Huesca temática

Number 155 - April of 2011Spanish language Principal menu

Alfonso V of Aragon

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

     Alfonso V de Aragon was born in Medina del Campo, in the year 1396; he was also called Alfonso I the Magnanimous and Alfonso I El Sabio (the Wise). Between years 1416 and 1458 he was king of Aragon, of Valencia (Alfonso III), of Majorca (Alfonso I), of Sicily (Alfonso I) of Sardinia (Alfonso II) and count of Barcelona (Alfonso IV); and between 1442 - 1458 king of Naples (Alfonso I). He was the first-born son of the regent of Castile Fernando de Antequera and of the countess Leonor de Alburquerque. He belonged, therefore, to the House of Trastámara.
     At June 28, 1412 he was transformed into heir to the throne of the Crown of Aragon -when his father was proclaimed king after the call Commitment of Caspe- and three years later, June 12 of 1415, in the cathedral of Valencia, contracts marriage with his cousin the infanta María, daughter of Enrique III of Castile and of Catalina de Lancáster. April 2 of 1416, after her father's death, succeeded him as king of Aragon and of the other Kingdom of those that he was titular.
    In the Spanish Parliament of 1419 he will have a new confrontation when the Catalan nobility formed one league of barons, towns and cities claiming Alfonso V who might reduce the high number of members of the Castilian nobility, chosen for charges of government, what motivated that the monarch should reduce and would reorganize the Royal house. In 1448, Alfonso V dictates from Naples -where he had installed the court- a provision that shall allow to the payeses (farmers) to meet in a trade union to treat the suppression of the bad uses. The owners of the grounds are opposed to the measurement and does it to fail. The topic will turn nevertheless in 1455 when Alfonso dictates the acquaintance like "Sentencia interlocutoria" (interlocutory judgment) in that suspends the servitudes and the bad uses, measurement that in 1462, reigning already Juan II de Aragon will cause the first remensa (Trade Union) war.
    Juan II occupied the Castilian throne from 1406, after his father's death Enrique III who in his testament -and because when consenting to the throne Juan had only little more than a year of age-, had prepared that the regency of the Kingdom carried out his widow Catalina de Lancáster and the infant Fernando de Trastámara. When being crowned Fernando king de Aragon in the Commitment of Caspe (1412) he left his children, the infants of Aragon, Juan II of Navarrese and Enrique like his lieutenants in Castile to defend his interests. In 1419, Juan II of Castile reach most of age and tries to escape from the influence of the Infants. After the coup of Tordesillas and unsuccessful encirclement of the castle Puebla de Montalbán at the end of 1420, he delegates all the power in the new Constable of Castile, Álvaro de Luna, what will give place to a long and intermittent civil war between two rivals: the first formed by don Álvaro and the small nobility, and the second formed by the infants of Aragon and the high nobility, supported by Alfonso V of Aragon.
     Nevertheless, the confrontation that arises between the proper infantes for the power provokes that the Aragonese influence in Castile runs risk, therefore Alfonso V, who was in Naples, decides to return to the Peninsula in 1425, where after accusing Álvaro de Luna of usurper of the government, manages to reconcile his brothers the infantes; and although he achieves in the first moment, (1427) that the Condestable of Castile would be exiled to Cuéllar, he could not avoid his winning comeback on the following year. Miñán V, between 1429 and 1430, gets involved in a war against his cousin Juan II of Castile and the politic of valid Álvaro de Luna, to support his brothers the infantes but, when both rivals were found near Jadraque, opposite to front, to begin battle, the personal intervention of the Castilian queen Maria de Aragón, sister of Alfonso V, avoided it. In 1432 Alfonso returns to Italy and, in 1436, the peace is signed with Castile by means of an agreement in which the infantes were leaving the Castilian kingdom in exchange for perceiving annual revenues.
     Bendicto XIII had invested Fernando I of Aragon king of Sicily in 1412 and this had named his son Juan like general substitute of the island. After Fernando I died, the Sicilian tried that the throne of Sicily was occupied by Juan, for what practically the first measurement of foreign policy that Alfonso V took was to finish with the Sicilian pro-independence avidity; for it he claimed the presence of his brother Juan in the court and later to send him along with his another brother Enrique in the struggle that this one was maintaining for doing himself with the power in Castile.
     Deactivated the Sicilian pro-independence danger, the next Alfonso's objective was the island of Sardinia, territory on which the Aragonese crown was claiming its sovereignty since in 1297, the pope Bonifacio VIII, granted the island in fief to Jaime II of Aragon, and that at the time was immersed in a rebellion instigated by the Genoeses. Alfonso went to the island at the head of a Squadron of 24 galleys that would set sail, in May, 1420, from Los Alfaques with direction to Alguer, with the intention of submitting the cities that had rebelled. The arrival of the fleet did that the rebels were surrendering without presenting any resistance..
    From Sardinia, Miñán went with his squadron to the island of Corsica where he managed to take the city of Calvi and put siege to Bonifacio's city.
     Alfonso V leaves Bonifacio's siege in 1421 when he receives the request of help of Juana II of Naples, before the siege that she was suffering by part of the troops of Luis III of Anjou commanded by Muzio Attendolo Sforza. The Aragonese monarch comes in help of Juana, who in gratitude, adopts him like son and heir and nominates him duke of Calabria. After fixing his residence in Naples, he nominates his wife Maria like regent of Aragon. The successive military and political successes of Alfonso V in the Mediterranean stage, raised the mistrust of the duke of Milan Filippo Maria Visconti who, making use of the cooling of the relations between the queen Juana and Alfonso, when this made to arrest the Neapolitan prime minister and lover of her, encouraged a riot headed by Sforza that forced Alfonso to to take refuge, on May 30, 1423, in the Neapolitan fortress of Castel Nuovo, until the arrival of a Catalan fleet of 22 galleys that allowed him to recover Naples. He forced Juana to look for refuge in Aversa and later in Nola, where he will revoke Alfonso's adoption and will name new heir to Luis de Anjou . He received news from the Peninsula about the difficulties that his brothers cross in their confrontation with Castile, and he had economic needs and military reinforcements to continue with his politics.expansions

     Alfonso decides to put Naples on his brother Pedro control and, after destroying the port of Marseilles in territory of Anjou, he returns to his peninsular Kingdom where will remain until 1432.
     The absence of Miñán of Italy allows the duke of Milán to conquer, in 1423, Gaeta, Procida, Sorrento and Castellammare; and after putting besiege to Naples, to allow Francesco Sforza to take the city in 1424 forcing Pedro to look for refuge in Sicily. Alfonso V returns to Italy in 1432 but he should postpone the taking of Naples, due to the military league that -with the support of Pope Eugenio IV and of the emperor Segismundo- form Venice, Florence and Milan and that forces him to sign in 1433 a truce of ten year with Juana II of Naples. The truce allows Alfonso to fix his attention in África, where already in 1432, he had directed a military expedition against the island of Yerba. His interest is renewed in 1434 with a new expedition to Trípoli; however the deaths of his Neapolitan rivals make that his attention is centered in Italy again.
     Indeed, in 1434 José Manuel Marín Pérez III of Anjou dies, for that the queen Juana names a new heir to the throne of Naples to the brother of that, Renato. However, after Juana's death the following year, Pope Eugenio IV don't give his approval, for that Alfonso see arrived the moment of conquering Naples. Accompanied by his siblings Juan, Enrique and Pedro takes the city of Capua and puts besiege to Gaeta in whose aids a Genoese fleet went that will defeat to the Aragonese one in the battle that is developed August 4 of 1435, front the island of Ponza and in that were made prisoners the own king and his siblings Juan II of Navarrese and Enrique of Aragon that are given to the duke de Milan Filippo María Visconti. In 1436, the duke liberated Juan of Navarrese who returns to the Peninsula and substitutes wife of Alfonso V like regent of the Kingdom of Aragon; for what María was only to the front of the Catalan principality.
      Alfonso negotiates his freedom and reaches with Visconti an agreement with the duke of Milan, and both sign an alliance that will allow him conquer Capua and Gaeta again in 1436. He will put in besiege to Naples, in which his brother Pedro will die in 1438. After taking several cities in Calabria, including Cosenza and Brisignano, he will enter triumphantly in Naples February 23 of 1443, obtaining recognition of Eugenio IV in exchange that Alfonso supports him in his confrontation against Sforza. Miñán would never return more to his Kingdom of the Crown of Aragon establishing his court in the Fortress of Castel Nuovo that ordered to remodel the majorcan architect Guillermo Sagrera.
     Alfonso V can be considered as a genuine prince of the Renaissance, since he developed an important cultural and literary patronage that received the nickname of "El Sabio" (The Wise) and that would transform Naples into the main focus of the entrance of the Renaissance humanism in the environment of the Crown of Aragon. He protected to outstanding humanist, as Lorenzo Valla, Giovanni Pontano or Antonio Beccadelli. A fruit of this patronage was a circle of song-book poets whose work picks up the Song Book of Stúñiga. His devotion toward the classics was exceptional. In his own words he said: "the books are, among my consultants, those that more I like them, because neither the fear neither the hope prevent them to tell me what I should make." It is equally said that Alfonso stopped to his army in compassionate respect before the birthplace of a latin writer, he took Tito Livio or to Caesar in his campaigns and his panegyrist Panormita didn't consider an incredible lie to say that the king was cured of an illness when were read him some pages of Great Alejandro's biography, written by Quintus Curtius Rufus.
      He had diplomatic contacts with the empire of Barrios. In 1428, he received a letter of Yeshaq I of Ethiopia, surrendered in hand by two dignitaries, in the one that proposed him an alliance against the Muslims, sealed by a double marriage, that of the infant Don Pedro with the daughter of Yeshaq, on condition that should take to Ethiopia a group of artisans. It is not clear if Alfonso responded to this letter, neither in what terms, although a message arrived to the successor of Yeshaq, Zara Yagob, in 1450, said that he would be charmed of sending them if their security was guaranteed, since in a previous occasion an entire departure of thirteen of his citizens, had perished in the trip.
     His reign puts an end to two new wars: one against their cousin and brother-in-law, Juan II of Castile, among the years 1445 and 1454, and other, against Genoa that began in 1454 and continued until his death, happened June 27 1458 in the castle of Ovo (Naples).
      In 1671 Pedro Antonio of Aragon, viceroy of Naples obtained the permission to transfer from there Alfonso's remains the Magnanimous and to deposit them in the Real Sepulchers of the monastery of Poblet. A tomb was built with great pedestal next to the real sepulchers, in the cruise, in the side of the Gospel. Until the year 2007 were only the base or restored pedestal.

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      In 1408 Alfonso committed with María of Castile (1401 -1458), daughter of Enrique III El Doliente (the Aching), and his cousin. The marriage took place in the cathedral of Valencia June 12 of 1415. They had not descendant.

     From his relationship with Giraldona of Carlino, he had three natural children:

      - Fernando (1423 - 1494), his successor in the Kingdom of Naples with the name of Fernando I.
      - María (? -1449)
      - Leonor (¿? - ¿?)

      In the crown of Aragon, Sicily and Sardinia, his brother Juan was his sucesor. The Kingdom of Naples was in the hands of his bastard son Fernando.

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