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27 Jul

Kingdom of Navarre (13th – 15th c.)

Sancho the Strong died childless in 1234 and was succeeded by his nephew Theobald IV of Champagne who ascended to the throne as Theobald I (1234-1253). Theobald’s reign is notable for his sponsorship of poetry of the Troubadours and participation in the Sixth Crusade in 1228-1229. He was succeeded first by his eldest son Theobald II (1253-1270) and then by his younger son Henry I the Fat (1271-1274) who was the last in male line of the House of Champagne. Henry I was succeeded by his minor daughter Joan I (1274-1305). In 1284, she married the future Philip IV of France and Kingdom of Navarre was united with France in a personal union until the death of Charles IV of France in 1328.

The Navarrese declared independence on the death of Charles IV of France and elected Joan II (1328-1349) who was only daughter of King Louis X of France (Louis I of Navarre) and his first wife Margaret of Burgundy as Queen of Navarre. Joan II gained Angoulime, Longueville and Mortain in exchange for renouncement of her claim to the French throne, Champagne and Brie.

Medieval depiction of Joan II, Queen of Navarre

Joan II of Navarre

Joan II was succeeded by her son Charles II the Bad (1349-1387) whose reign was marked by his quarrels with the kings of France over the French crown and political intrigues with his sister Isabella who was married to Edward II of England. Charles II was succeeded by his son Charles III the Noble (1387-1425) whose reign was more peaceful in compare to his father’s. He improved the relations with France as well as with Castile and England through his marriage with the infanta Eleanor, daughter of Henry II of Castile and by marrying his sister, Joanna of Navarre to Henry IV of England. Charles the Noble also improved relations with Aragon by arranging the marriage of his daughter Blanche I to John II, son of king Ferdinand I of Aragon. He outlived all his legitimate sons and was succeeded by his daughter Blanche I (1425-1442) and her husband John II of Aragon (1425-1479).

A portrait of John II of Aragon

John II of Aragon

Blanche died in 1441 and was succeeded by her son Charles of Viana (1441-1461) but his father John II of Aragon was de facto ruler of Navarre. In 1447, John II remarried with Joanna Enriquez, a Castilian noblewoman who bore him a son, the future Ferdinand II, King of Aragon and Castile (1479-1516). Their attempt to assure the succession to their son Ferdinand provoked a civil war which ended with John’ defeat. Charles of Viana died in 1461 and was succeeded by his sister Blanca but she was immediately imprisoned by John II and died three years later. However, the revolt against John’s rule continued. He managed to suppress the Catalan revolt in 1472 but the last years of his reign were marked by incessant war against the foreign pretenders to the Navarrese throne.

The Navarrese throne was on John’s in 1479 assumed by Eleanor, the youngest daughter of John II and Blanche and afterwards by her grandson Francis Phoebus of Foix (1479-1483). The latter was succeeded by his sister Catherine I (1483-1518), while the regency was held by her mother Magdalene of Valois, sister of Louis XI. The throne was also claimed by her uncle, John of Foix which led to the outbreak of a civil war. However, the Kingdom of Navarre was also claimed by Ferdinand II of Aragon and Castile who finally annexed Navarre in 1513.

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