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Castile and Leon Kings history
Henry (Henrique) II Trastamara (1366-1367 and 1369-1379)
The struggle for the enthronement of the new dynasty of Trastamara is one of the most famous troubles in the history of Spain, due to the fact that France and England were involved in it.
Enrique (1334-1379) - the son of Alfonso XI from Leonora de Guzmán, who at birth received the county of Trastamara. The bastards were not at all considered to be in some way flawed and certainly did not consider themselves Enrique - the eldest of the out-of-wedlock sons of Alfonso. By the way, he was two years older than his legitimate heir - Pedro I.
Pedro I the Cruel restored many against himself, incl. Papa (from he lived openly with his mistress, Maria Padilla) and France (from he also openly neglected his wife, Blanca of Bourbon). Enrique, naturally, became the head of the opponents of the king, especially from he began his reign with the execution of Leonora Guzman.
The war continued with varying success, until French mercenaries (rutiers), whom Charles V, under the command of du Guesclin, cleverly fused from France, where they were engaged in looting, did not come to Enrique's help. Together, several important cities were occupied, Pedro fled, and on May 5, 1366 Enrique was proclaimed king.
Pedro soon returned with English troops led by Edward the Black Prince. England then was not as far from Spain as it is now. Edward was the duke of Aquitaine (or Guyenne) - part of the territory of France with the main city of Bordeaux. The British were interested not only in the money and the territories promised by Pedro, but also politically - the Hundred Years War continued, and France supported Enrique. The Black Prince won, Pedro became king again, but did not give the promise, and Edward returned to Guyenne, losing part of the troops and his own health.
When Enrique returned with a new French army, there was no one to support Pedro. Defeated in a decisive battle, he entered into negotiations with du Guesclin and during their meeting, was in a duel stabbed by Enrique (1369). The fight seemed to be not entirely fair - one of the comrades of Trastamara held Pedro by the leg. In general, summing up this lengthy confrontation, we can conclude that against the background of his rival, Enrique looks much prettier.
The war is not over. Taking advantage of the ruin of Castile, the neighbors, from Aragon and Portugal to the receiver of the Black Prince John Gaunt, tried to annex to themselves the land left unattended. Gradually, with the help of France, all these attempts were stopped, but real peace came already towards the end of the rule of Enrique.
The activity of Trastamara in peacetime does not give the right to call him an outstanding ruler, but all that could be done in such a difficult time he did. Trying to attract allies, the king generously distributed land and privileges, for which he was nicknamed "Merciful", and then his heirs backfired. Enrique has the dubious honor of organizing the first Jewish pogrom (Toledo, 1355).
Henry (Henrique) IV (1454-1474)
The Spanish nickname Enrique IV (1424-1474) "El Impotente" sounds somewhat ambiguous, but it simply means "Powerless", in every sense. The male version of insolvency was discussed mainly by opponents of the king, with the goal of eliminating his daughter Juana from inheritance. In general, the variant with impotence is also possible, given that only one child was born of two wives, and he was not attributed to the king, but to a certain court Beltran de la Cueva, and the girl was called Juana Beltranecha. Enrique himself always considered Juan his daughter.
The future queen Isabella (the king's sister, born of another mother. Her mother had another child, Alfonso) considered it improper to dig in and prudently adhered to the point of view that Juana could not be considered a legitimate daughter, from royal marriage was not specifically allowed by dad, as it should be for close relatives.
The main reason for the unflattering nickname is that the king had to constantly give in to the claims of the nobility. In 1464 he was forced to recognize Alfonso as the heir, instead of Juana. However, the king soon changed his mind. The embittered aristocrats gathered in Avila (1435) and proclaimed King Alfonso, erecting, at the same time, the doll Enrique and depriving her of signs of royal dignity - so-called. "Farce in Avila." Another group of nobles supported Enrique. The struggle continued with varying success until 1468, when Alfonso died. The boy was 12 years old, the cause of death is not known. A contract was concluded whereby Isabella became the direct heir, and one of the conditions was the requirement that she not marry without the consent of the king. This condition was violated in 1469, when Isabella secretly married the heir to the Aragon throne, Fernando, with the result that the king again declared heiress Juana. The war resumed and continued until the death of Enrique (what is the reason for this is also unknown).
Isabella I and Ferdinand (Fernando) V (1479-1504)
After the death of Enrique IV, the war continued for another five years - Juana was supported by her uncle and, simultaneously, by her husband, Portuguese king Alfonso V. This marriage was annulled by the pope because of the close kinship of the spouses, and Juana spent the rest of his life in a monastery.
The marriage of Isabella (1451-1504) and Ferdinand (1452-1516) took place secretly from Enrique IV. The couple saw each other shortly until the wedding, so there is no question of love, but they ruled in agreement. Ferdinand was prepared for the role of a prince consort (he was forbidden to leave Castile and generally do something without his wife’s consent), but at the initiative of Isabella a completely different contract was concluded in which the spouses became equal rulers and each document had to be affixed with two signatures. After the death of Isabella, Ferdinand reigned as regent, right up to his death.
Contrary to popular belief, the dynastic union of Castile and Aragon (Ferdinand became king of Aragon in 1479) does not mean the formation of the Spanish kingdom. Customs posts on the border of Castile and Aragon generally lasted until 1700.
As for the title of "Catholic Kings", he was awarded the Pope not at all for religious merit, as it may seem, but because Spain supported the Pope in his struggle in Italy - Ferdinand took away from France the Papal Region and the Neapolitan Kingdom (Pope feud) .