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Number 154 - March of 2011Spanish language Principal menu


Fernando I of Aragon

King of Aragon, Majorca, Valencia, Sardinia and Corsica and Sicily
Count of Barcelona, Rosellón, Cerdaña and Ampurias

     Fernando I of Aragon was born in Medina del Campo, November 27 1380 and died in Igualada, April 2 of 1416 being 35 years old. He was also called Fernando de Trastámara, Fernando de Antequera, Fernando the Fair and Fernando the Honest. Likewise, he would be Infante of Castile, King of Aragon, of Valencia, of Majorca, of Corsica, of Sicily and of Sardinia (nominal); duke of Neopatria and of Athens (nominal); count of Barcelona, of Rosellón, of Cerdaña; and regent of Castile. He was the first Aragonese king of the Castilian dynasty of Trastámara, although he was of Aragon for the maternal branch, because his mother Leonor of Aragon was sister of Martin I of Aragon, call "the Human".
    Fernando was the second son of Juan I of Castile and of Leonor of Aragon, sister of the Aragonese king Martin the Human, and grandson, therefore, of the king Pedro IV the Ceremonious by maternal via, and of the king Enrique II of Castile, for the paternal branch. After these antecedents, and given the legal possibility of transmission of the House of Aragon for maternal via, the Aragonese right granted him a preferential range in his aspirations to the crown of Aragon after the death without masculine descendant of Martin I the Human.
    In spite of his condition of "second" son, the throne of Castile was occupied by his brother, the future Enrique III in 1390. The scarce health of him -he suffered illnesses, like the typhus and the smallpox, what cost him to be nicknamed "El Doliente" (the grieving)- and the fact that he was not able to conceive a male that inherited the throne, allowed to Fernando to have hopes of ending up obtaining the Castilian throne; like demonstrates the fact that in 1393 he married his aunt Leonor of Alburquerque, with what reinforced his dynastic rights in case his brother died. However, the birth of a male heir, future Juan II, in 1405, one year before death of Enrique III, put end to Fernando's hopes to occupy the throne of Castile.
     When dying Enrique III El Doliente, in 1406, he settled down in his testament that during the minority of age of his son Juan II, would assume the regency of the Kingdom his widow and mother of him, Catalina of Lancáster, and his brother Fernando.
    The disagreements between both co-regents -instigated by part of the nobility- didn't take time in appearing, for what they reach the agreement of dividing the territory in two halves, corresponding Fernando the southern area of the Kingdom that extends for the territories located to the south of Sierra de Guadarrama until the nazari Kingdom of Granada, what will allow him to renew the war against this Kingdom that the death of Enrique III had paralyzed.
    With the renewal of the military actions against the nazari Kingdom of Granada, Fernando is able to take Prune and Zahara de la Sierra, but fails in the conquest of Setenil, whereupon is forced by the Council of Regency to sign the truce that for two years the king nazarí Yusuf III had offered.
     After the period of truce, Fernando recaptures the campaign grenadine and conquers, September 16 of 1410, the important place of Antequera that will give him the good known nickname.
     In 1410, after his uncle king Martín I of Aragon dies without direct and legitimate descendant, Fernando presents his candidacy to the succession of the Aragonese throne and, although in a principle are presented till six candidates to the throne, only Fernando and Jaime of Urgel had real possibilities of success.
     The economic power of Fernando, his military prestige and his political intelligence, allowed him to be provided with the support of the Valencian family of the Centelles and of the Aragonese family of the Urrea. All this joined the errors of Jaime de Urgel, the conspiracy to murder the archbishop of Saragossa, García Fernández de Heredia, and the support so much of Benedicto XIII, as of his confessor, Vicente Ferrer, will incline the scale towards Fernando's candidacy, which will be countersigned, on June 28, 1412, in the called Commitment of Caspe, where he is proclaimed a king of Aragon and of other states of the Crown of Aragon.
      After swearing as king August 5 in Palacio de La Aljafería de Zaragoza -where two of his old rivals to occupy the throne, Fadrique de Luna and Juan de Prades, will surrender him homage- he will go to Lérida, where representatives of his great rival, Jaime de Urgel, surrender him vassalage, in exchange for the dukedom of Montblanch and of the agreement of a marriage among their children Enrique and Isabel.


      Next, Fernando Ith goes to Tortosa to meet with his big guardian Benedicto XIII who, on November 21, 1412, invested him like king of Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia in exchange for the real support in the dispute that Benedicto was maintaining with others two popes, who simultaneously were governing the Christian world: Gregorio XII and Juan XXIII, in full Schism of Occident that was dividing to the Catholic Church..
      One week later, on November 28, Fernando was entering Barcelona, where he swore the Catalan privileges. In 1413 during the celebration of the Catalan Spanish Parliament that had summoned himself, received the news of that Jaime de Urgel had risen up in arms. With the help of the classes of the Catalan nobility suffocates the riot and besieges the count of Urgel in the castle of Balaguer, which is taken on October 31, after which the ancient claimant to the throne of Aragon was deprived of all his qualifications and exiled.
     In the Spanish Parliament that he had summoned in Barcelona, Fernando Ith had to yield to the called Catalan "pactismo" (agreement), doctrine that the real authority was limiting in favour of the Spanish Parliament and the Generality of Catalonia. This movement headed by Joan Fivaller, was showing that "privilegi atorgat tollent law paccionada of dret, odd val and that privilegi atorgat against ben publich is nul", therefore they were "Determined to give him earlier hislife that the freedom". Although Fernando had to give up to the counsellors, his relation with Fillavert was not deteriorated, since nominated him executor of his testament that granted on October 10, 1415 in Perpiñán.
     After eliminating or neutralizing any interior opposition, Fernando I went again to Saragossa, where will be crowned in 1414 in the Palace of the Aljafería, after which he directs his attention to the foreign policy.
     He normalized the internal situation of Sicily with the appointment in 1415 of his son Juan like viceroy of Sicily, managing to finish with the civil war that from the death of Martín El Joven was facing the widow of him, Blanca I of Navarre, with the illegitimate son of that, Fadrique de Luna.

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      He appeased Sardinia, agreed on a truce with Genoa and signed friendship agreements with Egypt and with the kingdom of Fez (1414).
     In the question of the schism of Occident, He was faithful to Benedicto XIII (pope Luna or antipope), his protector, although tried that he was resigning from the papacy, for which he met him in Morella (1414) and in Perpiñán (1415). Benedicto's intransigence, joined the decision taken in the Council of Constance that dismissed three popes, did that Fernando was leaving him and was withdrawing him the obedience of his kingdoms (1416).
      On March 14, 1416, he fell ill in Igualada, where he would die on April 2 of the same year.
      From his marriage with Leonor de Alburquerque he had 7 children:
      - Alfonso Magnanimous (1396 - 1458), his successor in the kingdom of Aragon, with the name of Alfonso V, and king of Naples, with the name of Alfonso I.
      - María (1396 - 1445), who married her cousin Juan II of Castile.
      - Juan the Big (1397 - 1479), king of Aragon and of Navarre with the name of Juan II.
      - Enrique (1400 - 1445), Duke of Alburquerque, Count of Villena, Big Master of the Order of Santiago.
      - Sancho (1401? - 1416).
      - Leonor (1402 - 1445), who married Eduardo I of Portugal.
      - Pedro (1406 - ¿?), Count of Alburquerque.
      The mortal remains of Fernando I, rest in the Real Tombs of the monastery of Poblet.
      His successor will be Alfonso V.

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