A House Made of Gold and Roses.

Chapter 1 The Castilian inheritance and the Mediterranean Empire (1365-1378)
First Book: The House of Barcelona (1361-1482)

First Part: Pedro V of Aragon (1361-1404)

Prelude: New kings, new hopes.

After being close to death in late March, 1350, during the siege of Gibraltar, King Alfonso XI of Castille emerged from his experience as a new man. He had laid in his bed seriously ill and when, after three painful days, he recovered his health on March 27, which was Good Friday, he was determined to led a new life. Thus, he put an end to his scandalous relationship with his mistress, Leonor de Guzmán (1310-1354), who had borne him ten children. Then, he called his son and heir, Pedro, back to his court. Pedro, who was 16 years old, had been kept away when his father had refused to have any contact with her wife, Maria of Portugal (1313-1357), as the king was then infatuated with Leonor. Thus, the heir returned to the court, to be with his father and his half-brothers and to be educated in the kingly matters for the next ten years, until Alfonso XI died on October 30, 1360.

Meanwhile, in Aragon, King Pedro IV was killed by a bout of the Black Death, a few weeks later (January 14, 1361). His son Pedro (1), who was 14 years old then, became Pedro V of Aragon. The beginning of his kingship was darkened by the death of Jaime IV of Majorca as he tried to escape from his prison. In 1344 Pedro IV had declared his brother-in-law, Jaime III of Majorca (the father of Jaime IV), a disobedient vassal and occupied his kingdom (the Balearic Islands, Roussillon and Cerdanya) in May. James III was killed in battle when he attempted to reconquer his lands in 1349 and Jaime IV had been kept prisoner by his uncle, Peter IV, since then. Thus the kingdom of Majorca was formally re-annexed by Aragon after Jaime's death.

On June 24, 1371, Pedro V married the 14-year-old Joanne, daughter of of Charles V of France, following the efforts of his late father to avoid a war with Castille by having powerful allies.

Chapter 1: The Castilian inheritance and the Mediterranean Empire. (1365-1378)

To reinforce his own authority in Aragon, in 1365 Pedro V named his cousin Pedro, count of Urgell (1340 - 1408), as the new procurator general. It was a dangerous move, as the king had no male son, then, and this position was, by tradition, reserved for the second in line to the Aragonese throne. However, when Joanne gave birth to their first male son, Juan, Prince of Girona (b. May 28, 1373), Pedro V kept his namesake as the procurator general and he made his uncle Pedro de Aragón (1305 – 1381), Count of Ribagorza, Empúries and Prades the Warden of the Valencian border with Castille. His intention was to reinforce the defence of the realm and, as the monarch had to take care of so many questions of great importance, the protection of the kingdom had to be guaranteed by all means; thus the nomination of Urgell, who was soon to prove that the king was right when he named him procurator general when Marianus IV, the guidice -Judge (king)- of Arborea, in the island of Sardinia rebelled again that same year.

In 1297 Pope Boniface VIII, to settle the dispute between the Angevins and Aragonese over the Kingdom of Sicily (which had triggered the popular movement known as the Sicilian Vespers), formed the Regnum Sardiniae et Corsicae for James II the Just, King of Aragon. The conquest of Sardinia by the Aragonese Crown did not begin until June 1323. By then, the island was under the influence of Pisa, Genoa and the Doria and Malaspina families, as well as the Judicate of Arborea, the only surviving judicial state entity. The Arborean judge Hugh II of Arborea became a vassal of Jaime II of Aragon in exchange for the maintenance of the dynastic rights over his Judicate, with the hope to expand his control over the whole of Sardinia, as lieutenant of the distant king, residing in Barcelona. After defeating their enemies by the summer of 1353, Marianus IV felt threatened by the Aragonese claims of sovereignty and by the consolidation of their power in the island. Thus, in September, he rebelled against Aragon. In November 1354, Marianus IV forced Peter IV of Aragon to recognize the autonomy of his Judicate.

Thus, when Marianus IV invaded the Aragonese territories in the island (1365), Pedro V decided to settle the issue for once and all and ordered his cousin to defeat the rebel forces. By the Spring 1366, Marianus had conquered various villages and castles and the mining town of Villa di Chiesa, which rebelled against the Aragonese, and he built a fortified camp near Selargius to block supplies to Cagliari . In June 1367 an Aragonese army led by Pedro of Urgell and reinforced by Bertrand du Gluescin and the "free companies", arrived at Cagliari and marched toward the Judicial capital, Oristano. Marianus would achieve a pyrrhic victory near Sant'Anna, but, by the next year, Urgell and du Gluescin had been able to recapture Orsillo. Later that year, the tide turned to Aragon when the fleet of the Republic of Genoa, in support of Marianus, attacked the port of Cagliari but was defeated and decimated by the Catalan fleet.

Marianus IV launched a great offensive in 1368. He conquered the castles of Fava, Pontes, Bonvehì and Pedres, leaving only Alghero and Longosardo to their adversaries. He then entered Villa di Chiesa and Sanluri. There, in the pains of Sanluri met the two armies (June 30, 1368). Thanks to the enveloping tactics of du Guesclin, the Aragonese army, less numerous though much better trained, managed to divide the Arborean army, including many Genoese crossbowmen, into two parts which were then destroyed separately. The right battle was broken into two part, the first was being chased to Sanluri and eventually was routed there, and the other one followed Marianus to take refuge in the castle of Monreale, in the nearby village of Sardara, The left battle was slaughtered in a plain which has taken the name of s'occidroxiu ("the slaughterhouse") ever since. Four days later, Villa di Chiesa surrendered to Urgell, which dealt a crippling blow to Arborea. Marianus fled to France to seek aid, leaving his son Hugo to defend Oristano. Hugo was able to withstand the enemy siege and luck seemed to be on his side when France and England clashed again in 1369 and Du Guesclin was recalled to France.

However, Hugo never obtained the reinforcements that his father had promised him. As soon as he arrived in France, he was arrested by order of Charles V of France, who thus honoured his alliance with Aragon. In spite of this, the Arboreans defended themselves strenuously and seven months passed before Pedro Torrelles conquered the castles of Monreale, Marmilla and Gioiosa Guardia. In January 1370 Oristano finally surrendered. All the historical Arborea was forfeited and Marianus exiled for life with some of his most hot-headed followers to Genoa. His son Hugo was given Campidano de Cabras, Milis and Simaxis along with the title of Marquis of Oristano. In 1372 Marianus would try to rise again the islands in rebellion with the support of the Dorias. Only Sassari rose in arms, but Pedro Martínez de Luna, the captain general and lieutenant of Pedro V, defeated them on May 5, 1372 in El Alghero. After his father died a few months later (August 7), and convinced that he could not improve the situation, Hugo surrendered to Aragon, and on August 17, what remained of the old Judicate of Arborea was sold to Aragon for 100,000 gold florins.

The unexpected death of Pedro I of Castille (March 14, 1370) made Pedro V to become very active at the Castilian court, as Pedro's successor, Alfonso XII (1359-1414), became king at the age of 11 and was promised to Pedro's sister, Leonor (1358-1382). During Alfonso's minority, a council of Regents was set up to govern Castille. It was made up by three of his uncles: Enrique, Count of Trastámara, and Sancho, Count of Albuquerque, half-brothers of his father, and from his mother's side, Diego García de Padilla, Grand Master of the Order of Calatrava; finally, Pedro V of Aragón was included, too, as he was the father-in-law of the king. Pedro would constantly clash with Pedro clashing with Enrique de Trastámara for the dominant role in the council. However, when Alfonso XII came of age in 1378 and was crowned, both Pedro and Enrique lost most of their power at court as the king restored to power the highly competent advisors of his father and also chose to favour the advice of the "Infantillos" (2), his personal advisors, over that of his uncles. The "Infantillos" was a mocking name to refer to those advisors, who were neither princes nor civil servants; their position was simply bases on being very close friends of the king.


(1) Pedro IV's fourth stillborn son with his first wife, María de Navarra, now gets the chance to live a full life.
(2) Infantillos = little princes.
 
Last edited:
Prelude: New kings, new hopes.

After being close to death in late March, 1350, during the siege of Gibraltar, King Alfonso XI of Castille emerged from his experience as a new man. He had laid in his bed seriously ill and when, after three painful days, he recovered his health on March 27, which was Good Friday, he was determined to led a new life. Thus, he put an end to his scandalous relationship with his mistress, Leonor de Guzmán (1310-1354), who had borne him ten children. Then, he called his son and heir, Pedro, back to his court. Pedro, who was 16 years old, had been kept away when his father had refused to have any contact with her wife, Maria of Portugal (1313-1357), as the king was then infatuated with Leonor. Thus, the heir returned to the court, to be with his father and his half-brothers and to be educated in the kingly matters for the next ten years, until Alfonso XI died on October 30, 1360.

Meanwhile, in Aragon, King Pedro IV was killed by a bout of the Black Death, a few weeks later (January 14, 1361). His son Pedro (1), who was 14 years old then, became Pedro V of Aragon. The beginning of his kingship was darkened by the death of Jaime IV of Majorca as he tried to escape from his prison. In 1344 Pedro IV had declared his brother-in-law, Jaime III of Majorca (the father of Jaime IV), a disobedient vassal and occupied his kingdom (the Balearic Islands, Roussillon and Cerdanya) in May. James III was killed in battle when he attempted to reconquer his lands in 1349 and Jaime IV had been kept prisoner by his uncle, Peter IV, since then. Thus the kingdom of Majorca was formally re-annexed by Aragon after Jaime's death.

On June 24, 1371, Pedro V married the 14-year-old Margaret, daughter of the late Jean II of France and sister of Charles V, following the efforts of his late father to avoid a war with Castille by having powerful allies.

Chapter 1: The Castilian inheritance and the Mediterranean Empire.

To reinforce his own authority in Aragon, in 1365 Pedro V named his cousin Pedro, count of Urgell (1340 - 1408), as the new procurator general. It was a dangerous move, as the king had no male son, then, and this position was, by tradition, reserved for the second in line to the Aragonese throne. However, when Blanche gave birth to their first male son, Juan, Prince of Girona (b. May 28, 1373), Pedro V kept his namesake as the procurator general and he made his uncle Pedro de Aragón (1305 – 1381), Count of Ribagorza, Empúries and Prades the Warden of the Valencian border with Castille. His intention was to reinforce the defence of the realm and, as the monarch had to take care of so many questions of great importance, the protection of the kingdom had to be guaranteed by all means; thus the nomination of Urgell, who was soon to prove that the king was right when he named him procurator general when Marianus IV, the guidice -Judge (king)- of Arborea, in the island of Sardinia rebelled again that same year.

In 1297 Pope Boniface VIII, to settle the dispute between the Angevins and Aragonese over the Kingdom of Sicily (which had triggered the popular movement known as the Sicilian Vespers), formed the Regnum Sardiniae et Corsicae for James II the Just, King of Aragon. The conquest of Sardinia by the Aragonese Crown did not begin until June 1323. By then, the island was under the influence of Pisa, Genoa and the Doria and Malaspina families, as well as the Judicate of Arborea, the only surviving judicial state entity. The Arborean judge Hugh II of Arborea became a vassal of Jaime II of Aragon in exchange for the maintenance of the dynastic rights over his Judicate, with the hope to expand his control over the whole of Sardinia, as lieutenant of the distant king, residing in Barcelona. After defeating their enemies by the summer of 1353, Marianus IV felt threatened by the Aragonese claims of sovereignty and by the consolidation of their power in the island. Thus, in September, he rebelled against Aragon. In November 1354, Marianus IV forced Peter IV of Aragon to recognize the autonomy of his Judicate.

Thus, when Marianus IV invaded the Aragonese territories in the island (1365), Pedro V decided to settle the issue for once and all and ordered his cousin to defeat the rebel forces. By the Spring 1366, Marianus had conquered various villages and castles and the mining town of Villa di Chiesa, which rebelled against the Aragonese, and he built a fortified camp near Selargius to block supplies to Cagliari . In June 1367 an Aragonese army led by Pedro of Urgell and reinforced by Bertrand du Gluescin and the "free companies", arrived at Cagliari and marched toward the Judicial capital, Oristano. Marianus would achieve a pyrrhic victory near Sant'Anna, but, by the next year, Urgell and du Gluescin had been able to recapture Orsillo. Later that year, the tide turned to Aragon when the fleet of the Republic of Genoa, in support of Marianus, attacked the port of Cagliari but was defeated and decimated by the Catalan fleet.

Marianus IV launched a great offensive in 1368. He conquered the castles of Fava, Pontes, Bonvehì and Pedres, leaving only Alghero and Longosardo to their adversaries. He then entered Villa di Chiesa and Sanluri. There, in the pains of Sanluri met the two armies (June 30, 1368). Thanks to the enveloping tactics of du Guesclin, the Aragonese army, less numerous though much better trained, managed to divide the Arborean army, including many Genoese crossbowmen, into two parts which were then destroyed separately. The right battle was broken into two part, the first was being chased to Sanluri and eventually was routed there, and the other one followed Marianus to take refuge in the castle of Monreale, in the nearby village of Sardara, The left battle was slaughtered in a plain which has taken the name of s'occidroxiu ("the slaughterhouse") ever since. Four days later, Villa di Chiesa surrendered to Urgell, which dealt a crippling blow to Arborea. Marianus fled to France to seek aid, leaving his son Hugo to defend Oristano. Hugo was able to withstand the enemy siege and luck seemed to be on his side when France and England clashed again in 1369 and Du Guesclin was recalled to France.

However, Hugo never obtained the reinforcements that his father had promised him. As soon as he arrived in France, he was arrested by order of Charles V of France, who thus honoured his alliance with Aragon. In spite of this, the Arboreans defended themselves strenuously and seven months passed before Pedro Torrelles conquered the castles of Monreale, Marmilla and Gioiosa Guardia. In January 1370 Oristano finally surrendered. All the historical Arborea was forfeited and Marianus exiled for life with some of his most hot-headed followers to Genoa. His son Hugo was given Campidano de Cabras, Milis and Simaxis along with the title of Marquis of Oristano. In 1372 Marianus would try to rise again the islands in rebellion with the support of the Dorias. Only Sassari rose in arms, but Pedro Martínez de Luna, the captain general and lieutenant of Pedro V, defeated them on May 5, 1372 in El Alghero. After his father died a few months later (August 7), and convinced that he could not improve the situation, Hugo surrendered to Aragon, and on August 17, what remained of the old Judicate of Arborea was sold to Aragon for 100,000 gold florins.

The unexpected death of Pedro I of Castille (March 14, 1370) made Pedro V to become very active at the Castilian court, as Pedro's successor, Alfonso XII (1359-1414), became king at the age of 11 and was promised to Pedro's sister, Leonor (1358-1382). During Alfonso's minority, a council of Regents was set up to govern Castille. It was made up by three of his uncles: Enrique, Count of Trastámara, and Sancho, Count of Albuquerque, half-brothers of his father, and from his mother's side, Diego García de Padilla, Grand Master of the Order of Calatrava; finally, Pedro V of Aragón was included, too, as he was the father-in-law of the king. Pedro would constantly clash with Pedro clashing with Enrique de Trastámara for the dominant role in the council. However, when Alfonso XII came of age in 1378 and was crowned, both Pedro and Enrique lost most of their power at court as the king restored to power the highly competent advisors of his father and also chose to favour the advice of the "Infantillos" (2), his personal advisors, over that of his uncles. The "Infantillos" was a mocking name to refer to those advisors, who were neither princes nor civil servants; they were simply very close to the king.

(1) Pedro IV's fourth stillborn son with his first wife, María de Navarra, now gets the chance to live a full life.
(2) Infantillos = little princes.
Margaret is 14 years old in 1361, not 1371
 
Chapter 2: Internal dissent and foreign politics (1377-1386)
Chapter 2: Internal dissent and foreign politics (1377-1386)

Just as the fourth Venetian-Genoese War broke out in 1377, Pedro V decided to take sides. Aragon had supported Venice during the 1350-1355 conflict and now the Aragonese king had some reasons of his own to join the fray, as he wanted to settle some "Sardinian" accounts with La Superba and the Dorias. With this alliance the Doge of Venetia, Andrea Contarini, could focus in defending La Serenissima from Louis I of Hungary, allied of Genoa and the great-grandson of Charles II of Naples, who had been defeated by the Aragonese in their dispute over Sicily in the late 13th century, while Pedro V would launch his might against Genoa. The war was primarily fought over control of the island of Tenedos in the Aegean Sea, but the Aragonese galleys could help the offensive Venetian actions against the Genoese trade. First, the Aragonese fleet intercepted the Genoese ships that were chasing Vettor Pissani after a successful Venetian raid in the Tyrrhenian Sea in 1377. Then, while Carlo Zeno harassed the Genoese stations in the Levant, Pisani brought one of their squadrons to action. On May 30, 1378 off Cape d'Anzio to the south of the Tiber, 10 Venetian and 12 Aragonese faced 11 Genoese galleys. The Genoese admiral, Luigi de' Fieschi, was taken with 5 of his galleys, and others were wrecked. This battle would cause a drift in the Aragonese-Venetian alliance, as the Aragonese admiral Ramon de Perellòs pressed to attack Genoa itself, which was thrown into a panic by the defeat at Anzio. It was possible, Pereollòs claimed later on, that they might have dictated peace, but Pissani thought his squadron too weak, and preferred to follow the Genoese galleys which had fled to Famagusta.

Then, in June 1379, Perellòs, with 29 galleys, intercepted the reinforcements that Pietro Doria was taken to the Adriatic Sea to support Matteo Marufo, who planned to launch a direct attack against Venice. Doria's force was made up by 23 galleys. Perellòs attacked head-on, Some of his ships mounted small bombards, and this brought havoc among the Genoese fleet. The weapons were far too inaccurate to be used against other ships, but some near misses broke the enemy formation and Perellòs used the chance to divide the broken enemy formation in little pockets that he annihilated one by one. When the battle was over, 17 Genoese ships had been either sunk or captured. It was just the beginning, because Perellòs returned to Barcelona to replenish his force and then depart again, this time against Genoa itself. Thus, as Maruffo, whose force was near starvation, surrendered in the Adriatic Sea, Perellòs launched a daring raid against Genoa (on August 24), which was sacked and set ablaze by the Almogavar infantry. A few months later, through the mediation of the Amadeus VI of Savoy, the two sides made a peace treaty at Turin. It gave no formal advantage to Genoa or Venice, but it spelled the end of their long competition. The conflict was nearly disastrous for both sides, and Genoa was certainly crippled and lost the naval ascendency that she had enjoyed prior to the war. Venice might have suffered as badly, but she regained her strength soon. Then, in 1382, tensions grew up in the western corner of the Aragonese Empire.

After his wife Leonor of Aragon died in 1382, Alfonso XII of Castille married Beatriz of Portugal, the only child of King Fernando I of Portugal, and heir to the throne, after her younger brothers' deaths in 1380 and 1382. The earl of Ourém, Juan Fernández de Andeiro, favorite and probably lover of Queen Leonor, negotiated a new betrothal for Beatrice with Alfonso. Fernando, a determined ally of the late Pedro I, supported half-heartedly this move in order to counter any aspiration of his half-brothers, the children of Inês de Castro (João of Aviz, Diniz and Beatriz) and his siblings. The marriage contract was signed in April 1383. In the agreement, however, it was stated that Castile and Portugal would not unite. However, when Fernando died (October 22, 1383), the proclamation of Beatriz and Alfonso as kings of Portugal was rejected and the fears of Castilian dominion and loss of Portuguese independence fuelled the popular acclamation of Joao as king of Portugal. Alfonso XII then entered Portugal with Beatriz to ensure the obedience of Portugal and the rights of his wife. Suddenly, Pedro V of Aragon was out of the little remaining influence over Castille after the death of his sister. When the news of the Portuguese rebellion against Beatriz arrived to Zaragoza, where the Aragonese Parliament had been assembled and the murder of Ourém by Aviz, Pedro V decided to wait for developments.

The rebellion seemed to be over soon when the Portuguese army was defeated at Almada (October 23, 1383) and Aviz was captured. However, the rebels kept fighting in spite of this defeat. Alfonso XII pressed the Portuguese Parliament to disinherit Aviz, but to no avail and this made the Castilian king to swore that he would not let this slight go unpunished. However, in spite of his victory and military superiority, Alfonso XII eventually had to pact with Aviz to pacify Portugal with Pedro V of Aragon acting as a mediator. In the resulting Treaty of Toledo (May 24, 1384), Aviz lost his right to the crown in exchange of recovering his freedom and Queen Leonor was sent to the Monastery of Tordesillas. Hardly Aviz was freed, and with the support of his sister, he rejected the Treaty, as it had been signed under duress, and his supporters rebelled again in Lisbon, Porto and Santarem. To secure his claim, Aviz engaged in politics and intense diplomatic negotiations with both the Holy See and England. By October 1384, an agreement had been reached and a small English contingent was sent to Portugal to help defend the kingdom against its Castilian neighbor. Then, the Council of the kingdom (Cortes in Portuguese) assembled in Coimbra and declared him King João I of Portugal.

By early October 1384 Coimbra was besieged by the Aviz loyalists. The Castilian forces tried to break the siege, but they were defeated (August 4. 1385). Then, on December 3, 1385, Pedro V of Aragon joined the Portuguese side and declared war on Alfonso XII while sending ambassadors towards Lisbon (Arnau de Bardaixí, member of a powerful Aragonese family ) and London (Pere Terré, who headed the Catalan Generalitat several times from 1377 to 1385) to negotiate an alliance with both countries. Thus, while Enrique of Trastamara was able to briefly conquer Lisbon, the Castilian offensive against Aragon met with complete success: Alfonso's forces invaded the Jalon valley and conquered the castle of Miedes (April 17). Calatayud fell too (April 29), and Alfonso's forces advanced towards Zaragoza. Aragon looked as if it was unable to defend itself. However, in an unexpected turn of events, Alfonso XII marched to conquer Teruel instead of Zaragoza (May 1386) and, after taking the city, followed to Valencia, which he surrounded with trenches and siege machines. However, when he knew that Pedro V was advancing towards Valencia with a strong army, Alfonso XII simply withdrew with haste towards Castille. This was to be a source of heavy criticism against the Castilian king, who, like his father, began to show an unstable character that went from sudden outbursts of rage and violent temper to apathetic moods.

Finally, Alfonso XIII invaded Portugal with an army more than 30,000 men strong, including 2,000 French knights. A smaller Northern force sacked and burnt towns along the border, before being defeated by local Portuguese nobles in the battle of Trancoso (May 29, 1386). On the news of the invasion by the Castilians, knowing that Lisbon could not withstand a Castilian siege, João I of Portugal's army met with Nuno Álvares Pereira, the Constable of Portugal, in the town of Tomar. There they decided to face the Castilians before they could get close to Lisbon. However, to face the huge enemy force, Joao I only had 7,000 men with him, 200 English longbowmen included. Thus, the Portugueses occupied a strong defensive position, a hill bordered by creeks, to counter the Castillian's huge numerical advantage. On the late morning of July 14th, 1386, the Castilian vanguard arrived from the north around midday. Seeing the strongly defensive position occupied by the Portuguese, Alfonso XII decided to attack from the south, where the hill was easier to charge. However, the relocation of the army took most of the day, giving time to Joao to turn his army around and hastily strengthen the southern approach. with a system of ditches, pits and caltrops.

The battle began with the French allied heavy cavalry charged in full strength, Just as it happened at Crécy, the defending archers and crossbowmen launched a rain of bolts and arrows that disorganized the charge. The uneven terrain, the obstacle and the missiles broke the charge. To fix this mistake, King Alfonso sent the bulk of his army to relieve the French cavalry. It was then when Joao withdrew his ranged units from the flanks and reinforced the main line with his rearguard. Casualties began to mount when the two armies clashed, but the Castilian forces had lost their cohesion going up the hill through the same ditches and pits that broke havoc among their French allies. The Portuguese, on their own, simply held their ground, in spite of the losses. The Castilian knights in the main body were forced to dismount and break in half their four-metre-long lances in order to join the constricted melèe alongside their infantry. By sunset, only one hour after the battle began, the Castilian royal standard-bearer fell, and the demoralized troops in the rear thought their King was dead, so they started to flee in panic; the 52 years-old Enrique de Trastámara tried to rally this forces then, but he was hit in the head by an arrow and fell dead to the ground; his nephew, Juan Téllez de Castilla, tried to protect his body, but he was slain in the melée. Seeing this. a general rout ensued where Alfonso XII had to run at full speed to save his life, leaving behind not only common soldiers but also many still dismounted noblemen that were cut to pieces when they tried to escape. While Joao lost only 1,000 men, around 10,000 Castillian were killed during the battle and in the persecution that followed.

This defeat put an end to the Castilian threat over Portugal and opened a period of diminishing royal authority and political chaos in Castille that would last for more than a century.
 
Chapter 3: The Machavellian ways of Pedro V (1386-1404)
Chapter 3: The Machavellian ways of Pedro V (1386-1404)

Aljubarrota gave Pedro V of Aragon another chance to intervene in Castile. The "Castilian Agincourt" had wiped out most of the military and political leaders close to Alfonso XII of Castile, and the few survivors were discredited as they had supported the strategy that led to the defeat, and thus they were blamed for it. It was an opportunity that Pedro V was not going to miss. Alfonso could rely on the Royal Council that his father had organized in 1369 and he had its given final form in 1380 (1). Initially formed by twelve members of the Cortes (2), since 1377 (3) it had become controlled by the king, when Alfonso had replaced the procuradores (procurators) by lawyers. From then on, the Royal Council was the administrator of justice in Castille, too, something that, eventually, would force Alfonso XII to create an independent Justice Council. However, after Aljubarrota, the Royal Councy fell under the control of the noble houses. And in those houses the Aragonese king placed his hopes... and his bribes. The return of Pedro V to Castille led to a change in loyalties and friendships, though. Most of the Castillian factions were united by only one thing: their hatred towards foreign intruders, so most of them took the king's side against Pedro V, as the young Gastón de Bearne y de la Cerda did, for instance. Following the example of his father, Bernard de Bearne, a committed ally of the late Enrique of Trastámara, Gastón joined those who wanted to control the king. However, he changed sides and supported Alfonso XII when the Aragonese king began to interfere in Castilian affairs. For this help, de Bearne was made Count of Medinaceli by the king in 1387. By then the main supporters of the king were his cousins Pedro Enríquez de Castilla, and Juan Enríquez, count of Trastámara. The two last members of the Trastámara family controlled the king, who was dependent on their support against Pedro V. However, Alfonso XII was severely injured by falling off his horse in (October 9, 1390), and his son Enrique became the regent in his place. The Regency became a farce, as the Regent, Enrique, was only 11 years old, and thus the council was controlled by the half-brothers of the king . Thus curtailed Pedro V's influence, so he began to plot to undermine Trastámara, who also saw himself sidelined from 1934 onwards, when Enrique, their nephew, began to rule by himself and trusted more in the lower nobility and the small burgesoie than in his uncles or the high nobility.

Thus, he had married his elder son, Juan, with Constance of York, daughter of Edmund, Duke of York, to reinforce his English alliance (and to have a claim upon the Castilian throne for his great-grandsons, as Constance was daughter Isabella, a daughter herself of the late King Peter I of Castile). Fate helped him during a brief period of friendship that linked Aragon and Castile again after Aljubarrota and thus he was able to marry his second son, Jaime, with one of the daughters of Alfonso XII, María (1381-1407) in 1402. In this affair Pedro V had the help of Pedro Suárez de Quiñones (1367? -1402), who fought at Aljubarrota and became notario mayor de Castilla (4) in 1390, adelantado mayor de León y Asturias (5) and member of the Regency Council who, since 1391, had become quite close to the King of Aragon. The anti-aragonese faction, led by the cousins of the king, Alfonso Enríquez de Castilla (1355-1400), count of Gijón and Noreña -a bastard son of Enrique of Trastámara-, Fadrique Enríquez de Castilla (brother of Pedro Enríquez and Juan Enríquez), duke of Benavente. The rivalry between the anti-aragonese and the pro-aragonese factions would explode several years after the death of Pedro V of Aragon and led to open warfare between the two sides. It would end with Alfonso Enríquez and Fadrique Enríquez being arrested in 1405 and the confiscation of their titles and lands. With this, the anti-Aragonese faction was deprived of his main leaders and rendered powerless. Fadrique would die in prison in 1408 and Alfonso Enríquez in 1410. From then on, the remaining senior members of the Trastámara family, Pedro and Juan Enríquez, would remain closely linked to the king but also fiercely opposed to any Aragonese interference.

The failed attempt of Pedro V to have a saying in Castilian matters had disastrous consequences for the unity of the House of Valois and of France itself. The king's brothers resented this unsuccessful take over and the result was a feud between Pedro and the Trastamaras that continued after their deaths by their families. This quarrell would be worsened by the unexpected death of Enrique, Prince of Asturias (6) in 1406. leaving again the Regency in the hands of his uncles and his brother Fernando as his son, Pedro, was only one year old. The demise of the heir of Castille benefited Aragon, as we shall see, as Fernando, who became the head of the Regency Council, was a consummated plotter with an endless hunger for power; furthermore, Fernando was mildly pro-Aragonese, but his loyalties were uncertain as he was not shy of changing sides at will. Thus, from 1410 onwards, the two factions would fight over royal funds, which each desired to appropriate for his own ends: the Trastámaras to fund their extravagant lifestyles, Fernando to further his expansionist ambitions in Castille and for Castille. This struggle enhanced the reputation of Fernando, since he appeared to be a sober and honest reformer while his uncles, in comparison, looked to be selfish and irresponsible. Thus, the misrule kept Castile divided and, by the time of his death in 1404, Pedro V had began to regain control and influence over the Castillian court.

In his final years, Pedro V would begin to consider putting an end to the "cinc mals usos" (7), a set of specific Medieval feudal customs, by which peasants were subjected to by their feudal lords in the Crown of Aragon. These obligations are related to the Ius Maletractandi, a right approved by the Catalan Court of 1358, which empowered the feudal lords to treat their people in ways later considered unjust (8). This question was still unsolved when Pedro V died, as he had some other pressing matters, as the beginning of an economic crisis, that led to the creation of the Taula de Canvi, -9- which originally appeared in Barcelona (1401), Girona (1405) and Valencia (1407); and the reduction in the royal and official spendings. The presence of Aragonese merchants in Córdoba, Cádiz and Sevilla, replacing their Genoese rivals, meant an timely help to the Aragonese economy, as those merchants controlled part of the wool trade routes that went from Castille to Flanders, which would eventually force Aragon and Castile to take sides in the Hundred Years' War.

Pedro V of Aragon, Valencia, Majorca and Count of Barcelona died in Barcelona on April, 27, 1404. In his marriage to Joanne of France, who he married in 1371, had three soons and three daughters:
  • Juan, Prince of Girona (1373-1419), m . Constance of York (1374 – 1416), daughter of Edmund of Langley, Duke of York (1341 – 1402)
  • Maria (1374-1441). m. Peter, count of Mortain, (1366 - 1412), second son of Charles II, King of Navarre (1332 – 1387)
  • Juana (1376-1425), m. Jaume II of Urgell (1380 - 1435)
  • Jaime, Duke of Montblanch (1377-1415), m. María of Castille (1381-1407), daughter of Alfonso XII
    • Juan (1403 – 1427)
    • Enrique (1404–1430)
  • Leonor (1379-1422) became Prioress of Sixena.
  • Alfonso, Duke of Villena (1380-1415), m. Juana de Prades (d. 1441), countess of Prades and baroness of Entenza.
    • Jaime (1414–1464)
Pedro V and his mistress Sibila de Foces, daughter of Artal de Foces, had a son:
  • Juan de Aragón, Bishop of Zaragoza (1378-1453)

End of the First Part: Pedro V of Aragon (1361-1404)



(1) IOTL, the Royal Council was created not by Pedro I of Castille but by his half-brother, Enrique II in 1371 and given its final shape in 1385 by Juan I, but in this TTL without a civil war, a less sanguine and volatile Pedro and a better relation with his brothers and the nobility, he would be able to implement some of his dearest reforms... eventually.
(2) IOTL, the Castilian Parliament.
(3) IOTL 1387
(4) A royal councillor who took care of administrative matters.
(5) Another royal councillor who acted as a royal governor, taking care of administering justice and took care of the military in the area under his control.
(6) The title had been created in 1388 IOTL and also ITTL
(7) Five bad uses.
(8) Not directly related to the bad uses, but there it goes: ITTL there are no 1391 jewish massacres neither in Castille nor in Aragon.
(9) The ancestor of the modern state-owned banks.
 
Last edited:
Chapter 4: Juan I of Aragon (1404-1419)
Second Part: The Peninsular phase of the Hundred Years' War

Chapter 4: Juan I of Aragon (1404-1419)

The ongoing economic crisis that had started in times of his father troubled the kingship of Juan I of Aragón. The civil strife in Aragon between the Lunas and the Urreas families returned during the early days of his kingship, but Juan I was able to have his troublesome subjects to make amends. However, as Antón de Luna had been a steadfast support of his late father, Juan I was too lenient with him, much to the changring of the Urreas.

In foreign matters, he continued the pro-English diplomacy with a double marriage: in 1409 he married his heir, Jaime, to Joanna, daughter of Jean, duke of Burgundy, and then, his elder daughter, Constança, to Antoine, Duke of Brabant, brother of Jean. As his father had done in his time, Juan I also attempted to influence over the Castillian affairs, There he found a formidable enemy in the second son of the late Alfonso XII, Fernando, and tried to avoid him by winning the friendship of the Queen Mother, Beatrice of Portugal. Her marriage with Alfonso XII of Castile was childless and, since 1390, she remained in the shadows, ignored by her stepsons, the Infantes Enrique and Fernando, and distanced herself from the intrigues of the court. However, she kept her relations with the group of Portuguese exiles and also outside of the group. Beatrice maintained a close relationship with her stepnephew Enrique, son of the Infante Fernando, who she helped to be elected as Grand Master of the Order of Santiago in 1410.

That year, Juan's uncle, Martin II, King of Sicily, died without issue. Thus, the crowns of Aragon and Sicily were united again. Juan I named his son Pedro as the viceroy of the island, as there was a faction still loyal to House of Anjou. To reinforce him, he sent further forces led by Bernat de Centelles (d. in 1433), who was made count of Oliva; while Arnau Guillem de Bellera was sent with troops to Sardinia, where he led the fleet that haunted the North-African pirates. He would die in Sardinia in 1412, and was replaced in command by Ramón de Perellós, viscout of Perellós and of Roda (d. in 1424). Perellós would also lead a series of corsair raids against the Geneose merchant navy as they city attempted to recover from the sacking that Perellós himself had carried out thirty years back, The old sea lion was still a dangerous enemy, as the Genoese could testify. Thus, the Aragonese trade with Alexandria and Egypt remained as open and prosperous as ever.

Meanwhile, good news came from Castille. Juan's main rival, Fernando, had led a campaign against the Moors of Granada. He had conquered Antequera (September 1410) but his efforts against Setenil ended in utter failure. The Regency Council overruled Fernando and signed a five-years truce with Yusuf III of Granada- To compensate to the aggraviated Fernando, he was made count of Antequera, the city the had conquered. By then Juan I of Aragon had managed to win Queen Mother Beatrice to his side as she was afraid of his powerful stepson, whose posesions now included some of the stronger fortresses of Castille: Medina del Campo, Olmedo, Peñafiel and Alburquerque., Even worse, Fernando's lands, included the domains of his wife, Leonor of Castille, countess of Alburquerque, went from the Aragonese border to the Portuguese one, cutting in half the kingdom of Castille. Eventually, he would be back to power when his father Alfonso XII finally died in 1414 and his nephew Juan (1399-1455) became Juan I of Castille. His first action was to name his brother Pedro (1406-1469) as count of Gijón and Noreña.

Fernando of Antequera was called back by his nephew Juan I of Castille and took at heart destroying the Aragonese faction in Castille. The enmity between the Antequera and the Aragonese was public and a source of political unrest in the already troubled, and soon would go worse. Since 1412, the Basque and Castilian merchants, who had an important colony at Rouen, saw their merchantile privileges confirmed by the French authorities. However, this advantagous position was lost in 1415, when Henry V annhilated the French army at Agincourt and recovered Normandy. The Basque and Castillian merchants were expelled, and the former launched themselves to help the French without waiting for any formal treaty. Soon Antequera, supported by the Admiral of Castille, Alfonso Enríquez, and Juan Hurtado de Mendoza, who both had made huge investments in the Basque and Norman trade routs, pressed the young king to join France in its war against England. Furthermore, the Hanseatic League, who was allied to Henry V and was a formidable rival to the Castilian merchants, began to replace them in Flanders: it was the revenge of the German traders after being expelled frist from Castille and then from France, mainly from La Rochelle, from where the Gascon wines were exported. With the English victory the Hanseatic League returned to Rouen and Dieppe and the Castilian and Basque traders were expelled. And to add insult to the injury, a small Aragonese merchant colony settled in Rouen. Thus, Castille joined the war in a moment when the French weakness and internal divisions gave a wonderful reason to not do so.

Two events seemed to prove that joining the war was a bad idea. Just as the Cortes of Madrid were called to vote the war, Fernando de Trastámara was murdered on the streets of the small village (April 2, 1416). All the fingers pointed out a Juan I of Aragon, but nothing could be proved and the Aragonese king vehemently refused any responsability on the issue... while enjoying inwardly the success of his plots. Then, after the signature of a alliance pact with France (June 28, 1418), a disaster befell upon the Castillian fleet, which was decimated in the battle of La Rochelle (December 30, 1419), where the English, along with Flanders, took revenge of the defeat suffered there in 1372. It would take a year to rebuilt the Castillian fleet and it was readied to depart, under the command of Juan Enriquez, a bastard son of the Admiral of Castille, with reinforcements to Scotland, when the peace faction led by Enrique of Trastámara (1400-1445). duke of Villena and grand master of the military Order of Santiago, son of the late Ferdinand, persuaded king Juan I of Castile to make peace with England. From then on, the Basque and Castilian merchants that wanted to make war with England and the Hanse would be on their own. This would lead to an open confrontation of Enrique and his elder brothers, Alfonso of Trastámara (1396–1458), duke of Peñafiel, head of the war faction, and Juan of Trastámara (1398–1479), count of Mayorga. Enrique's position was further weakened when Sancho de Rojas, archbishop of Toledo, betrayed him and abandoned his faction to create his own with Juan Fernández de Velasco and Diego López de Estúñiga. Just a France was divided and weakened by its internal turmoil, so did Castille, even if this third party would disappear from the political scene with the death of Velasco and Estúñiga in 1417.


This events greatly helped Juan I of Aragon, Only his untimely death avoided him leading his armys in campaign and would leave to his son and heir his dearest dream: the recovery of the Occitan lands.

Juan I of Aragon, Valencia, Majorca and Count of Barcelona died in Barcelona on September 10, 1419. In his marriage to Constance of York, had one sons and four daughters:
 
Last edited:
Chapter 5: The Aragonese Wars with France and with Castille (1421-1429)
Chapter 5: The Aragonese intervention in France and the War with Castille (1421-1429)

Henry V's victory at Agincourt against all the odds led to a period of English unbroken success. Normandy was soon retaken, with Caen falling in 1417, and Rouen in 1419, and then formed an alliance with Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, was nominally a French vassal but with his own dream of independent policy, and with Alfonso V of Aragon, who promised to invade the South of France in support of his English ally. The assassination of John the Fearless in 1419 by the Dauphin, had thrown Burgundy into the open arms of Henry V. It was through Philip of Burgundy’s intervention that the French King Charles VI was made to sign the Treaty of Troyes in 1420.

The Aragonese Campaign started with a bad omen. Thomas, Duke of Clarence, Henry V's brother and his heir presumptive, fell suddenly ill. Apparently, his host was affected by dysentery. Clarence would die from it on March 22, 1421. In spite of this, the planned offensive went ahead. His brother, John, Duke of Bedford, would take command of his forces and launched a chevauchée through the Anjou and Maine which ended in a crushing victory over a Franco-Scottish army at Baugé (August 27, 1421), which was called "a little Agincourt". Then, the Aragonese king, at the head of his soldiers, crossed the border at Canfranc (August 1241) with around 1,000 knights and men-at-arms, but soon he was reinforced, first by Oto de Montcada, baron of Aitona (1333-1421), and then by more Aragonese noblemen swelling his army until it was about 11,000 strong. As Alfonso V advanced towards Toulouse, as the castles and garrisons of the Garonne valley either surrendered or fled. During this advance he captured Jean of Foix, son of Isabelle de Castellbó, Countess of Foix and Viscountess of Béarn. Finally, he entered Toulouse (September 12) and waited for more men to join him.

The French, depleted by their defeats and the Armagnac-Burgudian feud, had no forces to oppose Alfonso V, and the Aragonese king moved freely. He sent a small force with Altona to secure Foix. With his only son in enemy hands, Isabelle had no other option but to surrender. Meanwhile, After securing Hautpoul (April 1422), Alfonso V marched to conquer Rabastens to protect the northern borders of Toulouse, and from there to Caylus (May 1422) and Cahors. In August he faced the first resistance, at Moissac. It resisted until late September. Then, leaving Joan Ramon Folc I de Cardona, count of Cardona, to conquer Rocamadour, he moved south to Saissac, to plan and to prepare there the campaign of 1423. It was then when he discovered that the French had reinforced Carcassonne and Minerva and threatened his supply lines. Both sides used the winter to replenish their forces, but, in the end, the Aragonese king had the upper hand and stroke first. Ambroise de Loré, an Armagnac veteran of Agincourt and a staunch supporter of the Dauphin, defended Carcassonne and waited for the arrival of Guillaume of Narbone and his force, De Loré, trusting the word of Narbonne that they would met at Castelnaudary, advanced to that city. However, Alfonso V was faster than Narbonne and forced de Loré to fight.

The battle began as the French forces were still deploying. The Aragonese light cavalry suddenly appeared, launching hit-and-run attacks as the French tried to form in lines of battle. Finally, the French infantry pushed forward, unaware that they were heading straight into a trap. Midway through the battlefield, the French clashed against the Aragonese lines as the enemy archers begin to shower the attackers with arrows. Then, the Aragonese army feigned a tactical retreat, luring the enemy forces into the line of fire. However, the ferocity of the French charge was on the verge of breaking and enveloping the left Aragonese flank. Then, with Alfonso V leading it, the Aragonese reserve charged against the open right flank, overextended in its attempt to turn the enemy flank. Seeing the charge, the French began a headlong retreat. The French were slaughtered as they ran. De Loré's position was soon flooded by fleeing soldiers. His attempts to reform his army soon came to an end when he was captured by the advancing enemy infantry. Thus, Alfonso V of Aragon entered unopposed in Carcassonne (September 4) and in Beziers (September 12) as Narbone withdrew with all haste towards Montpellier. Thus concluded the Aragonese campaign of 1424.


Meanwhile, Henry V of England was a happy man. In September 1423 Queen Catherine bore him a second son, Edward. In January 1424, England and Burgundy reaffirmed their alliance with the marriage of Anne of Burgundy, daughter of John the Fearless, and John, Duke of Bedford. A new campaign season began in 1424. Henry V marched towards Orleans through the Loire Valley. The Valois-Argmanac forces were unable to stop him and limited themselves to harass the enemy supply lines, with the added advantage of fighting in friendly territory. The English army reached Orleans in August 1424, but the city held, even if it was completely surrounded.

Then, on January 10, 1425, Henry V of England died. France was virtually defeated and undefended. It was then when Alfonso V had to turn his attention towards Castille.

There, the attempt of the Infante Enrique to control the king had ended in failure after his coup (Tordesillas, July 14, 1420) came to naught after Juan I of Castille had escaped with the help of Álvaro de Luna in November of that year. Eventually, Juan had Enrique put in chains and deprived of his titles and lands in August 1422. From then on, Álvaro de Luna ruled Castille. He signed a peace treaty with Granada and worked hard to heal the relations with Portugal, which resulted in a ten-years truce. However, he could not stop the piratic raids in the Gulf of Vizcaya and he was unwilling to support the weakened French crown. By 1425, though, the opposition to de Luna began to grow due to his increasing power as the nobility joined to stop him. Eventually, this would result in the first exile of de Luna, who was sent away by Juan I, and replaced by Alfonso of Trastámara, duke of Peñafiel as the main advisor of the king, while his younger brother, Juan, King of Navarre through his wife (jure uxoris) since 1425 . This was a short-lived victory, as they were dismissed five months later (February 1428) and de Luna returned to the royal court and to the king's side.

It was around this time when Alfonso V of Aragon, worried by the growing Trastámara influence over Castille and Navarre who had won to their side Rodrigo Alonso Pimentel, count of Benavente, and the Admiral of Castille, Alfonso Enríquez, and to avoid an alliance between the two kingdoms, began to support de Luna against Alfonso a Juan. Eventually, war broke out when de Luna mustered a powerful alliance with the powerful Velasco, de Lara, Pimentel, Mendoza, Álvarez de Toledo, Estúniga and Guzmán families. Alfonso V then changed sides and, determined to avoid de Luna crushing his enemies and becoming the sole master of Castille. Thus, Juan I of Castille attacked the lands of Alfonso de Trastámara with 2,000 men. On June 25, 1429, Alfonso saw himself surrounded by the royal army at Peñafiel. However, de Luna overextended himself and persuaded the king to go to war not only against Navarre, but also against Aragon. Three days later, Peñafiel surrendered, but Alfonso escaped to Aragon.
 
Last edited:
Chapter 6: The Aragonese Wars with France and with Castille (1429-1438)
Chapter 6: The Aragonese intervention in France and the War with Castille (1429-1438)

Not willing to be caught in a two-front war, Alfonso V of Aragon adopted a defensive stance in the Castilian border, knowing that there was little support in Castille for the rebels and because the different Parliaments of his kingdoms were in no mood for pay for a war that hardly interested them. Thus, he remained quiet as he waited for developments in the south of France. In spite of the demands of support made by Juan of Navarre for his doomed invasion of Castille, the Aragonese king did not change his position. Even worse, the Navarrese ambassadors (Pierres de Peralta and García Aznar) returned from their diplomatic mission in Aragon with Juan's brother, Alfonso, who the Aragonese king had sent to be reunited with his royal brother to ensure that he could do no harm in his realm. By July 1429, the Castilian rebels had surrendered, being the last to do so Fadrique de Trastámara, duke of Arjona (July 20). Then, Juan I of Castille opened peace negotiations with Aragon that stalled as soon as it was demanded that Alfonso V cease to support Juan of Navarre. Unwilling to have a defeated Navarre turned into a Castilian puppet, Alfonso V refused the peace offer. In August there were border clashes and Álvaro de Luna entered Aragon and laid siege to Ariza, which he conquered on August 5, even if the castle refused to give in.

The end of the summer of 1429 saw the Castilian planning of the invasion of Navarre. Pedro Fernández de Velasco, with 600 knights and 1,000 foot soldiers would invade Navarre while Fernán Álvarez de Toledo and Íñigo López de Mendoza would guard the border with Aragon and Alfonso Yáñez Fajardo the one with Valencia. De Velasco, supported by the Agramontese faction opposed to Juan of Navarre, crossed the border (early September) and advanced through friendly lands, reaching Estella without too much trouble, but he found his way blocked at Puente de Reina. Worried by still having enemy forces in his back at Los Arcos, and knowing that the enemy doubled his forces, de Velasco withdrew to Viana (October 25), where he asked for reinforcements. Álvaro de Luna, however, was satisfied with the defeat of the rebels had other bussiness in mind, as the royal treasury was paying most of the war effort and this was damaging the Castilian economy, rising the inflation of prices and burdening the treasury with the loans that Juan I was taking to pay the war. The defeat of the Castillian forces led by Iñigo López de Mendoza at Araviana (Late November 1429) at the hands of Alfonso V of Aragon only worsened the situation.

Thus, Juan I and Álvaro de Luna retaliated by vainly attempting to fuel the anger of the Sicilian noblemen that resented their Aragonese overlord and, in the Spring of 1430, launched a naval raid against the Balearic islands that caused great alarm in Barcelona but little damage overall. Even worse, the Castilian fleet was attacked during its withdrawal by an Aragonese fleet that damaged a few ships and even captured one of them, which was victoriously paraded in Valencia, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca. This humiliation was taken badly in Castille, where many noblemen were angered with the favourite of Juan I, as Álvaro de Luna's greed had sidelined most of them in the division of the spoils of the defeated Trastamara to favour his loyals: Pedro de Estúñiga, was made count of Ledesma; Pedro Ponce de León, lord of Marchena, became count of Medellín and the Admiral Enríquez was given the "unconquerable" Peñafiel. However, what angered the most those opposed to de Luna was seeing Pedro Fernández de Velasco becoming count of Haro after his lacklustre Navarrese campaign. Eventually, the Portuguese mediation would end the conflict with the Truce of Majano (March, 1430) and the Peace of Toledo (September 22, 1436). Juan I of Navarre was gone by then, dead after falling from his horse during a raid against the Castilian stronghold of Viana. His widow, Queen Blanca of Navarre, to avoid any intervention from his brother-in-law, the landless Alfonso of Trastámara, had married her daughter Blanca (1424-1478) with the heir of Aragon, Fernando. By the Peace of Toledo, she also married her second daughter, Leonor (1426–1479), to the Castilian heir, Enrique, the future King Enrique II of Castille (1430-1476).

From then on. Álvaro de Luna would work hard to reinforce the power of the king and to place the nobility under his thumb (that is, his own finger, not Juan's). However, in this regime, the key element would be him, and not Juan I. In this he would be partially successful. In his other enterprises, he would fail. His attempts to improve the foreign relations of Castille were met with great achievements in France and with failure with Henry VI and Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy: his good relations with France precluded any lasting settlement with them. Their markets remained closed to Castilian goods (until 1435, when Burgundy changed sides again and made peace with France). Then, he turned against Granada, which had been reduced to a Castilian protectorate under Yusuf IV (1432). However, when the Sultan was deposed by Mohamed VII in 1433, the war resumed again. It would last until 1439, draining the royal treasury for little gain. However, it kept Castille busy in the south just as Alfonso V's attention returned to France.

The English failure at Orleans and French counter-offensive led by Jeanne d'Arc stalled at Patay, where, John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, stopped the French advance and closed the way for the Dauphin to march to Reims for his coronation. Jeanne herself would be captured by the English after a failed French chevauchée against Paris and burned at the stake (January 12, 1432). Slowly, the fortunes of war turned dramatically against the English. Once he became sure that the French were focusing on capturing the English strongholds in Normandy, Alfonso V decided to remove a threat to his kingdoms by attacking the pro-French kingdom of Naples. In this critical moment, Rene d'Anjou, King of Naples, was currently imprisoned in Burgundy. Thus, Alfonso V sailed from Sicily with a large fleet to besiege Gaeta, which was garrisoned by the Genoese, who shortly after Queen Joan's death dispatched Francesco Spinola with 800 infantry. The Duke of Milan (to whom the Republic of Genoa had lately submitted) sided with the House of Anjou and dispatched a fleet in July under Biagio Assereto in order to relieve Gaeta. Alfonso immediately sailed against the Genoese fleet with superior numbers. The two fleets met near the island of Ponza and, after a long battle that lasted for almost eight hours, the clash came to a sudden end when the Genoese flagship was attacked and captured by two Aragonese ships. Filippo Visconti, duke of Milan, was captured with his ship. The Aragonese king was completely victorious and only three Genoese managed to escape while the rest of the fleet was grounded by their crews, destroyed or captured.


After capturing Gaeta, he marched towards Capua, which fell in February 1436, but Naples, with the recently arrived King René, resisted. Towards August 1437, after the death of his condottiero Jacopo Caldora, however, René's fortune started to decline: Alfonso easily captured most of the kingdom, reducing René's dominions to Naples, which was under siege again. Alfonso, provided with the most impressive artillery of the times, began the siege on November 10, 1437, ending on 2 June the following year. After René fled to France, Alfonso easily reduced the remaining resistance and made his triumphal entrance in Naples on February 26, 1438, as the monarch of a pacified kingdom.

By then, the desertion of Burgundy to the French had turned the war for the worse to England, and, of course, to Aragon. Even then, it would take France a long time to crush the English resistance and expel them from Normandy. However, Alfonso V had not the slightest doubt that France would defeat England and then she would turn her attention to Aragon.
 
Last edited:
So that's in the same universe as The Last Plantagenet if I guess right from the mention of Henry V second son, right ?
 
Chapter 7: The Castillian civil wars (1438- 1445) New
Chapter 7: The Castillian civil wars (1438- 1445)

The Castillian chaos returned after the end of the war. Álvaro de Luna was again under heavy criticism from his enemies and King Duarte became the best solution to his problems. However, the plague cut short de Luna's diplomatic overtures to Portugal when Duarte died and, then, he used Alfonso de Trastámara to contact Alfonso V of Aragon in search for an alliance to reinforce his position. However, the Aragonese king was not willing to link his fate to the falling star of the favourite of Juan I of Castille and thus he sealed his fate. Eventually, on February 1439, Pedro de Estúñiga, count of Ledesma; Rodrigo Alonso Pimentel, count of Benavente; Fadrique Enríquez, the Admiral of Castille led the most powerful families of Castille in rebellion against de Luna: the Enríquez, Velasco, Estúñiga, Pimentel, Manrique, Mendoza and Quiñones. Eventually, Estúñiga, Pimentel and Enríquez led a small force to Burgos. but they found their way blocked at Carrión de los Condes by the royal army led by de Luna and the king. This led to a skirmish (May 22) between the two forces. It was a short affair, as Pedro Fernández de Velasco, count of Haro, a member of the Royal Council and commander of the Royalist vanguard, was killed in the first moments of the fighting and his men, seeing his commander dead on the field, lost their courage and fled, and the panic was soon to spread to the rest of the army. In a few minutes, the combat was over, with less than twenty men killed on the field. Defeated, de Luna fled to Aragon while his enemies flooded the Royal Council. From his Aragonese exile, de Luna kept in touch with his supporters in Castille. When Estúñiga and Enríquez began to clash with each other for the division of power, Estúñiga took the king in his power and kept him as a prisoner in all but name in the fortress of Madrigal.

This came close to end in war as the heir, the Infante Enrique, and his closest advisor, Juan Pacheco, along with Enríquez, his brother Enrique Enríquez de Mendoza, and the royal steward, Ruy Díaz de Mendoza mustered and army and marched towards Madrigal to demand Estúñiga to release the king. The confrontation was avoided and both sides reached an agreement that restored the ante-bellum balance of power with a marriage. Álvaro de Zúñiga y Guzmán, son and heir of Estúñiga, was to marry Juana Enríquez, daughter of Fadrique Enríquez, The peace was short-lived as Pacheco soon began to undermine Estúñiga, whom he clearly detested. Juan I used this moment of weakness to flee to Ávila, where he met de Luna, who had crossed the border with a French mercenary army. There they met Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, count of Alba, and the bishops of Sevilla and Segovia. With this army, Juan I demanded the resignation of Estúñiga and his supporters. It was that or war. In face of this danger, the old rivals settled their disputes and gathered their forces to face their rival. Juan I put Toledo under siege, but Estúñiga managed to escape and to join his allies. The two armies clashed at Torote (April 7, 1441), in a bloody but inconclusive battle. The battle moved back east, as the king returned to London, with the rebels following at a close distance.

Then, Juan advanced to attack the enemy army, who withdrew south to gather reinforcements. However, Juan I moved to block the advance of their enemies. He had every reason to be optimistic. His army was larger and the men were more fresh, as he could rely on a constant rush of reinforcements. However, the rebels, even if outnumbered, attacked at Alcoraz. The king deployed his forces on the top of a gentle hill. Juan encouraged his men to defend the kingdom and themselves. As the rebels came half-war half the slope, Juan ordered his men to charge. After several hours of fighting, sections of the enemy began to crack. Then, Estúñiga was mortally wounded in the melée when he moved too close to the fighting. The king rallied his personal retinue and charged into the midst of the enemy, cutting enemies in all sides. Exhausted, the rebels retreated.

De Luna recovered his position once more and Pimentel and Enríquez fled to Portugal. However, the position of de Luna was untenable in spite of this victory and he would face another rebellion when the rebels returned from Portugal in the summer of 1443, where they had mustered an army with Aragonese and Portugese support. The royalist army departed to face them. It was a stronger force but, when battle was joined, most of the royalist army stood aside as de Luna fought for his very life. Surrounded by all sides, de Luna was killed at the battle of Olmedo (December 30, 1443), along with his son Pedro (1415-1441). The government remained in the hands of Fadrique Enríquez, Rodrigo Alonso Pimentel, and Pedro de Zúñiga. However, Enrique, Prince of Asturias, managed to win to his side Enríquez and Pimentel, along with Pedro Fernández de Velasco, second count of Haro, and Juan Pacheco, marquis of Villena, two followers of the king. Those who trusted that the Infante Enrique was going to bring a change in the government and more stability to the kingdom saw their hopes dashed very soon. He took revenge on Pedro de Zúñiga, who he did not trust, and with those who had supported the rebels. This was the beginning of a widespread retaliation, which focused against the De la Cerda and the Mendoza families. This revenge would be the cause of another rebellion, led by Luis de la Cerda this time. The indecisive battle of Montiel (March 29, 1455) left both sides holding the same positions without too many loses, but, eventually, with Aragonese and Navarrese support, Enrique managed to prevail and to defeat de la Cerda at Nájera (June 19). Enrique entered Toledo unopposed and probably had de La Cerda executed that same day. With all significant rebels leaders now banished or killed, Enrique ruled unopposed after the death of his father (August 21).


Even if the chaos and disorder that had reigned in Castille for the last thirty-five years was coming to an end, Alfonso V of Aragon was well aware that it would take half of that time to Castile to recover its strength. With his son and heir Fernando controlling Navarre throughout his wife Blanca, he had cut the Castilian land links to France and, on top of that, he had the ear of the young king Enrique II, who was grateful to the Aragonese support in the last stages of the Castilian civil war. Amazingly, Alfonso of Trastámara had survived the war and the purges carried out by Enrique among the ranks of the nobility. He would live a quiet and peaceful life until his death in 1458. And while Castile was pacified and returned to normality, the war in France resumed its mortal pace.
 
Last edited:
Chapter 8: Social unrest and popular revolts (1445-1462) New
Chapter 8: Social unrest and popular revolts (1445-1462)

In the early 14th century, the rise of Catalan cities and the expansion of Catalan culture and the Aragonese Empire led to a decline in the rural population, which declined still further due to the Black Death. The nobility began to strictly enforce the mal usos (evil customs) tying peasants to the land; they also began a much stricter enforcement of seignorial rights in general than had been the practice in recent centuries and which Pedro V have attempted to limit. The monarchy had some reasons to wish to have the peasants as an independent force, since the Aragonese crown was continually in a power struggle with the nobility. Thus, Alfonso V had taken further steps into the issue and allowed the peasants to form a sindicat remença (that is, a peasants' guild), granted them their liberty and intervened in several other ways against the abuses in 1446. However, the Bishop of Girona sided with the nobility; along with the Generalitat, controlled by the nobles, something that would force Alfonso to reverse his ruling in 1449. In 1553 he supported again the peasants and allowed them to form their guild, something that raised the anger of the nobility. However, after the peasants' uprising in Majorca (1450-1452), the noblemen feared that this revolt could spread to Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia and lessened their opposition to the reforms of the king, That December, he instructed the noblemen and the clergymen to abide by his decisions and ordered the peasants to make the payments that they owed as tenants of the lands, since many refused to do so.

The treaty of Tours (1444) and the wedding of Henry VI with Marie of Armagnac (1420-1473), daughter of Jean, count of Armagnac, put a temporary truce to the Hundred Years War. Alfonso V of Aragon, however, was not included in the peace treaty, but he hoped that any attack on him would bring an English retaliation, and that would hold the French from launching an offensive against him. He was partially right, as the French were determined to use the truce to recover and prepare the final campaign against Normandy. However, the diplomatic blunders of the English embassy led by William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, deeply offended Alfonso V, who felt that his English ally was leaving on his own and thus began to negotiate with the French crown. The truce lasted until 1448, when Henry VI refused to cede the lands of Maine and Anjou to Charles VII and the war resumed. This would bring down Suffolk, who would be assasinated when England was shocked by the mounting defeats in Normandy, that lost, along with Maine and Anjou, by early 1450. Aquitaine would hold until 1453, when the last English army in the continent was destroyed in the battle of Castillon.

Alfonso V had spent the truce reinforcing his forces in the Languedoc and in Naples, as well as going ahead with his administrative reforms. His patronage of Renaissance artists made him famous, as well as for his own Renaissance works, as his magnificent triumphal arch added to the main gate of Castel Nuovo in Naples, where he built the richest library of illuminated manuscripts of Southern Europe. Then, on September 23, 1453, Carlos IV of Navarre died without a male heir. His only child, Anna (b. 1451) had died a few hours after being born. Thus, his elder son became Fernando I of Navarre through his wife Blanca. That year, Henry VI of England suffered a severe mental breakdown and Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, had himself declared Lord Protector. In the interlude, Marie gave birth to a healthy son and heir, Edward of Westminster (1454-1492), but soon there were widespread rumours that the prince was the result of an affair between his mother and one of her loyal supporters, James Butler, 5th Earl of Ormonde, Eventually, tensions flared and open warfare came unavoidable between the Lancastrians and the Yorkist after Henry VI's death in 1471. The Battle of St Albans signalled the beginning of the English civil war (1472-1476).

Meanwhile, the bad relations between Charles VII of France and his heir, Louis, precluded any offensive action against Aragon until Louis was crowned, and his calm for Aragon died with Charles. Thus, as the French army began to gather, Alfonso V of Aragon struck first. In the autumn of 1461 the Aragonese king, with an army of 8,000 men, crossed the border and began to raid the enemy fortresses, cities and villages. Thus, he personally led the attacks against Saint Gilles, Nimes and Uzes, setting fire to the farms and all the crops, so that the enemy advance would be slowed by the logistical troubles. A small French force was defeated at Cahors (April 24, 1462). Then, he attacked Nimes again, breaking havoc in the countryside, which is put to the torch. Finally, the French main army marched towards Occitania (16,000 knights and foot soldiers) while a second force (8,000 strong) under the command of the king's brother-in-law, Charles, Count of Maine, attacked the Quercy and advanced towards Toulouse (August). However, Alfonso V received word of Charles's movement and sent Hug Roger III, Count of Pallars Sobirà, with a small force north to set up an ambush while pretending that the bulk of their forces were in Montpellier. Charles, expecting to meet their enemies further west, is ambushed at Cahuzac while marching in a loose formation by Hug Roger, losing nearly half of their troops. The remaining soldiers fled north.

Louis XI advanced cautiously towards Montpellier. Alfonso V, aware of his numerical inferiority, withdrew quickly. Then, in the night attack (September 4-5) into the enemy camp, forcing the French army to withdraw. Harassed by the Aragonese troops, Louis' army returned, greatly depleted to Avignon (early October); then, Alfonso V retreated back to Montpellier with a vast plunder. In spite of the victorious campaign, the Aragonese king had reasons to worry. While he had been certainly successful, he knows he's badly outnumbered and that his kingdom cannot match the power of his northern neighbour now they have defeated the English. However, the fame of the Aragonese kings spreads across the continent. Many warriors, sell-swords and mercenary companies flocked to join him. Alfonso realized that he needed a professional army to fight the French if he had any chance to stop the huge French army, but paying salaries to thousands of mercenaries was too expensive and his kingdoms could not afford it. Without any option but to fight, Alfonso V placed the Aragonese economy under stress in order to secure the necessary funding and imposed higher taxes on his subjects. Then, in late December, he was forced to undo himself and reinstate the servitude of their peasants to avoid financial instability. Some privileges of the cities (Zaragoza, Barcelona, Valencia, Tarragona) were withdrawn to favour this "war economy". Barcelona and Valencia attempted to buy their freedom back; ironically, the constant need of funds of Alfonso V to pay his army, forced him to accept this money, thereby invalidating his own laws. It goes without saying that all this made the king to be quite unpopular. With England slowly sinking into chaos, little support could come from the former ally, but for a few wealthy Flemish merchants that backed the Aragonese king. For the while, both sides withdrew to recover strength. Alfonso knew that the affair with France was far from settled.


 
Top