Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples was established in 1282 when Charles I of Sicily was forced to give up Sicily to Peter III of Aragon. Charles I retained his possessions in Southern Italy which came to be known as the Kingdom of Naples (after its capital city Naples). He was succeeded by his son Charles II (1285-1309) who was crowned in 1289 when he was released from the Aragonese captivity under the condition that he will retain only Naples. However, Charles II of Naples started a war against Frederick II of Sicily in 1296 but his attempt to capture Sicily failed. Charles II signed the Peace of Caltabellotta in 1302 recognizing Frederick II as King of Sicily.
Charles’ son and successor Robert (1309-1343) continued the war for the Sicilian throne but his heiress Joan I (1343-1382) finally renounced the Angevin claim to Sicily in 1343. Joan’s support to the Avignon Papacy and adoption of Louis I of Anjou, son of John II of France as her heir disturbed Pope Urban VI. The Pope declared the Kingdom of Naples a papal fief and offered the crown to Charles of Durazzo, her niece’s husband and the heir male.
Charles of Durazzo invaded Naples in 1381, captured Joan I, had her killed and ascended to the throne as Charles III (1382-1386). He managed to withstand the attacks of Louis of Anjou and was elected King of Hungary in 1385. Charles III was assassinated one year later by his son Ladislas or Lancelot (1386-1414) who succeeded him as King of Naples, while the Hungarian crown was assumed by Sigismund of Luxembourg. Lancelot’s reign was characterized by a struggle with the Angevin rival king of Naples, Louis II and his ally antipope John XXIII. Louis II captured Naples in 1390 but he was expelled by Lancelot in 1399.
Lancelot was succeeded by his sister Joan or Joanna II (1414-1435) who first adopted Alfonso V of Aragon as her heir and later Rene of Anjou, brother of Louis III of Anjou. However, Rene was held prisoner by Philip the Good of Burgundy on Joanna’s death in 1435 and Alfonso V (1442-1458) assumed the crown of Naples. Alfonso V who ruled the Crown of Aragon thus unified Sicily and Naples after decisively defeating Rene in 1442.
Sicily and Naples were separated after Alfonso’s death in 1458. The Kingdom of Naples was inherited by Alfonso’s illegitimate son Ferdinand I (1458-1494) whose reign was marked by incessant struggles with the House of Anjou. He managed to repulse the attempts of the Angevin rivals to capture Naples but his successors Alfonso II (1494-95), Ferdinand II (1495-96) and Frederick (1496-1501) failed to defend the Kingdom of Naples against France and Spain in the Italian Wars (1494-1559).