Kingdom of Castile
The Kingdom of Castile was a large and powerful state located on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region, it began in the 9th century as the County of Castile, an eastern frontier lordship of the Kingdom of León. During the 10th century its counts increased their autonomy, but it was not until 1065 that it was separated from León and became a kingdom in its own right. Between 1072 and 1157 it was again united with León, after 1230 this union became permanent. Throughout this period the Castilian kings made extensive conquests in southern Iberia at the expense of the Islamic principalities. Castile and León, with their southern acquisitions, came to be known collectively as the Crown of Castile, a term that came to encompass overseas expansion. According to the chronicles of Alfonso III of Asturias. In Al-Andalus chronicles from the Cordoban Caliphate, the oldest sources refer to it as Al-Qila, or "the castled" high plains past the territory of Alava, more south to it and the first encountered in their expeditions from Zaragoza.
The name reflects its origin as a march on the eastern frontier of the Kingdom of Asturias, protected by castles, towers or castra. The County of Castile, bordered in the south by the northern reaches of the Spanish Sistema Central mountain system, just north of modern-day Madrid province, it was re-populated by inhabitants of Cantabria, Asturias and Visigothic and Mozarab origins. It had customary laws. From the first half of the 9th century until the middle of the century, in which it came to be paid more closer attention to, its administration and defense by the monarchs of Leon – due the increased incursions from the Emirate of Córdoba – its first repopulation settlements were led by small abbots and local counts from the other side of the Cantabrian ridge neighbor valleys and Primorias and smaller ones, being its first settlers from the contiguous maritime valleys of Mena and Encartaciones in nearby Biscay, some of whom had abandoned those exposed areas of the Meseta a few decades earlier, taken refuge by the much dense and intractable woods of the Atlantic valleys, so they were not that foreign to them.
A mix of settlers from the Cantabrian and Basque coastal areas, which were swelled with refugees, was led under the protection of Abbot Vitulus and his brother, count Herwig, as registered in the local charters they signed around the first years of the 800's. The areas that they settled didn't extend far from the Cantabrian southeastern ridges, not beyond the southern reaches of the high Ebro river valleys and canyon gores; the first Count of a wider and more united Castile was Rodrigo in 850, under Ordoño I of Asturias and Alfonso III of Asturias, who settled and fortified the ancient Cantabrian hill town of Amaya, much farther west and south of the Ebro river to offer a more easy defense and command of the still functional Roman Empire main highway passing by, south of the Cantabrian ridge all the way to Leon, from the Muslim military expeditions. Subsequently, the region was subdivided, separate counts being named to Alava, Cerezo & Lantarón, a reduced Castile. In 931 the County was reunified by Count Fernán González, who rose in rebellion against the Kingdom of León, successor state to Asturias, achieved an autonomous status, allowing the county to be inherited by his family instead of being subject to appointment by the Leonese king.
The minority of Count García Sánchez led Castile to accept Sancho III of Navarre, married to the sister of Count García, as feudal overlord. García was assassinated in 1028 while in León to marry the princess Sancha, sister of Bermudo III of León. Sancho III, acting as feudal overlord, appointed his younger son Ferdinand as Count of Castile, marrying him to his uncle's intended bride, Sancha of León. Following Sancho's 1035 death, Castile returned to the nominal control of León, but Ferdinand, allying himself with his brother García Sánchez III of Navarre, began a war with his brother-in-law Vermudo. At the Battle of Tamarón Vermudo was killed. In right of his wife, Ferdinand assumed the royal title as king of León and Castile, for the first time associating the royal title with the rule of Castile; when Ferdinand I died in 1065, the territories were divided among his children. Sancho II became King of Castile, Alfonso VI, King of León and García, King of Galicia, while his daughters were given towns, Urraca and Elvira, Toro.
Sancho II allied himself with Alfonso VI of León and together they conquered divided Galicia. Sancho attacked Alfonso VI and invaded León with the help of El Cid, drove his brother into exile, thereby reuniting the three kingdoms. Urraca permitted the greater part of the Leonese army to take refuge in the town of Zamora. Sancho laid siege to the town, but the Castilian king was assassinated in 1072 by Bellido Dolfos, a Galician nobleman; the Castilian troops withdrew. As a result, Alfonso VI recovered all his original territory of León, now became the king of Castile and Galicia; this was the second union of León and Castile, although the two kingdoms remained distinct entities joined only in a personal union. The before Alfonso VI in Santa Gadea de Burgos regarding the innocence of Alfonso in the matter of the murder of his brother is well known. During the first years of the 12th century Alfonso VI only son Sancho died leaving only his daughter. Due to this Alfonso VI took a different approach to the rest of Europeans kingdoms, including France
Bertrand du Guesclin
Bertrand du Guesclin, nicknamed "The Eagle of Brittany" or "The Black Dog of Brocéliande", was a Breton knight and an important military commander in the French side during the Hundred Years' War. From 1370 to his death, he was Constable of France for King Charles V. Well known for his Fabian strategy, he took part in six pitched battles and won the four in which he held command. Bertrand du Guesclin was born at Motte-Broons near Dinan, in Brittany, first-born son of Robert du Guesclin and Jeanne de Malmaines, his date of birth is unknown but is thought to have been sometime in 1320. His family was of minor Breton nobility, the seigneurs of Broons. Bertrand's family may have claimed descent from Aquin, the legendary Muslim king of Bougie in Africa, a conceit derived from the Roman d'Aquin, a thirteenth-century French chanson de geste from Brittany, he served Charles of Blois in the Breton War of Succession. Charles was supported by the French crown, while his rival, Jean de Montfort, was allied with England.
Du Guesclin was knighted in 1354 while serving Arnoul d'Audrehem, after countering a raid by Hugh Calveley on the Castle of Montmuran. In 1356–57, Du Guesclin defended Rennes against an English siege by Henry of Grosmont, using guerrilla tactics. During the siege, he killed the English knight William Bamborough; the resistance of du Guesclin helped restore French morale after Poitiers, du Guesclin came to the attention of the Dauphin Charles. When he became King in 1364, Charles sent Du Guesclin to deal with Charles II of Navarre, who hoped to claim the Duchy of Burgundy, which Charles hoped to give to his brother, Philip. On 16 May, he met an Anglo-Navarrese army under the command of Jean de Grailly, Captal de Buch at Cocherel and proved his ability in pitched battle by routing the enemy; the victory forced Charles II into a new peace with the French king, secured Burgundy for Philip. On 29 September 1364, at the Battle of Auray, the army of Charles of Blois was defeated by John IV, Duke of Brittany and the English forces under Sir John Chandos.
De Blois was killed in action. After chivalric resistance, Du Guesclin broke his weapons to signify his surrender, he was ransomed by Charles V for 100,000 francs. In 1366, Bertrand persuaded the leaders of the "free companies", pillaging France after the Treaty of Brétigny, to join him in an expedition to Spain to aid Count Henry of Trastámara against Pedro I of Castile. In 1366, du Guesclin, with Guillaume Boitel, his faithful companion, leader of his vanguard, captured many fortresses. After Henry's coronation at Burgos, he proclaimed Bertrand his successor as Count of Trastámara and had him crowned as King of Granada, although that kingdom was yet to be reconquered from the Nasrids. Bertrand's elevation must have taken place at Burgos between 16 March and 5 April 1366, but Henry's army was defeated in 1367 by Pedro's forces, now commanded by Edward, the Black Prince, at Nájera. Du Guesclin was again captured, again ransomed by Charles V, who considered him invaluable. However, the English army suffered badly in the battle as four English soldiers out of five died during the Castilian Campaign.
The Black Prince, affected by dysentery, soon withdrew his support from Pedro. Du Guesclin and Henry of Trastámara renewed the attack, defeating him at the decisive Battle of Montiel. After the battle, Pedro fled to the castle at Montiel, from whence he made contact with du Guesclin, whose army were camped outside. Pedro bribed du Guesclin to obtain escape. Du Guesclin agreed, but told it to Henry who promised him more money and land if he would only lead Pedro to Henry's tent. Once there, after crossed accusations of bastardy, the two half-brothers started a fight to death, using daggers because of the narrow space. At a moment when they fought on the floor, Pedro was about to finish Henry, but Du Guesclin, who had stayed inactive for he was compromised to both, made his final choice. He grabbed Pedro's ankle and turned him belly-up, thus allowing Henry to stab Pedro to death and gain the throne of Castile. While turning Pedro down, du Guesclin is claimed to have said "Ni quito ni pongo rey, pero ayudo a mi señor", which has since that moment become a common phrase in Spanish, to be used by anyone of lesser rank who does what he is ordered or expected to do, avoiding any concern about the justice or injustice of such action, declining any responsibility.
Bertrand was made Duke of Molina, the Franco-Castilian alliance was sealed. War with England was renewed in 1369, Du Guesclin was recalled from Castile in 1370 by Charles V, who had decided to make him Constable of France, the country's chief military leader. By tradition this post was always given to a great nobleman, not to someone like the comparatively low-born Du Guesclin, but Charles needed someone, an outstanding professional soldier. In practice du Guesclin had continual difficulties in getting aristocratic leaders to serve under him, the core of his armies were always his personal retinue, he was formally invested with the rank of Constable by the King on 2 October 1370. He defeated an English army led by Robert Knolles at the Battle of Pontvallain and reconquered Poitou and Saintonge forcing the Black Prince to leave France. In 1372, the Franco-Castillan fleet destroyed the English fleet at the Battle of La Rochelle where more than 400 English knights and 8000 soldiers were captured.
Master of the Channel, du Guesclin organized destructive raids on the English coasts in retaliation for the English chev
Emirate of Granada
The Emirate of Granada known as the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, was an emirate established in 1230 by Muhammad ibn al-Ahmar. After Prince Idris left Iberia to take the Almohad Caliphate leadership, the ambitious Ibn al-Ahmar established the last Muslim dynasty on the Iberian peninsula, the Nasrids; the Nasrid emirs were responsible for building the Alhambra palace complex. By 1250, the Emirate was the last part of the Iberian peninsula held by the Muslims, it corresponded to the modern Spanish provinces of Granada, Almería, Málaga. Andalusian Arabic was the mother tongue of the majority of the population. For two more centuries, the region enjoyed considerable economic prosperity, it was conquered by the Crown of Castile and dissolved with the 1491 Treaty of Granada, ending the Granada War. In January 1492 Muhammad XII of Granada, the last Nasrid ruler of Granada, formally relinquished his sovereignty and surrendered his territories to Castile moving to Morocco in exile. With the Reconquista in full swing after the conquest of Córdoba in June 1236, Mohammed I ibn Nasr aligned Granada with Ferdinand III of Castile in 1246, thereby creating a tributary state, or taifa, under the Crown of Castile.
Granada remained a tributary state for the next 250 years, with Nasrid emirs paying tribute to Castilian kings in the form of gold from present-day Mali and Burkina Faso, carried to Iberia through the merchant routes in the Sahara. The Nasrids provided military assistance to Castile for its conquest of areas under Muslim control, most notably Seville in November 1248 and the Taifa of Niebla in 1262. In 1305, Granada conquered Ceuta, but lost control of the city in 1309 to the Kingdom of Fez with the assistance of the Crown of Aragon. Granada re-captured Ceuta a year but again lost it in 1314. Granada again held the city from 1315 to 1327. In 1384, Granada again re-took Ceuta but lost it definitively to Kingdom of Fez in 1386. Ceuta was taken by the Portuguese Empire in 1415 and by the Spanish Empire in 1580. Granada's peace with Castile broke down on various occasions. Granada lost territory to Castile at the Battle of Teba in 1330. In 1340, Granada under Yusuf I supported the failed Marinid invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, which ended at the Battle of Río Salado.
Granada's status as a tributary state and its favorable geographic location, with the Sierra Nevada as a natural barrier, helped to prolong Nasrid rule and allowed the Emirate to prosper as a regional entrepôt with the Maghreb and the rest of Africa. The city of Granada was one of the largest cities during this time: it accepted numerous Muslim refugees expelled from Christian controlled areas, doubling the size of the city and becoming the largest city of Europe in 1450 in terms of population. During this time there were 137 mosques in the Medina of Grenada. Granada served as a refuge for Muslims fleeing during the Reconquista. Regardless of its comparative prosperity, intra-political strife was constant. Skirmishes along the border of Granada occurred and territory was lost to Castile. Granada was integrated in Mediterranean trade networks and financed by Genoese bankers aiming to gain control of the gold trade carried in through Saharan caravan routes. However, after Portugal opened direct trade routes to Sub-Saharan Africa by sea in the 15th century, Granada became less important as a regional commercial center.
With the union of Castile and Aragon in 1469, these kingdoms set their sights on annexing Granada. The war of Granada would offer an opportunity for Ferdinand and Isabella to harness the restless Castilian nobility against a common enemy and instill subjects with a sense of loyalty to the crown; the Emirate's attack on the Castilian frontier town of Zahara in December 1481 led to a prolonged war. The Granada War began in 1482, with Christian forces capturing Alhama de Granada in February 1482; this marked the beginning of a grinding 10-year war. The Christian force was made up of troops provided by Castilian nobles and the Santa Hermandad, as well as Swiss mercenaries; the Catholic Church encouraged other Christian countries to offer their troops and their finances to the war effort. Meanwhile, civil war erupted in Granada as a result of succession struggles in the Nasrid ruling house. Castile used this internal strife as an opportunity to push further into Granada. By 1491, the city of Granada itself lay under siege.
On November 25, 1491, the Treaty of Granada was signed. On January 2, 1492, the last Muslim leader, Muhammad XII, known as Boabdil to the Spanish, gave up complete control of Granada, to Ferdinand and Isabella, Los Reyes Católicos; the Christian ousting of Muslim rule on the Iberian Peninsula with the conquest of Granada did not extinguish the spirit of the Reconquista. Isabella urged Christians to pursue a conquest of Africa. About 200,000 Muslims are thought to have emigrated to North Africa after the fall of Granada. Under the conditions of surrender, the Muslims who remained were guaranteed their property, laws and religion; this however, was not the case, causing the Muslims to rebel against their Christian rulers, culminating with an uprising in 1500. The rebellion was seen as a chance to formally end the treaty of Granada, the rights of Muslims and Jews were withdrawn. Muslims in the area were given the choice of conversion. In 1568–1571, the descendants of the converted Muslims revolted again, leading to their expulsion from the former Emirate to North Africa and Anatolia.
For Jews as well, a period of mixed religious tolerance and persecution under Mus
Joanna of Castile
Joanna, known as Joanna the Mad, was Queen of Castile from 1504, of Aragon from 1516. Modern Spain evolved from the union of these two crowns. Joanna was married by arrangement to Philip the Handsome, Archduke of the House of Habsburg, on 20 October 1496. Following the deaths of her brother, Prince of Asturias, in 1497, her elder sister Isabella in 1498, her nephew Miguel in 1500, Joanna became the heir presumptive to the crowns of Castile and Aragon; when her mother Queen Isabella I of Castile died in 1504, Joanna became Queen of Castile, while her father, King Ferdinand II of Aragon, proclaimed himself'Governor and Administrator of Castile'. In 1506 Archduke Philip became King of Castile jure uxoris, initiating the rule of the Habsburgs in Spain, died that same year. Despite being the ruling Queen of Castile, she had little effect on national policy during her reign as she was declared insane and imprisoned in Tordesillas under the orders of her father, who ruled as regent until his death in 1516, when she inherited his kingdom as well.
From 1516, when her son Charles I ruled as king, she was nominally co-monarch but remained imprisoned until her death. Joanna was born in the city of the capital of the Kingdom of Castile, she was the third child and second daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon of the royal House of Trastámara. She had a fair complexion, blue eyes and her hair colour was between strawberry-blonde and auburn, like her mother and sister Catherine, her siblings were Queen of Portugal. Joanna was an excellent student, she was educated and formally trained for a significant marriage that, as a royal family alliance, would extend the kingdom's power and security as well as its influence and peaceful relations with other ruling powers. As an infanta she was not expected to be heiress to the throne of either Castile or Aragon, although through deaths she inherited both, her academic education consisted of canon and civil law and heraldry, history, mathematics, reading and writing. She read an impressive list of authors of classical literature that included the Christian poets Juvencus and Prudentius, Church fathers Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, Saint Gregory, Saint Jerome, the Roman statesman Seneca.
In the Castilian court her main tutors were the Dominican priest Andrés de Miranda, the respected educator Beatriz Galindo, a member of the queen's court, her mother the queen. Joanna's royal education included court etiquette, drawing, equestrian skills, good manners and the needle arts of embroidery and sewing, she excelled in all of the Iberian Romance languages: Castilian, Galician-Portuguese, Catalan and became fluent in French and Latin. She learned outdoor pursuits such as hunting. Praise was given to her for being a talented musician. By 1495 Joanna showed signs of religious skepticism and little devotion to worship and Catholic rites; this alarmed her mother Queen Isabella, who had established the Spanish Inquisition in 1478, Joanna was afraid of her. Indeed, letters of Mosen Luis Ferrer, gentleman of the bed chamber of Ferdinand, refer to the coercive punishment known as "La cuerda", which Juana was subjected to; this involved being suspended by a rope with weights attached to the feet, endangering life and limb.
In the background was the'Holy' Inquisition. Two thousand men and women were burned, a still greater number condemned to perpetual imprisonment, while immense numbers fled to France and other countries; the Queen declared. Deviance by a child of the Catholic Monarchs would not be much less heresy. Sub-Prior Friar Tomas de Matienzo and Friar Andreas complained of her refusal to confess - or to write to him or her mother - and accused her of corruption by Parisian'drunkard' priests. In 1496, Joanna, at the age of seventeen, was betrothed to the eighteen year old Philip of Flanders, in the Low Countries. Philip's parents were Duchess Mary of Burgundy; the marriage was one of a set of family alliances between the Habsburgs and the Trastámaras designed to strengthen both against growing French power. Joanna entered a proxy marriage at the Palacio de los Vivero in the city of Castile. In August 1496 Joanna left from the port of Laredo in northern Spain on the Atlantic's Bay of Biscay. Except for 1506, when she saw her younger sister Catherine, Princess Dowager of Wales, she would not see her siblings again.
Joanna began her journey to Flanders in the Low Countries, which consisted of parts of the present day Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany, on 22 August 1496. The formal marriage took place on 20 October 1496 in Lier, north of present-day Brussels. Between 1498 and 1507, she gave birth to six children, two boys and four girls, all of whom grew up to be either emperors or queens; the death of Joanna's brother John, the stillbirth of John's daughter and the deaths of Joanna's older sister Isabella and Isabella's son Miguel made Joanna heiress to the Spanish kingdoms. Her remaining siblings were Maria and Catherine, younger than Joanna by three and six years, respectively. In 1502, the Castilian Cortes of Toro recognised Joanna as heiress to the Castilian throne and Philip as her consort, she was named Princess of Asturias, the title trad
Álvaro de Luna
Álvaro de Luna y Jarana, 1st Duke of Trujillo, 1st Count of San Esteban de Gormaz, KOS, was a Spanish politician. He was a favourite of King John II of Castile, a Constable of Castile and Grand Master of the military order of Santiago, he was born between 1388 and 1390 in Cañete, in what is now the province of Cuenca, as the illegitimate son of the Castilian noble don Álvaro Martínez de Luna, copero mayor of King Henry III of Castile, María Fernández de Jarana, a common woman of great character and beauty. He was introduced to the court as a page by his uncle Pedro de Luna, Archbishop of Toledo, in 1410. Pedro de Luna became antipope as Benedict XIII, secluded at Peñíscola. Álvaro soon secured a commanding influence over John II a boy. During the regency of King John's uncle Ferdinand, which ended in 1412, he was not allowed to be more than a servant. When, Ferdinand was elected king of Aragon, the regency was assumed by the king's mother, Catherine of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, granddaughter of King Peter of Castile, Álvaro became a important person, the so-called "contino", or old friend of the King.
The young King regarded him with love and affection which the superstition of time attributed to witchcraft. As the King was under pressure by greedy and unscrupulous nobles — among whom his cousins, the sons of Ferdinand known as the Infantes of Aragon, were the most dangerous — his reliance on a favourite who had every motive to be loyal to him, is quite understandable. Luna was a master of all the accomplishments the King admired: a fine horseman, skillful with a lance and a writer of court verse, but beyond the purview of his peers, he was a master of misrepresentation. Until he lost the King's protection, Álvaro was the central figure of the Castilian history of the time, it was a period of constant conflict, characterised by shifting coalitions of nobles, namely the Infantes of Aragon Henry and John of Aragon, brothers of John II's wife Maria, under the pretence of freeing the King from the undue influence of his favourite, were intent on making a puppet of him for their own ends. The part which Álvaro de Luna played has been diversely judged.
The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition recounts that to Juan de Mariana he appears as a mere self-seeking favourite. To others, he has seemed to be a loyal servant of the King who endeavoured to enforce the authority of the crown, which in Castile was the only alternative to anarchy, he fought for his own ends, but his supremacy was better than the rule of lawless alliances of plundering nobles. In 1427, he was solemnly expelled by a coalition of the nobles, only to be recalled in the following year. In 1431, he endeavoured to employ the restless nobles in a campaign for the reconquest of Granada, the remaining territory of Muslim Spain and ruled by the sultan Muhammed IX; some successes were gained at the Battle of La Higueruela. A consistent policy was impossible with a king of indolent character. In 1445, the faction of nobles allied with Álvaro's main enemies, the Infantes of Aragon, were defeated at the First Battle of Olmedo. One of them, Infante Henry, Duke of Villena, brother of the Queen, died of his wounds.
Luna, Constable of Castile and Count of San Esteban de Gormaz since 1423, became Grand Master of the Order of Santiago by election of the Knights. Queen Maria died under suspicious circumstances, his power appeared to be established. It was, based only on the personal affection of the King; the King's second wife, Isabella of Portugal, although her whole royal marriage was a product of Luna's arrangements, was soon offended by the immense influence of the Constable, when the murder of the King's accountant Alfonso Pérez de Vivero was suspected to have been at Luna's orders, she urged her husband to free himself from thralldom to his favourite. In 1453, the King succumbed to his wife's demands. By his marriage with Juana Pimentel, Álvaro de Luna had two children, his legitimate heirs: Juan de Luna, 2nd Count of Santisteban, San Esteban de Gormaz. María de Luna, 3rd Countess of Santesteban, the heiress after her brother's premature death, she married. By a mistress, Margarida de Villena, Álvaro de Luna had an illegitimate son: Pedro de Luna, Lord of Fuentiduena.
Biography in Genealogics
Juana Manuel of Castile was Queen consort of Castile from 1369 until 1379. She was the heiress of Escalona, Villena, Peñafiel and Lara, as well as Lady of Biscay, she was the daughter of the Infante Juan Manuel of Castile and his second wife Blanca Núñez de Lara de La Cerda. Her mother Blanca was a descendant of Lara and of Alfonso X's eldest son, she was the last legitimate member of the House of Ivrea. Her father had been for five years a serious enemy of King Alfonso XI, his former protégé, the king wished to neutralize or absorb the might of the Peñafiel family. Although Juana was not the heiress in her youth she had to go along with royal wishes; the king's influential concubine, Leonor de Guzmán, wanted to obtain some high prestige and property to her eldest son and had her eyes on the young Juana. On 27 July 1350 her brother and guardian, Fernando Manuel of Peñafiel, had to marry his young sister to Henry, eldest of the illegitimate sons of Alfonso XI of Castile; this brought Henry certain lands.
However it was that Juana's relatives' heirless deaths made Juana the great heiress she turned out to be, while her husband became threat to the royal power. In 1369, he became King Henry II of Castile, after he deposed and murdered his half-brother to take the throne, they had the following children: King John I of Castile Eleanor Joanna In 1361 she inherited Villena, Escalona and Peñafiel. Because Juana was a maternal granddaughter of La Palomilla, from her another cousin, Isabel de Lara, murdered in 1361 and her young daughter Florentina, she inherited Lara and Biscay. In 1369, she became queen of León; when in 1381 she died and left her inheritance to her son, Biscay was united with Castile, Spain. The Basque people remember her for that
Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso the Magnanimous was the King of Aragon, Majorca and Corsica, Sicily and Count of Barcelona from 1416, King of Naples from 1442 until his death. He was one of the most prominent figures of the early Renaissance and a knight of the Order of the Dragon. Born at Medina del Campo, he was the son of Ferdinand I of Eleanor of Alburquerque, he represented the old line of the counts of Barcelona through the female line, was on his father's side descended from the House of Trastamara, the reigning House of Castile. By hereditary right he was king of Sicily and claimed the island of Sardinia for himself, though it was in the possession of Genoa. Alfonso was in possession of much of Corsica by the 1420s. In 1421 the childless Queen Joanna II of Naples adopted and named him as heir to the Kingdom of Naples, Alfonso went to Naples. Here he hired the condottiero Braccio da Montone with the task of reducing the resistance of his rival claimant, Louis III of Anjou, his forces led by Muzio Attendolo Sforza.
With Pope Martin V supporting Sforza, Alfonso switched his religious allegiance to the Aragonese antipope Benedict XIII. When Sforza abandoned Louis' cause, Alfonso seemed to have all his problems solved. After an attempt to arrest the queen herself had failed, Joan called on Sforza who defeated the Aragonese militias near Castel Capuano in Naples. Alfonso fled to Castel Nuovo, but the help of a fleet of 22 galleys led by Giovanni da Cardona improved his situation. Sforza and Joanna retreated to the fortress of Aversa. Here she repudiated her earlier adoption of Alfonso and, with the backing of Martin V, named Louis III as her heir instead; the Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti, joined the anti-Aragonese coalition. Alfonso requested support from Braccio da Montone, besieging Joanna's troops in L'Aquila, but had to set sail for Spain, where a war had broken out between his brothers and the Kingdom of Castile. On his way towards Barcelona, Alfonso destroyed Marseille, a possession of Louis III.
In late 1423 the Genoese fleet of Filippo Maria Visconti moved in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea conquering Gaeta, Procida and Sorrento. Naples, held by Alfonso's brother, Pedro de Aragon, was besieged in 1424 by the Genoese ships and Joanna's troops, now led by Francesco Sforza, the son of Muzio Sforza; the city fell in April 1424. Pedro, after a short resistance in Castel Nuovo, fled to Sicily in August. Joanna II and Louis III again took possession of the realm, although the true power was in the hands of Gianni Caracciolo. An opportunity for Alfonso to reconquer Naples occurred in 1432, when Caracciolo was killed in a conspiracy. Alfonso tried to regain the favour of the queen, but failed, had to wait for the death of both Louis and Joanna herself. In her will, she bequeathed her realm to René of Louis III's younger brother; this solution was opposed by the new pope, Eugene IV, who nominally was the feudal lord of the King of Naples. The Neapolitans having called in the French, Alfonso decided to intervene and, with the support of several barons of the kingdom, captured Capua and besieged the important sea fortress of Gaeta.
His fleet of 25 galleys was met by the Genoese ships sent by Visconti, led by Biagio Assereto. In the battle of Ponza that ensued, Alfonso was taken prisoner. In Milan, however, he impressed his captor with his cultured demeanor and persuaded him to let him go by making it plain that it was not in Milan's interest to prevent the victory of the Aragonese party in Naples. Helped by a Sicilian fleet, Alfonso recaptured Capua and set his base in Gaeta in February 1436. Meanwhile, papal troops had invaded the Neapolitan kingdom, but Alfonso bribed their commander, Cardinal Giovanni Vitelleschi, their successes waned. In the meantime, René had managed to reach Naples on 19 May 1438. Alfonso failed, his brother Pedro was killed during the battle. Castel Nuovo, where an Aragonese garrison resisted, fell to the Angevine mercenaries in August 1439. After the death of his condottiero Jacopo Caldora, René's fortune started to decline: Alfonso could capture Aversa, Benevento and Bitonto. René, whose possession included now only part of the Abruzzi and Naples, obtained 10,000 men from the pope, but the cardinal leading them signed a truce with Alfonso.
Giovanni Sforza came with a reduced corps, as troops sent by Eugene IV had halted his father Francesco in the Marche. Alfonso, provided with the most impressive artillery of the times, again besieged Naples; the siege began on 10 November 1441. After the return of René to Provence, Alfonso reduced the remaining resistance and made his triumphal entrance in Naples on 26 February 1443, as the monarch of a pacified kingdom. In 1446 he conquered Sardinia. Alfonso, by formally submitting his reign to the Papacy, obtained the consent of Pope Eugene IV that the Kingdom of Naples would go to his illegitimate son Ferdinand, he died in Castel dell ` Ovo in 1458. At the time, Alfonso was at odds with Callixtus III, his Spanish possessions were ruled for him by his brother John king John II of Aragon. Sicily and Sardinia were inherited by his brother. Alfonso was a powerful and faithful supporter of Skanderbe