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Number 150 - November of 2010Spanish language Principal menu

Alfonso IV of Aragon

Otro rey de
la Corona de Aragón

     He was possibly born in Naples, the year 1299, being his mother Dña. Blanca from Naples. His life was short, because he died in Barcelona the day 27 of January of 1336, when he was 37 years old. He was crowned king in 1327. Alfonso IV of Aragon, nicknamed the Benign. besides King from Aragon, was also of Valencia, of Sardinia, regular king from Corsica and count from Barcelona (1327–1336) and of Urgel (1314–1336).
      Second son of Jaime II of Aragon and his second wife, Blanca of Anjou, transformed into king after the renouncement to throne by his brother Jaime that took the habits in 1319. He married twice; in 1314, with Teresa de Entenza, thanks to that he got the county of Urgel, and in 1329 with Leonor of Castile and of Portugal.
     During his father's reign, being the infant Alfonso attorney of the Crown, he led the Aragonese expedition that took the island of Sardinia (1323–1324) that had been awarded to the king from Aragon by Pope in the treaty of Anagni (1295). For the conquest of Sardinia he entered in a conflict with Pisa and Genoa since both Italian cities had possessions and commercial interests in it. For the conquest he had 80 big ships and many more than smaller size, 1.000 gentlemen, 4.000 infants, 2.000 archers and 3.000 assistants. By the resistance pisana could not take Cagliari before one year. To the return of his conquest of Sardinia put the first stone of Santa María del Mar temple in Barcelona.
     While - during his reign - Catalonia began a decline demographic and economic; the Kingdom of Valencia began to have an importance that would continue increasing in later reigns.
      During his reign the first signs of a demographic strong crisis began, mainly in Catalonia that would extend from half-filled of the XIV century until final of the XV one, mainly due to the black pest. Although the year 1333 cannot consider the beginning of the shortages that affected as much to his states as to the rest of the peninsula, France and Italy. People perceived these with more intensity and that year was called "mal any primer" (a bad first year); year in which a strong famine made appearance due to the wheat shortage due to the bad crops and mainly to the blockade made by the Genoese fleet that impeded the wheat arrival coming from Sardinia and Sicily. The famine affected so much to the rural areas as to the cities. It is calculated that the city of Barcelona lost about 10.000 inhabitants.
      In the Kingdom of Valencia the fights continued for the distribution of benefits of the exploitation of the powers of justice exercised by the gentlemen on the vassals; and among those in favor of the jurisdiction of Aragon and Valencia, since both coexisted, using that of Aragon the noblemen of Aragonese origin.
      These confrontations finish in 1328–1329, moment in which Alfonso promulgates the "alfonsina" jurisdiction, in which the Valencian jurisdiction was altered, and in that had tendency to make it more elegant, proliferating the gentlemen without being of noble origin; fact that propitiated that many noblemen accepted the jurisdiction of Valencia between 1329 and 1330.
     As consequence of his second marriage with Leonor of Castile and after his wife's pressures, Alfonso planed in 1332 that the children of this union obtained considerable possessions in the border regions of the Crown, mainly in the Kingdom of Valencia; consisting mainly, in separating of his jurisdiction the most important cities in the Kingdom and that passed to his son Fernando, like a kind of own feud. This way in 1333 he donated to his son Fernando the dominions and villages of Játiva, Alcira, Morvedre, Sagunto, Alicante, Morella, Castellón and Burriana, infringing the promises made in 1329 and 1330 in the Parliament. This represented the possibility of a division of the Kingdom, to what with determination were opposed the Valencian and the heir and son of the first marriage, Pedro.
      In the year 1333 the juries of the city of Valencia headed by the "jurat in cap" Francisco de Vinatea admonished the king. The king that was in the city with the rest of the Court, didn't have more remedy than to cede before the pressure of his citizens that made him know that before they would die that would consent these donations contrary to the jurisdictions and privileges of the Kingdom; and he reaffirmed his father's ordinance that declared indivisible the Kingdom.
      He continued with his father's politics of carrying out matrimonial links between the real house and the barons to try to diminish the power of these last. As for the treatment that gave to the Muslims, this was more tolerant than the that his father gave and the one that would give his successors. He tried to promote the culture and to give stability to the universities. In 1328 he committed to give a fair wage to the professors (that it never took place) and to endow of four new classrooms for the studied of Law in the University of Lérida.
      The relationships with the Kingdom of Castile and its king Alfonso XI was good and in a principle the friendship reigned between both kings. In fact, being already king and widower of Teresa de Entenza, Alfonso IV the Castilian king, offered to his sister Leonor in marriage. This matrimonial alliance looked for the Aragonese help in the reconquest that was given in form of blockade of the strait on the part of Aragonese ships to impede the way of Muslim troops to the peninsula.
     Alfonso tried to carry out a crusade against the Kingdom of Granada that Alfonso XI from Castile didn't second, since he had good relationships with the Kingdom of Granada until the point of getting its vassalage in 1331.

     Alfonso began the crusade against Granada the year 1329 and in 1331 the Muslim Kingdom attacked the South of the Kingdom of Valencia, taking Orihuela and Elche that were recovered. Between 1330 and 1333 the conquest of Almería was attempted but the tentative ended up in failure and finally the peace was signed in 1335.
      In 1329 he signed alliance treaties in economic terms with the sultans of Bugía and Tunisia.
      He had to suffocate a rebellion in Sardinia due to a bad management of the Catalan administrators. For the domain of the island, he had distributed the territory among the barons and gentlemen that had accompanied him in the conquest. The domain was reinforced with the setting-up of the feudalism, the colonization and the foundation of the city of Bonaire. The sardinians rebellious had the support of the Ligur Republic (Genoa) with the objective of taking the island and in a smaller measure, of Pisa. The war against Genoa was prolonged between 1329 and 1336, year in which Alfonso died and a precarious peace was gotten but at these moment assured the possession of the island. The conflict would be prolonged until well entered the XV century and in it Genoa and the Aragonese Crown were disputed - especially Barcelona - the domain of the trade in the West of Mediterranean; as well as the possession of the island. The city of Sassari, key for the domain of Sardinia, would be rebelled in three occasions since was taken by Alfonso in 1323, although was taken again, the same thing that Cáller. Alfonso promoted the repopulation of Sardinia by people coming from the peninsula between 1329 and 1330.
     He married in first nuptials Teresa de Entenza in the cathedral of Lérida September 10 1314. Teresa was the heiress of the county of Urgel, last independent Catalan county of the Crown; for that during this reign, he passed to be part of the real domains, thanks to this matrimonial link. Of this marriage they were born:
      Infante Don Alfonso (1315–1317). Dead in the childhood and buried in the Church of Santa María de Almatar de Balaguer, according to Pedro IV's Chronicle. Some sources point out that later, the sepulcher with the infant's remains, was transferred to the Convent of Sacred Domingo of Balaguer, where would be destroyed during Spanish Succession War.
      Pedro IV, the Ceremonious (1319–1387). Buried in the Monastery of Poblet.
     Jaime I, count of Urgel, who also inherited Entenza and Antillón (1320–1347). Buried at the moment the high altar im the Cathedral of Barcelona, in a sepulcher shared with his brother Jaime and with the king Alfonso III the Liberal.
      Constanza de Aragon and Entenza that contracted marriage with Jaime III of Majorca (1322–1346).
     Infanta Doña Isabel (1323–1327). Buried together her mother and her brother Sancho in the missing Convent of San Francisco of Zaragoza.
     Infante Don Fadrique who died very young (1325-?). Buried at the moment the high altar in the Cathedral of Barcelona, in a sepulcher shared with his brother Jaime and with the king Alfonso III the Liberal..
      Infante Don Sancho (1326–1327). Buried together his mother and his sister Isabel in the missing Convent of San Francisco of Zaragoza.
     In second nupcias he married Leonor from Castile and of Portugal, daughter of Fernando IV of Castile in the Church of San Francisco of Tarazona, the day 5 of February 1329. Leonor had been the engaged of the heir and brother bigger than Alfonso, the infant Jaime, and with this marriage came to normalize the relationships with the Kingdom of Castile after the rebuff received on the part of the Aragonese. Fruit of this marriage was born:
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     Infante Don Fernando, Marquis of Tortosa. Contracted marriage with Doña María de Portugal, daughter of Pedro I of Portugal. He was murdered in Burriana by order his brother Pedro IV the Ceremonious. (1329–1363).
      Infante Don Juan de Aragon and Castile. Hemarried Doña Isabel Núñez de Lara and was murdered byorder his cousin Pedro I of Castile. (c. 1330–1358).
      The king Alfonso IV died in Barcelona January 27 1336. The Kingdom of Aragon, Valencia and Sardinia, as well as the County of Barcelona and the other territories subordinated this, they were inherited by his second son, Pedro, while his first wife's possessions, the county of Urgel and the dominions of Entenza and Antillón were inherited by his third son Jaime. Two months before his death, when he had already got sick, his wife and the second marriage's two infants escaped to Castile helped by Pedro de Jérica, fearing the reprisals of the heir Pedro.

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