Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy
Archduchess Margaret of Austria, Princess of Asturias and Duchess of Savoy by her two marriages, was Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands from 1507 to 1515 and again from 1519 to 1530. Margaret was born on 10 January 1480, as the second child and only daughter of Maximilian of Austria and Mary of Burgundy, co-sovereigns of the Low Countries, she was named after her stepgrandmother, Margaret of York, Dowager Duchess of Burgundy, close to Duchess Mary. In 1482, Margaret's mother died and her older brother, Philip the Handsome, at that time three years of age, succeeded her as sovereign of the Low Countries, with his father Maximilian as his regent. In 1482, King Louis XI of France signed the Treaty of Arras, whereby her father promised to give Margaret's hand in marriage to Louis's son Charles; the engagement took place in 1483. Margaret, with Franche-Comté and Artois as her dowry, was transferred to the guardianship of King Louis XI of France, who died soon after, she was prepared for her future role as queen of France.
She was raised as a fille de France by Madame de Segré, under the supervision of her fiancé's sister and regent, Anne of France. Several French noble children had their education overseen by Anne as well, amongst which Louise of Savoy, with whom she would negotiate peace. Margaret developed genuine affection for Charles. However, in the autumn of 1491, he renounced the treaty and married Margaret's stepmother Anne, Duchess of Brittany, for political reasons; the French court had ceased treating Margaret as queen early in 1491. The Duchess of Brittany had been married to Margaret's father by proxy but their marriage was annulled. Margaret was not returned to her stepgrandmother's court until June 1493, after the Treaty of Senlis had been signed in May that year. Margaret was hurt by Charles's action and was left with a feeling of enduring resentment towards France. In order to achieve an alliance with Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, Maximilian started negotiating the marriage of their only son and heir, Prince of Asturias, to Margaret, as well as the marriage of their daughter, Juana, to Philip.
Margaret left the Netherlands for Spain late in 1496. The marriage took place in 1497. John died on 4 October. Margaret was left pregnant; the Dowager Princess of Asturias returned to the Netherlands early in 1500, when her brother and sister-in-law invited her to be godmother to their newborn son, Charles of Austria. In 1501, Margaret married Philibert Duke of Savoy; this marriage was childless as well, he died after three years. A grief-stricken Margaret was saved. After being persuaded to bury her husband, she had his heart embalmed so she could keep it with her forever, she vowed never to marry again. Her court historian and poet Jean Lemaire de Belges gave her the title "Dame de deuil". During a remarkably successful career lasting from 1506 until her death in 1530, Margaret broke new ground for women rulers. After the early death of her brother Philip of Spain, in November 1506 she became the only woman elected as its ruler by the representative assembly of Franche-Comté, her father Emperor Maximilian named her governor of the Low Countries and guardian of her young nephew Charles in 1507.
From her newly built palace at Mechelen, Margaret acted as intermediary between her father and her nephew's subjects in the Netherlands, negotiated the restoration of a treaty of commerce with England favorable to the Flemish cloth interests, played a role in the formation of the League of Cambrai. After his majority in 1515, Charles rebelled against her influence, but he soon recognized her as one of his wisest advisers, –the only regent re-appointed indefinitely by the ruler who dismissed her– she was again governor of the Netherlands from 1519 until her death in on 1 December 1530. In 1529, together with Louise of Savoy, she negotiated the Treaty of Cambrai, the so-called Ladies' Peace, her reign was a period of relative peace and prosperity for the Netherlands, although the Protestant Reformation started to take root in the northern Netherlands. The first Protestant martyrs were burnt at the stake in 1523, she had some difficulty in keeping Duke Charles of Guelders under control. She could have made him sign the Treaty of Gorinchem in 1528, but the problem was not conclusively dealt with during her reign.
In November 1530, one of Margaret's maids broke a glass goblet. A splinter of glass went into Margaret's foot and the wound became gangrenous, her doctors recommended that she agree to having her foot amputated. She gave her consent for the operation, received the sacrament, revised her will. Before the amputation could be performed, she died from an overdose of opium given to her in preparation for the operation, she died at Mechelen at the age of fifty, after appointing her nephew, Charles V, as her universal and sole heir. She is buried at Bourg-en-Bresse, in a magnificent mausoleum in the Royal Monastery of Brou that she commissioned to commemorate her second husband and herself. There is a statue of her next to the cathedral of Mechelen. Margaret had received a fine education, she was well read and wrote poetry. Her court at Mechelen was visited by the great humanists of her time, including Erasmus, Adrian of Utrecht, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa. Agrippa dedica
Bernard van Orley
Bernard van Orley called Barend or Barent van Orley, Bernaert van Orley or Barend van Brussel, was a versatile Flemish artist and representative of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, active as a designer of tapestries and, at the end of his life, stained glass. Although he never visited Italy, he belongs to the group of Italianizing Flemish painters called the Romanists, who were influenced by Italian Renaissance painting, in his case by Raphael, he was born and died in Brussels and "served as a sort of commissioner of the arts for the Brussels town council". He was the court artist of the Habsburg rulers, he was productive, concentrating on the design of his works, leaving their execution to others, in the case of painting, so, in the case of the tapestries and stained glass. This he may have learned from Raphael. Due to his reliance on workshop execution, his many surviving works vary in quality. Many drawings studies for designs for tapestries and stained glass survive, he or his workshop would have produced full-scale cartoons for the tapestries, but these were lost in the course of weaving, when they were cut into strips.
The prevalent subject matter of his paintings are religious scenes and portraits, he painted only a limited number of mythological and allegorical subjects. His portraits depict members of the Habsburg dynasty and were produced in multiple versions by his workshop; the subject matter of his tapestries was more varied, reflecting the normal range of that medium, from biblical cycles to allegories and hunting scenes. His father had been a tapestry designer in Brussels, several of Bernard's descendents were artists. A number of them were still active in the 18th century, his family came from Luxembourg, descendants from the Seigneurs d'Ourle or d'Orley. His branch of the family moved to the Duchy of Brabant, where his father Valentin van Orley was born as an illegitimate child and lost his noble lineage. Bernard and his brother Everard were both born in Brussels; the painted wing panels of the sculpted Saluzzo retable are attributed to Valentin van Orley, describing the Life of St. Joseph; the retable itself is Gothic in style, but these wing panels show some characteristic of the Renaissance style.
The panels of the Life of St. Roch in the Saint James' Church, Antwerp have been ascribed to Everard van Orley. In 1512 Bernard van Orley married Agnes Seghers, he had nine children. His four boys followed in the footsteps of their father and became painters, it is sometimes presumed that Bernard van Orley completed his art education in Rome in the school of Raphael, however there are no reliable sources to prove this. At that time, there were only a few painters with some renown in Brussels, such as Van Laethem and painters from the Coninxloo family, it is therefore much more that he was taught in the workshop of his father, an obscure painter whose name appears as "master" in the "Liggere" of the Guild of St. Luke of Antwerp and who had several pupils. Bernard van Orley received his knowledge of the Renaissance style from engravings and the Raphael Cartoons for tapestries of scenes from the Acts of the Apostles that were present in Brussels between 1516 and 1520, they were made to be woven into tapestries for Pope Leo X by Pieter van Aalst.
One of his earliest signed works dates from 1512: the "Triptych of the Carpenters and Masons Corporation of Brussels" called the Apostle Altar. The central panel is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the side panels in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, it recounts the lives of two apostles Matthew. It was commissioned for a chapel in the Our Blessed Lady of Zavel Church in Brussels. In his early works he continued the traditions of Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden and their followers, but he began integrating the Italianate motifs of the Renaissance, representing figure types and the spatial relationship such as found in the works of Raphael. In 1515 he was asked to take over the commission of a triptych for the Brotherhood of the Holy Cross in a chapel in the Sint-Walburga church in Veurne, he finished and delivered it in 1522. The left panel is on display in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium; the front shows Saint Helena meeting the pope in an architectural setting of Renaissance buildings and Italianate motifs.
The back is a grisaille painting of Christ falling under the Cross. The right panel is on display in the Galleria Sabauda, showing Charlemagne receiving the relics of the Passion. From 1515 on, he and his workshop received many orders for portraits, including from the royal family and from people connected to the court. In 1516 he painted seven portraits of Charles, who had just become King of Spain, portraits of his brother Ferdinand, the King of Hungary, his four sisters; the 1516 painted copy of the Shroud of Turin attributed to Albrecht Dürer, is sometimes attributed to Bernard van Orley. By 1517 he was recognized as a master in the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke. On 23 May 1518 he was appointed as the official court painter to the Regent of the Netherlands Margaret of Austria, replacing Jacopo de' Barbari. In this position, he became the head of an important workshop, making him one of the first entrepreneurial artists in Northern Europe. With this workshop he produced paintings and after 152
Amadeus IX, Duke of Savoy
The Blessed Amadeus IX, nicknamed the Happy, was the Duke of Savoy from 1465 to 1472. The Catholic Church venerates him with a liturgical feast on March 30, he was born at Thonon-les-Bains, the son of Louis, Duke of Savoy, Anne de Lusignan, daughter of Janus of Cyprus, King of Cyprus. In 1452, his mother arranged a political marriage to Yolande of Valois, sister of Louis XI of France and daughter of Charles VII of France; because of his epilepsy and retirement, she was left in control of the state. France and the Holy Roman Empire competed to gain control of Savoy's strategically important Alpine passes and trade routes, his sister, Charlotte of Savoy, became the second wife of Louis XI of France. French influence increased in Savoy and involved the country in the wars between France and the emperors; the Castle of Moncalleri in Piedmont, Italy was built around 1100 as a fortress on a hill, to command the main southern access to Turin. In the mid-15th century Yolande turned it into a Renaissance Royal Palace.
Amadeus was a particular protector of Franciscan friars and endowed other religious houses as well as homes for the care of the poor and suffering. He made a pilgrimage to Saint-Claude in 1471. Amadeus died in 1472, he was an avid collector of manuscripts, adding over sixty items to the ducal library started by his great-grandfather Amadeus VIII. Amadeus IX had 10 children with Yolande of Valois: Luigi Anne, married Frederick IV of Naples, prince of Altamura Carlo, Prince of Piedmont Maria married Philip of Hachberg-Sausenberg Blessed Louise, married Hugh, Prince of Chalon and became a Poor Clare nun Filiberto, oldest surviving son Bernardo Carlo James Louis, Count of Genevois, France Gian Claudio Galeazzo His daughter, became a nun of the Franciscan Second Order after being widowed at a young age, she was beatified. A painting of Amadeus, made in 1474 was housed in the Dominican church in Turin and acquired a miraculous reputation. In 1612 a brief text was published in the same city, by Girolamo Cordieri, canon of the cathedral chapter of Mondovi, extolling the holy Amadeus.
Cordieri was appointed theologian to Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy. That year, a canon from Vercelli published a compendium of miracles attributed to the intercession of Amadeus IX; the cultus of Amadeus was promoted by Charles Emanuel's son, Prince Maurice of Savoy, Cardinal of Vercelli. In 1613, an Historia del Beato Amedeo terzo duca di Savoia was composed by Fr. Pietro-Francisco Malletta. Six years the Duke of Savoy issued nine-florin coins depicting Amadeus IX on one side; these appear to have been used as religious medals in the Chablais, where they were distributed by Francis de Sales. Michel Merle suggests that the revival of the cult of Amadeus IX was part of a decades long effort on the part of the House of Savoy to enhance its political status. Presented as a holy prince known for his charity and concern for the poor, Amadeus IX was beatified on 3 March 1677 by Pope Innocent XI
John, Prince of Asturias
John, Prince of Asturias, was the only son of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon who survived to adulthood. John was born in Seville in 1478 to the sovereigns of Castile, Isabella I and Ferdinand V. At the time, his parents were involved in the War of Castilian Succession against Isabella's niece Joanna la Beltraneja, wife of King Afonso V of Portugal. John's birth helped consolidate Isabella's position as sovereign as she had given birth to a legitimate male heir. At the time of his birth, he had one elder sister Isabella, his parents won the war against the Queen of Portugal. To negotiate a peace settlement with Isabella, King Afonso sent Infanta Duchess of Viseu; the two women met in March 1479. Beatrice was Isabella's maternal aunt. By terms of the treaty they negotiated, the Queen of Portugal was given two options: she could either wed Prince John, waiting 13 or 14 years until the prince was old enough to be married or she could enter a convent. Isabella I was quite an attentive mother for such a busy queen.
John, being her only son, had a special place in her heart and she referred to him affectionately as ’my angel’ when he was being reprimanded by her, John's wetnurse was Maria de Guzman, a member of the powerful Spanish House of Mendoza. It was believed in the fifteenth century that a wetnurse could influence the character of the baby to whom she fed breast milk. Therefore, a healthy woman, with a placid disposition was ideal. John's paternal grandfather, King John II of Aragon, took close interest in the infant prince, he suggested that Prince John be educated in Aragon as opposed to Castile, which Isabella most rejected at once. In 1492, Columbus named the newly discovered island of Cuba as Isla Juana in deference to Prince John, at that time the heir apparent. Isabella and Ferdinand, together with their cousin, Duke Francis II of Brittany, planned the alliance of their respective heirs and Anne, but the plan came to nothing due to John's frail constitution. Isabella and Ferdinand came to plan a double alliance with Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, for the marriage of his children, Archduke Philip the Handsome and Archduchess Margaret of Austria.
Around the same time, King Charles VIII of France invaded Italy and marched to take Naples which belonged to a branch of the House of Trastamara. Ferdinand II therefore was against the French. With both powers angered at France, marriage was the way to seal the alliance between the two. On 20 January 1495 in Antwerp, a preliminary alliance, which included a wedding of Prince John with Maximilian’s daughter was agreed. Maximilian's son Philip and John's sister Joanna were to be married; as heir to the throne Isabella and Ferdinand paid special attention to John's education. His original tutor was the Dominican Fray Diego Deza who taught Theology at the University of Salamanca. Deza was later remembered as the Grand Inquisitor of Spain, he taught the young Prince in Theology as he was not a renaissance humanist. In the late 1480s, Isabella would ask the Italian humanist Peter Martyr d'Anghiera to come and broaden the Prince's education. Isabella worried that John would grow up pampered and wilful if he lacked peers and companions of his own age.
Therefore, she invited the sons of aristocrats to live at court. She invited a older group of young aristocrats so that her son would see older young men and that he would aspire to be more like them. Among these youths were young men who would become famous in their own right, Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres, the future governor of the Indies, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés the future historian of the Indies. John's education insisted that he and his companions learned to ride and joust, to hawk and hunt, to play chess and cards, to sing and recite poetry. John was naturally gifted in music and was able to play the flute and the Clavichord with ease and great skill, he developed a fine tenor voice and sang with his siblings and companions at court. Infanta Joanna left Spain to marry Philip the Handsome in late 1496. Philip's sister, Margaret of Austria, aged 18, married John on April 3 the following year in Burgos Cathedral, it was a good marriage and John was devoted to Margaret. All of Isabella’s children had a passionate nature, although it was a political alliance, it was a deep love match.
The amount of time they spent in bed made the court physicians uneasy about the Prince's health. The lust he felt for his wife bothered him; the Princess of Asturias was easy to love, she had a sharp sense of humor. Her first betrothal to Charles VIII ended, her engagement to the Prince of Asturias seemed doomed when the ship carrying her to Spain hit a storm in the Bay of Biscay. In haste, she wrote her own epitaph. "Here lies Margot, the willing bride,Twice married - but a virgin when she died." On 4 October 1497, a messenger came to John's parents and informed them that their son lay dangerously ill in Salamanca. He and his wife Margaret had arrived a week earlier, on the way to the wedding of his older sister in Portugal. At once Ferdinand rushed to his son's bedside while Isabella remained behind fretting over the life of her only son. Ferdinand was
Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII, called the Affable, was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498, the seventh from the House of Valois. He succeeded his father Louis XI at the age of 13, his elder sister Anne acted as regent jointly with her husband Peter II, Duke of Bourbon until 1491 when the young king turned 21 years of age. During Anne's regency, the great lords rebelled against royal centralisation efforts in a conflict known as the Mad War, which resulted in a victory for the royal government. In a remarkable stroke of audacity, Charles married Anne of Brittany in 1491 after she had been married by proxy to the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in a ceremony of questionable validity. Preoccupied by the problematic succession in the Kingdom of Hungary, Maximilian failed to press his claim. Upon his marriage, Charles became administrator of Brittany and established a personal union that enabled France to avoid total encirclement by Habsburg territories. To secure his rights to the Neapolitan throne that René of Anjou had left to his father, Charles made a series of concessions to neighbouring monarchs and conquered the Italian peninsula without much opposition.
A coalition formed against the French invasion of 1494-98 drove out Charles' army, but Italian Wars would dominate Western European politics for over 50 years. Charles died in 1498 after accidentally striking his head on the lintel of a door at the Château d'Amboise, his place of birth. Since he had no male heir, he was succeeded by his cousin Louis XII of France from the Orléans cadet branch of the House of Valois. Charles was born at the Château d'Amboise in France, the only surviving son of King Louis XI by his second wife Charlotte of Savoy, his godparents were Charles II, Duke of Bourbon, Joan of Valois, Duchess of Bourbon, the teenage Edward of Westminster, the son of Henry VI of England, living in France since the deposition of his father by Edward IV. Charles succeeded to the throne on 30 August 1483 at the age of 13, his health was poor. He was regarded by his contemporaries as possessing a pleasant disposition, but as foolish and unsuited for the business of the state. In accordance with the wishes of Louis XI, the regency of the kingdom was granted to Charles' elder sister Anne, a formidably intelligent and shrewd woman described by her father as "the least foolish woman in France."
She would rule as regent, together with her husband Peter of Bourbon, until 1491. Charles was betrothed on 22 July 1483 to the 3-year-old Margaret of Austria, daughter of the Archduke Maximilian of Austria and Mary, Duchess of Burgundy; the marriage was arranged by Louis XI, the Estates of the Low Countries as part of the 1482 Peace of Arras between France and the Duchy of Burgundy. Margaret brought the Counties of Artois and Burgundy to France as her dowry, she was raised in the French court as a prospective Queen consort. In 1488, Francis II, Duke of Brittany, died in a riding accident, leaving his 11-year-old daughter Anne as his heir. Anne, who feared for the independence of her duchy against the ambitions of France, arranged a marriage in 1490 between herself and the widower Maximilian, thus making Anne a stepmother to Margaret of Austria; the regent Anne of France and her husband Peter refused to countenance such a marriage, since it would place Maximilian and his family, the Habsburgs, on two French borders.
The French army invaded Brittany, taking advantage of the preoccupation of Frederick III and his son with the disputed succession to Mathias Corvinus, King of Hungary. Anne of Brittany was forced to agree to be married to Charles VIII instead. In December 1491, in an elaborate ceremony at the Château de Langeais and Anne of Brittany were married; the 14-year-old Duchess Anne, not happy with the arranged marriage, arrived for her wedding with her entourage carrying two beds. However, Charles's marriage brought him independence from his relatives and thereafter he managed affairs according to his own inclinations. Queen Anne lived at the Clos Lucé in Amboise. There still remained the matter of the young Margaret of Austria. Although the cancellation of her betrothal meant that she by rights should have been returned to her family, Charles did not do so, intending to marry her usefully elsewhere in France, it was a difficult situation for Margaret, who informed her father in her letters that she was so determined to escape that she would flee Paris in her nightgown if it gave her freedom.
In 1493, she was returned to her family, together with her dowry – though the Duchy of Burgundy was retained in the Treaty of Senlis. Around the king there was a circle of court poets, the most memorable being the Italian humanist Publio Fausto Andrelini from Forlì, who spread the New Learning in France. During a pilgrimage to pay respects to his father's remains, Charles observed Mont Aiguille and ordered Antoine de Ville to ascend to the summit in an early technical alpine climb alluded to by Rabelais. To secure France against invasions, Charles made treaties with Maximilian I of Austria and England, buying their neutrality with large concessions; the English monarch Henry VII had forced Charles to abandon his support for the pretender Perkin Warbeck by despatching an expedition which laid siege to Boulogne. He devoted France's resources to building up a large army, including one of Europe's first siege trains with artillery. In 1489, Pope Innocent VIII being at odds with Ferdi
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
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon was a composite monarchy nowadays referred to as a confederation of individual polities or kingdoms ruled by one king, with a personal and dynastic union of the Kingdom of Aragon and the County of Barcelona. At the height of its power in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Crown of Aragon was a thalassocracy controlling a large portion of present-day eastern Spain, parts of what is now southern France, a Mediterranean "empire" which included the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Malta, Southern Italy and parts of Greece; the component realms of the Crown were not united politically except at the level of the king, who ruled over each autonomous polity according to its own laws, raising funds under each tax structure, dealing separately with each Corts or Cortes. Put in contemporary terms, it has sometimes been considered that the different lands of the Crown of Aragon functioned more as a confederation than as a single kingdom. In this sense, the larger Crown of Aragon must not be confused with one of its constituent parts, the Kingdom of Aragon, from which it takes its name.
In 1469, a new dynastic familial union of the Crown of Aragon with the Crown of Castile by the Catholic Monarchs, joining what contemporaries referred to as "the Spains" led to what would become the Kingdom of Spain under King Philip II. The Crown existed until it was abolished by the Nueva Planta decrees issued by King Philip V in 1716 as a consequence of the defeat of Archduke Charles in the War of the Spanish Succession. Formally, the political center of the Crown of Aragon was Zaragoza, where kings were crowned at La Seo Cathedral. The'de facto' capital and leading cultural and economic centre of the Crown of Aragon was Barcelona, followed by Valencia. Palma was an additional important city and seaport; the Crown of Aragon included the Kingdom of Aragon, the Principality of Catalonia, the Kingdom of Valencia, the Kingdom of Majorca, the Kingdom of Sicily, the Kingdom of Naples and Kingdom of Sardinia. For brief periods the Crown of Aragon controlled Montpellier, Provence and the twin Duchy of Athens and Neopatras in Latin Greece.
The countries that are today known as Spain and Portugal spent the Middle Ages after 722 in an intermittent struggle called the Reconquista. This struggle pitted the northern Christian kingdoms against the Islamic taifa petty kingdoms of the South and against each other. In the Late Middle Ages, the expansion of the Aragonese Crown southwards met with the Castilian advance eastward in the region of Murcia. Afterward, the Aragonese Crown focused on the Mediterranean, acting as far as Greece and Barbary, whereas Portugal, which completed its Reconquista in 1249, would focus on the Atlantic Ocean. Mercenaries from the territories in the Crown, known as almogàvers participated in the creation of this Mediterranean "empire", found employment in countries all across southern Europe; the Crown of Aragon has been considered an empire which ruled in the Mediterranean for hundreds of years, with the power to set rules over the entire sea. It was indeed, at its height, one of the major powers in Europe.
However, its different territories were only connected through the person of the monarch, an aspect of empire seen as early as Achaemenid Persia. A modern historian, Juan de Contreras y Lopez de Ayala, Marqués de Lozoya described the Crown of Aragon as being more like a confederacy than a centralised kingdom, let alone an empire. Nor did official documents refer to it as an empire; the Crown of Aragon originated in 1137, when the Kingdom of Aragon and the County of Barcelona merged by dynastic union upon the marriage of Petronilla of Aragon and Raymond Berenguer IV of Barcelona. This union respected the existing parliaments of both territories; the combined state was known as Regno, Dominio et Corona Aragonum et Catalonie, as Corona Regum Aragoniae, Corona Aragonum or Aragon. This was due to the reduction of Catalan influence, the renunciation of the family rights of the counts of Barcelona in Occitania, the extinction of the House of Barcelona in 1410; the monarchs denominated themselves de Aragon, Aragon became prominent as an Iberian kingdom linked to the House of Jiménez which ruled over Navarre, Castile and Galicia and Aragon.
Petronilla's father King Ramiro, "The Monk", raised in the Saint Pons de Thomières Monastery, Viscounty of Béziers as a Benedictine monk was the youngest of three brothers. His brothers Peter I and Alfonso I El Batallador had bravely fought against Castile for hegemony in the Iberian peninsula. After the death of Alfonso I, the Aragonese nobility that campaigned close him feared being overwhelmed by the influence of Castile, and so, Ramiro was forced to proclaim himself King of Aragon. He married Agnes, sister of the Duke of Aquitaine and betrothed his only daughter to Raymond Berengar IV of Barcelona, member of o