation. He managed to seize only Sardinia, while Corsica was captured by the Republic of Genoa. James’ successor Alfonso IV (1327-1336) started a long war against the Republic of Genoa but failed to capture Corsica. His successor Peter IV (1336-1387) conquered the Balearic Islands and gained the inheritance of Sicily through marriage of his daughter Constance to Frederick III of Sicily. His attempt to assure the succession to his daughter provoked a rebellion of the Aragonese nobles but Peter IV managed to defeat them in the Battle of Epila in 1348.

Peter IV was succeeded by his sons John I (1387-1395) and Martin I (1395-1410) who were the last of the male line of the House of Barcelona. The Aragonese crown passed to the House of Trastamara with accession of Ferdinand I (1412-1416). Ferdinand I was succeeded by Alfonso V (1416-1458) who added to his realm the Kingdom of Naples. Aragonese throne was on his death assumed by his brother John II the Great (1458-1479), king consort of Navarre from 1425. The Catalans refused to recognize him as king and rebelled but John II managed to suppress the rebellion and achieved the Catalan recognition in 1472. However, he was forced to pawn Roussillon and Cerdanya in return for French military assistance in the Catalan rebellion. John II was succeeded by his son Ferdinand II (1474-1516), king consort of Castile and Leon through marriage with Isabella I of Castile.

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