Skip to main content

Full text of "Annals of the queens of Spain, from the period of the conquest of the Goths down to the reign of her present Majesty Isabel II., with the remarkable events that occurred during their reigns, and anecdotes of their courts"

See other formats

Ml I Ml 5j9i ? 

-M I- ? ^ / " I- ? ^.^^>-^ ^ o 




5 3 N^T~| 1 
2 "- ^^^ \ -< 

6 o.. ^ ss 


" = 01 

*-2 \j__t i - 

" '" ^ 









:st Unitarian GhnicL 


VOL. I. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1850, by 
% * * A. MI TLA GEeR*E.>- fc 

" '" .1 r - 

erk's Office of the Di'triCl Cor* 'of' the UnitjecT^tates fo 

In the Clerk's Office of the DtriCl Cor* 'of tlje UnitjecTtates for the Southern 
District of New York. ' 

201 William street. 





To no one can a work on Spain he inscribed with greater pro- 
priety than to the author of the History of Ferdinand and Isabella ; 
and though with regret that it is not more worthy his acceptance, 
the Authoress avails herself of his permission, to offer him this 
testimony of admiration for his talents, and gratitude for his many 

BOBTON, November 28, 1849. 



EMINENT writers have given us lives, memoirs, histories of 
the sovereigns of France and England : but, without seeking 
to detract from the merit of works I do not pretend to equal, 
far less to excel, I will venture to remind the critical reader 
that theirs was afar easier task than mine. Few are aware 
of the labor, patience and perseverance requisite to write 
history. To collect all the materials necessary for the under- 
taking, to select with discrimination and care from the hete- 
rogeneous mass, to unite the component but disjointed parts 
into one unbroken narrative, and finally, to present the result 
in a pleasing form to the reader, is a task far more arduous 
than many imagine, who view it in the light of a mere compi- 
lation. If these remarks apply to history in general, they 
certainly do more especially to the annals of the sovereigns 
of Spain. England, from the reign of Athelstane, the grand- 
son of Alfred, in 927, has acknowledged but one sovereign ; and, 
from the close of the ninth century, we find no division of the 
French dominions into separate kingdoms ; while, in Spain, it 
was not until the year 1515, that the Spanish dominions became 
united under one ruler, having, for eight hundred years previ- 
ous to that period, been divided into a number of petty king- 
doms, governed by independent princes, whose frequent wars. 


intermarriages, usurpations of each others dominions, and, 
above all, similitude of names, render the compilation of their 
annals a work of patience and labor. 

While giving such details of the lives of the female sove- 
reigns as the records of their times afford, I have endeavored 
to maintain unbroken the connecting links between each reign, 
sketching the history of Spain from the time of the invasion of 
the Goths down to the present day. Of the earlier portion of 
that period, we possess but meagre, contradictory and unsatis- 
factory records, and those disfigured by the exaggerations and 
fables of a superstitious age. Of many of the queens, little 
besides the names remains to rescue their memory from the sea 
of oblivion. Of others, again, we find even the existence dis- 
puted. But, as we approach the fourteenth century, the ma- 
terials of the historian become gradually more copious, and 
the chronicles abound with well authenticated traits of the 
generosity, the romantic valor, the devoted loyalty for which 
the sons of that land of chivalry have ever been so eminently 

I have not entered into a detailed account of sieges, battles, 
and treaties, which would have proved neither instructive nor 
entertaining, but have omitted none of the remarkable events 
that were connected with the subject, though sparing those 
unimportant facts that would have lengthened without adding 
to the utility of the work. I have given facts as I have found 
them, allowing the reader to put his own constructions, with- 
out attempting to bias his judgment by the intrusion of my 
own interpretations, conjectures, and comments. No character 
is so black, none so fair, but what the historian by a judicious 
management of light and shade may whiten the one and blacken 
the other. But whatever may be the errors with which I can 
be charged, I do not think I have incurred the reproach of 


partiality. I have drawn my royal personages with their good 
and evil traits, without either extenuation or exaggeration. 

The present volume, though forming the first of a series, 
may be considered as a complete work of itself, as it embraces 
all the sovereigns of Aragon and Castile down to the period 
when those two kingdoms were united by the marriage of their 
respective princes, Isabel and Ferdinand. 

I have not thought it necessary to quote in notes each and 
every author whom I have consulted, but will refer the curi- 
ous reader to the following list of the writers from whose pages 
I have chiefly drawn my materials. 

Mariana, Historia de Espafia ; Garibay, Compendio Histori- 
al ; Zurita, Annales de Aragon ; Abarca, Reyes de Aragon ; 
Florez, Reinas Catolicas ; Cronica General ; Cronica de 
Alfonso Onceno ; Ayala, Cronica de Don Pedro, de Enrique 
II., de Juan I., y de Enrique III. ; Guzman, Cronica de Juan 
II. ; Castillo, Cronica de Enrique IV.; Conde de la Roca, 
Don Pedro defendido ; Quintana, Vidas de Espanoles celebres ; 
Gandara, Apuntes sobre el bien y el mal de Espafia ; Cle- 
mencin, Memorias de la Real Academiea ; Pulgar, Reyes 

I have used every work that could be of service to me and 
rejected no authority worthy of credit. For many of these 
works I have been indebted to the courtesy of Mr. William 
H. Prescott and Mr. George Ticknor of Boston, who kindly 
allowed me the use of their valuable and extensive libraries, 
and to whom I take this opportunity of tendering my acknow- 
ledgments. My warmest thanks are also due to my friend 
Mr. J. T. Headley, whose efficient kindness in procuring me 
materials and encouragement amid the difficulties such an 
undertaking presented, have greatly assisted me in its accom- 


OF all the barbarous nations that, issuing from the sterile 
and over-peopled north, overran the more fertile regions of the 
south, the Goths alone succeeded in effecting a lasting settle- 
ment in Spain. After proving, under Alaric, the scourge and 
terror of Italy, this warlike people, under Ataulfus, brother- 
in-law of that chieftain, possessed themselves in 415 of the 
country lying between the Pyrenean mountains, choosing 
Nar bonne as their capital. In the following year they passed 
over into Spain, from whence having driven forth or subdued 
the Vandals, Alans, Suevians and Stiligians, they finally ex- 
pelled the Romans, establishing a sovereignty that lasted 
upwards of three hundred years, and ended with the defeat 
and death in 714 of Roderic, the last of the Gothic Kings. 

Although constantly distracted by internal divisions, the 
Goths, from the time of their first settlement in Spain, rapidly 
enlarged their possessions, and in the year 467 were possessed 
of Betica and Catalonia. The Suevians under Remismundus 
were masters of Galicia and part of Lusitania, and the re- 
mainder of Spain still obeyed the sway of the Romans. 
Euricus, then king of the Goths, having made peace with 
Leo, emperor of the east, after overrunning all Spain to its 


farthest extremity and subduing Lusitania, sent part of his 
forces to take possession of Pamplona and Saragossa, while 
he himself, with the remainder, marched towards Hispana 
Citerior ; the famous city of Tarragona holding out against a 
long siege, he levelled it to the ground. This was the last of 
the Roman Empire in Spain, after it had lasted nearly seven 
hundred years, and all the country, with the exception of 
Galicia, still held by the Suevians, fell under the dominion of 
the Goths. Not content with his success in Spain, Euricus, 
taking advantage of the anarchy and confusion into which the 
Roman provinces had fallen, passed over to France, and 
having united his forces with those of the Ostrogoths under 
Vinde, extended his empire over a considerable portion of 
that country. His successors, however, were unable to keep 
these conquests. The Goths being Arrians, and the Franks 
under their king Clovis, having embraced the Catholic creed, 
this difference in religion was, during the reign of Alaricus, the 
son of Euricus, the occasion of long and bloody wars between 
the two nations. The Franks proving repeatedly victorious, 
the Goths lost nearly all their possessions in France, Alaricus 
himself being slain in a battle fought in Poitiers in the year 
508. Alaricus was the first king of the Goths who made use 
of written laws, these laws having been added to, under 
succeeding sovereigns, form the code known as the Forum 
Judicum, or Fuero Juzgo. 

From the reign of the first king of the Goths to that of the 
last, during a period of three centuries, thirty-three sovereigns 
pat on the Spanish throne, but during these three centuries 
the Goths wofully degenerated from their original energy and 
indomitable valor. Though frequently torn by civil wars, the 
nation was not for a long space of time called to contend with 
foreign foes. The ancient ferocity of the worshippers of 


Odin had become gradually tamed by the spirit of Chris- 
tianity, and the strength of the descendants of the sons 
of the north enervated by the genial climate and luxurious 
soil of this Garden of Eden. Weakened by a famine and 
divided by factions, Spain presented an easy prey to the 
Saracens, who invaded it in 714. But the ancient spirit of 
the Goths, though dormant, was not extinguished, and two 
years after the first entrance of the Moors, the former com- 
menced that long series of struggles for the redemption of 
their country from the yoke of the Infidels, that, protracted 
for centuries, ended with the final expulsion of the latter in 

These incessant wars with a nation skilled in the science of 
arms, restored their ancient energy to the Spaniards, while 
they also acquired from their learned as well as chivalrous 
foes, the polite arts of refined civilization. Though divided 
into several kingdoms, and almost constantly at war, the 
strength the Spaniards could muster is almost incredible, and 
contrasts strangely with their resources at the present day. 
The Castiles alone could easily furnish forty thousand horse, 
and until the reign of Juan II. no Andalusians fought in the 
armies of our sovereigns. Alfonso VIII., king of the two Cas- 
tiles, alone gained the famous victory of Las Navas at the head 
of 40,000 Castilian horse and 130,000 infantry. He had also 
60,000 baggage wagons, that required at least 140,000 draft 
horses. It is doubtful whether the Castiles of the present day 
could furnish one-third of this number of men and horses. 
Spain continued to increase in power and splendor until the 
riches of the new world, destroying its energy and industry, 
caused that decline in her prosperity which has reduced her to 
a secondary rank among nations. 

But the past affords too good a foundation for sanguine 


hopes of the future, to allow us to doubt she will retrieve 
much of what she has lost. Spain contains within herself 
those elements of prosperity that the majority of other nations 
are forced to seek among their neighbors. Her fertile soil 
produces every necessary of life, every luxury of civilization. 
Her sons, whose bravery, industry and sobriety once set 
examples to the world, have not degenerated from their 
ancient virtues, and the nation that was the first to check the 
victorious career of the till then unconquered Corsican, cannot 
yet have fallen so low but that she may once more soar to her 
former glorious height 

GOTHIC QUEENS, . from 415 to 714. 

QUEENS OF OVIEDO AND LEON, from 718 to 1037. 
QUEENS OF ARAGON, . from 1034 to 1468. 
QUEENS OF CASTILE, from 1034 to 1475. 








BADA, . 








FROM 415 TO 714. 

Queen of Ataulfus, 

. . Alaric, . 

. . Amalaric, 

. . Athanagild, Leuvigild, 

. . Leuvigild, 

. . Ermenegild 

. . Recared, 


. Gundemar, 

. Suinthila, 

. . Chindasuinth, 

. Ervigius, 

. Egica, . 

. . Roderick, 














FROM 718 TO 1037. 


Queen of Pelayo, . . .25 
Favila, k . . .29 
. Alfonso I., The Catholic, 30 
. Froila, ... 31 
Silon, . 32 

. r i* Alfonso II., The Chaste, 33 
% ? 3 3 : J ' Bermudo I., The Deacon, 33 












ELVIRA, . * 

TERESA, . " , 

Ramiro I., ,-.* ' . 36 

Ordofio I., . . 37 

Alfonso III., ' ', . 38 

Garcia I., ^_ .40 

OrdofloIL, '"T; . 40 

" * 40 

" -V" 40 

Alfonso IV., The Monk, 41 


Ramiro II., 
Ordoflo III., f 

Sancho I., The Fat, . 
Ramiro III., . ^ 

Bermudo II., The Gouty, 


Alfonso V., . 

Bermudo III., . . 





FROM 1034 TO 146. 

GISBERGA OR ERMEsiNDA, Queen of Ramiro, I. 






Sancho Ramirez, 62 

Pedro I., . . 64 

Alfonso I. The Warrior, 64 
Ramiro II. The Monk, 65 

Rajmund, Count of Barcelona, 71 

Alfonso II., . 68 

Pedro II. The Catholic, 71 

James I. The Conqueror, 72 

" " 76 

" " 86 

Pedro III. The Great, 93 

James II. The Just, 107 

" " 107 

" 107 

" 107 

Alfonso IV., Ill 

PedrO IV. Of the Dagger. 121 

" 121 

" u 121 

" " 121 

Juan I., . . 133 

Martin, . . 137 

" 137 

Ferdinand I., . 140 

AlfonsoV., 146 

Juan II., 152 



FROM lOSt TO 1475. 


SANCHA, Queen of Ferdinand I. The Great., 175 

INES, *;'''* / Alfonso, VI. . 178 

CONSTANCIA, . '' .' * " . 178 

ZAIDA, OR ISABEL, . . . 178 



BEATRIX, ^ .' " . .185 

URRACA, ' . . ' '. ' Alfonso VII. The Warrior, 187 

BERENGARIA, -. *.*' Alfonso VIII., . . 196 

RICA, ... " . 196 

BLANCHE, . . Sancho III. K. of Castile, 201 

URRACA OF PORTUGAL, Ferdinand. King of Leon. 203 

TERESA, . '' . " . . 203 

URRACA DE HARO, . . .- 203 

LEONOR OF ENGLAND, Alfonso IX. K. of Castile, 205 
TERESA OF PORTUGAL. Saint. Alfonso X. King of Leon. 209 


BEATRIX OF SUEVIA, Ferdinand III. The Saint, 221 

JUANA, " " 223 

VIOLANTE OF ARAGON, Alfonso II. Astrologer, 225 

MARIA THE GREAT, . Sancho IV. The Brave, 231 

CONSTANZA OF PORTUGAL, Ferdinand IV. . v* 264 

CONSTANZA MANUEL, Alfonso XII. ..'-.. '<*. 265 

MARIA OF PORTUGAL, . .-*i' J .' 270 

BLANCHE OF BOURBON, Pedro. The Cruel, . 283 
JUANA MANUEL DE VILLENA, Enrique II. The Bastard, 309 

LEONOR OF ARAGON, . Juan I., . - -. 318 




MARIA OF ARAGON, . Juan II. '. . 339 


JUANA OF PORTUGAL, Enrique IV. The Impotent. 379 


415 TO 714. 




PLACIDIA, daughter of the Emperor Theodosius, by 
his second wife, G-alla, the daughter of Yalentinian 
and Justin, was, after the sack of Rome by the G-otha 
under Alaric, in the year 410, married to Ataulfus, 
that chieftain's brother-in-law. After the death of 
Alaric, having succeeded him as king of the Groths, 
Ataulfus, with the sanction of his brother-in-law, the 
Emperor Honorius, possessed himself of the country 
adjoining the Pyrenees and established his court at 
Narbonne. This took place in the year 415, and 
in the following the Groths passed over into Spain. 
Ataulfus, influenced, doubtless, by his wife, inclined 
to maintaining peace with the Romans ; but his 
wishes on this point were little in unison with the 
turbulent and warlike disposition of his subjects, and 
he was shortly after murdered in Barcelona, by a 
favorite of the name of Vernulfus. He was succeed- 
ed by Sigerie, who on his accession to the throne, 


ordered the six children of his predecessor to be 
put to death, and their widowed mother was forced 
to adorn his triumph by walking barefoot in the 
procession through the streets of Barcelona, which 
so enraged the people that they rose and slew the 
barbarian. They now chose Walia, a restless spirit, 
who commenced his reign by collecting a large 
fleet, with the intention of passing over into Africa ; 
but his armament being dispersed by a storm, he 
was compelled to return to Spain, and enter into 
an agreement with Honorius, Emperor of the West, 
one of the conditions of which was, that Placidia, 
the widow of Ataulfus, who had, since her hus- 
band's death, resided among the Goths, by whom she 
was treated with great respect, should return to the 
court of the Emperor her brother. The (roths also 
bound themselves to make war on the other barbarous 
nations settled in Spain, what they should gain in so 
doing to belong to the Romans, they themselves to 
remain content with the possessions already assigned 
them on the borders of France and Spain. 

Placidia was married in 418 to Constantius, whom 
Honorius made his partner in the empire. Constan- 
tins died at Ravenna, leaving by his wife Placidia an 
infant son, whom his uncle Honorius adopted and 
named his successor. Honorius dying in 423, Pla- 
cida governed the empire during the minority of her 
son Valentinian, who became emperor of the West. 

Of the wives of Signic, Walia and Theodorid, 
history makes no mention. The last-named king had 


a numerous progeny, who materially contributed to 
the extension of the power of the (roths in Spain. 
His six sons were Torismund, Theodoric, Enric, 
Frederic, Ruciner and Himeric. He had also two 
daughters, one of whom married Himeric, the Van- 
dal, son of Genseric. This unfortunate princess was 
treated with great barbarity by her savage husband, 
who, on a suspicion that afterwards proved un- 
founded, ordered her nose to be cut off and sent her back 
to her father. The other daughter was married to 
Recciaris, king of the Seuvi in Spain. 




OF the wife of Alaric, the eighth king of the 
Goths, little is known, save that her name was Theu- 
dicoda, that she was the daughter of Theodoric, king of 
the Ostrogoths, and the mother of Amalaric, who 
subsequently became king of the Goths. Alaric, 
who ascended the throne in 486, was killed in a battle 
fought in the year 506, between the Gauls and the 
Franks under Clovis. The latter, by the victory, was 
enabled to possess himself of nearly all the dominions 
of the Goths in the south of France, and even of their 
capital, Toulouse. 





THE next queen of the Groths on record is Clotilda, 
the daughter of Clovis, the first king of France. This 
princess, having married Amalaric, king of the (roths, 
brought him as her dower the city of Toulouse. 
Clotilda having been brought up in the tenets of the 
Catholic faith, and her husband being an Arian, the 
difference in their religious creeds soon occasioned do- 
mestic dissensions. On her way to and from church, 
the queen was abused and insulted by the populace, 
who even carried their insolence so far as to throw 
dirt upon her ; and the king, far from endeavoring to 
protect her from the insults of his subjects, not only 
reproached and threatened her, but even struck her 
repeatedly. Finding that mildness and patience were 
inefficient to soften his temper or appease his resent- 
ment, the ill-used queen determined to implore the 
interference of her brother Childebert, and with her 
letter sent him a handkerchief saturated with the 
blood drawn from her by the blows of the barbarian. 
The kingdom of the Franks was then divided among 
the sons of Clovis. Childebert was lord of Paris, 
Clotarius of Soissons, Clodomirus of Orleans, and The- 
odoric of Metz, all bearing the title of kings. En- 
raged at the wrongs inflicted on their sister, the 


brothers united their forces, and marched in haste to 
her relief. Amalaric being totally unprepared to 
meet so large a body of troops, and being as deficient 
in courage as he was in means, determined to fly. It 
was fated, however, that cowardice and cruelty such 
as his should not go unpunished, for blinded by avarice 
to the danger he incurred, though he had managed to 
escape from the city, (supposed to be Barcelona,) he 
returned to it in the hope of securing his treasures, 
and was slain by a soldier while endeavoring to seek 
shelter in a church- Some authors affirm he was 
killed in a battle fought near Narbonne, but Gregory 
of Tours relates the manner of his death as given 
above, and this account is the most credited. Amala- 
ricus died in 531. Clotilda is said to have been an 
amiable princess, but she was doubtless actuated by 
the desire of imitating her mother, who had succeeded 
in converting her husband and many of his subjects 
to the Catholic faith. The efforts of the queen of the 
Goths were not, however, crowned with equal success, 
and after occasioning a bloody war, which did not end 
with the death of her husband, she died on her return 
to her native France. Thus, will the best intentions, 
if we attempt to carry them out without a due regard 
to time, place, and circumstances, produce the most 
disastrous effects. In the fifth and last year of the 
reign of Amalaric, was held the second council of 
Toledo, over which presided Montanus, Archbishop 
of that city, of whom it is related, that being accused 
of incontinency, to prove his innocence he held a 


quantity of burning coals in his bosom during the 
performance of mass, and that although when taken 
out they were as hot as when first put in, yet neither 
his flesh nor his linen were, burnt. This is supposed 
to have been the origin in Spain of the Trial by Or- 
deal, which was continued in many places until 
abolished by Honorius III. 

Amalaric having left no issue, Theudis was rais- 
ed to the throne, the large estate brought him in 
dower by his wife, which was capable of furnishing 
two thousand fighting men, having been very influ- 
ential in securing his election to the regal dignity. 
Of the lady herself, however, nothing farther is 
known. During the reign of this king, Childebert 
and Clotarius continued to ravage Spain for some 
time, and the war was scarcely ended when the coun- 
try was afflicted with a plague that lasted two years, 
and carried off multitudes. Theudis died shortly after, 
in the year 548, having reigned seventeen years and 
five months. He was succeeded by Theudiselas, a 
sensual and cruel prince, who reigned but eighteen 
months and fifteen days, and was in turn succeeded 
in 549 by Agila, who, after a reign of five years and 
three months, was murdered like his predecessors, in 
554. Of the wives of these three kings history makes 
no mention. 



565 to 588. 


AGILA having been slain by his rebellious subject, 
Athanagild, the latter ascended the throne. This 
king having endeavored, despite his promises to the 
contrary, to expel the Romans from all Spain, was 
embroiled in continual wars. By his wife Grosuinda, 
of whose birth and parentage nothing is known, he 
had two daughters, Galsuinde, the eldest, married to 
Chilperic, king of Soissons, in France, and Brunehilda 
to Sigebert, king of Metz in Lorraine. Both prin- 
cesses proved particularly unfortunate. Athanagild, 
after a turbulent reign of fifteen years and six 
months, died at Toledo in 567. After his death there 
was an interregnum of five months, at the end of 
which time, and in the same year, Liuva, a powerful 
Groth > who had until then been Viceroy of G-allia 
Grotica, was proclaimed king of Narbonne. Of this 
king we find nothing of note recorded, save that, in 
the second year of his reign, he named his brother 
Leuvigild his partner on the throne, and left en- 
tirely to his charge the dominions possessed by the 
Goths in Spain, while he himself remained in France, 
where, it is said, he had reigned seven years, previous 
to his being elected king in Spain. Leuvigild, 
having married Theodosia, daughter of Severianus, 
duke and governor of the province of Carthagena, had 


by her, two sons, Ermenegild and Recared. The- 
odosia was sister to three saints, Leander, Isidorus 
and Fulgens. After the death of Theodosia, Leu- 
vigild married Grosuinda, the widow of Athanagild. 
This second marriage took place about the time he 
was called by his brother to share the throne with 
him. This prince, immediately on his accession, took 
the most active measures against the Romans, and, 
by his bravery, activity and perseverance, soon gained 
great advantages over them, subduing the province 
of Andalusia, and expelling them from all Spain. 
While thus employed, the death of his brother Liuva, 
which occurred in 572, left him sole possessor of 
the throne. Leuvigild also attempted to expel the 
Suevians, who still retained possession of a large por- 
tion of Spain, but previous to setting out on this expe- 
dition he determined to secure the succession in his 
own family, and for this purpose associated with him 
on the throne his two sons by Theodosia, giving to 
Ermenegild Seville, or, as some authors say, Merida, 
and to Recared the city of Recopolis, which some 
suppose to have been in Celtibrua. His own court 
he thenceforward held in Seville. To this king's 
second marriage may be attributed the civil wars that 
desolated Spain during his reign. The cruelty with 
which G-osuinda, actuated by the spirit of religious 
fanaticism, persecuted her granddaughter, Ingundis, 
proves her to have been violent, inhuman, and impla- 
cable in her resentment. When the princess, who 
was a Catholic, came from France as the bride of 


Prince Ermenegild, the step-son of Grosuinda, the 
latter treated her with great kindness, in the hope of 
inducing her to change her religion and submit to be 
baptized an Arian ; but finding her persuasions were 
ineffectual, she resorted to harsher measures, upbraid- 
ing her in the most insulting terms. Not satisfied 
with reproaches, and exasperated with the resistance 
opposed to her wishes, the infuriated queen scrupled 
not to lay violent hands on her grandchild, dragging 
her by the hair, and, on one occasion, pushing her into 
a fish pond, from which she was with difficulty res- 
cued. During the civil war that ensued between the 
king and his son, Grosuinda displayed against the lat- 
ter all the animosity of a step-mother, and continually 
instigated the king to adopt the most violent measures. 
Leuvigild dying in the year 587, his son Recared 
remained sole possessor of his father's throne, and 
having been converted by his uncles, St. Leander and 
St. Fulgens, openly proclaimed himself a Catholic. 
Not only his own subjects, but even the Suevians fol- 
lowed his example. The queen-dowager feigned to 
adopt the faith which had now become that of the 
nation, but so forced was her compliance that she was 
seen to spit out the holy sacrament. She formed a 
conspiracy with her favorite, Bishop Uldid, against 
the king's life, but the plot having been discovered, 
the bishop was banished. Grosuinda, though she 
escaped punishment, died soon after a natural death in 




INGUNDIS was the daughter of Sigebert, king of 
Lorraine, and of his queen, Brunchilde, and was 
consequently the granddaughter of Athanagild and 
Grosuinda. Brunehilde having, on her marriage with 
the French king, been converted to Catholicism by the 
French bishops, educated her children in the tenets of 
that faith, and on the marriage of Ingundis with the 
Gothic prince Ermenegild, it was expressly stipu- 
lated that she should be allowed to follow its obser- 
vances. The firm adhesion of the princess to her own 
creed subjected her to the hatred of her grandmother, 
Grosuinda. The cruel usage to which she was ex- 
posed had, however, no power to induce her to change, 
and amidst the persecutions to which she was her- 
self a prey, she undertook the conversion of the prince 
her husband. In this she was successful ; the absence 
of Leuvigild, at the time in Toledo, affording an ex- 
cellent opportunity, which she failed not to improve, 
being, moreover, assisted by St. Lcander, Bishop of 
Seville. Whatever might be the spiritual benefits 
accruing to the prince from his compliance with his 
wife's persuasions, his worldly prospects were com- 
pletely ruined by his apostasy. The usual conse- 
quences attending religious differences soon followed, 
the kingdom was divided into two factions, one siding 


with the father, the other with the son, and that worst 
of all the scourges that afflict humanity, civil war, 
broke out and raged long and furiously through the 
distracted country. Ere matters came to this ex- 
tremity, Leuvigild wrote to his son a letter, dictated 
by the warm heart of a father, endeavoring by every 
argument he could adduce to persuade him to give up 
the faith he had adopted. 

After reminding him of the tenderness with which 
he had brought him up, and called him to share the 
regal authority, he accused him of forsaking the 
creed of his fathers from motives of interest and am- 
bition, and upbraided him for resorting to such means, 
when, if dissatisfied with the favors bestowed on his 
brother Recared, he should have applied to his 
father for redress. The king concluded his letter, 
urging the prince to be advised and submit in time to 
him, from whom he might yet expect the forgiveness 
of a father, but from whom, should he continue ob- 
durate, he could hope for no mercy. This letter was 
productive of no good effects, the prince answering in 
respectful terms, but announcing his firm determina- 
tion to abide by the course he had chosen. The event 
of the war proved fatal to Ermenegild, who, after 
enduring many hardships and reverses, was, in 586, 
given up to his father by the inhabitants of Cordova, 
among whom he had taken refuge. He was banished 
to Valencia. At Seville, near the gate of Cordova, is 
still to be seen a high, narrow and dark tower in 
which it is said the prince was confined, with mana- 


cles on his feet, and his hands tied behind him. 
Not content with the hardships he was thus compelled 
to endure, the enthusiastic fanatic voluntarily submit- 
ted to others, such as lying on hair cloth, fasting fre- 
quently, and observing the greatest austerity in his 
diet. He continued this mode of living, passing his 
time in prayer and meditation until Easter of that 
year, which was celebrated on the fourteenth of April, 
when his father having sent an Arian bishop to ad- 
minister the sacrament to him, the prince turned from 
him with contempt. This obstinacy exasperated the 
king, who ordered his son to be instantly beheaded. 
Ermenegild was canonized by Pope Sixtus the First, 
and his festival is celebrated on the fourteenth of 
April. His prison was subsequently converted into a 
chapel, which was formerly held in great veneration. 

No sooner had Ingundis, the fatal originator of all 
these evils, heard the news of her husband's imprison- 
ment and subsequent death, than she took refuge in 
Africa, with her infant son Theodoric. At the com- 
mencement of the war, Ermenegild had confided his 
wife and child to the protection of the Romans 
Peace was not restored by the death of the prince and 
defeat of his party ; Childebert, brother of Ingundis, 
and Grontrand, her uncle, resolved on revenging her 
wrongs and the death of her husband, and a war was 
kindled between the Franks and Groths that lasted 
some time after the death of Ingundis. Authors do 
not agree as to the place where she died some say it 


was in Africa, others in Spain, neither is any mention 
made of what became of her son. 




RECARED having, by the death of Leovigild in 
585, become sole king of the Groths, his first care was 
to conclude peace with the Franks, and to this end he 
solicited the hand of Clodosinda, sister of Childebert. 
Recared was at the time a widower. Of his first 
wife, the lady Bada, little is known, some authors 
asserting that she was of the noblest blood in Spain, 
and the daughter of Fontus, Count of the Patrimonii ; 
others that she was the daughter of King Arthur of 
England. This lady was the mother of Liuva, who 
succeeded his father. 

Of Clodosinda, the second wife of Recared, as 
little is known. Before her marriage in 594 with the 
king of the Groths, she had been betrothed to Anthari, 
king of the Longobards, but as this king was a pagan, 
the alliance of Recared, who had become a Catholic, 
was preferred. Recared was the father of two 
other sons, called Suinthila and Geila, but it is not 
known by what mother. This king died in 601, after 
a reign of sixteen years, one month and ten days. 


OF the wives of the fifteen kings who successively 
ascended the throne of the Goths from the period of 
the death of Recaredus, until the accession in 711 of 
Don Roderick, the last of the Gothic princes, but five 
are mentioned in history, which gives us their names 

Hilduara, the wife of Grundemar, who ascended 
the throne in 610, and reigned one year, ten months 
and ten days. 

Theodora, the wife of Suinthila, who, after reign- 
ing ten years, was deposed in 631. Theodora was 
the mother of one son, Rechimirus. 

Riceberga, the wife of Chindasuinth, by whom 
she had three sons, Recesuinth, Theodofrid, and Fa- 
vila, the father of Pelagius, the restorer of the Span- 
ish monarchy. Riceberga had also one daughter, 
whose name is not known. Chindasuinth died 648. 

Labigotona, the wife of Ervigius, who usurped the 
throne in 680, and died in 687. 

Cbdlona, the wife of Egica, by whom she became 
the mother of Witiza and of Oppas, the Archbishop 
who subsequently leagued with Count Julian to call 
the Moors into Spain. Cixilona had also a daughter, 
who married Count Julian. Egica was elected in 
687, and died in 701. During the reign of this king, 
a law was enacted that every queen who survived her 
husband should become a nun, that she might never 
be exposed to insult. 

EGH.ONA. 17 



RODERICK, the son of Theodofrid, second son of 
Chindasuinth and Recilona, was chosen king by the 
Gothic nobles in 711, to the exclusion of the sons of 
Witiza, his tyrannical predecessor on the throne. 
Roderick was the last of the G-othic kings, and with 
him ended the empire of the Goths in Spain, after it 
had lasted upwards of 300 years. Roderick is de- 
scribed as having been a prince of excellent natural 
parts, resolute, bountiful, and of winning manners, 
but implacable in his resentments. The fatal cause 
of his ruin, and that of his kingdom, was Fiorinda*, 
or, as she is often called by ancient writers, Cava, the 
daughter of Count Julian, one of the most powerful 
of the Gothic nobles, governor, at the time, of that 
part of Barbary called Mauritania Tingitana, then 
subject to the Groths. Count Julian had also the gov- 
ernment of that part of Spain adjoining the straits of 
Gibralter, and was besides possessed of a large estate 
near Consuegra. The king had married Egilona, 
whose birth, parentage, and age are unknown, but 
who is represented as being still young and exceed- 
ingly beautiful at the time of the king's death. It was 
customary for the children of the nobility to be edu- 
cated at court, the sons attending on the king's per- 

* Subsequently called Cava, a Moorish word, signifying Wicked 
Woman .' 


son, and the daughters being attached to the queen's 
household. The rare beauty of Florinda soon attract- 
ed the notice of Roderick, who became deeply ena- 
mored of her, and vainly sought a return of affec- 
tion. The resistance opposed to his wishes but served 
as an incentive to the passion of the king, inflaming a 
temperament but too ardent by nature, and, in an un- 
guarded moment, forgetful of consequences, he is said 
to have obtained by violence that which was denied 
to love. The enraged Florinda immediately wrote to 
her father, then in Africa, demanding vengeance, and 
to punish a private wrong the traitor count leagued 
with Infidels, and betrayed into their hands both king 
and country. Some authors affirm that Florinda will- 
ingly became the king's mistress. Be this as it may, 
his daughter's dishonor was the pretext of the Count's 
treachery. The power of the Saracens had now risen 
to a great height, for they had not only subdued the 
greater part of Asia, but had overrun all Africa from 
Egypt, along the banks of the Mediterranean, to the 
ocean. Count Julian, on his way to Africa, assembled 
the malcontent nobles, of whom there were many, on a 
mountain near Consuegra, called from that day Calde- 
rino, which in Arabic signifies, Mountain of Treason, 
and there it was agreed to invite the Moors into Spain. 
Having repaired to Muza, who governed Africa as 
lieutenant to Ulit, the reigning sovereign of the 
Moors, he preferred to him his complaint against Ro- 
derick, and represented the ease with which the king- 
dom of Spain, weakened by internal divisions, might 


be conquered, and form the key to the rest of Europe. 
Muza, having consulted his master, sent over a large 
body of men to try the sincerity of the Conde's pro- 
mises, and these having proved successful, though 
opposed by the troops of Roderick, commanded by his 
cousin Sancho, Muza sent over a much larger force. 
The battle that finally decided the fate of the Chris- 
tians was fought in Andalusia, near Pentz, on the 
llth of November, 714, and ended with the total de- 
feat and rout of the king's army. The two armies 
being drawn up, Don* Roderick appeared, according 
to the customs of the Goths, attired in cloth of gold 
and seated in an ivory chariot, he rode through the 
ranks, encouraging his soldiers. The Groths, though 

* Some authors affirm that Roderick was the first Spanish king 
to whom was given the title of Don. 

The overthrow of the empire of the Goths is said to have heen 
accelerated by the last of their sovereigns in more ways than one, 
and for the gratification of the lovers of the marvelous we will re- 
late the following tradition as found in the old chronicles. In the 
city of Toledo there was an ancient palace that for many years had 
been closed, none of the predecessors of Roderic having ventured 
to open its gates, deterred by a prophecy that predicted the ruin of 
the king who should dare to enter it. Roderick, scorning a warn- 
ing he suspected was intended to guard some hidden treasure, re- 
specting neither bolts nor bars, forcibly entered the forbidden pre- 
cincts. Nothing was found within, save a large chest carefully 
locked, which being opened contained a large painting representing 
knights and soldiers in Moorish costumes, on horseback and on 
foot, with unfurled banners ; the painting, moreover, bore a Latin 
inscription, purporting that when the palace should be opened, and 
the painting brought to light, the kingdom of Spain would become 
the prey of the men therein portrayed. 


undisciplined and ill-armed, the majority having but 
slings and clubs, were in such numbers, (100,000 men 
at the lowest computation,) as to render the issue for 
some time dubious, but Oppas, the Archbishop, partner 
in the treason of the infamous Conde, having, as pre- 
concerted, gone over to the Moors with a large body of 
troops in the heat of the fight, the remainder of the 
Groths, astounded at this unparalleled treachery, began 
to give way, and the rout soon became general. The 
king, in this trying crisis, displayed in an eminent 
degree the qualities of a brave soldier and wise gene- 
ral, relieving the points he saw were weakest, replac- 
ing with fresh men the tired troops, encouraging those 
who stood their ground, and rallying the panic-struck 
fugitives. All hope being lost, he was at length com- 
pelled to abandon his chariot, and mounting his 
favorite steed Orelia, take to flight, in order to avoid 
being captured by the Saracens. The ill-fated Rode- 
rick was never seen afterwards, and it was conjectured 
he was drowned endeavoring to ford the river Gruada- 
lete, as his horse, part of his dress, and his buskins, 
embroidered with pearls and precious stones, were 
found on the banks. His body, however, was never 
found, and this circumstance gave rise to many sto- 
ries and improbable surmises as to his fate. Spain 
had some years previous to the invasion of the Moors 
been greatly weakened by a famine and a plague, and 
these causes, joined to the dissensions that agitated 
the kingdom immediately before the accession of Ro- 
derick, no doubt largely contributed to the success of 


the invaders, who now poured in from Africa in mul- 
titudes, and drove the Christians into the mountain 
fastnesses, whither their enemies cared not to pursue 
them. Every city that from some fortunate circum- 
stance continued to hold out against the Moors, chose 
a chief, or governor, who, being amenable to no 
authority, and enjoying almost absolute power, soon 
became a petty king, and, in some cases, assumed 
that title ; hence the origin and rise of the subsequent 
subdivision of Spain into small monarchies and pow- 
erful earldoms, (Condados.) 

Of Egilona we find small mention during the reign 
of her husband, but her charms having, after the 
king's death, attracted the notice and admiration of 
Abdalasis, the son of Muza, who had been appointed 
to govern in his father's absence, she became his wife. 
The captive queen was not long in achieving the con- 
quest of the young Moorish chieftain, for we are told 
that when the prisoners were brought before him, he 
was so much struck with the exquisite beauty of 
Egilona, that he immediately offered her his hand, 
promising she should enjoy the free exercise of her 
own creed. It is probable the lady was not inconso- 
lable for the loss of her brave but faithless lord, and 
had not his equally gallant successor been her coun- 
try's enslaver, her prompt acceptance had been excus- 
able. Egilona was as accomplished as she was beau- 
tiful, and her fond husband allowed himself to be en- 
tirely governed by her advice. Though her mental 
qualities are as highly extolled as her personal charms, 


she did not show herself possessed of prudence, for 
she advised her husband to a step which ultimately 
proved fatal to him. She represented to Abdalasis 
that, possessing as he did the power and authority of 
a sovereign, he should also assume the title. The 
vanity of the ex-queen was wounded that her second 
lord should be less in name, if not inferior in authority, 
to the first, and she insisted that Abdalasis should 
place on his brows the garland of which the unfortu- 
nate Groth had been despoiled. This, however, occa- 
sioned a revolt among the Moors themselves, and the 
chieftain was slain in a mosque in 719. The date of 
the queen's death is unknown. "We have no authen- 
tic account of the subsequent fate of the traitors, who 
sacrificed their religion, their king, and their country, 
to their own private interests, but tradition says they 
were punished by the very ones who reaped the fruits 
of their crimes. Count Julian is said to have been 
deprived by the Moors of all his vast possessions, and 
condemned to perpetual imprisonment, after having 
seen his wife stoned to death, and one of his sons 
thrown headlong from a tower in Ceuta. 

NOTE. Some writers affect to treat the stories of Florinda, Ber- 
nardo del Carpio, the Cid Campeador and others, with utter con- 
tempt, as mere fables sanctified by time, but totally unworthy 
of belief. If we refuse to give credence to tradition, we reject 
almost the only materials for the early history not only of Spain 
but of many other nations. Besides, these traditions have as many 
authorities to support as to refute them. An excellent modern 
historian says that : " No one who studies history ought to de- 
spise tradition, for we shall find that tradition is generally founded 
on fact, even when defective or regardless of chronology." 


718 TO 1037. 




PELAYO, the renowned hero of many an old ballad, 
the restorer of the Spanish monarchy, a prince en- 
dowed with all the qualities necessary in a chief and 
a ruler in those difficult and dangerous times, was of 
the blood royal of the G-oths, the son of Favila, the 
third son of Chindasuinth, and consequently a cousin 
of King Rodrigo. After the fatal battle that left. 
Spain a prey to the Saracen, and in which he is said 
to have fought, Pelayo retired to his own estate, situ- 
ated in the most remote part of Biscay, where it is 
probable he might have passed his life in retirement, 
had not an event of a nearly similar nature to that 
which had occasioned the ruin of the Christians, 
occurred to draw him from his inglorious obscurity, 
and enable him to win the undying laurels that for 
centuries have crowned his name. Although the 


Moors had overrun nearly all Spain, and settled them- 
selves in its fertile plains, the Christians still held out 
in some parts of Navarre, Biscay, Gralicia, and As- 
turias, the almost inaccessible nature of the country 
in which they had taken refuge favoring them as 
much as the carelessness of the Moors, who, satisfied 
with the rich possessions they enjoyed, allowed their 
vanquished foes the undisputed occupation of the 
almost barren mountain wilds. The Christians, in 
their rocky retreats, had the free exercise of their own 
religion, and maintained their own churches and mon- 
asteries as before. Besides these Christians, there 
were many towns that had freely submitted to the 
invader, on condition they should be allowed to retain 
their own creed, laws, and customs, and also their 
possessions, paying to the Moors a stipulated tax or 
tribute. Two years after the conquest of Spain, the 
Saracens, having resolved to dispossess the Groths of 
their dominions in France, passed the Pyrenees, and 
broke into that country with a large army. The 
moment seemed propitious for the Christians to rally 
and endeavor to recover their lost liberty. A chieftain 
alone was wanting, and none seemed better fitted to 
fill this post than Pelayo. The enterprise, however, 
was pregnant with such difficulty and danger, and the 
consequences, in case of failure, would have been so 
disastrous, that the weak and disheartened Spaniards 
might never have made the attempt, had not an un- 
foreseen circumstance roused their energies and nerved 
them to action. The beauty of a woman again prov- 


ed the firebrand to kindle the torch of war, and a sis- 
ter of Pelayo was the fatal cause of the downfall 
of the Saracens, as Florinda had been that of the 
Goths. Munuza, who, although a Christian, was 
governor of Grijon for the Moors, became deeply ena- 
mored of this lady, then in the prime of her age, and 
celebrated for her extraordinary beauty. Aware that 
Pelayo would never sanction his sister's marrying one 
whom the high-born Groth considered a renegade far 
beneath him in every respect, the wily Moor contrived 
to send him to treat of important affairs in Africa, 
and availed himself of his absence to seduce the frail 
fair one. Pelayo, on his return, being made aware of 
the dishonor that had fallen on his family, dissembled 
his desire for revenge until an opportunity occurred of 
recovering his sister, with whom he fled into the 
neighboring mountains of Asturias. Munuza, forsee- 
ing the consequences that were likely to ensue, from 
the resentment of a man possessed of so much influ- 
ence, advised Tarif of what had occurred, and that 
chief instantly dispatched a body of troops from Cor- 
dova in pursuit of the fugitives. The Moorish cava- 
liers would infallibly have captured the unprotected 
fugitives, had not Pelayo, setting spurs to his horse, 
compelled him to ford the river Pionia, at the time 
much swollen and exceedingly rapid, thus effecting 
his escape, his baffled pursuers not daring to incur so 
imminent a danger. Having erected his standard in 
the valley of Cangas, then called Canica, many flocked 
to join him ; the majority, doubtless, rather in the 


hope of serving their private ends, than actuated by 
that of rescuing their groaning country from the 
debasing thraldom of the Mussulman. The Asturians, 
a brave, hardy, and proud people, answered to a man 
the call. Having assembled the chief among them, 
Pelayo, in an impassioned speech, exposed the griefs, 
the vexatious humiliations the Christians, daily, hour- 
ly, endured from their tyrannic enslavers, and the 
manifold reasons that concurred lo indue j them to 
seize the present favorable opportunity of throwing off 
the ignominious yoke of the Infidel. The enthusiasm 
of his hearers afforded ample proof of the eloquence of 
his appeal to their better feelings, for one and all swore 
to adhere faithfully to the religious and patriotic cause, 
and lay down life rather than continue to breathe it 
in slavery. Pelayo having, by unanimous consent, 
been, chosen to command, and invested with the au- 
thority and title of king, took immediate measures to 
conquer the kingdom of which he was as yet but the 
nominal sovereign. The prince was crowned in 716, 
according to some, in 718 according to others, and by 
his bravery and perseverance soon took many places 
from the Moors. The inhabitants of Cralicia and Bis- 
cay, a race of sturdy mountaineers that had never 
been wholly subdued, were invited to join in the en- 
terprise, and the revolt spread widely, though it was 
not until many centuries later that the Moors were 
totally expelled from Spain. Pelayo having descended 
into the plains, took the city of Leon in 722. Some 
authors affirm that he was styled King of Leon, but 


the majority say that Ordono II. was the first that 
assumed that title, his predecessors having merely 
borne that of king of Oviedo. The most proper cer- 
tainly seems to be that of king of Leon, as, on the 
taking of that city, the arms of the Grothic sovereigns 
were changed into argent, a lion rampant, gules, 
which are still those of the present day. Leon, in 
Spanish, signifying lion. Pelayo died in 737. Of the 
wife of Pelayo nothing of note is recorded, beyond her 
being the mother of Ormesinda and Favila, who both 
ascended the throne. 




PELAYO was succeeded by his son Favila, a prince 
who, far from following in the footsteps of his re- 
nowned father, was solely addicted to his pleasures, 
and especially to that of the chase, which in the end 
proved fatal to him, as he was killed by a boar, after 
a reign of two years. Of his wife, Frolena, we know 
nothing save her name, and that she left no issue. 





FAVILA having left no heirs, Don Alfonso I., sur- 
named the Catholic, from his piety, and his wife, 
Ormesinda, were, in accordance with the will of Pe- 
layo, proclaimed, in 739, sovereigns of Oviedo. The 
valor of this prince having greatly contributed to the 
success of the Christians, Pelayo had bestowed on him 
the hand of his only daughter. Don Alfonso was the 
son of Pedro, Duke of Biscay, and a descendant of 
King Recared. This prince, who was possessed in 
an eminent degree of the qualities of a warrior and a 
statesman, was particularly successful in all his en- 
terprises, and greatly beloved by his people. The 
Moors being engaged in wars in France, and weak- 
ened by domestic broils, Don Alfonso was enabled 
greatly to enlarge the bounds of his dominions, taking 
from them many towns, a number of which were, 
however, retaken by them during the subsequent 
reigns. By his wife, Ormesinda, he had three sons, 
Froila, Bimaranus, Aurelius, and one daughter, Ado- 
sinda. By a mistress, said to have been a slave, he 
left a son, Mauregatus. Don Alfonso died in 757, 
having reigned eighteen years. Ormesinda is said to 
have been buried beside her husband at Cangas, in 


the monastery of St. Mary, having died previously to 
Alfonso, but the date of her death is not recorded. 
Many and grave authors relate that at the time of 
Alfonso's death, celestial voices were heard singing in 
the apartment of the expiring monarch. 



FROILA succeeded his father, Don Alfonso. In one 
of his military expeditions to Gralicia, he married Am- 
uliua or Momerana. the daughter of Eudo, Duke of 
Aquitaine, and by this lady he had a son, Don Alfonso 
II., who subsequently ascended the throne, and a 
daughter, Dona Ximena, mother of the famous Ber- 
nardo del Carpio. Froila, who had inherited his 
father's valor, would have been reckoned one of 
Spain's best princes, had he not left an indelible stain 
on his memory, by the murder of his brother, Bima- 
ranus, whom he suspected wrongfully of aspiring to 
the throne. In order to allay, in some measure, the 
odium he had incurred by this fratricide, he adopted 
and named as his successor, Bermudo, the son of his 
murdered victim ; but this tardy atonement availed 
him not, as he was slain at Cangas, shortly after, by 
his other brother, Aurelius. Some say,* Bermudo 

* Garibnv. amo others. 


was the son of Froila himself. The date of the 
queen's death is unknown. 




AURELIUS having succeeded his brother, in order to 
strengthen himself on the throne, gave his sister, 
Adosinda, in marriage to Silon, a man in high esteem, 
naming her also as his successor. Aurelius, dying 
after a reign of six years and a half, was interred in 
the church of St. Martin, in the valley of lagueza. 
Aurelius disgraced himself by the shameful treaty he 
entered into with the Moors, by which he bound him- 
self to deliver to them every year, by way of tribute, 
a certain number of young maids. Aurelius was 
never married. 

Silon, though on his accession he proved himself 
brave and efficient in quelling a rebellion in Gralicia, 
had arrived at an age that led him to prefer the ease 
of private life to the cares attendant on royalty, and, 
therefore, by the advice of his queen, who appears to 
have exercised great influence over him, he named as 
his companion on the throno Don Alfonso, the legiti- 


mate heir, who was a child of seven years of age at 
the time of the death of Don Froila, his father. Hav- 
ing left Alfonso absolute power to make peace or war, 
Silon and his wife retired from the cares of govern- 
ment. Silon died in 783. Adosinda retired to a 
monastery after the death of her husband. 




AFTER the death of Silon, Alfonso was left sole oc- 
cupant of the throne. He did not, however, long enjoy 
its undisputed possession, for in the beginning of his 
reign he was deposed by his uncle, Mauregatus, the 
Bastard. The usurper, having strengthened himself 
by an alliance with the Moors, to whom he agreed to 
pay a tribute of fifty young maids every year, was 
enabled to expel the rightful sovereign, who, unable 
to resist, retired into Biscay, where he had many 
adherents. Mauregatus reigned five years and six 
months, dying in 788, and leaving a memory stained 
with almost every crime. He was succeeded by Ber- 
mudo, who had been a deacon. Authors do not agree 
as to the parentage of Bermudo, some saying he was 
the son of Bimaranus, others of Froila. Bermudo 


reigned two years alone, after which he recalled the 
exiled prince, Don Alfonso, and shared the regal dig- 
nity with him. Though possessing many good qua- 
lities, Bermudo's love of ease unfitting him for 
those stirring times, contributed, doubtless, more than 
his sense of justice, to induce him to recall Don Al- 
fonso. The marriage of Bermudo having been declared 
unlawful, he separated from his wife, Nimilona, or 
Ursenda, by whom he had had two sons, Ramiro and 
Garcia, and never married again. This prince was 
very successful in his wars with the Moors, who hav- 
ing been refused the tribute promised and conceded by 
Mauregatus, had made an irruption into Asturias. 
Don Bermudo died in 796. 

Don Alfonso, surnamed the Chaste, from the purity 
of his life, and the vow of continency he had made, 
reigned with Bermudo four years and six months, and 
greatly assisted him in his engagements with the 
Moors. Of his queen, Berta, nothing but the name 
has been transmitted to us, but of his sister the fol- 
lowing romantic incident is related in the ancient 
chronicles. This lady, Dona Ximena, having been 
seduced by Sancho, Count of Saldana, the king, who, 
actuated by a spirit of bigotry pardonable in that age, 
had bound himself by the strictest of monastic vows, 
and consequently could have no charity for the frailties 
of others, ordered the conde to be punished by the 
loss of his eyes, and perpetual imprisonment in tho 
castle of Luna. The unhappy princess was shut up 
in a monastery, whore she bpent the remainder of her 


life. The sins of the parents were not, however, 
visited on their offspring, who was sent to Asturias. 
and there educated as though he had been the king's 
son. Of this youth who, in process of time, became 
so celebrated for his exploits, under the name of Ber- 
nardo del Carpio, the ancient romances tell the most 
incredible feats. Having arrived at years of discre- 
tion, Bernardo being informed of his parentage, of 
which he had been left until then in ignorance, de- 
manded his father's freedom of the monarch then 
reigning, who was Alfonso II. His request being met 
with an angry denial, Bernardo raised the standard of 
revolt, doing such damage, and performing actions of 
such daring, that the nobles of the land assembled and 
urged the king to comply with his request. Don Al- 
fonso accordingly sent messengers offering to exchange 
the conde for Bernardo's castle of Carpio. This con- 
dition having been accepted, the young hero hastened 
to greet the sire his valor had freed. Having joined 
the king, they rode forward to meet the count, who 
advanced on horseback, clad in armor. Bernardo is 
said to have exclaimed : " Oh Grod ! is the Count of 
Saldana indeed coming ?" " Behold him !" replied 
the false and cruel king, " and now go and greet him 
whom you have so long desired to see." As the 
youth drew near the deception of the barbarous mo- 
narch was revealed ; there, indeed, mounted on his 
charger, was the body of the ill-fated conde, but the 
spirit had fled, Bernardo, in a fit of rage and grief, 
seizing the reigns of the. monarch's steed, and setting 


him face to face with the dead, broke into the most 
passionate reproaches. From that time, careless of 
fame, the banner of Bernardo was never again seen 
on the field of battle, nor is his subsequent fate men- 
tioned in story. 

The celebrated battle of Roncesvalles is said to have 
been fought in the reign of Alfonso the Chaste. This 
monarch died in 824, after a reign of forty-one years 
and five months from the period of his first accession, 
though if we deduct the five years and six months o* 
the reign of the usurper, Mauregatus, and six years of 
the reign of Bermudo, we find that in reality Alfonso 
reigned but 29 years. The date of Berta's death is 




DON RAMIRO, the son of Don Bermudo, succeeded 
Don Alfonso on the throne. It is probable that Ber- 
mudo was well aware of Don Alfonso's self-imposed 
vow, and thus, by recalling this prince, was enabled 
to please the nation without injuring his own cause, 
or excluding his own family from the succession. 
Thus, this apparently magnanimous conduct was, in 


fact, a mere act of policy so little will the motives 
of the noblest actions bear a close scrutiny. 

Don Ramiro married Urraca, or, as some authors 
call her, Paterna. This lady became the mother of 
two sons, Ordono and Grarcia. It is recorded of this 
queen, that she was exceedingly pious, economizing 
from her own expenses, in order to enrich churches, 
more particularly that of St. James, (Santiago,) in 
gratitude to that saint for the assistance he rendered 
the Christians against the Moors at the battle of Cla- 
vijo, where he is said to have appeared, armed cap-a- 
pie, mounted on a white charger, and bearing a white 
banner, with a red cross embroidered in the centre. 
This is the origin of invoking this patron saint on the 
eve of battle, and of the war cry, of " Santiago y 
cierra Espaiia." St. James and close Spain ! Dona 
Urraca died in 861 and was buried by the side of her 
husband, who had died in 831, in the church of St. 
Mary in Oviedo. 



OF this lady, the wife of Don Ordono I., who suc- 
ceeded his father, very little is known. She was of 
high birth, and became the mother of five sons, Al- 


fonso, Bermudo, Nuno, Odoario and Fruela. Don 
Ordono having reigned ten years, during which time 
he was continually warring with the Moors, died in 


THIS lady was of the blood royal of France, and 
though her name was Amelina, it was, after her mar- 
riage with Alfonso III., changed to the Spanish one of 
Ximena. She became the mother of four sons, Grar- 
cia, Ordono, Fruela and Gonzalo, and three daughters, 
whose names history has not preserved. The first 
three of these princes became successively kings of 
Oviedo, and the last an Archdeacon. Ximena has left 
a stain on her memory by the encouragement she gave 
her son, Don Grarcia, to rebel against his father. Don 
Alfonso having gone to great expense in rebuilding 
several towns, monasteries and castles destroyed by 
the Infidels, and his revenues proving insufficient for 
the outlays, he was compelled to raise the necessary 
sums by the imposition of new taxes, which caused 
great dissatisfaction among the people. The queen, 
either blinded by maternal love, and the wish to see 
her son seated on the throne, or actuated by some mo- 
tive of which history has kept no record, instigated 


Don Grarcia to seize this favorable opportunity of pos- 
sessing himself of the crown. The attempt proved 
abortive, for the king, though wasted by age and care, 
still retained unimpaired the faculties of his mind, 
and the promptness of his measures defeated the 
schemes of the rebels, the chief of whom, Grarcia, was 
confined by his father's orders, in the castle of Gua- 
zon, having been taken prisoner in Zamora. The dis- 
turbances did not, however, end here, for Don Nuno 
Hernandez, Earl of Castile, a powerful noble, whose 
daughter Don Grarcia had married, took up arms in 
his cause. The war lasting two years, the king wea- 
ried out and disgusted, in the year 886 resigned the 
crown to Don Grarcia, giving to Ordono the Lordship 
of Gralicia. This king, from the numerous victories 
he obtained over the Moors, was surnamed The Great, 
is said to have been valiant, affable, meek and merci- 
ful, but he seems to have strangely forgotten the lat- 
ter quality, if he ever possessed it, when he inflicted 
so cruel a punishment on his rebellious brothers, 
Fruela, Nuno, Bermudo and Odoario. These princes, 
having conspired against Alfonso, were condemned to 
lose their eyes and live in perpetual imprisonment. 
Alfonso died in 887, having reigned 46 years. Xime- 
na survived her husband some years, but the exact, 
date of her death is unknown. 






DON G-ARCIA, the eldest son of Alfonso the Grreat, 
enjoyed but three years the crown he had so long 
striven to wrest from his father. He died at Zamora 
in 889, leaving no children by his wife, of whom all 
we know is that her name was Nuna, and that she 
was the daughter of Nuno Hernandez, Count of Castile. 
Grarcia was succeeded by his brother, Ordono II., 
whose first wife, Munina Elvira, a Gralician lady of 
great worth, became the mother of four sons, Sancho, 
Alfonso, Ramiro and Grarcia, and one daughter, Dona 
Ximena. Dona Munina Elvira died in 894, in the 
city of Zamora. 

Dona Angota, a lady of high birth in Gfalicia, was 
the second wife of Ordono, from whom she was 
according to some authors, unjustly divorced, but the 
causes of the separation are left unexplained, nor is 
any farther mention made of her. 

Dona Sancha, or Santiva, the third and last wife 01 
Don Ordono, was the daughter of Gfarci Iniguez, king 
of Narvarre. The king survived his marriage but one 
year, dying in 897, and was buried in the church of 
St. Mary, in the city of Leon, being the first king in- 


terred in that city. Ordono was also the first of the 
kings of Oviedo at whose accession the ceremony of 
the coronation was performed ; and this having taken 
place in the city of Leon, he is supposed, from that 
circumstance to have been the first to take the title 
of king of Leon, that of king of Oviedo falling into 
disuse from that period, and being finally dropped by 
his successors. 


AFTER the death of Ordono, the throne was usurped 
by his brother Fruela, surnamed The Cruel. This 
prince having lost his wife, Dona Nuna, before his ac- 
cession, she can hardly be numbered among the queens 
of Spain. Though Fruela left three legitimate sons, 
Alfonso, Ordono and Ramiro, and one illegitimate, 
Fruela, he was succeeded by the rightful heir, his 
nephew Alfonso, son of the preceding monarch. Fru- 
ela, having reigned little over a year, died of leprosy 
in 898. Alfonso, the next sovereign of Leon, married 
Dona Urraca Ximenez, eldest daughter of Don Sancho 
Abarca, king of Navarre, and of his queen, Dona 
Teuda. Dona Urraca gave birth to one son, Don Or- 
dono. Alfonso, who seems to have been totally unfit 
to govern, rendered himself odious to the nation, and, 


after a reign of five years and seven months, abdicated 
the throne in favor of his brother, Ramiro, and took 
the habit of a monk in the monastery of Sahagun, 
careless of the future welfare of his wife and only son. 
The inconstancy of his disposition soon leading him to 
repent of his resolution, he abandoned his retreat, and 
again claimed the crown. Having been worsted by 
Don Ramiro, he was imprisoned with his wife, and 
the sons of his predecessor, Fruela, who had taken part 
in the insurrection, in the monastery of St. Julien, 
near Leon. Here they were kept during the remain- 
der of their lives, the deposed king and the princes 
having been also punished with the loss of their eyes. 



THIS lady, daughter of Sancho Abarca, king of Na- 
varre, and sister to the preceding queen, was married 
to Don Ramiro II., by whom she had three sons, Ber- 
mudo, Ordono and Sancho, the last two of whom suc- 
cessively ascended the throne. She had also one 
daughter, Dona Elvira, who, at her father's instiga- 
tion, took the veil in the monastery of St. Saviour, in 
the city of Leon. Of a proud, vindictive temper, 
Dona Teresa never forgave the celebrated Fernan Gon- 
zalez, conde of Castile, the death of her father, de- 


feated and slain by him in battle in the year 930. 
During the subsequent reign of her son, Don Sancho, 
she used every argument to induce him to second her 
desire of vengeance. Sancho, unwilling to break tho 
peace he had recently concluded with the earl, agreed, 
however, that his mother should apply to her brother, 
the reigning sovereign of Navarre, and in him she 
found a ready auxiliary. Garci Sanchez was at the 
time smarting under a defeat he had lately suffered 
from the earl in a pitched battle, and was willing to 
adopt any plan her policy suggested. A peace having 
been concluded, by Teresa's advice, the Navarrese 
offered the hand of his youngest sister, Sancha, to the 
earl, who was then a widower. Unsuspicious of 
treachery the earl accepted the proposal, and came to 
Navarre to receive his bride and celebrate his nuptials; 
but, in lieu of the friendly reception he had anticipated, 
he was seized and thrown into prison. His captivity 
was of short duration, for the fair cause of his misfor- 
tunes, not harboring the vindictive feelings of her kin- 
dred, and favorably impressed with the noble mien of 
their gallant foe, spared no effort to set him free. 
Having effected her object, Sancha escaped with the 
earl to the frontiers, where they met near Rioja an 
army of his loyal subjects, who had sworn never to 
return without their loved chieftain. At Burgos, 
Fernan Gonzalez celebrated his marriage with his 
deliverer.* The war now broke out with renewed 

* The relation of these wars belongs, more properly, to the 
history of the reign of Sancho, but we give them now, rather than 


acrimony, and a battle was fought in which the king 
of Navarre was made prisoner. His kind-hearted 
sister was untiring in her solicitations to her hus- 
band for her brother's release, which she finally ob- 
tained, after he had been confined thirteen months in 
Burgos. The fierce and restless spirit of the dowager 
queen of Leon, undismayed by the ill-success her 
schemes had hitherto met with, now again labored to 
compass the fall of Gronzalo, and so wrought on her 
son that he summoned the conde, as one of his tribu- 
tary lords, to attend Cortes in 936. Though the past 
should have forewarned the noble Castilian of the 
danger of meeting his unforgiving and perfidious foes, 
he scorned to evince the slightest suspicion, and un- 
hesitatingly obeyed the summons. Don Sancho came 
not forth, according to custom, to meet his high and 
powerful vassal, but awaited him within his palace, 
and as the noble stooped to perform the prescribed act 
of homage of kissing the king's hand, he was seized 
and imprisoned. Great was the consternation of the 
Castilians when the news of this disastrous event 
reached them, but Dona Sancha, a lady of ready wit 
and dauntless spirit, far from giving vent to useless 
lamentations, immediately set about devising the 
means of freeing her husband, by feigning a pilgrimage 
in his behalf to the shrine of St. James the Apostle. 
As her way lay through the city of Leon, the king 
sallied forth to receive her with the courtesy due to 

break the thread of incidents occurring during the life of Teresa, 
who was their chief instigator. 


her rank, and the relationship in which, as his aunt, 
she stood to him. He even granted her earnest re- 
quest of an interview with her husband. Having 
spent the night with the count, Dona Sancha pre- 
vailed on him to attempt an escape in her garments 
on the following morning. The plan succeeded, and 
Fernan Gfonzalez reached in safety the borders of Cas- 
tile. The king, though at first greatly incensed at 
having been outwitted, soon learned to appreciate the 
motives that had actuated his aunt's conduct, and 
sent her back to her husband, honorably attended. 
Pleased with his lady's return, the conde foreboro 
manifesting any open resentment of the wrongs done 
himself, but demanded the payment of a debt the king 
had contracted with him. This debt, according to 
some authors, was for a hawk and a horse sold by the 
earl, with the condition that, if not paid for within a 
certain time, the amount should be doubled each suc- 
ceeding day. The king having delayed the payment, 
the amount due now exceeded his means, and the 
conde making continued inroads on the lands of Leon, 
the contending parties agreed, in 937, that, as an equi- 
valent, Castile should be released from all homage or 
subjection to the crown of Leon. 

During the reign of King Ramiro, the Conde of 
Castile, Fernan Gonzalez, weakened by the war he 
had lately sustained against the Navarrese, and threat- 
ened by a large army of Moors that had appeared on 
his frontier, implored the assistance of the king of Leon, 
who, accordingly, hastened to his relief with a large 


force, and having joined the conde, they gave battle 
near Osma to the Infidels, who were entirely defeated. 
It is probable that Don Ramiro would not so readily 
have consented to assist the conde, had the latter not 
agreed to make Castile, (which had been separated 
from Leon in the reign of Don Fruela,) a feudatory to 
Leon. In the subsequent reign of Don Sancha it 
was, as we have already related, finally released 
from this dependence. Don Ramiro died in 924. 




URRACA, the daughter of the famous conde of 
Castile, Fernan Gonzalez, and of his first wife, Dona 
Urraca, was, during some temporary cessation of hos- 
tilities, between the ever contending Castilians and 
Leonese, married to the prince Ordono, who after- 
wards succeeded his father Don Ramiro, on the throne 
of Leon, in 924. On the accession of this prince, his 
uncle (rarci- Sanchez, king of Navarre, and his father- 
in-law, leagued to dethrone him. The attempt prov- 
ing abortive, Ordono, enraged at the unprovoked con- 
duct of the count, was divorced from his daughter, and 
married the lady Elvira, daughter of Don Gonzalo, 
Conde of Asturias, and of his wife Dona Teresa. By 


this second wife, Don Ordono had one son, Bermudo, 
who subsequently ascended the throne. Don Ordono, 
a brave and prudent sovereign, was greatly beloved by 
his people, but the shortness of his reign prevented 
his doing all the good they had reason to expect from 
him. He died at Zamora in 929, after a reign of five 
years and some months. Don Ordono was succeeded 
by his brother Don Sancho, who, in the second year of 
his reign, was compelled to seek shelter among the 
Moors, the army having declared in favor of Ordono, 
the son of Alfonso the monk, who had been left 
an infant, at the period of his father's abdication. 
This prince, whose character may be conjectured by 
his surname of The Wicked, might have sustained 
himself on the throne he had usurped, had his talents 
for governing been equal to his ambition, for he had 
strengthened his party by marrying Urraca, the di- 
vorced wife of the late sovereign, and thus secured f.l* 
powerful alliance of Castile. He soon rendered him- 
self so odious to the nation, that on the approach of 
Sancho, at the head of a large body of troops, he was 
obliged to fly into \sturias, and thence into Castile ; 
but his father-in-law, indignant at his cowardice, took 
his wife from him, and otherwise gave him so cold a 
reception, that he preferred throwing himself on the 
protection of the Moors, among whom he died, poor 
and despised. Of Dona Urraca, who seems to have 
been particularly unfortunate in her marriages, no more 
is said, but that she died in 965. Neither is aught else 
said of Elvira. 





TERESA, the daughter of Aznar Fernandez, Conde 
of Monzon, was the wife of Sancho I., by whom she 
had one son, Ramiro. She is said to have been a lady 
of extraordinary beauty and superior intellect. Dur- 
ing the minority of her son, who was but five years of 
age when his father died, she governed the kingdom 
with great prudence. The date of her death is not 
recorded. Don Sancho, having been relieved of his 
excessive corpulence by the Moorish physicians of Ab- 
derrhaman, king of Cordova, was also assisted by that 
monarch with troops to recover his kingdom from the 
usurper, Ordono the Wicked. Of Sancho's wars with 
the earl of Castile, some account has been given in 
the life of the Queen Mother, Teresa. Don Sancho 
died, poisoned by an apple, given to him by one of his 
vassals, in the year 941. 





DONA URRACA was the wife of Don Ramiro III. 
This lady possessed great influence over her husband, 
but, unfortunately, solely employed it to counteract 
the wise plans of his mother, and aunt Dona Elvira, 
or, as some called her, Dona (reloyra, whose prudent 
advice she frequently caused him to disregard. Dur- 
ing the reign of this king, the inhabitants of Neustria, 
now Normandy, who lived principally by rapine, and 
were constantly infecting the coast of Spain, having 
gathered a large fleet, made an irruption on the coast 
of Gralicia, burning villages, towns and castles, and 
carrying off enormous booty. This plague lasted 
two years, the youth of the king preventing any efficient 
measures being taken for the protection of the coun- 
try. At the end of this time, Don G-arci- Sanchez, 
Count of Castile, son of Fernan G-onzalez, assembled 
a force, and surprising the Normans near the sea, as 
they were returning laden with plunder, gave them a 
signal defeat, taking their captain, recovering the 
prisoners and booty, and destroying their ships. Ra- 
miro, having, by his ill conduct, created great discon- 
tent, the inhabitants of G-alicia rebelled, and elected 
for their king Don Bermudo, son of Don Ordono III., 

* The wives of Ramiro II. and Ramiro III. were both called 
Urraca, their eldest sons were both Ordonos. 



and cousin of Don Ramiro. The war lasted two years, 
Bermudo finally remaining master of Galicia. Don 
Ramiro died in Leon in 965, and was succeeded by 
his cousin, Don Bermudo, the latter having reigned 
ten years in Galicia, before his accession to the throne 
of Leon. 



THE first of these ladies was divorced from her hus- 
band, Don Bermudo II., though without any lawful 
reason, after having given birth to a daughter, Dona 

Dona Elvira, the second wife of Bermudo, brought 
him a son, who succeeded him as Alfonso V., and a 
daughter, Teresa. Bermudo reigned 17 years and 
died in 982. Although a martyr to the gout, Bermu- 
do imitated his predecessors in warring with the Infi- 
dels, over whom, with the assistance of the Conde of 
Castile, he obtained signal advantages, though at one 
time they advanced as far as the city of Leon, and 
destroyed its walls to the foundations. 




THOUGH Alfonso, at his father's death, was but five 
years of age, the kingdom suffered from none of the 
evils that generally attend the minority of princes, 
being wisely governed by Don Melindo Gonzalez, Conde 
of Gralicia, and his wife, Dona Mayor, who had been 
appointed by the will of the late king guardians of the 
prince, and entrusted with the regency. The young 
king, on attaining his majority, pleased with the in- 
tegrity and prudence with which his tutors had dis- 
charged their important trust, married their daughter, 
Elvira, by whom he had a son, Bermudo, who suc- 
ceeded him, and a daughter, Sancha, who in turn suc- 
ceeded her brother on the throne. Alfonso was killed 
at the siege of Viseo, in Lusitania, in the year 1028. 
Elvira survived her husbancl many years, dying in 



TERESA was the daughter of Don Sancha, 
Conde of Castile, who died in the same year as Alfon- 
so V., King of Leon. Besides Teresa, who married 


Bermudo, the young king of Leon, the Conde of Cas- 
tile left another daughter, Dona Nufia, married some 
time previous to her father's death to Don Sancho, 
king of Navarra, and a son, Don Garcia, who suc- 
ceeded him in the condado. Garcia, a promising 
youth of thirteen, was betrothed in the year of his ac- 
cession to the title, to Sancha, sister of the young king 
of Leon, and this double alliance, which was to have 
consolidated the league between the Leonese and 
Castilians, and united them against their common foe, 
the Moor, proved the cause of the young prince's 
untimely death. The city of Leon was the place ap- 
pointed for the celebration of the nuptials, and thither 
Don Grarcia repaired, attended by his brother-in-law, 
the king of Navarra, who, to do him the greater 
honor, was accompanied by his two young sons. The 
retinue of men of note from Cestile and Navarre wan 
so numerous as to resemble an army, and prevented 
their advancing very rapidly. This tardiness in their 
progress being little suited to the fiery spirit of the 
youthful bridegroom, impatient to see his intended 
bride, he pushed on, with but few attendants, leav- 
ing the king at Sahagun, to follow at his leisure. 
A plan was laid for his destruction by the sons of Don 
"Vela, a Castilian noble, who for his turbulent conduct 
had been exiled during the reign of G-arcia's father. 
Having met the young prince at the gates of Leon, 
they knelt at his feet imploring his forgiveness, were 
by the kind youth immediately reinstated in his 
favor. He then proceeded to the church of St. Sa- 


viour for the purpose of hearing mass, but, at the very 
door, was struck down by the traitors ; Don Roderick, 
the eldest, who was the conde's god-father, being the 
first to bury his poniard in his breast, and the other 
brothers dispatching him with their swords.* The un- 
timely end of Don Garcia occasioned great changes. 
Don Sancho, king of Navarre, whose tents were 
pitched at the gates of Leon, was heir, in right of his 
wife, Dofia Nuna, to the earldom of Castile, which he 
forthwith erected into a kingdom. The power of this 
sovereign was now becoming formidable, and to ap- 
pease the storm, with which his inordinate ambition 
threatened Leon, it was agreed by Don Bermudo, with 
the concurrence of his nobles, that the widowed maid, 
his sister, should marry the second son of Don Sancho, 
and be declared heiress to the crown of Leon. This 
arrangement satisfied the king of Navarre, who, at the 
head of his forces, was always ravaging his brother- 
in-law's domains, and a peace was concluded. Dona 
Sancha was married to Ferdinand, in 1030. It is prob- 
able her boy lover had not made a very lasting im- 
pression on her heart, though a Spanish historian 
affirms that when told of his death she fainted, and, 
on her recovery, ran to the spot where the body lay, 
and, embracing it, wasted herself in sighs and tears. 
Peace lasted for some time, until Don Sancho dying, 

* The murderers fled to Monzon. but were pursued, taken, and 
burned alive, by the king of Navarre. Garcia was the last of the 
counts of Castile, which remained an independent kingdom for two 
centuries, but at the end of that time was united to Leon. 


and his sons being disunited, Bermudo sought to indem- 
nify himself for the disadvantageous terms extorted 
from him, and was slain in a battle fought on the 
banks of the river Carrion in 1037. Thus all the do- 
mains of the Christian sovereigns of Spain fell into the 
hands of one family, Ferdinand, who was already 
king of Castile, being now also king of Leon, his 
wife's inheritance. Bermudo left no children, Al- 
fonso, his only son by his queen dying in childhood. 
Of Teresa no farther mention is made after her hus- 
band's death. 



1034 TO 1468. 





REIGN OF DON SANCHo iv., (Surnamed el Mayor the 



DoSfA NuSfA, also called Elvira Mayor, was the 
daughter of Don Sancho, count of Castile. Having 
married Sancho IV., king of Navarre, she was already 

* Dona Nuna does not rank among the queens of Aragon, of 
which she was only the countess, that province having been settled 
on her as a jointure by her husband; but, as the annals of her 
reign contain the incident that explains the separation of that pro 
vince from Navarre, and its erection into an independent kingdom, 
they are given here. 


the mother of three sons, Garcia, Ferdinand, and 
Gonzalo, when the tragical death of her only brother, 
Garcia, the last count of Castile, murdered by traitors 
in the fourteenth year of his age, and the first of his 
reign, left her the heiress of Castile. Though this 
accession of power made her husband the greatest of 
Spain's monarchs, it proved no shield to protect his 
consort against domestic sorrows and the poisoned 
shafts of calumny, and this hapless queen was des- 
tined to feel as a wife and a mother the severest pangs 
that can torture the human heart. Don Sancho having 
taken possession of Castile as his wife's inheritance, 
and, by his son Ferdinand's marriage with the heiress 
of Leon, secured to his own family the whole of the 
Spanish dominions, with the exception of the Moorish 
possessions, now turned his attention to the prosecu- 
tion of the war with the Infidels, who, divided among 
themselves, presented to the ambitious sovereign ol 
the Christians an excellent opportunity of extending 
his territories at their expense. Ere ho departed on 
this expedition, Don Sancho earnestly commended to 
the queen's care a horse by which he set great store. 
In those days the Spaniards considered their horses, 
hawks and arms their most valuable property. Dur- 
ing the king's absence, Garcia, the eldest son, re- 
quested the queen to lend him his father's favorite 
steed, and she was on the point of acceding to his 
desire, when Pedro Sese, master of the horse to the 
king, interfered, representing to her how much in- 
censed the sovereign would be by her so doing. Her 


denial so much infuriated the rash youth, that he 
immediately wrote to his father, accusing Dona Nuna 
of criminal intercourse with the master of the horse. 
Surprised at the extraordinary tidings, the king has- 
tened home ; but, though the previous conduct of the 
queen gave the lie to this infamous charge, on the 
other hand it seemed utterly improbable that a son 
would coin this fearful tale without some foundation. 
Ferdinand, indeed, did not corroborate his brother's 
statement, but neither did he contradict it, and, when 
questioned, replied in so dubious a manner as to in- 
crease the king's perplexity. The unhappy queen 
was imprisoned in the castle of Najera, and the 
assembled nobles decreed that, according to the cus- 
toms of the age, her guilt or innocence should be 
decided by a duel, and that, should her champion be 
defeated, or should she find no knight willing to do 
battle in her behalf, she should perish at the stake. 
The chances in Dona Nufia's favor were small indeed, 
the high rank of her accuser deterring many, who, 
convinced of her innocence, would otherwise have 
been willing to peril their lives to vindicate her honor ; 
and the fatal day arrived, bringing no hope of rescue 
to the doomed victim. In this extremity, when a 
cruel and lingering death seemed inevitable, an unex- 
pected champion entered the lists and accepted the 
slanderer's defiance. The bold knight who, compas- 
sionating tho wretched mother, convinced of the false- 
ness of the accusation, or actuated by some feeling of 
private animosity against the accuser, espoused the 


cause of Nuna, was Don Ramiro, a natural son of the 
king by a Navarrese lady of rank. Whatever might 
have been the issue of the combat, it could not but 
prove a sad one to the monarch, but it was happily 
prevented by the interference of a monk, a man of 
great eloquence, and held in high repute for his sanc- 
tity. Horror-struck at the sight of two brothers 
arrayed in arms against each other, the holy man 
descended into the lists, and so wrought on the minds 
of both (3-arcia and Ferdinand, that, casting themselves 
at the king's feet, they proclaimed the queen's inno- 
cence, and confessed their own guilt. After severely 
reproaching them, Don Sancho left the punishment 
of the culprits to the queen, giving her full authority 
to do by them according to her pleasure. Overcome 
by the entreaties of the nobles, who interceded for 
their pardon, Nuna forgave her unnatural sons, but 
exacted from the king that he should name her gallant 
champion heir to the condado of Aragon, his noble 
conduct amply atoning for the stain on his birth. 
Castile was bestowed on the second son of Ferdinand, 
Grarcia being thus deprived of the inheritance to which 
he was entitled from his mother, and reduced to the 
little kingdom of Navarre. This incident savors 
so strongly of romance, that we should be inclined to 
read it as one of the fictions handed down to us in the 
ancient cancioneros, but that it is related by sundry 
grave and ancient authors, who thus account for the 
division of the kingdoms ; but others assert, that the 
king so ordered it in his will, and that Ramiro was a 


legitimate son by a former wife. Don Garcia, in 
expiation of his sin, undertook a pilgrimage to Rome. 
The death of Sancho occurred in 1034, on the 18th 
of October. The date of the queen's death is not 
recorded, though it is made manifest that she sur- 
vived her husband several years. To her youngest 
son, Gronzalo, was left the petty kingdom of Sobrarve 
and Rivagorza. 



DON RAMIRO was the first that bore the title of " king 
of Ajagon," that country having been governed for 250 
years previous to his accession by condes. In 1034, 
Sancho, king of Navarre, dying, his son Ramiro entered 
into possession of the kingdom, of which, during his 
father's life ; he had been proclaimed heir. The 
majority of the ancient Aragonian chronicles, to 
remove the stain of bastardy from the birth of this 
their first monarch, assert that Sancho IV. was twice 
married, and that Ramiro was the son of his first queen. 
Had this been the case, it would have seemed more 
natural that Ramiro should have inherited the crown 
of Navarre. Be this as it may, Ramiro proved him- 


self worthy of the throne, by his numerous good quali- 
ties. In 1036, he married Ermesinda, the daughter 
of Barnard Roger, conde of Bigorra, and of his wife, 
Garsenda. This princess gave birth to three sons, 
Sancho, Ramirez, and Garcia, who became bishop of 
laca ; and to two daughters, Sancha, who married the 
count of Toulouse ; and Teresa, who married Beltran, 
Count of Provence. Ermesinda died on the 1st of De- 
cember, 1059, and was buried in the monastery of St. 
John de la Pena. Some authors tell us that Ramiro 
was married twice, and that his first wife's name was 
Gisberga ; others, that both names are given to the 
same queen. Ramiro spent nearly all his life in wars, 
especially with his brother Garcia, the king of Navarre, 
and was killed in battle about the year 1067, leaving 
the throne to his son, Don Sancho Ramirez. 

*" 1063. 


FELICIA, the wife of Sancho Ramirez, the second 
king of Navarre, was the daughter, by his wife Cle- 
mencia, of Armengaul, count of Urgel. She gave 
birth to three sons, who all reigned in succession 


Pedro, Alfonso, and Ramiro. Don Sancho Ramirez 
was an excellent and brave prince, and engaged, 
during the greater part of his life, in wars with the 
Moors, in which he was very successful. Don Sancho 
Garcia, the king of Navarre, having in 1076 been 
murdered by his own brother, Ramon, the Navarrese 
offered the crown to the cousin of the murdered sove- 
reign, and Sancho Ramirez having accepted it, Aragon 
and Navarre once more fell under the sway of one 
king, with the exception, however, of Bribrisca and 
Rioja, which submitted to Alfonso, the king of Castile. 
The latter sovereign laid claim to a better right to the 
kingdom of Navarre than Sancho Ramirez, as the 
king of Aragon was descended from an illegitimate son 
of Sancho the Great, while the Castilian was the 
legitimate son's offspring. Sancho Ramirez was killed 
at the siege of Huesca, in 1094, having reigned in 
Aragon twenty-seven years, and in Navarre eighteen, 
and was buried in the church of San Juan de la Pena, 
by the side of his queen, who died in April, 1086. 






DoSfA BERTA, or, as some call her, Ines, an Italian 
lady, was the wife of Pedro I., the third sovereign of 
Aragon and seventeenth of Navarre. The queen gave 
birth to a son, called after his father, and a daughter, 
Isabel, who died unmarried on the same day as her 
brother, the 18th of August, in the year 1104. The 
king, oppressed with grief at the loss of his children, 
survived them but one month, leaving the throne to 
his brother, Alfonso the Warrior. 





FOR the annals of this queen, vide Queens of Castile. 


vtff^fo. '->'' 

11 34. 


DON ALFONSO the Warrior, having no children, and 
his only surviving brother, Ramiro, being a monk, in 
his will bequeathed his dominions to the Knights 
Templars, Hospitalers, and of the Holy Sepulchre, but 
no attention was paid to this extraordinary donation. 
The nobles of Aragon, assembling at Monzon, chose 
for their sovereign Ramiro, though he had been forty 
years leading a life of religious seclusion, first as abbot 
of Sahagun, then successively bishop of Burgos and 
Pamplona, and lastly of Roda and Barbastro. The 
Navarrese, on their side, never having been contented 
to submit to the sway of the monarchs of Aragon, 
seized this opportunity to separate, and proclaimed 
as their king Don Grarcia, a lineal descendant of the 
royal family of Navarre, being the grandson of the 
murdered king, Don Sancho. 

Pope Innocent II. having granted a dispensation to 
the monk -king of Aragon, he married, in 1136, Agnes, 
sister or daughter of "William, Count of Poitiers and 
Gruienne. This lady gave birth to a daughter, Petro- 
nilla, who was betrothed, in her infancy, to Raymond, 
count of Barcelona, to whom Ramiro, whose age and 
infirmities incapacitated him for the cares of govern- 
ment, delegated all his authority. From the birth of 
Petronilla, no farther mention is made of the queen, 


who, it would appear, lived but a short time after her 
marriage, as Ramiro is represented as a widower 
when he retired to a monastic life, in 1137, having 
reigned three years. It is probable Agnes did not 
survive the birth of her daughter. 





1 1 37. 

Do5fA PETRONII.LA, daughter of Ramiro the Monk, 
was, as already stated, betrothed in her infancy to 
Raymond, count of Barcelona. The conditions of this 
marriage, that united Catalonia to Aragon, in 1137, 
were, that the count himself should never bear the 
title of " king," but merely that of " prince" of Aragon, 
and that the offspring of the queen should succeed to 
the throne with that title ; that the arms of Catalonia 
should be united with those of Aragon, but that the 
standard-bearer should always be an Ara^onian ; that 
the Aragonians should invoke the name of St. Greorge, 
as that of their patron. Petronilla gave birth, in 1150, 


to her eldest son, Raymond, who succeeded to the 
throne under the name of Alfonso, and subsequently 
to Pedro, who inherited Sardinia, Carcassone and 
Narbonne. She had also two daughters, Aldonza or 
Dulcis, who, in 1181, married Sancho, prince of Portu- 
gal, and another, whose name is not recorded, though 
she is said to have married Armengaul, count of 
Urgel. The queen being extremely ill, previous to 
the birth of her eldest child, made a will, providing 
that should the infant prove a son, he should succeed 
to the crown, but, if a daughter, the throne should 
be inherited by her husband. This will, excluding 
a female from inheriting the crown, was ever after 
quoted as a precedent, against the sovereigns of Ara- 
gon, when they attempted to bequeath the crown to a 
daughter. Though Raymond, during the life of his 
father-in-law, was in fact, if not nominally, the king 
of Aragon, he strictly conformed to the conditions, and 
never took the title, though his wife did that of queen, 
from the time of her father's death, in 1154. Ray- 
mond proved himself fully capable of discharging the 
duties of his important trust, governing the kingdom 
with prudence and moderation, and defending it with 
ability and valor. With ready tact, he managed to 
keep always at peace with his powerful brother-in-law, 
the King of Castile, Alfonso VIII., and in his wars 
with the Moors was extremely successful. Raymond 
dying in August of 1162, Petronilla reigned one year, 
during the minority of her son, but on his attaining 
his thirteenth year, in 1163, by the advice of the nobles 


resigned the crown to him. The queen died on the 
3d of October, 1173, in Barcelona. 






SANCHA, daughter of Alfonso VIII., king of 
Castile, and of his second wife, Rica, was in 1174 mar- 
ried to Alfonso II., king of Aragon. This marriage 
had been projected between Raymond, prince of Ara- 
gon, and the emperor of Castile ; but some disagree- 
ment subsequently occurring, it was broken off by the 
young king of Aragon after his accession, and ambas- 
sadors were sent to Emmanuel, emperor of Constan- 
tinople, with proposals for the hand of his daughter, 
Maria. The offer of the king of Aragon was accepted, 
but the fleet of the Pisanos preventing the princess 
from setting out for some months, Alfonso in the 
meanwhile altered his mind, and, on Maria's arrival at 
Montpelier, she was greeted with the news of the mar- 
riage of her intended husband, with his first betrothed 


bride, the infanta of Castile. "William, the Lord of 
Montpelier, in spite of the opposition of the Greek 
nobles who accompanied her, married the disappointed 
bride ; but one of the conditions of this marriage was, 
that the principality of Montpelier should be the 
inheritance of Maria's offspring, whether son or daugh- 
ter. The issue of this union was a daughter, called 
after her mother Maria, and this daughter subse- 
quently married Pedro II., son of her mother's former 

Sancha gave birth to three sons ; Pedro, Alfonso, 
who inherited the condado of Provence, and Ferdinand, 
who became a monk. She had also four daughters, 
three of whom were married during the reign of their 
brother Pedro ; Constance, first to Emenius, king of 
Hungary, and, after his death, to the Emperor Frede- 
rick, king of Sicily ; Leonor and Sancha, to two counts 
of Toulouse, father and son ; the fourth daughter, 
Dulce, took the veil in the monastery of Sixena. 
Alfonso II., dying in April, 1196, left Sancha regent 
of the kingdom, and guardian of the royal children, 
until the eldest should attain his majority. On the 
accession of Pedro, in 1197, an unhappy misunder- 
standing taking place between him and his mother, the 
latter betook herself to her own dominions, the towns 
assigned her as a jointure by her husband, and 
erected her standard in opposition to that of the king. 
Through the mediation of the king of Castile, her 
nephew, with whom Sancha and her son had an 
interview in Hariza, in September, 1200, the difficul- 


ties were brought to a happy termination, and it was 
agreed that the queen-dowager should give up the 
towns of Hariza, Embite, and Epila, which, from their 
situation on the frontiers of Castile, were of the 
utmost importance to the king of Aragon, and 
had been, in some measure, the occasion of the ill feel- 
ing between Pedro and his mother, as the latter could, 
through them, command free egress to Castile, and 
disturb, at her pleasure, the peace of the two king- 
doms. Sancha received, as a compensation, the town 
of Azron, the castle and town of Tortosa, retaining the 
other castles and towns in Catalonia assigned her by 
her husband. Though this temporary reconciliation 
lasted but a short time, it was renewed, through the 
interference of the nobles, in 1201. The next public 
act of Queen Sancha was in 1207, when she nego- 
tiated with the pope to procure the marriage of her 
daughter, Constance, widow of the king of Hungary, 
with Frederic, king of Sicily, son of the Emperor 
Henry. Constance, through the assistance of Leopold, 
duke of Austria, had, after the death of her husband, 
left Hungary, and was at that time residing with her 
mother in Aragon. Sancha despatched Colom, her own 
secretary, to treat with the pope, offering, in case he 
would facilitate the marriage, to send two hundred 
mounted gentlemen to the assistance of Sicily, and 
that she would bring her daughter, accompanied by 
four hundred more, on condition that the expenses 
incurred by the queen should be refunded to her in 
case the marriage did not take place. The pontiff 


having acceded to the proposal, the marriage was 
agreed on by the ambassadors of Rome and Sancha, 
who, accompanied by her son, the king of Aragon, 
received them in Saragossa in 1208. Constance was 
accompanied to Sicily by her brother, Alfonso, the 
count of Provence, and a brilliant retinue of Ara^o 

1 O 

nian and Catalonian nobles and gentlemen. They 
landed safely in Palermo in February of 1209, but the 
nuptial festivities were interrupted and saddened by the 
death of the count of Provence, and numbers of the 
Spanish cavaliers, to whom the malaria proved fatal. 

Sancha died in November of 1208, in the monastery 
of Sixena, to which she had retired. 



MARIA, daughter of the Grecian princess, Mary of 
Constantinople, and of William, Lord of Montpelier, 
married in 1204, two years after the death of her 
father, Pedro II., king of Aragon. Though this alli- 
ance united to the crown of Aragon the lordship of 
Montpelier, the disparity that existed between the age 
of the young king and that of his consort, and her 


want of beauty rendered it a most unhappy one 
Pedro, little valuing the mental qualities of Maria, 
who was one of the most amiable princesses of her 
time, sought in others those personal charms of which 
she was unfortunately wholly destitute, but, to give 
color to the neglect proceeding from his own incon- 
stant nature, alleged the queen's former marriage as 
a motive for desiring a divorce. Maria had married 
during her father's life, and in obedience to his com- 
mands, the Count of Comminges ; but this union was 
never publicly acknowledged, and was annulled after 
Maria had given birth to two daughters, in conse- 
quence of its being discovered that the count had 
already married two other ladies, both of whom were 
still living. Though Pedro repaired in person to the 
court of Rome, made his kingdom a feudatory to the 
church, and received his crown from the hands of the 
pope, who bestowed on him the surname of " the 
Catholic," the pontiff refused to grant a divorce on 
such insufficient grounds. In 1207, through the good 
offices of Don G-uillen de Alcala, a temporary reconcili- 
ation was effected between the king and queen, and in 
1208 she gave birth to her only son James, subse- 
quently surnamed the Conqueror. The means taken 
to give a name to the young heir of the crown are too 
characteristic of the superstitious manners of the age 
not to be recorded here. Maria, desirous of selecting 
for her babe a patron saint from among the holy apos- 
tles, yet unwilling that her preference of one should 
give offence to the others, ordered that twelve wax 

8AIVCHA. 7fl 

tapers bearing each the name of one of them should be 
lighted and placed around the cradle. That which bore 
the name of the warlike patron saint of Spain having 
far exceeded in brilliancy and duration the other tapers, 
the prince was christened Santiago, or, as the Ara- 
gonese call him, Jaime (James.) The good under- 
standing between Pedro and his queen was of short 
duration ; and the feeling of dislike for his queen be- 
came so deadly, that neither in private nor in public 
would the king acknowledge her son as his, but 
named his own brothers as his successors to the crown, 
and renewed his suit for a divorce. Stung by the in- 
justice done to herself and her innocent offspring, 
Maria, who had hitherto lived in patient resignation 
in her own domains of Montpelier, determined to plead 
her cause in person at the court of Rome, and accord- 
ingly repaired thither, in 1213. Though Innocent III., 
who then occupied the papal throne, was the great 
friend of the king of Aragon, the queen's rights were 
too well established by the fact of the existence of her 
first husband's wives (Dona Gruillerma de La Barca, 
and Beatrix, daughter of the Count of Bigorra) to be 
set aside, and judgment was pronounced against Don 
Pedro, who was enjoined to live in peace with his 
legitimate consort, and treat her with affection. Hav- 
ing obtained the justice due to her in this cause, Maria 
submitted to the pontiff's decision the dispute between 
herself and her half brothers, Gruillen and Bernardo de 
Montpelier, who, though bastards, being the sons of 
Ines de Entenza, whom the lord of Montpelier had 


married during the life of his wife, the mother of 
Maria, laid claim to the domains of Montpelier. Here 
also the queen was successful, the decision being 
entirely in her favor. While preparing to return to 
Aragon, Maria received the news of her husband's 
death, that prince having been slain in battle on the 
13th of September, of that year (1213). The widowed 
queen survived but a few months, and was buried in 
Rome in the church of St. Peter. By the Count ot 
Comminges Maria had the two daughters already men- 
tioned, Matilda and Petrona. and by Don Pedro, James, 
who succeeded his father. 

During the reign of Pedro II. the Spaniards won 
over the Moors the famous battle of Las Navas de 
Tolosa, at which were present, with their forces, the 
kings of Aragon, Castile, and Navarre, and in which 
the Christians performed prodigies of valor, being infi- 
nitely exceeded in numbers by the Infidels, who 
amounted, if we may credit the chronicles, to up- 
wards of five hundred thousand men, under the em- 
peror of Morocco, Mahomet Enacer. Though sur- 
named " the Catholic" by the pope, on account of the 
zeal he had displayed for the interests of the church, 
Pedro took up arms in favor of the counts of Toulouse, 
who favored the heresy of the Albigenses, against the 
Count Simon de Montfort, who headed the crusade 
ordered against that sect. Count de Montfort had 
been high in favor with Pedro, who admired the 
military talents of this great chieftain, and had en- 
trusted his son James to his care, but de Montfort 


having accepted the command of the army that invad- 
ed the territories of the lords of Toulouse, both of 
whom, father and son, it will be remembered, had 
married sisters of Don Pedro, that prince resented it, 
and undertook to defend them. The king of Aragon 
had entreated of the pope, that, however the heretical 
counts might be punished, their dominions might be 
respected, as these were the legitimate inheritance of 
his nephews ; but the pope refused this request, and de 
Montfort, who coveted these possessions, invaded and 
ravaged them mercilessly. The king, enraged at this 
conduct of his former friend, assembled an army, 
and besieged him in Maurel ; but the besieged sallying 
forth, Pedro was defeated and slain. 

By his first wife, a niece of the Count of Forcalquer, 
Don Pedro had one son, Ramon, who died in his in- 
fancy. Of this lady we know neither the name nor 
the dates of her marriage and death, though it was 
within a short time after her decease, that the king 
married his second wife, Maria de Montpelier. 







THE reign of James II. is one of the most interesting 
of the thirteenth century. An orphan ere he had 
attained his fifth year, heir to a kingdom divided by 
the factions of his uncles Sancho and Fernando, the 
childhood of this prince was surrounded by difficulties 
and perils, that doubtless greatly contributed to the 
early development of the martial spirit he displayed 
throughout the course of his long and glorious career. 
Traits are related of his boyish valor that would be 
deemed incredible were they not authenticated by the 
testimony of grave and trustworthy writers. At the 
death of his father, in 1213, James was a prisoner in 
the hands of the Count of Montfort, but at the earnest 
and reiterated entreaties of the Aragonese and Cata- 
lans, Pope Innocent III. ordered the count to give him 
up to the Cardinal Pedro of Benavente ; and, the prince 
having been received by a number of nobles and gen- 
tlemen in Narbonne, was conducted to Monzon, there 


proclaimed king, and thence to Lerida, where he was 
sworn. This was the first time the oath of allegiance 
been taken by the people of Aragon, or the Catalans ; 
but it was ever after continued on the accession of a 
new sovereign, the latter previously swearing to guard 
and observe the fueros and privileges of his subjects. 
It was enacted in the Cortes of Monzon that Sancho, 
the young king's uncle, should govern the kingdom 
until the sovereign attained his majority, and the guar- 
dianship of the latter was entrusted to Fray Guillen de 
Monredon, Grand Master of the Templars. To pre- 
vent either of his uncles from obtaining possession of 
the king, he was placed in the strong town of Mon- 
zon. No choice could have been more injudicious, than 
that of Sancho as regent, and his conduct soon became 
so tyrannical, and his ambitious motives so evident, 
that the adherents of the young sovereign deemed 
it necessary that he should abandon his strong re- 
treat, and by his presence endeavor to restore order, 
and remedy, in some degree, the evils. The misera- 
ble state of public affairs at this crisis was such as to 
require that some prompt and decisive measures should 
be taken. The royal exchequer was so poor, it scarcely 
provided the necessaries of life to the king, and not 
only the revenues but also the domains of the crown, 
were in the hands of Moors and Jewish usurers, to 
whom they had been mortgaged during the reign of 
Pedro II. 

The infante, Don Sancho, confiding in his power, 
insolently boasted that he would engage to cover with 


fine scarlet cloth every step James would make in 
Aragon after leaving Monzon. So sure was he of 
keeping him there as long as it suited his convenience. 
Having been warned of his uncle's intention of seizing 
him on the road, the prince, then in his eleventh year, 
donned a light coat of mail, and at the head of his few, 
but loyal followers, fearlessly proposed to encounter 
the superior forces of the rebellious infante ; but the 
latter, either deceived in some point as to time or 
place, or advised of the intended resistance, and 
unwilling to risk taking the life of his nephew, suf- 
fered them to proceed unmolested. The indomitable 
valor of James was yet tempered with a prudence and 
command of temper, when circumstances rendered 
these qualities necessary, that gradually won him the 
respect and love of his subjects, and secured to him 
the submission and adhesion of the rebel lords who, 
despising his youth, had attempted to assert their own 
independence at the expense of the commonwealth. 
In 1221, by the advice of the nobles of his council, 
who thought that an alliance with Castile would greatly 
strengthen the king's position, James married Eleanor, 
daughter of Alfonso VI1L, by his queen, Eleanor of 
England, and aunt to the reigning sovereign of Castile, 
Ferdinand III. The disparity of their ages, the king 
being but in his thirteenth year, while the princess 
was twice that age, was, probably, the principal cause 
of the subsequent disunion between the royal consorts. 
The nuptials were celebrated with the utmost splendor 
at Agreda, a town on the borders of Aragon and Castile, 


and continued at Tarragona, where the king was 
invested with the insignia of knighthood. The king 
and queen, being on their progress through the principal 
towns of Aragon and Catalonia, a quarrel arose 
between two powerful nobles, Don Nuno Sanchez, son 
of the infante Don Sancho, and Don Guillen de Mon- 
cado, Viscount of Bearne, who had been intimate 
friends, but who now, verifying the truth of the 
saying, that "great events from trivial causes spring," 
had become inveterate foes. The cause of this deadly 
feud was no other than the refusal of Don Guillen to 
part with a goshawk that Don Nuno Sanchez wished 
to possess. The king, then in his fourteenth year, 
being at Monzon, was applied to for his protection by 
Don Nuno, as his antagonist was supported by Her- 
nando, the warlike Abbot of Montarazon, and uncle 
to the king. Having assembled a number of followers, 
they waited the approach of Don Guillen to seize him. 
The youthful monarch assured Don Nuno that justice 
should be done to both in the Cortes, but that, in the 
meanwhile, he would take such measures as would 
ensure him against insult or outrage. Assembling 
the chief inhabitants of the town, James bade them 
arm and station themselves at the gates, and admit 
each lord with but two followers, thus defeating the 
scheme of Don Guillen. The power and insolence of 
the nobles arrived to such a pitch during the year 
1225 as would infallibly have ruined a prince less 
energetic and persevering than James ; but the perils 
of his critical situation served to call forth the resources 


of his powerful intellect and nerve him to resistance. 
The power of the monarch, was, however, as nothing 
to that of his great barons, each of whom was a petty 
sovereign ; and their want of union alone prevented 
them from entirely subverting the liberties of their 
oppressed vassals, and enslaving the king, whom they 
actually held a captive in Saragossa three weeks. The 
king, whose spirit could ill brook such insolence, had 
determined to make his escape through a casement, 
by means of a ladder ; but Leonor, who was with him, 
refusing to compromise her dignity by this adventurous 
mode of egress, James, who was too good a knight to 
leave the lady behind, gave up the plan that promised 
him unconditional release, and accepted the terms 
proposed by his rebellious vassals. As he gradually 
strengthened himself on the throne, his valor and 
perseverance conquered every obstacle, and he became 
one of the most powerful princes of the time. Anec- 
dotes are told of his personal encounters with warriors 
who had been trained to martial exercises, and were 
in the full vigor and strength of their age, when James 
was scarcely emerged from boyhood, yet in which his 
agility and undaunted spirit left him the victor. 
Having arrived before the castle of Callas, with but 
four attendants, he was joined there by several nobles, 
at the head of some eighty horsemen, to whom he 
gave orders to arm and prepare to meet the infante 
Don Sancho, who was on his way to defend that place. 
Don Pedro de Pomar, one of the oldest gentlemen of 
the king's household, represented to him the danger 


of awaiting with so few men in an open plain the 
arrival of the infante, and entreated he would seek a 
more advantageous and sheltered position on a neigh- 
boring height, where he might safely await the arrival 
of the troops that were to join him. " Nay, Don 
Pedro," replied the king, " pardon me that on this 
occasion I follow not your advice. It would ill beseem 
the king of Aragon to retreat before his born vassals, 
who, without right or reason, come against their law- 
ful lord. Believe me, I will not rise from before this 
rebellious town, and will subdue it or die on the 
field," Don Sancho not arriving on the following day, 
the town surrendered. 

In the year 1229, the Pope sent a legate to Ara- 
gon to examine the reasons alleged by the king 
against the validity of his marriage and, though 
it is probable want of affection was the most 
potent argument, the plea of consanguinity was 
admitted and the divorce granted, though the only 
son of the disunited pair was declared legitimate,* 
and acknowledged by James as his successor to the 
throne of Aragon, though Catalonia the king reserved 
as an inheritance for the issue of any marriage he 
might subsequently contract. James, in his address 
to the council assembled to discuss the case, urged no 

* The children of marriages that were annulled by the Pope 
were frequently declared legitimate, as the union was supposed to 
be contracted bona fide by the parties, and, therefore, it would 
have been unjust to make the offspring suffer, when the fault was 



personal motives against his queen, and treated her 
with studied courtesy ; as Leonor, on her side, made 
no opposition to the divorce, it is probable it had been 
previously agreed on between them. Leonor retained 
her jointure lands, to which the king added large gifts 
of jewels and plate, and she returned to Castile with 
the young heir-apparent, who was suffered to remain 
with his mother until such time as it should be judged 
advisable that he should exchange the companionship 
and soft caresses of his mother for the martial school of 
his warlike father. Though it was, doubtless, a great 
consolation to the ex-queen to retain thus her only 
child with her, it would have been far more to the boy's 
advantage had she left him with the father, whose 
affection, thus deprived of its first object, was soon 
weanod entirely from the young Alfonso, and rested 
wholly on the children that were subsequently born of 
his other queens. In 1234, Leonor and her nephew, 
the king of Castile, had an interview with James, 
in the town of Hariza, for the settlement of certain 
differences concerning her jointure. King Ferdinand 
here attempted to bring about a re-union between the 
divided pair, but his endeavors were fruitless. The 
king of Aragon, however, not only confirmed her 
jointure to Leonor, (in case she continued unmarried,) 
but added to it the town of Hariza, The divorced 
queen employed the remainder of her life in pious and 
beneficent deeds. She was the founder of the religious 
order of the Promostratenses, and had the monastery 


near Almazan erected at her own expense. Leonor 
died in 1253. 

Violante, daughter of Andres, king of Hungary, 
and of his queen Violante, was the next wife of James, 
to whom she was married in 1236. This princess, 
whose many virtues are highly extolled by the Ara- 
gonese writers, acquired great influence over her hus- 
band, who never failed to consult her in all his under- 
takings. Having, in 1237, resolved on the conquest 
of the kingdom of Valencia, in spite of the advice to 
the contrary of his nobles, who considered the enter- 
prise hazardous in the extreme if not utterly imprac- 
ticable, James bound himself by a vow on the altar of 
the church of St. Mary del Puch, in the presence of 
the nobility and soldiery, to remain on the frontiers 
unjil he should have made himself master of that town 
and kingdom. That the queen might feel no anxiety, 
from his protracted absence, James sent for her and 
her babe, the infanta Violante, and communicated to 
her his determination. The queen and the infante, 
Don Hernando, who had accompanied her, vainly 
endeavored to dissuade him from this, in their judgment, 
desperate project ; but with James, whose resolution 
was too strong to be shaken, and whose firmness bor 
dered on obstinacy, their arguments were useless. 
After this interview, which took place at Burriana, at 
which place the queen was to await the issue of the 
siege, the king returned to El Puch de Santa Maria, 
and commenced active operations. After a protracted 
siege, James attained his object, and on the eve of St 


Martin's day, in September, 1238, entered the famous 
city of Valencia, thus becoming lord of territory that 
in fertility and beauty was unsurpassed in the 
world. Though the constant success that crowned 
the arms of this favorite of fortune caused him to be 
respected in his own dominions, and feared abroad, 
this, the greatest warrior of his time, could neither 
crush nor expel the demon of discord that had fixed 
its abode in his own palace, and in the hearts of those 
nearest and dearest to him. Alfonso, the estranged 
son of Leonor, for whom his father seemed from his 
infancy to have conceived a dislike which he could ill 
dissemble, now irritated by the king's reserving Cata- 
lonia for the infante Don Pedro, his son by Violante, 
retired to the town of Catalayud, where he was joined 
by many of the nobles who espoused his cause, the 
natives of Aragon being extremely displeased with the 
limits fixed to that country in 1243, by which a large 
portion of its territory was added to Catalonia. Fear- 
ful lest his son would find too ready and willing an 
ally in his cousin Ferdinand of Castile, who seemed 
greatly inclined to show favor to his ill-fated relative, 
James, with his usual forethought, prepared to defend 
his frontiers from Castile, and, with consummate art. 
contrived to allay the threatened storm in that quarter 
by the marriage, in 1246, of his daughter Violante to 
Prince Alfonso, the heir of the Castilian crown. In 
1248, deeming he might now do so with safety, James 
made public the division of his dominions among the 
sons of Violantft. which he had determined should take 


place after his death. To Pedro, the eldest, he gave 
Catalonia to which were added the condado of Rivagor- 
za, belonging to Aragon, and also his conquest of Mal- 
lorca and the adjacent islands. To James, his second 
son, he assigned his new conquest, the kingdom of Va- 
lencia ; to Hernando, the third son, the condado of Rou- 
sillon, Confluent and Sardinia, the lordship of Montpe- 
lier, and several towns and castles. The fourth son, 
Sancho, being destined for the church, became Arch- 
bishop of Toledo, and to him he left 3,000 silver marks. 
In case these sons left no successors, the children to- 
which Violante, wife of Alfonso of Castile, gave birth 
were to succeed, with the condition that these 
dominions were never to be added to the crown of 
Castile, bat be governed by one of her sons. The 
injustice thus done to the son of Eleanor rankled deeply 
in the breast of the prince, and the king of Castile, in 
whose palace he had spent his youth, and by whom he 
was greatly loved, felt no little resentment at the 
wrongs done him. Prince Alfonso also gave great 
offence to his father-in-law, by claiming the town of 
Xativa as part of his wife's dower, which town James, 
at his queen's suggestion, denied him. The Castilian 
also interfered with James's projects of conquests over 
the Moors. These differences were for the time ad- 
justed by the queen and Don Lope de Haro, but the 
flame was but momentarily subdued, to break out 
anew with increased violence. Dona Violante died in 
1255. Besides the sons already mentioned, she had 
five daughters Violante, married to the prince of 


Castile ; Constance, who married Don Manuel, the 
brother to that prince ; Sancha, who assumed a dis- 
guise and went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, 
where she died in the Hospital of St. John in Jeru- 
salem ; Isabel, who married Philip the Bold, eldest son 
of king Louis of France ; and Maria, who died a nun, 
in 1267. 

James, much as he had loved and esteemed his 
second wife, seems by no means to have been incon- 
solable for her loss, as in the very year of the death 
of queen Violante we find him living with Dona Teresa 
Gril de Vidaura, of whose beauty and wit he is repre- 
sented as being deeply enamored. James did not, 
however, then declare his marriage, and this circum- 
stance has occasioned doubts to be entertained as to 
whether it ever really took place, though he acknow- 
ledged her children as his legitimate offspring in 1276. 
This delay in making his union public, and legalizing 
its issue, may have given some color to the following 
account, though it is as stoutly denied by some au- 
thors as it is asserted by others. During the interval 
that elapsed between the king's divorce from Eleanor, 
and his marriage with Violante, he is said to have 
been secretly married to Teresa, who brought him two 
sons. Possession having extinguished the ardor of the 
king, he sought and obtained the hand of the Hunga- 
rian princess, regardless of the sacred ties that bound 
him to an humbler consort. Resenting his faithless- 
ness, Teresa appealed to the pope, alleging her prior 
rights : and the pontiff having been privately informed 


by the bishop of Grerona, to whom the king had re- 
vealed it in confession, of the validity of the lady's 
pretensions, seemed greatly inclined to decide the 
point in her favor. James, having discovered the 
source from whence the pope had obtained his know- 
ledge, in an excess of rage ordered the tongue of the 
officious informant to be cut out, and banished him 
from his dominions. For this sacrilegious act the king- 
dom of Aragon was laid, in 1246, under an interdict, 
which, however, was raised on the king's performing a 
penance, and recalling and reinstating the bishop in 
his honors. This story is not mentioned by Zurita, 
and is most strenuously contradicted by Abarca, who 
alleges many good reasons against its credibility, and 
tending to prove that James married Teresa after the 
death of Violante. Some writers affirm that Teresa 
was the object of James's boyish love, and that he had 
already married her, when reasons of state policy com- 
manded his union with the Castiliari princess. This 
last is the opinion of G-aribay, who places Teresa first 
in the number of James's queens. Be this as it may, 
it is proved that James, towards the latter end of his 
life, lived with Teresa, and that he endeavored to sever 
whatever ties might have existed between them, by 
denying their marriage. The lady, however, was noi 
to be shaken oft' so easily, and she again laid her cause 
before the head of the church. Having sent to Rome 
messengers, whom she instructed resolutely to defend 
her outraged honor, and her injured sons, Teresa re- 
tired to the convent of la Zaidia. there to await the 


issue of her appeal. Of this difference between James 
and Teresa there is no doubt, however apocryphal the 
former may be. The king dying shortly after, having 
previously legitimized her children, Teresa renounced 
the title of queen and took the veil. 

We shall now give a brief sketch of some of the most 
important events of James's reign, so far as they are 
connected with his children. In the year 1266, Prince 
Alfonso greatly strengthened his party by his marriage 
with Dona Constanza de Moncada, daughter of Don 
Graston, Viscount of Bearne, but the nuptial festivities 
almost immediately gave place to mourning, the ill- 
fated prince dying the same year, at the age of thirty- 
two, regretted for his many amiable and good qualities, 
and pitied for his unhappy life and untimely end. His 
death did not extinguish the torch of civil war. The tur- 
bulent Catalans, who seem to have possessed, from time 
immemorial, the same restless, unquiet spirit of which 
they have given so many proofs at a latter period, and 
even at the present day, seemed resolved to give the 
king no respite from their discontented clamors. The 
death of the crown prince now gave rise to contentions 
between his half-brothor Pedro and James, and the 
nobles, as usual, took sides and espoused their quarrels. 
The king, though vexed at these domestic broils, being 
far more anxious to further the interests of prince 
Pedro than he had been those of his neglected eldest 
Fon, took measures to obtain for him the hand of 
Constance, daughter of Manfred, the usurper of the 
throne of Sicily, and of Beatrix of Savoy, his first 


wife. Though the pope expressed decided disappro- 
bation, this marriage was concluded in 1262, and, in 
the same year, the infante Isabel was married to the 
eldest son of the king of France. In 1271, a new 
source of uneasiness was added to the burthen of cares 
that oppressed this powerful sovereign, who had 
scarcely quelled the incipient symptoms of rebellion 
that appeared in one quarter, before they broke out 
in another. An unnatural hatred having sprung up 
between Prince Pedro and Fernan Gronzalez, a na- 
tural son of the king, the latter, urged beyond the 
limits of endurance by his fierce brother, finally 
raised the standard of revolt. James, whom no per- 
suasions on the part of his nobles could induce to 
pardon his son, even when repentant of his rashness, 
continually excited Prince Pedro to the severest meas- 
ures against him, and Fernan Gonzalez was at length 
taken and put to death by his relentless half-brother, 
in ] 275. This atrocious fratricide, far from meeting 
with the king's disapprobation, seemed to give him 
pleasure, and, strange as it may appear, he openly 
rejoiced at the death of his son. Though James, in 
this same year, allowed of the establishment, in Aragon, 
of the Inquisition, he had the good sense to refuse 
paying to the pope the tribute promised by his father, 
replying to the pontiff's demand, that his ancestors 
and himself had won their dominions from the Infidel 
with their good swords, and that it would ill become 
him to hold them of the pope. After a long reign, 
during which this warrior-king fought thirty pitched 


battles with the Moors, feeling the rapid approaches 
of death, James abdicated the crown in favor of Don 
Pedro, and died shortly after, on the 27th of July, 1276. 
This monarch,* on whose baby-brow an impover- 
ished and disputed crown had been placed, and who 
now left it to his successor secure, and enriched with 
the brilliant gems of Valencia and Mallorca, was lav- 
ishly endowed by nature with the physical as well as 
mental eifts that so well qualified him for the part he 
was to enact. One of the tallest men in his kingdom, 
with muscular, agile, and well-proportioned limbs, 
handsome and striking features, and an erect, graceful 
and dignified carriage, that took from his uncommon 
stature all appearance of awkwardness, James might 
be pronounced the perfection of manly beauty, while 
nerves of iron, and a constitution that had never, 
from childhood to the period of his death, been shaken 

* The new object that had taken possession of the king's heart 
was doubtless the cause of his anxiety to get rid of Dona Teresa. 
In an interview that took place, in 1265, between the sovereigns 
of Castile and Aragon, James became enamored of Dona Beren- 
garia Alfonso, a natural daughter of the infante Alfonso, (the 
king's brother,) and, consequently, niece of the king of Castile. 
This lady, who was in attendance on the queen of Castile, though 
the lover was fifty-eight, an age when the gift of pleasing is 
generally wanting, consented, forgetful of every other consideration, 
to accompany him back to his own dominions, and live as his 
mistress until his death. Some writers assert that Dona Berengaria 
was the fourth wife of James, and, if we take into consideration 
the high birth of the lady, and the facility with which the king 
seemed to tie and unloose the gordian-knot of matrimony, this 
assertion may not appear unfounded. 



by any of the diseases incidental to humanity, well 
fitted this royal soldier for the continual and excessive 
fatigues and hardships he seemed to seek rather than 
avoid during the whole course of his existence. Inured 
to every vicissitude of weather, seldom laying aside 
the armor which he wore alike during the suffocating 
heat of the summer and the excessive cold of winter, 
sleeping as soundly on the bare and frozen ground as 
on the sumptuous couch of his palace apartments, 
foremost in the van, wherever danger was rife, and 
sharing with his men not only the perils, but the pri- 
vations of an active military life, James seemed to 
bear a charmed life. The annals of his own reign, 
written by himself, witness that like the illustrious Ro- 
man, this second Caesar was gifted with the ability to 
wield the pen as well as the sword, and the improve- 
ments and additions he introduced in the Aragonese 
code show him to have possessed the talents of an able 
legislator ; while his courteous and elegant manners 
fully entitled him to the reputation he had obtained 
of being the most gallant and accomplished prince in 
Europe. Though imbued with a spirit of conquest 
that seldom allowed his sword to rest in its sheath, 
James ever manifested the greatest aversion to shed- 
ding Christian blood, though constantly at war with 
the Infidels, from whom he wrested the kingdoms of 
Valencia and Mallorca, and recovered that of Murcia. 
He would not be persuaded to avail himself of the 
opportunity that offered of possessing himself of Leon, 
relinquished his rights to Navarre and the Condado of 


Toulouse, and gave up to Castile his conquest of Mur- 
oia. It is said that he never signed a sentence of death 
without openly lamenting the necessity. The contem- 
porary of two great sovereigns, St. Louis of France and 
St. Ferdinand of Castile, James was superior to them 
in every kingly virtue, and his reign, the longest since 
the days of Solomon, is one of the mosi glorious in the 
annals of Spain. It may be objected that the injustice 
shown to his eldest son, and the implacable resentment 
with which his natural son was hunted to death, are 
traits of character utterly incompatible with those 
humane and kind feelings we have described him as 
possessing. Bat the gentlest natures may be wrought 
up to a state of excitement that leads them to commit 
actions the most foreign to their native disposition ; 
and at this distance of time, it is impossible to judge of 
the conduct of James in cases where he may have 
been provoked by circumstances of which we have no 

" Children are disobedient, and they sting 
Their fathers 1 hearts to madness and despair, 
Requiting years of care with contumely.'' 


" His outraged love perhaps awaken'd hate, 
And thus he was exasperated to ill." 




CONSTANCE was the daughter by his first wife, 
Beatrix, of Manfred, the usurper of the throne of 
Sicily, in 1262. She was married to Pedro, the eldest 
son, by his wife Violante, of James the Conqueror, 
and on the death of that sovereign, in 1276, was 
crowned queen of Aragon. Don Pedro was the first 
king that made use of the privilege conceded to his 
grandfather by the pope, of being crowned by the 
Archbishop of Tarragona in the name of the pontiff. 
Don Pedro, however, introduced a modification in the 
form, that took away all acknowledgment of holding 
the crown of the church, by protesting, previous to his 
coronation, " that he did not receive the crown from 
the archbishop in the name of the church of Rome, 
either for or against her." 

Manfred, who had usurped the crown of Sicily, from 
his nephew Conradino, Duke of Soissons, was in turn 
defeated and slain by the forces of Charles of Anjou, 
on whom the pope had, ex sua auctoritate, bestowed 
the kingdom, and that prince having caused Conradin, 
the rightful successor to be beheaded on a scaffold, 
together with his young cousin, Frederic, Duke of 
Austria, Constance being the next in kin to the mur- 
dered prince became entitled to the disputed crown. 
The despotic government of Charles having given 


great offense to the Sicilians, already exasperated by 
the cold-blooded death inflicted on their princes, they 
deputed the famous Procida to entreat of the king 
of Aragon, that he would rescue them from the 
yoke of the French, and take possession of the crown, 
to which he was entitled in right of his wife. This 
invitation, given soon after the massacre of the French 
by the Sicilians in the Vespers of Palermo, was too 
much in accordance with the ambitious views of Pe- 
dro, who had inherited much of his father's spirit of 
enterprise and conquest, to be disregarded ; but with 
the political dissimulation that was his distinguishing 
characteristic, he carefully concealed his intentions 
from his most intimate friends, leaving them in doubt 
whether his warlike preparations were intended for 
the conquest of Constantino in Africa, or that of Si- 
cily, and replying to the direct question addressed to 
him by the Count of Pallas, in the name of the nobles : 
" If my left hand were to find out the purposes of my 
right, I would cut it off." Having, in spite of the 
opposition of Pope Martin, who vainly fulminated the 
censures of the church against him, accomplished his 
object, the king sent for Constance, who, with her eld- 
est son, Alfonso, had been left regent in Aragon during 
his absence. The queen, accompanied by her child- 
ren, James, Fadrique and Violante, made her entrance 
into the city of Palermo on the 22d of April, 1283, 
and was enthusiastically greeted as their queen by the 
Sicilians. The infante Don Jaime having been sworn 
heir to his mother's rights, Don Pedro left Palermo to 


answer the cartel sent him by Charles of Anjou. This 
curious incident, so consonant with the chivalrous 
spirit of times when almost every difference was left 
to the arbitrament of the sword, throws too much light 
on the character of Pedro to be omitted. The French 
prince, enraged by the continued success that had 
hitherto attended the arms of the Aragonian monarch, 
and unable in the field to check his advances, deter- 
mined to attempt in person the retrieving of his for- 
tunes, and to this end sent him a personal challenge. 
The purport of the message, which was delivered by 
two friars (!) to Don Pedro in the presence of his no- 
bles, was to the following effect, and in nearly these 
terms: ; ' You, Don Pedro, king of Aragon, having in the 
guise and semblance of a robber bandit, rather than 
as an honorable knight, entered Sicily, and, without 
any previous declaration of war, attacked and worsted 
King Charles in several battles, though that prince 
had never been your enemy, and holds his kingdom 
from the church, our rightful lord and king has de- 
termined to prove by personal combat that you have 
usurped and taken from him by unfair and iniquitous 
means his dominions, acting as chief and captain of his 
rebellious subjects, and as such he sends you his defi- 
ance." The bearers of this cartel not having been pro- 
vided with the necessary credentials, were dismissed 
without an answer ; but, lest this might be attributed to 
lack of courage, Don Pedro sent the Viscount of Castel- 
non and Don Pedro de Q,ueralt to Rijoles, to inquire of 
Charles whether the message had been sent by him, 


and in that case to give an answer in the king's name. 
Charles, acknowledging the challenge, repeated it in 
the same terms ; but when he uttered the words, " Don 
Pedro having unfairly entered Sicily," was interrupted 
by the viscount. " Whosoever saith this lies," he ex- 
claimed, " and my lord the king will make good his claim 
with his royal person against yours, giving you whatso- 
ever advantages of time, place and circumstances you 
may desire, or that your age may render necessary ; or if 
you decline a single combat, let it be a contest main- 
tained by ten against ten, fifty against fifty, or one hun- 
dred against one hundred." Pledges were then ex- 
changed, and judges chosen to settle the time and place 
for this royal encounter, the settlement of the dispute 
being left to the two kings with one hundred knights 
on each side. 

The terms having been settled, it was agreed 
that the combat should take place on the plain 
before Bourdeaux, in the dominions of the king of 
England, that sovereign being also chosen master of 
the camp. The contending kings, and forty knights 
on each side, were sworn to keep the conditions stipu- 
lated, one of these being that a truce should be ob- 
served during a certain number of days, and that 
whosoever should fail to present himself on the day 
appointed (1st of June,) should be ever after held a 
vanquished, perjured, and recreant knight, unworthy 
of the title of king, and be despoiled of the insignia of 
royalty. The pope, however, unwilling that Charles 
should stake his rights on the chances of a combat. 


commanded him to refrain and absolved him from his 
oath. Pedro, though advised that his antagonist, 
availing himself of the pretext of the pontiff's opposi- 
tion, would not meet him, was deterred by no conside- 
ration from fulfilling his word, and regardless of the 
perils he was exposed to in a journey through a coun- 
try swarming with the adherents of Charles, gave 
orders to the knights chosen to maintain his cause, 
that they should, in detached parties, meet him at 
Boulogne. The king performed this dangerous journey, 
accompanied by three knights, who, as well as him- 
self, were disguised as servants to their guide, a dealer 
in horses, called Domingo de la Figuera. Tha little 
party arrived safely on the appointed day on the plain 
of Bourdeaux, and one of the knights, Don Grilabert de 
Cruillas, was sent to inform Juan de Grilla, seneschal 
of the king of England, that a gentleman from the 
king of Aragon desired to speak with him outside the 
gates. On the appearance of the seneschal, accompa- 
nied by several gentleman, Pedro led him aside, and, 
without revealing himself to him, inquired whether he 
was prepared, in the name of the English sovereign, to 
hold the camp, and ensure, according to agreement, 
against any treason, the king of Aragon and his 
knights, who were to do their duty that day, as good 
men and true. The seneschal replied that he had 
already advised the king of Aragon, through his am- 
bassador, that King Charles was in the town with a 
multitude of men-at-arms, and that he neither could 
nor would ensure the safety <f the king of. Aragon, and 


that, should he persist in coming, he would run an im- 
minent hazard of remaining prisoner. Don Pedro then 
expressed a wish to enter the lists, and this being grant- 
ed, he rode several times round them, then once more 
passing the gates, he revealed himself to the seneschal, 
saying, " If you or your king are ready to hold the 
carnp, we and our knights are ready to do battle." 
In spite of the entreaties of the seneschal, that he would 
instantly secure his safety by a prompt departure from 
this dangerous vicinity, Pedro absolutely refused to do 
so until a notary had been called to certify that he 
had been punctual to the rendezvous. Ere he depart- 
ed, the- king left his helmet, shield, lance and sword 
with the seneschal, to be hung up in the lists in token 
of his having been present there. Don Pedro was soon 
after forced to return to Aragon, and defend his own do- 
minions, which had been invaded by the king of France, 
with the design of creating a diversion in favor of his 
nephew, Charles of Anjou. Though the French were 
defeated and forced to retreat, having lost by the ra- 
vages of the plague their king and a great part of 
their army, Don Pedro was unable to profit much by 
their discomfiture, or to secure permanently the advan- 
tages he had gained, being carried off in his 46th year, 
after a short illness, on the 10th of November, 1285, 
while on his way to take possession of the dominions of 
his brother, the king of Mallorca, that prince having 
leagued with the enemies of Don Pedro. French his- 
torians assert that he died of a wound in the eye, re- 
ceived three months previous to his death, in the last 


engagement with the French, but the truth of the 
account is strongly denied by the Aragonese historians. 
During his short reign, Pedro was almost incessantly 
harrassed by civil disturbances. Shortly after his 
accession, an insurrection took place in Catalonia, 
which it occasioned him some trouble to quell. The 
restless Catalans complained of the king's delay in 
holding a Cortes in that province, and of his having 
assumed the crown without taking the usual oath, 
that he would keep inviolate their fueros. The mal- 
contents were headed by the Counts of Fox, Pallas 
and Urjel, the Viscount of Cardona, and other power- 
ful lords. Pedro, having vainly endeavored by expos- 
tulations and mild measures to pacify the disaffected, 
assembled an army of 100,000 foot and 3,000 horse, 
and besieged the rebels in Balaquer, the inhabitants 
of which taking part with the king, the chiefs were 
compelled to surrender and throw themselves on the 
sovereign's mercy. Several were imprisoned for some 
time, in the castle of Lerida, but on the payment of a 
certain fine, they were released. The numerical force 
of the king seems to be exaggerated, but we find the 
numbers thus stated in Abarca, and many authors 
agree in saying that the army was one of the most 
numerous of that age. In 1284, the storm broke out 
in another quarter. The inhabitants of Aragon, anti- 
cipating the invasion of the French, and conjecturing 
rightly that the conquest of Sicily would cost the 
former country dear, endeavored to check the king's 
martial ardor, and, organizing the ancient Aragonian 


association of the Union * sorely perplexed the sovereign, 
whose Catalan subjects, however, gave their hearty 
concurrence to his plans, and bore with patience the 
greatest proportion of the expenses of the war. The 
Catalans were also much less sensitive on the score 
of scruples of conscience than the Aragonians, who 
were keenly affected by the censures, anathemas, and 
interdicts of the pope, and vehemently urged the king's 
acceding to the wish of the pontiff, who demanded that 
Sicily should be restored to the French prince. Pedro 
united to a most romantic valor, the talents of a good 
general and able politician, and had he lived some 
years longer, would probably have secured the crown 
of Sicily to his descendants with less effusion of blood 
than it subsequently cost. Besides his legitimate 
children, he left seven by two mistresses, James, John 
and Beatrix, by Maria Nocolas, and Pedro, Ferdinand, 
Blanca and Teresa, by Dona Inez Zapata. He was 
succeeded on the throne of Aragon by his eldest son, 
Alfonso, surnamed " the Frank," and on that of Sicily 
by James, who, previous to his father's death, had 
been sworn heir to that kingdom. 

Constance, who had been left by her husband, 
during his expeditions against the French, regent of 

* The privilege claimed by the Aragonese nobles of resorting to 
arms on any infringement of their liberties by the monarch, was 
set forth at large in two celebrated ordinances, signed and formally 
approved by Alfonso the Third, in 1287, entitled the "Privileges 
of Union." Under this formidable charter of rebellion, as we may 
term it, combinations of the nobles and the citizens against the 
sovereign were frequent. 


Sicily, with her son James, was every way worthy of 
the important trust confided to her, and remained in 
this, her native island, till within a short time of her 
death. Her wise and truly maternal administration 
greatly endeared her to the Sicilians, and her humanity 
was evidenced in the prompt and efficient measures 
by which she saved the life of Charles the Lame, 
Prince of Salerno, from the vindictive rage of the 
inhabitants of Messina. This prince had been left by 
his father, Charles of Anjou, governor of Naples, when 
Roger de Lauria appeared before that city with the 
Sicilian fleet, on the 18th of June, 1284. The Nea- 
politan galleys that lay in the harbor were immedi- 
ately filled by the Italian troops, headed by the prince 
himself, and prepared to repulse the enemy. The 
admiral, however, as if appalled by these preparations, 
stood out to sea, apparently declining the combat. 
This ruse had the desired effect ; the thoughtless 
Charles, flushed with the hope of defeating the hitherto 
indomitable Roger, and by this bold stroke retrieving 
the fortunes of his house, despite his father's positive 
injunctions to remain on the defensive, abandoned the 
shelter of the harbor, and pursued the retreating fleet. 
So confident of success were the Neapolitans, that 
they held in their hands the cords with which they 
intended to bind or hang the foes they deemed already 
vanquished, and called attention to them, with shouts 
of derision. The wily de Lauria, having obtained his 
object, now turned on the incautious Neapolitans, and, 
after a hard-fought battle, in which the French dis- 


played the brilliant valor that has ever distinguished 
them, the superior skill and experience of the Spaniards 
obtained the mastery. After a most obstinate resist- 
ance, the flower of the gentlemen and knights, both 
French and Italian, with the prince himself, despite 
the prodigies of valor performed in his defence, were 
captured and taken to Messina. On his arrival at the 
palace, the queen, wishing to spare the hapless prince 
the humiliation of being seen by her sons, James and 
Frederick, caused him to be immediately conveyed to 
the fortress of Matagrifon, allowing him the society of 
his chief favorite, William of Estandardo. The inhab- 
itants of Messina, transported with an almost delirious 
joy by this important victory, and exasperated by the 
sight of Prince Charles, which revived the memory of 
the tyranny so lately exercised by his father, rose, en 
masse, and forcibly entering the towers where many 
of the principal French and Provencal barons were 
confined, ruthlessly massacred them. The attack was 
so sudden that over seventy gentlemen were butchered 
by the furious mob ere they could be dispersed and 

order restored, though the measures taken to that 
effect by the queen were as prompt and decisive as 
the urgency of the case required. The question, 
what should be done with the captive prince, was 
deliberated in the Cortes held at Messina, and it was 
decreed that he should suffer the same fate to which 
his father, under similar circumstances, had so piti- 
lessly doomed the gallant young Conradin. The sen- 
tence being intimated to the royal prisoner, he sent a 


message to the queen, returning thanks to her, inas- 
much as to the favors already conferred on him was 
added that of ordering that his death should take 
place on Friday, the day on which the prince of 
innocents had been slain. But the queen was too 
just to allow of so inhuman a retaliation ; and she ent 
an answer to Charles, the purport of which was, that, 
if the prospect of dying on Friday was to him a source 
of gratification, a still greater happiness would be de- 
rived by her from the exercise of that power which she 
possessed, of saving his life on that day on which Christ, 
the King of saints and sinners, had given his to redeem 
all others. With her usual tact, concealing from the irri- 
tated Sicilians her real intentions, she objected to the 
sentence being carried into effect, until the king was con- 
sulted, and wrote to him ostensibly for that purpose, but 
in reality urging, in the strongest terms, the propriety 
of sparing the life of the prince. In order to secure him 
against any farther attempt on the part of the excit- 
able populace, the queen had him removed to the 
Castle of Cephalu, that fortress being much stronger 
and less liable to attacks than that of Matagrifon. 
Don Pedro was too good a knight to approve of the 
decree of the Cortes, and deeply lamenting the death 
of the unhappy gentlemen who had already fallen 
victims to an infuriated populace, commanded that all 
the rest of the prisoners should be set at liberty under 
promise of never bearing arms against him a promise 
kept by one alone, whose name, consecrated by his 
scrupulous observance of the laws of honor, has been 


recorded with the praise it deserves. The admiral 
Reginaldo Gallardo was the only knight of all those 
who were liberated that felt himself bound to keep 
the condition under which his freedom was granted. 
The day that proved so fatal to the prince of Salerno 
wai a joyful one to Beatrix, sister of Constance, who, 
since the death of her father, Manfred, had been kept 
a close prisoner, and now recovered her freedom, after 
a captivity of eighteen years. Pedro having sent 
orders that the prince should be conveyed to Catalonia, 
Prince James waited on him ere he left Sicily, and 
Charles agreed to purchase his liberty on the follow- 
ing terms : That he, Charles, would renounce the title 
of king of Sicily, and all claim on that kingdom, in 
favor of James and his heirs, giving to that prince his 
daughter Blanche in marriage, and to Frederic, the 
next brother, another daughter, together with the prin- 
cipality of Tarento ; that Louis, Charles's second son, 
should marry Violante, the infanta of Aragon, and re- 
ceive Calabria as her dower ; that the children of Charles, 
with several French and Prove^al lords, should remain 
as hostages to the king of Aragon ; that Charles should 
pay to that monarch a certain sum of money ; and that 
within the space of two years, this agreement should 
receive the sanction and approbation of the pontiff, 
the prince binding himself to return and place himself 
in the hands of the king of Aragon at the expiration of 
that time, should these conditions not have been ful- 
filled. To relate the vicissitudes of the long war, 
that desolated for many years the fertile plains of 


Sicily, would greatly exceed the limits of my task, 
and I will merely record those incidents connected 
with them that relate to the dowager queen of Aragon 
and Sicily. Alfonso, king of Aragon, her eldest son, 
dying in 1291, her second son, James, inherited his 
crown, and, being obliged to leave Sicily, left his 
brother Fadrique regent of that kingdom. James, 
having subsequently, with a view of making peace 
with France and the pope, renounced all right and 
title to Sicily, the Sicilians, indignant at his thus 
tamely surrendering the conquest so dearly purchased 
by his brave father, and giving them up to their former 
hated tyrants, crowned his young brother Fadrique, 
who, having been brought up among them, was greatly 
beloved. The crown thus bestowed on Fadrique was 
truly one ot thorns, for, with the unaided forces of Sicily, 
weakened, moreover, as that country was, by civil dis- 
sensions, he was to carry on a war with the powerful 
king of France, and his own brother, the king of Aragon, 
who had bound himself to aid in ejecting him should he 
accept the sovereignty. Bat Fadrique, though young, 
was fully equal to the arduous duties he was called on 
to perform, having inherited from his mother that pru- 
dence which had ever characterized her, and from his 
great father all his indomitable courage and persever- 
ance. Constance herself, however, towards the close 
of her life, seems to have lost the energy that had for- 
merly led her to urge her husband to the conquest of her 
inheritance; and the strength of intellect and of will, 


that had once made her treat with indifference the pope's 
opposition, though that opposition came in the dread 
form of an interdict, and maintain herself and her sons 
in the sovereignty of the isle of her birth, entirely for- 
sook her as she advanced in years. Fadrique was left 
by his mother to struggle as he could with the great 
powers leagued to crush him, and in 1297, Constance 
repaired to Rome, to receive the absolution of the pope, 
and marry her daughter Violante to her son's antago- 
nist, Robert, Duke of Calabria. Constance died in 
Barcelona in 1302, and was followed to the tomb in the 
same year by her daughter Violante. So careful was 
she in her last moments of endangering her own salva- 
tion by any acknowledgment of her son's rights, that 
she calls him in her testament, not king- of Sicily, but 
Fadrique, infante of Arag-on, and leaves him two 
towns to be delivered to him when he should be rein- 
stated in the favor of holy church. Strange, that 
bigotry should thus have neutralized all the firmness 
and good sense of which this princess had given so 
many proofs. Her pusilanimous conduct, in this 
instance, throws a shadow over the otherwise fair 
character of this princess. Constance gave birth to 
four sons, Alfonso III., who succeeded his father on 
the throne of Aragon, James, who was at first king 
of Sicily, and on the death of Alfonso succeeded him 
on the throne of Aragon, and Fadrique, or Frederick, 
who became king of Sicily. She had also two daughters, 
Violante, who married Robert, second son of Charles of 


Anjou and cousin to the king of France, and Isabel, 
who became queen of Portugal. 

NOTE. Charles of Anjou died in the beginning of 1285, and was 
succeeded in his titles, estates and pretensions to the crown of 
Italy by his son Charles the Lame, at the time a prisoner in Aragon. 






JAMES having succeeded his brother Alfonso* on the 
throne of Aragon in 1291, from motives of policy con- 
tracted an alliance with Castile, in November of the 
first year of his reign. The bride, then in her ninth 
year, was Isabel, daughter of Sancho the Brave and 
his queen, Maria. Similar motives subsequently dic- 
tating a marriage with Blanche of Anjou, the king 
of Aragon availing himself of the usual plea of con- 
sanguinity and of the pope's refusal to grant a dis- 
pensation, in 1296, the first marriage was annulled, 
and Isabel returned to Castile. 

* Alfonso III. died in 1291, on the 18th June, in the sixth year 
of his reign, while preparing to receive his destined bride, Eleanor 



The second wife of James was Blanche, daughter 
of Charles, surnamed the Lame, duke of Anjou, King 
of Naples, and pretender to the kingdom of Sicily. 

The conditions stipulated in the marriage treaty 
were : that the princess should receive a dowry of 
100,000 silver marks ; that the king of Aragon 
should send back to Charles that prince's three sons, 
who had been kept as hostages in Aragon ; that all 
prisoners taken during the war by the Aragonese 
should be set at liberty ; that James should restore 
Sicily, Calabria, and the other domains of Naples to 
the church ; that in case of resistance to this clause 
on the part of the Sicilians, he should use such means 
to compel their compliance as the pope should deter- 
mine ; that the pope, on his part, should revoke all the 
censures fulminated against the kings of Aragon, and 
ratify all that had been done while these were in force, 
granting to the present sovereign and his successors 
the investiture of the kingdom of Sardinia ; that the 
king of France and his brother Charles, calling himself 
king of Aragon, should renounce all claims, and desist 
from all pretensions made to the crown of Aragon ; 
and that Charles should absolve the king of Aragon 
from the payment of the 30,000 silver marks, given in 
trust to the late king Alfonso. 

Thus did James, for the sake of being reinstated in 
the good graces of the church, tamely give up the 
beautiful island he had inherited from his mother, and 

of England. He was succeeded by his brother James, the King 
of Sicily. 


which his father had spent so much blood and treasure 
to conquer. To satisfy his conscientious scruples, ho 
-treacherously gave up his loyal and loving Sicilian 
subjects to their hated foes. 

Of Blanche, little is recorded. She gave birth to 
ten children : James, who, abdicating his right to the 
succession, became a member of the religious and 
military order of Montesa ; Alfonso, born in 1299, who 
succeeded to the throne ; Pedro, Count of Ampurias ; 
Ramon Berenguer, Count of Prades ; Juan, Archbishop 
of Toledo; Constance, who married Don Juan Manuel, 
grandson of Fernando III. ; Maria, who married Pedro, 
Infante of Castile, son of Sancho IV. ; Blanche, Prioress 
of the Monastery of Sixena ; and Violante, who married 
the Prince of Tarento. 

Blanche founded, in 1300, a convent in Saragossa ; 
an act of piety which probably procured her the praise 
bestowed on her of being "a right excellent and 
Christian princess." 

After the death of Blanche, James married twice ; 
but of these two queens nothing but their name is pre- 
served. The first was Maria, Infanta of Chipre ; the 
second, Elisen de Moncada, a lady of high rank, sister 
of Don Ot de Moncada. 

Though James had promised to assist in compelling 
the Sicilians to submit to his father-in-law, he showed 
little alacrity in prosecuting an unnatural war with 
his own brother, Fadrique, whom the justly indignant 
Sicilians had raised to the throne ; and when, after a 
gallant resistance, the fleet of the latter was defeated 


by that of the Aragonese, and their young king might 
easily have been captured, James not only connived at 
his brother's escape, but returned to Naples, and thence 
to his own dominions, protesting, in spite of the remon- 
strances of the pope, that he had performed his part of 
the treaty, and would take no further share in the 

The part taken by James in the troubles of Castile, 
by aiding and abetting the La Cerdas in their struggle 
for the crown, is noticed in the annals of Maria the 
Great (vide Queens of Castile). 

The conduct of his eldest son, James, was a source 
of great vexation to James II. ; the renunciation of 
that prince to his right of succession is related in the 
life of Leonora, reign of Alfonso IV. 

During the reign of James II., the fall of the 
knights templars occurred, the most famous and pow- 
erful order of the church militant, so shamefully per- 
secuted by Philip IV., King of France. When, in 1312, 
the council of Vienna abolished the order, and confisca- 
ted its immense wealth, James II., in conjunction with 
the kings of Castile and Portugal, procured an honor- 
able exemption for the knights of the Spanish Com- 
mendaries, who were permitted to retain their pos- 
sessions during their lives. 

James died in 1327, leaving the throne to his second 
son, Alfonso IV. 


1 329. 


THE first wife of Alfonso was Dona Teresa de En- 
tenza, Countess of Urgel, by whom he had Alfonso, 
Pedro, who succeeded him, James, Count of Urgel, 
Constance who married James, king of Mallorca, Isabel 
and Sancho. The two last, and Alfonso, the first-born, 
died young. Dona Teresa, dying in child-bed a few 
days previous to the death of her father-in-law, never 
bore the title of Queen of Aragon, and Alfonso subse- 
quently married Leonora, infanta of Castile, by whom 
he had Fernando, Marquis of Tortosa and Juan. This 
princess, daughter of Ferdinand IV., king of Castile, 
and of his queen, Constance of Portugal, had been be- 
trothed, when but four years of age, in 1311, to James, 
prince of Aragon, eldest son of king James II., and in 
1319, on attaining her thirteenth year, married to him. 
The singular temper of the bridgroom who, renouncing 
the throne, subsequently became a monk, caused the 
marriage to be annulled. This prince, whose furious 
disposition and irritable temper led him to commit such 
acts of violence against some of the principal lords, 
that his father deemed it necessary to put a check 
on this wanton exercise of the privileges of his birth, 
became moody and discontented, and to vex his kind 
parent, declared it his intention to renounce the crown 
and assume the cowl of the monk. Vainly did the 


amiable monarch, after trying every other argument, 
finally offer to abdicate the throne in his favor ; the ob- 
stinate and weak-minded prince persevered in his reso- 
lution, not however, from any decided vocation for the 
monastic life, but, as he openly avowed, to cause pain 
to his father and defeat his hopes. He yielded to the 
king's persuasions, so far that he allowed the nuptial 
ceremonies between himself and Leonora to be per- 
formed, but he refused to give the young bride the 
kiss of peace, or conduct her back to the palace, and 
leaving the church, withdrew to a neighboring town, 
to the great sorrow and indignation of the royal fam- 
ily, who remained assembled, anxiously waiting his 
return. By the formal renunciation of the crown 
prince in Tarragona this same year, Alfonso, his next 
brother, became heir to the throne. It was decreed, 
however, that Leonora should yet be Q,ueen of Ara- 
gon, and, though in 1328, she returned to Castile a 
maid, and a divorced wife, she went again to Aragon 
in the following year, to become the second wife of 
Alfonso. During her short residence in Castile, Leo- 
nora had been promised to the infante Pedro of Ara- 
gon, but she preferred a king, though that king was 
a widower with children, to a prince who had no chance 
of ever wearing a crown, and accepted Alfonso. This 
second marriage was the cause of bitter animosities, 
and great disturbances in the royal family, for Leonora 
having, like too many step-mothers, conceived for her 
step-son Pedro, an aversion, doubtless originating from 
a jealousy of his right to the succession, to the exclu- 


sion of her own children, used all her influence with 
the king to advance the interests of the latter, greatly 
to the detriment of those of the crown-prince. Young 
Pedro soon felt the effects of the cold atmosphere which 
so often surrounds a step-mother, and from his boy- 
hood upwards, repaid her hatred with usury. Taking 
advantage of the enfeebled state of the sovereign's 
health who, from the time of his second marriage had 
been afflicted with the dropsy, Leonora obtained from 
him the most extravagant grants to her own sons 
Among these was the rich Lordship of Tortosa, be- 
sides many strongly fortified towns and fortresses in 
Valencia, on the borders of Castile, of the utmost 
importance in time of war. Many of the members 
of the council expressed decided disapprobation of 
donations, which not only impoverished the crown, 
but threatened to prove a fertile source of evils. The 
city of Valencia, in particular, was violent in its oppo- 
sition. Don Pedro who, though but thirteen, seemed 
perfectly cognizant of the degree in which his interests 
were affected by the dismemberment of his inheritance, 
obstinately refused to give to these measures the sanc- 
tion which was required from him as crown prince, 
and excited the chief lords to such a degree, that 
they addressed a respectful but energetic remonstrance 
to the king in presence of the queen and court. The 
eloquence of the speaker had the desired effect on 
the king, who, convinced of the error he had commit- 
ted, immediately revoked the donations. It had been 
well had he not been so ungallant as to add that, all 


blame was to attach to the queen. The latter, irrita- 
ted by what she deemed pusilanimity, expressed her 
surprise and anger in no measured terms, saying that, 
had the seditious and insolent language of the nobles 
been addressed to her brother, the king of Castile, it 
would have been punished with death. The king, 
with moderation and prudence, replied that his peo- 
ple enjoyed more freedom than the Castilians, and 
that they loved and respected him as their liege lord 
and he held them in the light of good and true vassals, 
friends and comrades. Leonora, baffled in her endeav- 
ors, sought to wreak her vengeance on those whom 
she suspected of being inimical to her plans, and at 
tached to the interests of the crown prince. These 
were first expelled from the court, and then sum- 
moned to answer the charges she caused to be brought 
against them. Two of the accused, aware of the mal- 
ice that suggested these proceedings, refused to appear, 
but the secretary, Concut, imprudently confiding in 
his innocence, unhesitatingly presented himself to the 
king, who, though he lacked firmness to resist the will 
of Leonora, could not forbear cautioning his old ser- 
vant, advising, nay, ordering him to retire and pro- 
vide for his safety, as the queen was bent on effecting 
his ruin. But Concut refused to fly, saying that he 
had ever served the king loyally and to the best of 
his ability, and therefore could have no cause to fear. 
He was siezed in Teruel on the following day, put to 
the question, drawn, hung and proclaimed a traitor. 
The motive assigned for this barbarous execution 


yfti ..v^f.:. 

was, that Concut was convicted of having adminis- 
tered a drug to the queen, with the design of inca- 
pacitating her to bear children. The accusation was 
not only utterly false, but its improbability was the 
more apparent from the circumstance of the queen's 
being already the mother of two boys. The adherents 
of the crown prince now felt justified in entertaining 
fears, not only for their own safety, but also for his, 
Leonora having persuaded the king to remove the tutor 
and attendants of young Pedro, and replaced them with 
creatures of her own. Don Pedro de Luna, Arch- 
bishop of Saragossa, in whose palace and under whose 
care the prince had been left ever since the expe- 
dition to Sardinia, in which Alfonso had been accom 
panied by his first wife, formed a plan, with other me* 
of note, to remove him to the mountain fortress oi 
lacca, on the frontiers of France, in which country he 
could, in case of an emergency, take refuge. The 
flight of the prince convinced the king of the danger of 
the projected innovations, and he issued orders that no 
change should take place in the prince's household) 
and Pedro returned to his old quarters. The illness of 
Alfonso making rapid progress, young Pedro, with a 
steadiness of purpose and zeal far beyond his years, ap- 
plied himself to the studies that were most fitted to 
prepare him for the post it was evident he was ere long 
to fill, and was soon initiated in the cares and toils of 
government. The powers of dissimilation, the perse- 
vering, determined spirit, the self-command, with which 
this boy curbed and concealed his naturally violent 


temper, and carried out his purposes, is truly sur- 
prising. For the space of three years the demon of 
domestic discord continued to reign in the royal pal- 
ace, embittering the last days of the weak sovereign, 
who, however, mindful of the safety of her whom he 
so dotingly loved, in his dying moments, laid his com- 
mands on Leonora that she should leave him and 
provide against the effects of the enmity of his suc- 
cessor, by a prompt departure from court. Don Alfonso 
died in 1338, leaving the memory of a kind and ami- 
able prince. 

The first act of Pedro on his advent to the throne 
was to order the pursuit and arrest of his step-mother. 
Leonora, conscious of having incurred the prince's 
hatred, had left the bed-side of her expiring husband 
a few hours previous to his death, and, goaded hy her 
fears, puting no trust in the strongholds and castles of 
her sons, though she had taken the precaution to have 
them well fortified, fled with all the celerity in her 
power towards Castile. Though Don Pedro had caused 
many of the passes to be closed against her, the inde- 
fatigable Leonora contrived at length to reach Castile, 
attended by the noble and loyal Don Pedro de Exerica, 
though forced to leave behind her the riches she had 
brought away from the palace, of which the partizans 
of the new king took care to relieve her on the road. 
But the precipitancy of her flight did not prevent, 
Leonora from seeking to conciliate her foe, for whom 
she left a long, submissive and affectionate message 
expressive of a confident reliance on his justice and 


affection she was far from feeling. The king, seeing 
his intended victim had escaped, returned an answer, 
couched in respectful, but ambiguous terms. The 
ceremonies of the late king's funeral were followed 
by those of the new sovereign's coronation, which were 
performed with the most extravagant pomp and muni, 
ficent hospitality, the table in the royal palace of the 
Aljaferia being spread for the entertainment of ten thou- 
sand guests. But amid the rejoicings which hailed his 
advent to the throne, the revengeful Pedro forgot not 
the past, and was already planning measures to deprive 
his half-brothers of the inheritance left them by their 
father. But the vigilant Leonora, who, probably, was 
well acquainted with the temper of her step-son, and 
anticipated these attempts, persuaded her brother Alfon- 
so to send an embassy to Pedro, requesting him to con- 
firm the donations made to his sons by the late king. 
The crafty Pedro, who was fully resolved to grant 
nothing, replied, notwithstanding, in terms of great 
courtesy to the king of Castile, and of great regard 
for Leonora and her sons, the substance of his answer 
being that the testament could not be opened in con- 
sequence of the absence of some of the executors, nor 
were the donations legal or to be exacted as a right, 
adding, however, that he neither meant nor desired 
any wrong to the dowager queen or her sons. The 
intentions of Pedro were so obvious that the king of 
Castile would have shown some resentment, had not 
his own domestic divisions prevented his taking any 
active measures against a foreign foe. Pedro, on his 


side, aware that he was secure against any attack 
from Castile, gave the reins to his hatred, sequestrat- 
ing the estates of Pedro de Exerica and even those of 
Leonora herself. Proceedings were instituted against 
the queen's friends and adherents, under pretence that 
they had not presented themselves to take the oath at 
his coronation, they in turn alleging, that it had been 
administered in terms that allowed of a dangerous 
interpretation against the queen and others. Matters 
soon assumed a threatening aspect, the arraigned 
parties resorting to arms to protect themselves against 
the rapacity of Don Pedro, who, though occupied with 
the ceremonies of his betrothal, found time to pursue 
his plans of revengeful spoliation. But the fear of a 
foreign invasion accomplished what even the authority 
of the pope had been unable to effect, and the sover- 
eigns of Aragon and Castile, laying aside their dis- 
putes, for a time, united to oppose the powerful army of 
the Moors, which, under the command of Abulmelek, son 
of Alboazer, king of Morocco, had passed the straits, 
in June, 1383, and possessed themselves of Algezira 
and Gibraltar. Don Pedro, with prudence and bravery 
far beyond his years, which scarcely numbered nine- 
teen, took prompt and efficacious measures for the de- 
fence of his dominions. A treaty was concluded 
with Castile, in which it was agreed that the incomes 
of her estates and the revenues of the towns should be 
paid to Leonora, but that they should remain under 
the jurisdiction of King Pedro ; that the infantes should 
be put in possession of their inheritance ; that Don 


Pedro de Exerica should have his estates restored to 
him ; and that, to make the union between the members 
of the royal family sincere and lasting, the sister of 
Don Pedro de Exerica should marry the infante Don 
Ramon Berengner. Where no feelings of good will 
existed on either side, and peace had been a measure 
of temporary necessity rather than of inclination, it 
was merely of the nature of a truce, and lasted only so 
long as the convenience of the parties required. The 
Moors having been completely worsted, the king of Ar- 
agon turned his attention to the destruction of his 
brother-in-law, James, king of Mallorca, whom, under 
the most futile pretexts, he persecuted until he not only 
deprived him of his petty sovereignty, which was 
added to the dominions of Aragon, but also of his life, 
that hapless monarch, who was in fact more sinned 
against than sinning, being killed in battle while 
endeavoring to recover his crown. The impetuous, 
yet dissembling and hypocritical Pedro, was subse- 
quently too much engaged in civil wars in Aragon 
and disturbances in Sardinia to quarrel with his neigh- 
bor of Castile, but the fire, though smothered for the 
time, was not extinct, and in 1356 a bloody war broke 
out between the two sovereigns, which, for a period of 
ten years, devastated their respective kingdoms. Pedro, 
who had succeeded his father Alfonso on the throne of 
Castile, already gave indications of a temper equaling, 
if not exceeding in ferocity that of his namesake of 
Aragon, and stained the commencement of his 
reign by allowing the cold-blooded murder of a woman. 


The king of Aragon had extended his protection to 
Don Enrique de Trastamara and Don Fadrique, grand- 
master of Santiago, both half-brothers of the Castilian 
monarch, and thereby irritated the latter exceedingly. 
The old feud between Dona Leonora and her step-son 
was revived by the continual endeavors made by him 
to deprive her and her sons of their domains in Ara- 
gon. The unbounded ambition of Leonora was as inju- 
rious to her interests in her native Castile, as it had 
been in her husband's kingdom, and ended most fatally. 
Though her efforts to secure the crown to her own 
sons had proved abortive, and caused her to be ex- 
iled from Aragon, her failure proved no lesson to 
teach her to curb her inordinate love of sway, and she 
renewed her intrigues in Castile against her own 
nephew, Pedro, and continually excited her sons, now 
against the one monarch, now against the other. In 
1354 Leonora took an active part against the young 
king of Castile, whom she proclaimed to be insane, and 
in a state requiring a guardian. So effectually did she 
take her measures, that it was principally through her 
that the government of Castile fell almost entirely 
into the hands of her son Ferdinand. Leonora was 
frequently known to say that she would lose her soul 
but that her son should wear a crown. To strengthen 
his party, in 1354, Leonora persuaded her son to marry 
Maria, daughter of Don Pedro, crown prince of Portu- 
gal, by his wife Constanza Manuel. Ferdinand was 
slain in 1363, while resisting the orders of Pedro, king 
of Aragon, who had sent to imprison him, though 


Ferdinand had come expressly, and by the king's invi- 
tation, to dine in Castellan with that sovereign. 

The events of the life of Leonora, from the time of 
the accession of her nephew Pedro to the crown of 
Castile, are so much interwoven with those of his tur- 
bulent and sanguinary reign, that it would be impos- 
sible to separate them, and I must refer the reader for 
a continuation of her life to the annals of Blanche of 
Borbon, wife of Pedro of Castile. 



1 348. 




THE first of Pedro the Fourth's four wives was 
Maria, youngest daughter of Don Philip and Dona 

* Don Pedro derived this surname from the following incident. 
Having, at the battle of Epila, in 1348, compelled the rebel barons 


Juana, sovereigns of Navarre. Juana, the eldest of 
the infantas of Navarre, had, during the lifetime of 
his father, been betrothed to Pedro, but the prince 
giving the preference to her sister, Maria, that princess 
was betrothed to him in 1337, the first year of his 
reign, at which time she was also acknowledged, by 
her parents, heiress to the crown of Navarre (to the 
exclusion of her eldest sister,) in case they should 
have no male heirs. This recognition of the infanta 
Maria was the more singular, inasmuch as she had 
three brothers. In October of the same, the princess, 
having attained her twelfth year, the nuptials were 
celebrated. During the life of this queen, Pedro 
directed his arms against James, king of Mallorca, 
though that prince was married to Constance, infanta 
of Aragon and sister of Pedro, but the restless spirit 
and inordinate ambition of the latter, impelled him to 
attack even those who might have justly felt secured 
by their close connection with himself from any 
aggression on his part. Pedro, who was never at a 
loss for specious pretexts to clothe his arbitrary and 

to submit to his authority, they, in an assembly of the states, made 
a formal renunciation of the absurd right claimed by " La Union," 
of resorting to arms on any real or fancied encroachment of their 
privileges. The king on his part, solemnly confirmed the ancient 
national privileges, but, filled with resentment at the sight of the 
instrument that contained the two obnoxious ordinances of La 
Union, he cut it in pieces with his dagger and, in so doing, wound- 
ed his hand. Suffering the blood to fall on the mutilated deed, 
"the blood of a king," he exclaimed, " may well be shed to efface a 
law that has occasioned the effusion of so much blood." 


iniquitous proceedings, justified his unparalleled usurp- 
ation by the most futile and unfounded act nsations, 
and the hapless James, finding his nearest and u Barest, 
even his wife,* turn from him, abandoned by his sub- 
jects, hunted from place to place by his untiring 
brother-in-law, after vainly appealing to the pope and 
to the king of France, and making the most desperate 
attempts to recover his crown, was finally compelled 
to resign it to his powerful and insatiable foe. 

The reign of Maria is also famous for the attempt 
made by Pedro to ensure the succession of the crown 
to his daughter Constance. The queen having, up to 
the year 1347, given birth to no son, the king, hope- 
less of leaving male heirs to succeed him, caused the 
infanta Constance to be publicly acknowledged and 
sworn as his heiress, to the exclusion of his brother 
James. The latter, finding his respectful remonstran- 
ces without ^effect, immediately repaired to Saragossa, 
where he was joined by many of the nobles, who, 

* Constance seems to have led an unhappy life with her hus- 
band of whom she complained frequently to her brother, and 
whom she finally accused of plotting the murder of the king of 
Aragon. This accusation was undoubtedly false, and suggested by 
a wish to revenge some real or fancied wrongs inflicted on herself. 
Constance seems to have been one of those weak minds, possess- 
ing energy and resolution neither for good nor evil, perpetually 
doing some rash act, of which they repent as soon as committed. 
Having largely contributed to the ruin of her husband, she subse- 
quently entreated, earnestly and incessantly, to be allowed to join 
him when a discrowned fugitive, though her brother offered her 
the Castle of Montblanc as a residence, and an income of 3,000 
livres yearly, to induce her to remain with him. 


opposed to females succeeding to the throne, formed 
that leapae entitled " La Union," which so frequently 
proved a fertile source of trouble, disquiet and danger 
to the sovereigns of Aragon. During the civil commo- 
tions that ensued in this same year, Dona Maria was 
delivered of a son, but the joy occasioned by his birth 
soon gave way to grief, as he survived it but a few 
hours, and was within five days followed to his grave 
by his mother. Dona Maria was an amiablo and pious 
queen, but nothing of any note is recorded of her. She 
gave birth to three daughters, Constance, Juana, and 
Maria, whom she left successive heiresses of her right 
to the crown of Navarre. 

On the death of Maria, the king, baffled in his 
attempt to secure the succession to his daughter, and 
his desire for male heirs being stimulated by his hatred 
to his brother James, immediately sent ambassadors to 
Alfonso and Beatrix, the sovereigns of Portugal, 
soliciting the hand of their daughter Leonora. The 
king of Castile, who had designed this princess for his 
nephew, Fernando, vainly sought to prevent her being 
given to the king of Aragon, but the superior rank of 
the latter caused him to be chosen in preference to his 
half-brother, and, notwithstanding some slight alterca 
tions as to the amount of dower to be given to the bride, 
the marriage was concluded this same year. The 
nuptials were celebrated at Barcelona with little pomp 
and not under the happiest auspices, the king being 
engaged in broils with the Union, the head of which, 
the infante James, expired on the day of the arrival of 


the bride, after a sudden and violent sickness, the sin- 
gular nature of which, and its fatal termination, 
induced strong suspicions of his having been poisoned 
by his brother, the king. This, the second queen of Don 
Pedro, was tall and graceful in person, of beautiful 
features and amiable manners, but she survived her 
marriage but a few short months, dying of the plague 
that desolated Europe in 1368.* During the short 
reign of this queen, the civil war reached its climax. 
An incident occurred during her stay at Valencia, 
which to the proud spirit of the Portuguese princess, 
must have been exceedingly disagreeable. The king, 
having set out for Teruel, was compelled, by the in- 
surgents, to alter his course and proceed to Valencia, 
the very focus of the insurrection. The king's entrance 
into that town was hailed with rapturous acclamations, 
and made the occasion of great rejoicings by its in- 
habitants, the partisans of the Union being delighted 
with having the king in their power, and determined 
to retain him until he should have fulfilled the hard 
conditions extorted from him by the league. Yet the 
real subjection in which he was held was covered by a 
great show of veneration and respect for his majesty's 
person. The queen, mak'ng her entrance some days 
after, was welcomed with greater parade than had 
been made for any of her predecessors on the throne. 
It happened that, one evening during the festivi- 

In the history of Don Pedro, written by himself, it is stated 
that three hundred persons, on the average, died daily of the 
plague, in Aragon, during October of the year 1348. 


ties, one of the numerous bands of dancers that 
thronged the streets having found their way up to the 
royal apartments, in their enthusiasm and delight, 
insisted on the king and queen joining the dance, and 
matters had reached so dangerous a crisis, that the 
sovereigns deemed it advisable to gratify the riotous 
mob by complying with this insolent request. The 
insult must have been intolerable to the haughty 
and punctilious spirit of a Portuguese bride, but the 
king who was an adept in the art of dissembling showed 
no outward signs of the rage that filled his heart, and 
which he subsequently vented on the heads of the 
chief offenders.* Had his conscience been susceptible 
of remorse, he would have felt this mortification a just 
retribution for the heartlessness with which he had 
celebrated with similar festivities, in Perpignan, the 
downfall of his hapless brother-in-law, the king of 
Mallorca. Leonora died in Exerica, October, 1348. 

Leonora, daughter of Pedro and Isabel, reigning 
sovereigns of Sicily, became, in 1349, the third wife of 
Don Pedro, and more fortunate than her predecessors, 
gratified his anxious desire of a son by giving birth on 
the 27th of December, 1351, to a prince who was chris- 
tened Juan Manuel, and succeeded his father on the 

* Having subsequently forcibly entered Valencia at the head of 
an array, Don Pedro wreaked his vengeance on the chief rebels, 
and was with difficulty dissuaded from levelling the city with the 
ground and sowing its site with salt, so deeply had the insults 
there offered to him rankled in his heart The persuasions of his 
nobles at length prevailed, and he consented to spare this beauti- 
ful city. 


throne. Leonora subsequently gave birth to another 
son, Martin, who succeeded his elder brother. During 
the reign of this queen, the conquest of Mallorca was 
finally accomplished, the dethroned king perishing on 
the 25th of October, 1349, in the last battle he adven- 
tured for the recovery of his dominions from his grasp- 
ing relative. The head of the ill-starred monarch was 
severed from the body, and his son, who was wounded 
in the engagement, taken prisoner and conveyed to 
Barcelona, where he was kept some time. Leonora 
died in 1374. Of this queen no particular trait of 
goodness is recorded, and her memory is stained by 
the malignity with which, in 1364, she persecuted her 
husband's wisest counsellor, and tried and oldest friend, 
Don Bernardo de Cabrera. Having united with the 
enemies of this consummate politician and experi- 
enced pilot, who through every storm had skilfully 
guided the battered bark of his sovereign's fortunes, 
and in every crisis of his fate had proved his guardian 
angel, Leonora ruthlessly pursued the veteran, who, 
by some contradiction or opposition to her will, had 
incurred her animosity. Without proofs, on the most 
puerile accusations, she gave orders to her son the Prince 
of Grirona, to cause Don Bernardo to be beheaded, pre- 
viously putting him to the torture. The prince, with- 
out the slightest hesitation or feeling of commiseration 
for the venerable statesman who had protected his 
father's youthful inexperience, and been his own tutor 
from his earliest years, caused the inhuman mandate 
to be executed, without allowing even the mockery of 


a trial to this, one of Spain's wealthiest and most in- 
fluential nobles. Of Don Bernardo, it may be said, 
that he did many good deeds without the co-operation 
of the king, while the latter never did anything wor- 
thy of note without the advice and participation of 
this great noble. The grandson of Don Bernardo was 
eight years after reinstated in the confiscated estates 
and honors of his family, the king making the tardy 
acknowledgment that, through his evil advisers, he 
had been too hasty and severe towards his illustrious 

Don Pedro, in his old age, received an embassy from 
Joana I., Queen of Naples, who, tormented by her own 
subjects, and desirous of securing the protection of so 
powerful a monarch, offered, if either that sovereign 
or his son would marry her, to annex her dominions 
to those of the crown of Aragon. But this donation 
would have entailed too many disputes, and the lady, 
already the widow of three husbands, was no longer 
of an age to please a sovereign who, though himself 
advanced in life, still retained the passions of youth. 
Another reason concurred to induce Don Pedro to look 
with indifference on the addition of another crown, his 
heart was already prepossessed in favor of Dona Sibila 
Forcia, the charming daughter of a private gentleman 
of Ampurdan, and the widow of Don Artal de Foges. 
The coronation of this queen was performed with un- 
wonted pomp in Saragossa, in 1381, The king who 
seems to have strangely forgotten the bitter experience 
of his early youth, allowed his young wife the same 


injudicious authority, that, vested in his own mother-in- 
law's hands, had, during his father's reign, proved so 
injurious to the state, and hateful to himself. Nor 
did Dona Sibila fail to follow the example of Lenora of 
Castile, and her conduct towards the offspring of her 
predecessors was impolitic in the highest degree. Don 
Juan, the crown prince, had formed an attachment for 
Dona Violante, daughter of Robert, Duke of Bar, and 
of Maria, princess of the blood royal of France, and 
opposed his father's wishes that he should marry Maria 
the young Q,ueen of Sicily. This refusal on the part 
of the prince led to great disunion between the 
father and son, the queen doing her utmost to render 
the breach still wider. Juan retired from court to the 
estates of the Count of Ampurias, who had married his 
sister, and there, without obtaining the king's previous 
sanction, was privately married to the lady of his love, 
in presence of his own brother, Don Martin, his sister 
Dona Juana, Countess of Ampurias, and the count her 
husband, the latter volunteering to expose himself to 
every loss for the sake of obliging the prince. This 
act of friendship had wellnigh cost the count dear, 
as the old king, enraged at his having encouraged Don 
Juan in his disobedience, furiously invaded the count's 
dominions. As for the prince, whom his father 
threatened to disinherit, and had deprived of all his 
privileges, he appealed against the king himself to 
the Justicia of Aragon,* and that magistrate, using 

* Justice. This magistrate whose authority was supreme, was 
empowered by the constitution of Aragon to restrain the authority 


the authority delegated to him by the laws of the 
realm, gave sentence against the monarch, and decreed 
that the prince should be reinstated in his offices. Juan, 
however, was too well acquainted with his father's 
temper to trust himself in his power, and lived retired. 
Don Pedro who could not even in old age live in peace, 
having now neither foreign nor domestic foes with whom 
to quarrel, attacked the church, and commenced a 
litigation with the Archbishop of Tarragona, who re- 
sisted the monarch's attempts to seize on the govern- 
ment and sovereignty of that city, which had hitherto 
been under the dominion of the archbishops of the 
see. Don Pedro having sent troops to enforce his pre- 
tensions, the prelate is said to have sent him a mes- 
sage summoning him to appear within sixty days at 
the tribunal of God to answer for this aggression. 
Tradition furthermore adds that Sainte Thecla, pat- 
roness of the church of Tarragona, appeared to the 
monarch, reproached him with his impiety, and struck 
him a blow on the face, from which hour the king 
sickened of the disease that proved fatal to him on 
the 5th of January, 1387. This story does not 
seem amiss in the pages of Zurita and other old wri- 
ters, but in those of a writer of the 18th century, 
where we find it gravely related, it causes some little 
surprise. Don Pedro was of small stature," and spare 
form. His fiery, indomitable spirits, firm and decided 
temper, patience and perseverance, ensured him suc- 

of the king himself, whon it exceeded the limits of the law, and in 
all doubtful cases an appeal to his tribunal was decisive. 


cess in almost all his enterprises. His fondness for 
literary pursuits, and especially for the sciences of as- 
tronomy and alchymy, was excessive ; and he was 
equally distinguished by the attention he bestowed on 
the civil and military cares of government, and the affa- 
bility he manifested to the lower orders. Unfortunate- 
ly Pedro's good qualities were counterbalanced by an 
innate cruelty, an inordinate and grasping ambition, 
and an insatiable thirst for vengeance, vices that age 
rather increased than tempered. If years have no 
effect in softening a man's temper, they will have the 
contrary one of aggravating it; so that, if, evil disposed 
in his youth, he grows neither wiser nor better as he 
advances in life, he will be a very fiend in his old age. 
The singular passion for ceremony of this king, 
caused him to be surnamed the Ceremonious. He 
pushed this mania so far, that he caused his envoys at 
the different courts of Europe to send him minute ac- 
counts of the ceremonies and etiquette used in each, 
and from these materials, compiled a book containing 
the essence or rather the quintessence of etiquette, 
ordering this manual to serve as a standard to be used 
in his own court. His reign, which lasted 51 years 
within 19 days, was one of the most stormy on record, 
being constantly distracted with domestic broils or 
foreign wars. Some time previous to the king's death, 
Prince Juan was taken ill, and the disease proved of 
so singular and alarming a nature, as to baffle the efn 
forts of the leeches to ascertain the cause or find a cure 
for it. Strong suspicions attached to the queen and her 


brother, Don Bernardo de Forcia, who were accused 
of employing rnagic to acquire the extraordinary influ- 
ence they possessed over the king and cause the linger- 
ing illness and probable death of the prince. Following 
the example of his father, Don Pedro finding he had 
but five hours to live, advised his wife to fly from the 
effects of her step-son's angry revenge, and, like 
Leonora, Sibila abandoned her dying husband's bed- 
side, and took to flight. Less fortunate than the Cas- 
tilan princess, the Q,ueen of Aragon had no powerful 
brother on the throne to assume her defence, and protect 
her rights, and it being apparent that the king was 
past recovery, the adherents of Prince John ordered the 
queen to be pursued and brought back. The unfortu- 
nate Sibila was thrown into prison, together with her 
brother and several of her followers. The prince, 
though apprized of his father's danger, and subse- 
quently of his death, was himself in too precarious a 
state to allow of his being moved, Pedro had no 
sooner expired, than his now friendless widow was 
proceeded against, as having attempted by sorcery the 
life of her step-son, and without regard for her rank, 
or compassion for her sex and forlorn situation, was 
even put to the torture, together with Bernaldo and 
many of his partisans. Whether they were thus in- 
duced to confess themselves guilty, is not known, but 
all, with the exception of Sibila, her brother, and the 
Count of Palas, were beheaded. A counsellor was of- 
fered to the queen dowager to defend her cause, but 
she replying that she would have none, but would 


leave it to the mercy and justice of the king, the latter, 
at the request of the pope's legate, granted her a free 
pardon and an annuity of 25,000 sueldos. The 
only child of Sibila, was a daughter, Isabel, who mar- 
ried James, Count of Urgel. Sibila de Forcia died 
during the reign of her step-son, Don Martin, in 1407. 



DON JUAN, being too feeble to take upon him the 
cares of government, empowered his brother, Don Mar- 
tin, to act for him, particularly in the case of the cap- 
tive queen dowager, whose estates were seized and given 
by the new sovereign to his consort on the very day of 
his father's death. Don Juan had, during his father's 
life, been contracted, in 1370, to Juana of France, aunt 
of Charles V., and sister of his father, King John ; but 
this princess, dying in Beziers, on her way to Aragon, 
the prince, as already related, married, in 1384, Vio- 
lante, daughter of the Duke of Bar. Juan, though 
he partially recovered from his illness, never regained 
his former health and activity, and his physical debility, 
probably inducing weakness of the mental faculties, he 
seemed to take no interest in the cares of state, but 
left the government almost entirely to the queen, 
whom he loved passionately. The want of energy of the 
sovereign was not, however, productive of the ill effects 


that might have been expected, the peace of his king- 
dom being, doubtless, attributable to the fact that the 
neighboring states, were at the time too much engaged 
in their own civil and foreign feuds to take advantage 
of his inactivity and indolence. The queen, who pos- 
sessed the joyous temper that characterizes her nation, 
attracted to the court of Aragon the wandering trou- 
badours of Provence, and the king himself was so great 
an admirer of La Gate Science, that he instituted 
schools in which it was taught, and even sent an em- 
bassy to the king of France, requesting he would send 
him experienced teachers of the art of rhyming. The 
royal palace became the scene of continual festivities, 
in which poetry, music and dancing entirely super- 
seded the grand and stately formalities of the preced- 
ing reign. The extravagant profusion of the court at 
length attained such a pitch as warranted the interfer- 
ence of the nobles, who, in the Cortes held in Monzon, 
demanded a reform in the palace, and the exile 
of Dona Carroza de Villaragut, an especial favorite 
with both the king and queen, whose excessive 
power and insolence had given great umbrage. The 
deputies from Catalonia and Mallorca were the most 
clamorous, and many lords and gentlemen assembled 
before the doors, with troops of armed followers to 
back their demands, the king having refused, with 
threats, to allow of the accusation being read. The 
favorite having won many partisans, and the hope of 
ingratiating themselves with the sovereigns drawing 
others to her side, a challenge was sent by her party 


to the armed complainants, and the defiance being 
eagerly accepted, the parliamentary discussion was on 
the point of becoming a civil war. Matters, however, 
came to a more peaceful conclusion than might have 
been anticipated from the opening scenes. The king, 
alarmed at the angry and determined aspect of his 
chief barons, ordered an enquiry to be made as to the 
foundations for the complaints, and having been con- 
vinced they were just, ordered the obnoxious lady to 
leave the palace immediately, and to abstain in future 
from all intercourse with the members of the royal 
family, depriving her also of all her offices and privileges. 
Dona Violante gave birth to two sons, James and 
Fernando, who both died in childhood, and to one 
daughter, Violante, who married Louis, Duke of Anjou 
and king of Naples. Don Juan had, when prince of 
Aragon, been married to Martha de Armagnac, and by 
this lady, who died shortly after her marriage, he had 
a daughter, Dona Juana, who married Mathew, Count 
of Foix, and subsequently laid claim to the crown of 
Aragon. The only pastime requiring exertion to 
which Juan was addicted was that of the chase, and his 
death, which was sudden, took place on 19th of 
May, 1395, while enjoying that pleasure on his way 
to Barcelona. The king was eagerly pursuing the 
prey when he fell from his horse, and when raised by 
his attendants, life was found to be extinct. John 
was forty- four years of age, and had reigned eight 

Violante was extremely unwilling to surrender her 


regal honors which at the death of her husband, be- 
longed to the wife of his successor, Don Martin, and 
with a view to prolonging their enjoyment, asserted 
that she was enciente. The council decided that four 
matrons chosen from among the noblest ladies of the 
court should remain in attendance on the queen day 
and night until her confinement, as the birth of a post- 
humous child, had it proved a son, would have 
materially altered the state of affairs. Violante sub- 
mitted with a good grace to the strict surveillance she 
had no means of evading, but on condition that she 
should in the meanwhile continue to reside in the royal 
palace, and be treated as the reigning queen. This 
request was complied with, and Dona Maria de Luna, 
who as wife of Don Martin, had been proclaimed 
queen, and taken up her abode in the palace, was 
lodged elsewhere. The deception could not, however, 
be long continued, and Violante was compelled to 
cede the post she had vainly attempted to retain. 
After the accession of Martin and Maria we find little 
mention of Violante, until the interregnum that 
followed the death of that king, when Violante again 
appears, exerting herself to procure the election of her 
grandson, Luis, Duke of Calabria, to the vacant throne 
of Aragon. In behalf of this prince, Violante sent 
ambassadors to lay his claim before the assembled 
electors. Not content with this, Violante came in 
person to urge the Cortes in his favor, and the king 
of France, her cousin, gave her troops under the com- 
mand of G-odfrey of Busicanda. But all her efforts 


proved in vain, the electors deciding in favor of Ferdi- 
nand of Castile. No record exists of the subsequent 
life or of the date of the death of Violante. 




THE indolent and sickly Juan was succeeded by his 
brave and energetic brother, Don Martin, then thirty- 
two years of age. The new king was, at the time of 
his brother's death, in Sicily, whither he had gone to 
quell the rebellion, and establish on the throne its right- 
ful heiress, who had married his son. In the absence 
of Martin, his wife, Maria de Luna, was proclaimed 
queen and took upon her the government of the king- 
dom. Messengers were immediately dispatched to the 
new sovereign, urging the necessity of his prompt re- 
turn, as the Conde de Foix, who had married the eldest 
daughter of the late king, was preparing to assert by 
arms his wife's right to the crown of Aragon. The 
queen, in the meanwhile, displayed a prudence and 
capacity that proved her fully capable of discharging 
the important duties that devolved on her. Even dur- 
ing the preceding reign, Maria had shown herself pos- 
sessed of no little energy and decision, by levying troops 


to send to her husband's assistance in Sicily ; and now, 
by the vigorous measures she suggested, she so effec- 
tually repelled the invasion of the Count of Foix, that 
he was finally driven from the kingdom he had thus 
forcibly sought to win. 

Two years after the death of his brother, Martin 
was enabled to leave Sicily and return to Aragon, when 
he was solemnly crowned, in April of 1399. The coro- 
nation of the queen took place a few days after that of 
the king. Among the ladies who attended on the oc- 
casion, were Violante, the exiled queen of Naples, the 
infanta Isabel, sister-in-law of Maria, the Countess of 
Luna and her mother, and Dona Margarita de Prades, a 
princess of the blood royal, who was destined to suc- 
ceed the present queen on the throne. A powerful 
fleet having been sent, out to Sicily, the rebellion was 
at length quelled. About this time a body of some 
15,000 fanatics, calling themselves the white peni- 
tents, made their appearance in Sicily. The sove- 
reigns of Aragon and Sicily, anticipating the evils that 
might accrue from the presence of so numerous a band 
in an unsettled country, took vigorous measures for 
the immediate dispersion of the actors of this religious 
farce, which were finally successful. Peace and tran- 
quillity had scarcely been restored in the lovely isle from 
which, for more than a century, and during the reigns 
of seven kings of Aragon, they had been banished, 
when the members of the royal family occupying the 
thrones of both countries, as though doomed by the 
angry fiat of an offended Deity, one by one, in quick 


succession, dropped into a premature grave. The only 
son of the reigning sovereign of Sicily, the grandson 
and heir of the king of Aragon, died in Catania, in the 
spring of the year 1401. Authors do not agree as to 
the name and age of this prince. The Aragonians, who 
call him Pedro, say he was but a few months old, and 
assert that he died a natural death. The Sicilians call 
him Fadrique, say he was seven years of age, and as- 
cribe his death to his having, while learning the use 
of arms in the presence of his delighted parents, by 
some untoward accident, fallen on the point of a sword 
which, entering his body up to the hilt, occasioned his 
death. Whether the Sicilians were right in their con- 
jectures that the queen sickened and died from excess 
of grief at the loss of her son, or whether her death 
proceeded from some other cause, it is certain she sur- 
vived him but a short time, expiring on the 27th of May 
of the same year. It was deemed advisable that the 
king should contract a second marriage, as by his first 
he had no son left to inherit after his death the crowns 
of Aragon and Sicily, and from among the number of 

* ' 

princesses proposed to him, he chose Blanche, daughter 
of Charles III., surnamed the Noble, king of Navarre, 
and the nuptials were celebrated in 1402. In Decem- 
ber of 1406, the 'queen of Aragon died, greatly regret- 
ted by the whole nation. Daughter and heiress of the 
famous Don Lope de Luna, by his second wife, Bri- 
anda de Agaout, Dona Maria had come into possession 
of her father's vast domains on the express condition 
that one of her descendants should inherit them, and 


bear the title and coat-of-arms of the counts of Luna. 
The death of this queen whose piety, strong intellect, 
prudence and charity, are greatly extolled by all the 
Spanish historians, was followed by that of her only 
surviving son, Martin, king of Sicily, who died in 1409, 
aged thirty-four years. Dona Maria had also given birth 
to a daughter, Margaretta, and to two sons, James and 
John, but these children died in infancy. The rivalry 
of the numerous candidates for the succession to his 
crown, even during his life, so disgusted the widowed 
king of Aragon, that he endeavored, by a second mar- 
riage, to disappoint them all. Dona Margarita de 
Prades, a princess of the royal house of Aragon, and 
daughter of the Count of Prades, was the lady chosen, 
but Martin's hopes of a son were disappointed, and he 
died leaving no issue, in 1410. Nothing more is 
known of Dona Margarita. 



THE death of Martin was followed by an interreg- 
num of two years, during which the numerous pretend- 
ers to the crown strenuously urged their several claims, 
not forgetting to use the forcible argument of arms in 
support of their pretensions. As usual in such cases, 
the powerful nobles of Aragon were divided into factions, 


each supported the party that most favored its interests, 
and great disturbances ensued. Finally the states 
having named a novel tribunal, consisting of nine doc- 
tors learned in the law, the disputed crown was 
awarded to Don Fernando, of Castile, uncle to Juan, 
the reigning sovereign of that country, and son of the 
infanta Leonora of Aragon, sister of the late Don Mar- 
tin. At the period of his accession to the throne, Fer- 
nando was thirty-four years of age, and had been some 
time married to Dona Leonora* or Urraca, Countess of 
Alburquerque and Montalvan, and lady of the five 
townships of the Infantazgo of Castile, so wealthy an 
heiress, that she was surnamed La rica hembra, (the 
rich maid.) By this lady, Ferdinand had six sons, Al- 
fonso, Juan and Ferdinand, who all successively as- 
cended the throne, Enrique, Grand Master of Santiago, 
Pedro and Sanchos and two daughters, Maria, who be- 
came queen of Castile, and Leonor, who became queen 
of Portugal. The crown which his father, Don Juan, 
had used at his coronation as king of Castile, was sent 
to Ferdinand by his mother, to be used at his own 
coronation as king of Aragon ; and this little incident 
was subsequently thought by many to have presaged 
the union of the two kingdoms that took place under 
his grandson, Ferdinand, the second of that name in 
Aragon, and the fifth in Castile. 

The commencement of the reign of Ferdinand was 
disturbed by the restless, ambitious spirit of the Count 

* Urraca was originally the name of the queen of Ferdinand the 
First, but it was afterwards changed to Leonora. 


of Urgel, who had been one of the competitors for th.? 
crown, and who, prompted by his mother, attempted to 
dispute it still with the newly elected sovereign. 
James, Count of Urgel, had married Isabel, daughter of 
Pedro IV., and half sister of that monarch's sons and suc- 
cessors, Juan and Martin, and as his claim to the crown 
was in his wife's name it was set aside, the females 
being excluded, if not by law, by the stubborn opposition 
of the nation. He would probably have submitted to 
the decision of the judges who pronounced in favor of 
the infanta of Castile, had not his mother, the Countess 
Margarita, a woman of a proud spirit and unbounded 
ambition, incited him to persevere in his claim and 
endeavor to obtain by force of arms that which was 
denied him. Ferdinand, in order to ensure the undis- 
turbed possession of his newly acquired honors, en- 
deavored to conciliate the count by proposing that his 
second son should marry the eldest daughter of the 
latter ; no great concession on the king's part, if we 
consider that the little lady was the heiress of her 
father's vast domains, and, being descended on both 
sides from the royal house of Aragon, might have been 
thought a suitable match for any sovereign. But, 
however inclined the count might be to listen to the 
king's advances, the dowager countess would hear of 
no proposals that tended to make her son relinquish 
his claim, and incessantly urged him to reject all over- 
tures from his successful rival. 

" My son, the crown or nothing !" she daily repeated, 
reminding him of the valor and perseverance of his 


ancestor, the infante James, who had so stoutly re- 
sisted the efforts of his brother Pedro IV. to deprive him 
of the succession, and how the majority of the nobles 
and the body of the people had espoused his cause 
Pedro being only able to get rid of his pretensions by 
taking his life. She represented the shame that would 
fall on him should he accept the terms offered. With- 
consummate art, she urged that Ferdinand had ex- 
hausted his treasures and the good will of his support- 
ers in the acquisition of the crown, both of which re- 
sources would be found wanting should the struggle 
be renewed that the nation resented his having 
entered the kingdom at the head of armed troops, 
rather as a conqueror than a chosen sovereign that 
the Aragonese were also greatly angered by the prefer- 
ence given in all appointments to the Castilian adher- 
ents of Ferdinand. She listened with haughty im- 
patience to the messages of the king, rejected his 
offered conditions with scorn, and vowed that her grand- 
children, the Conde's three little daughters should 
never do homage to Urraca, Countess of Alburquerque, 
as she insolently designated the queen. Nor was the 
wife of the Conde less urgent, and the Conde being 
goaded oh, moreover, by his own ambition, raised the 
standard of revolt. The result of this mad enterprise 
proved most unfortunate, the Conde being finally 
defeated, taken and condemned to perpetual imprison- 
ment, while his aspiring mother was deprived of her 
estates and subsequently of her liberty. 

Ferdinand died, aged thirty-seven years, on the 2d 


of April, 1416, in the village of Igualada, six eagues 
from Barcelona. The enemies of this king accuse 
him of having, while regent of Castile, appropriated 
the revenues of his nephew John to the furtherance of 
his claims on Aragon ; they also reproach him with 
seeking to marry his own son, the infante Juan, a 
youth of eighteen, to the queen of Naples, though 
that sovereign was upwards of forty and of no very 
fair repute, while the infante was already betrothed to 
the infanta of Navarre. Accustomed to wield the 
sceptre in Castile, during the minority of the infante 
Juan, Ferdinand could ill brook the arrogance of his 
new subjects, the Aragonese and Catalans, who accus- 
tomed to curb the authority and control the will of 
their monarchs, little relished the despotic sway of 
Ferdinand. The prudence, equity and disinterested- 
ness of Ferdinand's administration while regent in Cas- 
tile, triumphantly refute the accusation of his foes, and 
the peace he maintained during that minority is almost 
unprecedented in history. The alliance with Naples 
was also judicious in a political sense, and his son 
Enrique, grand master of Santiago, whom he proposed 
as a husband for the princess of Navarre, was richly en- 
dowed with Castilian domains. That Ferdinand was 
possessed of many great and noble qualities and that 
his character was stained by no vice is undeniable, and 
his premature death was certainly a misfortune to the 

* Fernando in the will he made the year preceding that of his 
death, left his jewels, gold and silver plate, the towns of Magorga, 


From the period of her husband's death, the inci- 
dents of the life of Leonora become so blended with 
those of the reign of Don Juan, king of Castile, that 
the reader is referred for further particulars to the 
annals of Maria, consort of that sovereign, and daugh- 
ter of Leonor. Hitherjto the auspicious fates had 
left no wish of the favored Leonora ungratified. The 
honored consort of the monarch who had been the 
choice of the nation, mother of five gallant youths, the 
flower of the royal blood of Castile, and of two fair 

Paredes and Villa de Tormes, 18,000 doblas de oro de juro de 
heredad, and 10,000 gold florins o( the Behetrias that he pos- 
sessed in Castile, and all the income that came to him from his 
Castilian domains, for the payment of his debts. In case the mar- 
riage projected between his second son Juan and the queen of Naples 
should not take place, he expressed a wish that Juan should marry 
Isabel, daughter of the king of Navarre and of his aunt Leonora, 
and agdn should this union not be carried into effect, his third son 
Enrique was to marry the princess ; in case none of these mar- 
riages took place, the 10,000 florins Ferdinand had already received 
from the king of Navarre as his daughter's dower, were to be re- 
turned to that sovereign, for the payment of which sum, Ferdinand 
expressly designated his town of Paredes de Nava. The domains 
the king and queen possessed in Castile were distributed as fol- 
lows : to Juan, the Lordship of Lara, the town of Medina del 
Campo, am adjacent vilages, the Duchy of Penafiel, and Condado 
of Mayorga the towns of Cuellar, Castroxeriz, Olmedo, Villalon 
and in Rioja Haro, Bilhorado, Briones and Cerezo, in Cataluria, 
the town of Montblanc with the title of Duke. To the infante, 
Don Enrique, the Condado of Albuquerque, Salvatierra, Miranda, 
Montemayor, Granada and Caliostro, then called the Five Towns. 
To Sancho, the towns of Montaloza, de la Puebla, and Mondejar. 
fo Pedro, the towns of Terrac,an, Villagrasse, and Tarrajo in Cat- 


daughters, whose alliance was eagerly sought by the 
princes of Europe, queen of Aragon, and all but queen 
in Castile, where her immense possessions gave her 
unbounded influence, Leonora seemed placed beyond 
the reach of malice and secured against the caprices of 
fortune. With the reign of Ferdinand, however, ended 
her prosperity, and his death was the first of the long 
series of vicissitudes that chequered the remainder of 
her existence. 



BON ALFONSO the eldest son of Ferdinand I., was 
contracted during his father's reign to Joanna, queen 
of Naples, but ere the prince arrived to claim his bride 
her inconstant humor had chosen another bridegroom 
and Jaques of Bourbon, Count de la Marche, one cer- 
tainly better suited in point of years, had obtained the 
preference. The sequel proved that the prince had 
been fortunate in losing a bride who besides being his 
senior by twenty-two years, became as celebrated for 
her ill conduct as for her misfortunes. The prince, on 
his return to Spain, married his cousin, the infanta 
Dona Maria, daughter of Henry III, king of Castile, 

aluna, and Elche and Crevillen in Castile. To the infantas Maria 
and Leonor, 50,000 iibras Barcelonesas each. 


and of his queen Dona Catalina. The nuptials were 
celeb rated on the 12th of June, 1415, the bride's dower 
consisting of 200,000 doblas Castellanas, besides valu- 
able jewels. This marriage was productive of no hap- 
piness to the wedded pair, inconstancy on one side and 
vindictive rage on the other causing a breach, that time 
was powerless to heal. Alfonso having succeeded his fa- 
ther in 1416, a plot was formed in favor of the Count of 
Urgel, which, however, was almost immediately discov- 
ered, and it was on this occasion that the kinsr obtain- 

* O 

ed his surname of the Magnanimous, by his refusal to 
learn the names of the conspirators, thus putting it out 
of his power to proceed against them. Having, in 1419, 
undertaken in person the pacification of Sardinia, 
Alfonso named his queen to the regency during his 
absence, which after the accomplishment of the object 
of the expedition was prolonged by the following cir- 
cumstances. Dona Juana, the queen of Naples, sur- 
rounded by enemies and kept a prisoner in Naples by 
her nephew, the Duke of Anjou, solicited the aid of her 
former suitor, offering, as a return for the assistance he 
might render her, to adopt him solemnly as her heir. 
After spending some time in that kingdom and experi- 
encing every vicissitude of good and ill fortune in his 
continued warfare with the Duke of Anjou, Sforza, the 
Duke of Milan, and the fickle queen herself, the occur- 
rences in Castile demanding Alfonso's speedy return to 
Spain, and his interference in behalf of his brothers, 
he set out for his own dominions in October of 1423- 
Having on his way beseiged and taken Marseilles, tho 

TMH Qr;:i'..%s HK SPAIN. 

richest of the Duke of Anjou's possessions, Alfonso here 
again proved himself worthy his surname. The city 
having been taken by assault, the principal ladies took 
refuge in the churches, and the king, to whom it was 
reported, ordered the noblest of his gentlemen to mount 
guard at the doors and protect them from insult, while 
he himself went through the town putting a stop to 
the pillage and assisting in extinguishing the fires that 
had broken out in several quarters of the town. The 
dames of Marseilles in gratitude sent their jewels to 
the gallant foe, but the king returned them instantly 
to the donors. The disputes of the Infantes of Aragon 
with the King of Castile* had now arrived at such a 
height that their brother, the king of Aragon, could no 
longer delay taking an active part in the debates, being 
moreover urged by the prayers of his cousin Catalina, 
sister of his own queen, and wife of his brother En- 
rique, who had now been imprisoned over two years by 
the king of Castile. Finding his pacific remonstrances 
of no avail, Alfonso advanced to the frontiers of Castile? 
at the head of a large body of troops, but Maria dread- 
ing the hostile meeting between those so closely allied 
to her, interfered to prevent it, and finally adjusted the 
difficulty, the infante Enrique being reinstated in his 
honors and possessions. The peace was, however, but 
a truce. The king of Castile, a weak-minded monarch, 
alike incapable of love or hatred, was governed entirely 
by his favorite, the Condesable, Don Alonso de Luna, 
between whom and the infantes of Aragon there 
* Vide " Annals of Maria of Castile, wife of Juan 2d." 



existed that deep hatred so frequently resulting from 
clashing interests ; and both parties being equally intent 
on governing both king and kingdom, the strife was 
renewed with increased animosity. Alfonso, in the 
support of his brother's interests, involved his subjects 
in the expenses incidental to war, but which, in the 
present case, being productive of no ultimate benefit to 
the nation, were doubly galling. After wasting the 
resources of his dominions in this family quarrel, 
Alfonso was compelled to return to Naples and secure 
his inheritance there, but the fickle nature of Joanna 
proved a fertile source of vexation and annoyance, and 
the unavoidable warfare finally ended with the capture 
and imprisonment, by the Genoese, of Alfonso, his bro- 
ther Juan, king of Navarre,* and Don Enrique. Mean- 
while Maria, who had again been left regent in Aragon, 
had obtained a truce of her brother, the king of Castile, 
who, notwithstanding the weakness of his intellect, was 
too good a knight to persist in waging war when his 
opponents were two ladies, and of those ladies the one 
his sister the other his cousin. f The queen of Aragon 
having had a conference with her brother, for the 
purpose of obtaining this truce, was treated by him 
with the utmost affection : and these natural tokens of 
brotherly love were subsequently interpreted greatly to 
the queen's disadvantage, the petty jealousy of the 

* Don Juan having married the infanta of Navarre, on the death 
of his father-in-law, Carlos, in 1421, had succeeded to the throne 
of Navarre. Vide " Life of Blanche, of Navarre." 

f Blanche, who was left Regent of Navarre in her husband's 
absence, was daughter of Leonor. aunt of Juan. 


king inclining him to suspect her of favoring her 
brother's party more than his. In 1429, the inter- 
ference of Maria again prevented the effusion of blood. 
The Castilian and Aragonian armies being about to 
engage, Maria hastened to the spot, caused her tent to 
be pitched between the hostile troops, and passing from 
one to the other, so wrought upon the better feelings of 
her husband and brother, that peace was again patched 
up between them. In this same year, Don Francisco 
de Arguello, Archbishop of Saragossa, being convicted 
of holding a traitorous correspondence with the Con- 
destable of Castile, was thrown into prison, and there 
privately strangled. Though his punishment was 
generally known, it excited neither resentment nor 
surprise, as it was thought to have been deservedly 
incurred, but the true motives of this summary execu- 
tion are otherwise reported by some writers. It is 
said, that one day as he was walking with the queen, 
to whom etiquette demanded that he should offer his 
arm, the prelate, forgetting the respect due her, had the 
insolence to use improper language to his sovereign. 
Maria, whose honor is unimpeached, forbore to notice 
his words, and even affected not to have heard them, 
but they were noted by others and reported to the 
king. That night Arguello was seized, strangled, and 
thrown into the Ebro. Though Maria had qualities 
that won her the esteem and veneration of her sub- 
jects, her domestic life was most unhappy. The pas- 
sion of Alfonso for Dona Margarita de Ijar, one of the 
queen's ladies, had caused much disquiet for some 


time to Maria, and the truth of her suspicions having 
become but too manifest, in a fit of jealous frenzy she 
ordered her hapless rival to be strangled. The king, who 
was at the time engaged in hunting, was so enraged 
when told of the fate of his mistress and her unborn 
babe, that he took a solemn oath he would never again 
live with the queen, and this oath he never once broke 
during the course of his long reign. The queen being 
childless, the most binding of all ties was wanting be- 
tween the estranged pair, and though the unhappy 
Maria loved her faithless lord to the last day of her 
life with undiminished affection, the pitiless revenge 
she had consummated was never forgiven, and the indif- 
ference of Alfonso waxing from that day into absolute 
hatred, he lost no opportunity of mortifying and vexing 
her. In 1435, he took from her the regency of Aragon 
and Valencia, leaving her that of Catoluna alone, and 
even in that she was associated with her brother-in-law 
the king of Navarre, to whom he also gave the govern- 
ment of the provinces taken from the sway of Maria. 
The queen deeply wounded by this undeserved insult, 
in the speech she delivered on taking leave of the Cor- 
tes, openly testified her resentment, saying : " Hence- 
forward the regency of the kingdoms of Aragon and 
Valencia will be filled by another," thus carefully 
abstaining from mentioning her brother-in-law, between 
whom and herself there was now that enmity that is 
the infallible result of rivalry in power. Maria never 
was reconciled to her husband, who spent the greater 
part of his life warring in Italy, and who during the 


latter part of it became so much attached to one of his 
mistresses, Lucretia de Alano, that he endeavored to 
get divorced from his queen that he might give this 
lady the place on the throne she occupied in his heart, 
but this design was frustrated bv the firmness of his 


enemy, Pope Calixto. who constantly refused to give it 
his assent. Don Alfonso died in 1458, in the 65th 
year of his age, and the 43d of his reign. His animos- 
ity survived him, for he omitted all mention of Maria 
in his will. 

Dona Maria died in the same year, in the city of 
Valencia, having lived estranged from her husband 
twenty-six years, never having even seen him after 
his second expedition to Naples, in 1432. 




DURING the protracted absence of Alfonso V., in his 
kingdom of Naples, his hereditary dominions were gov- 
erned by his brother Juan, who, by the death of his 
father-in-law, Charles III., the Noble, had become 
king of Navarre. Blanche of Navarre, the first wife 
of Juan, dying in 1442, he contracted, in 1447, a 
second marriage with Juana Henriquez, daughter of 


Don Frederico Henriquez, admiral of Castile. This 
lady, who was of the blood royal of Castile, though 
much younger than her husband, possessed an 
equal share of energy and resolution, and rendered 
herself as famous for her consummate skill in mili- 
tary affairs, and diplomacy, for her grasping ambition, 
persevering spirit and daring courage, as for the hatred 
with which she pursued her amiable step-son, and 
sought to deprive him of his maternal inheritance. 
A retrospective glance should have warned her to 
beware of following the pernicious examples of sev- 
eral of the queens, her predecessors, whose ungen- 
erous conduct towards their step-sons had so fre- 
quently ignited the torch of civil war, and proved the 
source of every ill, not only to the kingdom, but to the 
reigning royal family. But Juana profited not by the 
lessons of the past, and this one trait throws a shadow 
over her many good qualities, and the splendid talents 
that seemed to proclaim her born to reign. Indeed, 
her hatred towards the hapless prince of Viana ap- 
pears unfounded and gratuitous, as it was made 
manifest long previous to the birth of her own son, 
Fernando, in whose favor it was natural for one of her 
ambitious spirit to seek to dispossess the elder son 
and heir. 

Charles was entitled, by his mother's marriage con- 
tract, confirmed by the wills of his grandfather and 
his mother, to claim, at the death of the latter, tho 
kingdom of Navarre, of which he had been, during 
the last years of her life, the lieutenant-general ; but, 


content with exercising the rights of a sovereign, he 
willingly allowed his father to retain the title for some 
years after the death of Blanche. The calm was 
broken, in 1452, by Juan sending his young queen 
into Navarre, and empowering her to share the ad- 
ministration of government with the crown prince and 
rightful sovereign, whose superior and cultivated 
intellect, as well as his mature age, should have se- 
cured him from such an insult. Juana herself, far from 
softening the blow by a judicious and mild behavior, 
seemed to take pleasure in adding to the prince's mor- 
tification by the most insolent assumption of authority 
and an overbearing demeanor, taking no pains to dis- 
semble the malice she bore him. It is asserted by 
some writers that during her stay in Navarre, the 
queen wishing to do honor to the admiral her father, 
who was at the time an exile from the court of Castile, 
desired the prince should wait on him at table, 
and that his refusal to do so occasioned the rup- 
ture between him and the admiral. This story, 
however, is extremely improbable, as the queen would 
never have dared to make such a request of one who 
was in reality the lawful sovereign of the realm, nor, 
had she expressed such a wish, would the admiral, who 
was an accomplished and courteous noble, have given 
it his sanction. Two rival factions now divided 
Navarre ; the Beaumonts who sided with their prince, 
and the Agramonts who belonged to the old king's 
party, and confusion and discord reigned throughout 
the country. Juana, who, at her arrival in Navarre, 


was in the commencement of her pregnancy, remained 
there until March of the following year, when the 
period of her confinement drawing near, unwilling it 
should take place there she determined to return to 
Aragon. She was placed in a litter, but compelled to 
stop at the first village she came to, after passing the 
frontiers, and at this place, called Sos, was born Fer- 
nando, whose prospects then, as a younger brother, 
little foretold the glorious destiny that awaited him as 
monarch of all Spain and lord of a new world. The 
birth of this son was a joyful event to King Juan, who 
from that time centered on the offspring of his second 
wife all his hopes and affections, treating those of the 
first with an indifference that amounted to aversion. 
War now broke out between the rival factions, the 
prince claiming his rights and the king withholding 
them, each alternately gaining the ascendancy, though 
without any decided advantage on either side. This 
state of things continued until the year 1457, when 
the prince, tired of contending with his father, deter- 
mined to repair to Naples and solicit the protection 
and mediation of his uncle Alfonso. "While on his way 
thither he was received with the utmost kindness in 
France and Italy, especially in Rome by Pope Calixto, 
the gallant bearing, refined manners, and (for that age,) 
extraordinary learning of the prince, winning the admi- 
ration and love of all who knew him. On reaching 
the court of Naples, he was received with open arms 
by his uncle, who beheld in this accomplished knight 
the worthy heir of his kingdoms of Aragon and Naples, 


Alfonso himself having no legitimate children. With 
great tact and judgment the king undertook to recon- 
cile the father and son, and put an end to the unnatural 
contest that desolated Navarre, but unfortunately his 
death, which occurred in the following year, prevented 
him from fulfilling his kind and wise designs, and the 
crown of Aragon fell to his brother Juan, who during 
the protracted absence for twenty-three years of Alfon- 
so in Naples, had been regent of the kingdom he now 
inherited at the advanced age of sixty-two. Thus Na- 
varre and Aragon were again united after having been 
separated three hundred and twenty-three years and 
eight months, since the death of Alfonso the Warrior. 
Juan had then been reigning in Navarre nearly thirty- 
three years since the death of his father-in-law Charles 
the Noble, and by his contracting a second marriage, 
was not, in law, entitled to that kingdom which, as the 
dower of his first wife, reverted to her children. Alfon- 
so had left his kingdom of Naples to his illegitimate 
son Don Fadrique, but a strong party of the Neapo- 
litans preferring the legitimate nephew to the bastard 
son, offered the crown to Carlos, who, however, refused 

The kingdom of Naples being once more the prey of 
factions, the prince went over to Sicily, which in con- 
sequence of Alfonso's death now formed part of Juan's 
possessions. Here he was received with extraordinary 
rejoicings, the mental and physical qualities of this 
elegant cavalier and accomplished scholar, completely 
fascinating the enthusiastic Sicilians, who paid him 


the honors due him as Prince of Viana, heir on the 
mother's side of Navarre, and now Prince of Grirona, 
and as heir of Juan, crown-prince of the kingdoms 
of Aragon, Valencia, of the principality of Catalona, 
and of the kingdoms of Sicily, Sardinia, Mallorca and 
Minorca, and other islands of the Mediterranean. 
Charles remained in Sicily until the middle of the year 
1459. The Sicilians, to whom he daily became more 
endeared, actually entreated him to accept the sove- 
reignty of Sicily, and the old king alarmed at the exces- 
sive predilection shown his hated son, now endeavored 
to induce him to return to Aragon. Juan's concilia- 
tory messages were received by the prince with un- 
feigned joy, and he hastened to comply with his fa- 
ther's wishes that he should return. The generous 
Sicilians, during the residence among them of the 
prince, had voted the sum of 25,000 florins to defray 
the expenses of the penniless heir of so many king- 
doms, and several of the principal lords accompanied 
him home. The city of Barcelona had prepared magni- 
ficent fetes to celebrate his arrival, but conscious of 
the jealousy such a reception would cause to his step- 
mother, Charles prudently declined these honors, and 
avoiding Barcelona proceeded to Igualada, where he 
was received by the king and queen with apparent 
kindness, reciprocated on his part by the most submis- 
sive demeanor and expressions of unfeigned regret for 
the past resistance he had shown to them. But the 
mask was soon thrown aside by the king, who, urged 
by Juana, openly reproached the Catalans for doing his 


son honor as crown-prince, and in the Aragonese Cortes 
he convened at Fraga to receive their homage, refused 
to allow of their swearing allegiance to Charles as heir 
presumptive, according to custom. The queen, eager 
to increase the dislike of Juan to his son, and to accom- 
plish the ruin of the latter, communicated to the king 
a message she had received from her father, the admi- 
ral, purporting that the prince had concluded an al- 
liance with Castile, agreeing to go thither, marry the 
infanta Isabella, and at the head of a large body of 
Castilian troops return to dispossess his father and 
assume his crown. The king, prejudiced as he was 
against his son, still refused to give credit to a tale 
where the authority was certainly a partial one, and 
as such scarcely to be relied on. The admiral was a 
disaffected subject of the king of Castile, and an ene- 
my of his daughter's step-son, whom that sovereign 
sought to protect and support, and his testimony was 
greatly doubted by Juan. The queen, seeing her com- 
munication disregarded, burst into tears, loudly and 
bitterly lamenting what she termed the blindness of 
her husband, who though warned of his danger by no 
less a friend than the father of his queen and the 
grandfather of his children, would take no steps to save 
himself and his family from ruin. Juana was no 
mean adept in the art of persuasion, her influence 
over her aged husband was unbounded, and combated 
in his heart by no paternal affection for Charles. She 
therefore soon accomplished her object. Juan having 
determined to proceed to extremes against his son, 


sent him orders to meet him at Lerida where the Ara- 
gonese Cortes was in session. Charles, overjoyed at 
this, as he hoped his father was about to allow him to 
be proclaimed heir, hastened to obey, but on his arrival 
found the wily monarch had arranged matters so that 
the Cortes had been dissolved a few hours previous. 
The ambassadors from Castile who were with the 
prince, urging him to fulfil the preconcerted contract 
with Isabel, at the time he received his father's mes- 
sage, strongly advised him against obeying it, but he 
was not to be dissuaded. When he came into his 
father's presence the latter allowed him to kiss his 
hand, but ordered his immediate arrest. The prince 
astounded at the treachery broke forth into eloquent 
remonstrations and expostulations, but to no effect. 
The news spread through the town instantly, and, an 
unforeseen circumstance, which with all his cunning 
the king had overlooked, overturned all his well de- 
vised schemes. The deputies were still in Lerida, and, 
remembering the privilege that allowed the Cortes to 
prolong its session for an indefinite period if reas- 
sembled within six hours after its dissolution, that pe- 
riod not having expired, immediately met and pro- 
ceeded to take measures in the prince's behalf. The 
deputation of Aragon and a delegation from the coun- 
cil of Barcelona sent an embassy to Juan inquiring his 
reasons for thus proceeding against his son. Juan, 
however, would give no positive answer, merely hint- 
ing at a plot having been formed by the prince against 
him, and intimating that he himself would punish the 


conspirator without requiring their advice. This eva- 
sive reply caused a ferment throughout the nation. 
The queen's hatred to Charles was well known, and it 
was suspected she would hesitate at no measures that 
would rid her of the obnoxious prince who stood be- 
tween her son and the throne. 

Besides the motives that already prompted her 
to ruin Charles, the latter feeling how little reli- 
ance could be placed on his father's good faith, had 
accepted the proposal made him by Henry IV., of his 
sister's hand, hoping by this marriage with Isabel to 
secure a strong ally in the Castilian king, who was 
moreover well inclined towards him. This project was 
exceedingly galling to the queen, whose darling plan 
was to marry her own son to the infanta, and, to cut 
short all interference she hastened the catastrophe of 
Charles's fate. But she found more difficulty in effecting 
her purpose than she had anticipated. The indignant 
Catalans rose en mass?., and an army was formed that 
was commanded by men of the first rank. The gov- 
ernor of Barcelona, a partisan of the king, was thrown 
into prison, a large body of men hastened to Lerida to 
seize the royal family, and the king, though warned of 
the danger, barely escaped falling into the hands of 
his infuriated subjects. His coolness and presence of 
mind alone saved him ; for, having ordered the eve- 
ning repast to be prepared as usual, he took horse at 
dusk, with one or two followers, taking the road to 
Fraga in Aragon. He had scarcely quitted Lerida, 
when the rebels entered it. They broke into the 


palace, searching every apartment, and thrusting their 
swords through the hangings and into the beds, in 
their determined rage, and fear lest the king should lie 
there concealed and thus escape them. The orga- 
nized army of the Catalans pursued the monarch to 
Fraga, and entered that town while the royal family, 
and the Aragonese Cortes assembled there made their 
escape to Saragossa. Meanwhile Prince Charles was 
kept in close confinement in the impregnable strong- 
hold of Morella, on the borders of Valencia. The 
King of Castile, indignant at the treatment of his 
friend, sent a body of 1,500 horse to the aid of the 
Catalans, and the Castilian troops, entering Aragon, 
ravaged the country through which they passed. The 
insurrection spread throughout Aragon, Valencia, Na- 
varre, Sicily and Sardinia, and the king seeing all 
resistance vain to oppose the tide of public opinion that 
threatened to hurl him from his throne, and overwhelm 
the objects of his love with irremediable ruin, at length 
decided on restoring the prince to liberty. To allay the 
hate of the people to the queen, he made proclamation 
that he pardoned his son at the earnest request of 
Juana, and the latter accompanying the prince, having 
met the Catalans near Villa Franca, delivered him into 
their hands, but was told that she could not be allowed 
to proceed to Barcelona with him, as she had intended, 
and was forced to return to Saragossa. Charles was 
received with the most extravagant demonstrations of 
joy in Barcelona, but the hapless prince was not des- 
tined to enjoy long the enviable position in which the 


enthusiastic love of the people had placed him. From 
his prison Charles brought the germs of the disease 
that baffling the skill of the leeches, soon after ter- 
minated his existence. The war, in the meantime, 
continued in Navarre with unabated violence, and 
great success on the part of the adherents of the 
prince, who were assisted by the co-operation of Cas- 
tilian forces. The Catalans, it is true, returned to 
their allegiance, but not until John had purchased it 
by submitting to the most humiliating conditions. 
The queen, to whom John had confided the negotia- 
tion of these conditions, vainly attempted to enter 
Barcelona, which refused to receive her ; and, on at- 
tempting to pass through Tarraga, where she purposed 
to stop and dine, that town closed its gates against her, 
the bells being rung at her approach, as was the cus- 
tom on the appearance of an enemy, or to order the 
pursuit of a criminal. The Catalans, among other 
conditions, exacted that the prince should be named 
Lieutenant-G-eneral of Catalonia, and that John should 
never presume to enter that province without pre- 
viously obtaining the consent of the inhabitants. Bit- 
ter as were these conditions, the king, attacked on all 
sides, was compelled to accede to them, and the queen 
signed them in his name. The marriage between Isa- 
bel and Charles was, notwithstanding the disparity of 
their ages the prince being in his forty-first year, and 
the princess in her thirteenth about to be concluded, 
when he was carried off by the fever, that had been 
wearing him away since his release. Many authors 


hesitate not to affirm that his death was attrib- 
utable to poison administered by Juana's orders in 
Morella, and if we consider the hatred she bore him, 
her insatiable ambition, and the obstacle he was 
to the advancement of her own son, there cer- 
tainly seems a great foundation for suspicion of foul 
play. The death of Charles took place on the 23d of 
September, 1461, in the seventh month after his re- 
lease, and this event, though it left the path to the throne 
free to the son of Juana, occasioned so violent a commo- 
tion throughout the nation as greatly to increase the 
manifold anxieties of the king and his consort. The 
untoward fate of their beloved prince was loudly 
lamented, and his many noble qualities forming a 
striking contrast to the gloomy, perfidious character 
of his father, exalting him in the eyes of the admiring 
but ignorant lower classes, caused him to be worship- 
ped as a saint. During his illness, continual prayers, 
sacrifices, masses, and extravagant vows were offered 
to obtain of Heaven his restoration to health, and after 
his death, miracles were said to be performed at his 
tomb. The haste with which the king caused his son 
Fernando to be sworn heir in Aragon, within a fort- 
night of the death of Charles, contrasted also glaring- 
ly with the opposition he had made to that ceremony 
being performed in the case of the latter. The queen 
then accompanied her son to Catalonia, in order to 
obtain the like homage from that province. Here, 
though apparently all was quiet, the minds of the 
inhabitants were in a state of ferment that boded 


no good. The ghost of the unfortunate prince was 
said to walk through the streets of Barcelona, de- 
manding vengeance on his murderers, and the ex- 
asperation of the people rose to such a height that 
Juana was forced to withdraw from the capital, 
though, with the matchless ability that character- 
ized her, she had during her stay managed to ob- 
tain her object from the Assembly. Juana retir- 
ed with her son and a few adherents to the fortified 
town of Grerona, some fifty miles from Barcelona. 
Hither she was pursued by the insurgent forces, com- 
manded by the Conde Pallas, a powerful noble. The 
town was besieged, and the queen and her son com- 
pelled to take refuge in the tower of the cathedral. 
The Catalans were so much opposed to Juan and his 
queen, that they offered to the king of Castile the 
sovereignty of all Juan's dominions. The inhabitants 
of Barcelona proclaimed Juan and Juana public foes 
and murderers of the Prince of Viana, and sent an 
appeal to the pope. Blanche, sister and heiress of 
Prince Charles, was made the means of procuring for 
the vexed king the assistance of the French king, 
who offered troops to Juan if he would place the 
princess in the hands of her sister, the Countess of Foix. 
The object of this was to prevent Blanche from marry- 
ing again and thus secure the inheritance of the king- 
dom of Navarre to the Count de Foix and his wife. 
(Vide life of Blanche, Queens of Navarre, Vol. II.) 
Juan who was deterred by no considerations of pa- 
rental affection or duty towards the children of his 


first marriage, readily sacrificed the hapless princess, 
and was compensated by the immediate assistance of 
seven hundred French lances.* The arrival of the 
French force was most opportune for Juan, who was 
reduced to the greatest straits in the tower of Griro- 
nella. The insurgents forcibly entered the town, but 
all their efforts to obtain possession of the persons 
of Juana and her son were vain. Zurita and Abarca 
tell us five thousand balls were fired at the castle in 
one day, doubtless a mistake or an exaggeration, but, 
be this as it may, the assailants spared no efforts to ac- 
complish their object. Wooden towers, of the height of 
the castle, were erected and surmounted with artillery, 
and mines were run under the castle, by which the ene- 
my having penetrated,had well nigh accomplished their 
object. But the little force within, constantly on the 
alert, perpetually repulsed the besiegers and defeated 
their designs. The queen, with the cool intrepidity 
that formed one of the chief traits of her character, un- 
dismayed on her own account, sought only to ensure the 
safety of her son, regardless of her own. Leading 
Ferdinand, then a boy of ten years of age, by the 
hand, she appealed to the good feelings of the defend- 
ers of the castle, and, with irresistible eloquence, con- 
fided him to their loyalty and devotion, and expressed 
a confidence in their ultimate success that perhaps 
she was far from feeling. Without the slightest emo- 
tion of fear she visited every part of the defences, justi- 

* These seven hundred lances, with the accompanying archers 
and artillery, constituted a force of 6000 horse. 


fying the surname of the "Royal Lioness," applied to 
her by the Spanish historians. 

The arrival of the French at length relieved her 
anxiety, and the insurgents were forced to raise the 
siege. The inhabitants of Grerona, who had forsaken 
the queen's cause when it appeared desperate, now 
threw themselves on the mercy of her whom, when 
sore pressed by enemies, they had driven from among 
them, and compelled to take refuge in the tower ; but 
the joy of her release had inclined Juana to clemency, 
and she freely forgave them their former defection. 
The king, with an activity that recalled the days of 
his youth, assisted by his French allies, and many of 
the Catalan nobles, who, prince Charles being dead, 
preferred their own rightful sovereign to a foreign 
monarch, now rapidly reduced many important places. 
The king of Castile being of too indolent a nature to 
accept the offer the Catalans had made him, they 
conferred the crown on Don Pedro, a Portuguese noble, 
and a descendant of the royal house of Barcelona. 
This prince had neither energy nor means to support 
himself in the dignity ; and unloved and unlamented by 
the very nation that had called him, he died of a fever 
in June of 1466. The king now resolved to endeavor 
to negotiate with the insurgents, but with the obsti- 
nacy that characterises them, the Catalans refused 
to listen to his overtures, and the council at Bar- 
celona suspecting two of the chief inhabitants of 
the city of inclining to the king, caused them to be ex- 
ecuted. The despatches brought by a messenger from 


the Cortes of Aragon were torn to pieces before his face. 
The crown was now offered to Rene, of Anjou, who, 
too old to undertake the assertion of the rights thus 
given him, deputed his son Juan, Duke of Lorraine 
and Calabria, to secure the prize. This gallant cava- 
lier, a warrior from his youth upwards, endowed with 
all the qualities of a hero of romance, was well-fitted 
for this adventurous enterprise. His known prowess 
and ability as a leader soon brought crowds to his 
standard, and he commenced his perilous campaign at 
the head of eight thousand men well armed and 
equipped. Luis XL, who was too wily openly to en- 
courage this competitor of the king of Aragon, gave 
him indirect but efficient assistance, by allowing a 
pass through Roussillon into the north of Catalonia. 
This new and violent blow had well nigh staggered 
Juan, who was just beginning to regain the ascen- 
dancy. His ally, the king of France, failed to send the 
promised subsidies, and his own exhausted treasury 
offered no resources to carry on the war. The cruelty 
with which he had treated two of his children, both of 
whom by his means had met with an untimely death, 
was now visited on him by the unfilial conduct of his 
third child, Leonor, Countess of Foix, who, without 
consideration for the straits to which her aged father 
was reduced, demanded and prepared to wrest from 
him the kingdom of Navarre, the inheritance she had 
so ruthlessly purchased with the murder of an inno- 
cent sister. Worse than all these evils was the per- 
sonal misfortune that at this period fell on Juan. His 


sight, which had been greatly injured by the exposure 
and privations he had endured during the protracted 
winter siege of Amposta, now utterly failed him, and 
the blind, and nearly octogenarian monarch, hated 
by the majority of his subjects, deserted at his utmost 
need by his allies, seemed on the eve of being hurled 
from the throne he had sought to consolidate at the 
cost of those who should have been as dear as they 
were near to him. But the energy and resolution 
that had actuated him in his youth, still remained un- 
impaired in his advanced years, and Juan, in January of 
1467, prepared to continue the war on the frontiers of 
Barcelona with as much alacrity as ever. One friend, 
too, was left him, whose dauntless spirit was equal 
to the task of extricating him from the toils into which 
her own ambition had precipitated him. Juana, spar- 
ing no efforts by which she could procure assistance for 
her husband, proceeded to Saragossa to preside over the 
Aragonese Cortes held there, and obtained from them a 
body of five hundred horse with pay for nine months 
At the head of this force, and accompanied by her son 
Ferdinand, she crossed by water to the eastern shore 
of Catalonia, where she laid siege to Rosas. The bet- 
ter to facilitate her designs on this place, by cutting 
off its resources, Juana sent detachments to seize on 
the surrounding castles. The Duke of Lorraine 
having, with a view of causing a diversion, laid siege 
to Gferona, the queen promptly introduced succors of 
men and provisions into the city, though she thereby 
greatly impoverished her own weak force. The stout 


resistance made by the governor of Gferona having 
occasioned great loss of men to the duke, he retreated 
to Barcelona. 

During the siege of G-erona, young Ferdinand, 
then 15 years of age, having, in the heat of his 
youthful ardor, advanced too far in one of the sallies 
made by the besieged, was well nigh captured by 
the enemy, but was saved by the devotion of his 
attendants, several throwing themselves between 
him and his pursuers, and facilitating his escape at 
the cost of their own liberty. Among these faithful 
adherents was the brave and noble Don Rodrigo de 
Rebolledo, whose military fame was such, that after 
several years captivity, his freedom was valued at the 
rate of 10,000 florins. 

Notwithstanding the strenuous efforts of Juan and 
his warlike queen, the Duke of Lorraine continued 
his advances , and possessed himself of the fertile dis- 
trict of Ampurdan. In Barcelona his popularity was 
equal to that which had been enjoyed by the ill-fated 
Prince of Viana, his princely bearing, noble qualities 
and affable, courteous demeanor, securing him the 
good will of all classes. No efforts were spared to 
secure him the crown which they had bestowed on 
him. The ladies pawned their jewels to assist in de- 
fraying the expenses of the war, and when he rode 
through the streets his progress was retarded by the 
enthusiastic demonstrations of affection of the crowds 
that always surrounded him. In the meanwhile the 
indefatigable Juana. insensible to fatigue, notwithstand- 


ing the delicate state of her health, set out for Exija, in 
order to conciliate and pacify the Countess of Foix, 
and in the interview that took place between these 
ladies, were settled all the points of difference that 
had added so much to the embarrassments of Juan. 
The queen and princess entered into the solemn 
league, which kings and princes entered into for the 
mutual defence of their dominions, taking the knightly 
and military oath of being friends of each other's friends, 
enemies of each other's enemies, against all and every 
person in the world without exception ; the infanta, bind- 
ing herself to lend assistance to the utmost of her power, 
for the defence of her brother Ferdinand's rights in Ara- 
gon, Sicily, &c. And the queen on her side, swore 
to defend the rights of Leonora to the kingdom of 
Navarre. This unparalleled instance of this military 
oath being taken by two princesses, took place on the 
9th of June of this year, and was witnessed by the Arch- 
bishops of Saragossa, and the Bishop of Pamplona 
By this treaty, the princess engaged to wait until the 
decease of her father for the inheritance of Navarre, of 
which the queen ensured her the pacific and undisput- 
ed succession. Thus the old queen's talent for diplo- 
macy removed one of the king's greatest difficulties. 
But the day was approaching when Juan was to suffer 
the severest blow of all, in the loss of this faithful and 
efficient consort. In the winter of the following year, 
Juana fell a victim to the painful disease that had 
long been undermining her constitution, had occa- 
sioned sufferings that would have prostrated most 


of her sex on a bed of sickness. But her spirit 
was cast in no common mould, and subduing all mani- 
festation of pain, she continued to the last to endure 
fatigues and perils with a fortitude more than manly. 
Her death was a great calamity to Juan, for though 
her hatred to Charles had involved him in all his diffi- 
culties, her uncommon talents and fertile genius af- 
forded him immense resources whereby to overcome 
them. Of the four children to whom Juana had given 
birth, Ferdinand, Juana, Leonor, and Marina, the two 
first alone survived her. The queen died of cancer, 
on the 13th of February, 1468, and in the following 
year, as though to compensate in a measure the loss 
of this invaluable friend, the king's enemy and com- 
petitor the gallant young Duke of Lorraine, expired 
in Barcelona, to the great sorrow of the Catalans. 

It is reported that on her death-bed, the queen ex- 
claimed several times, " My son, my son, how dear thou 
hast cost me !" and though the king is said by some 
authors to have attended her bed of death with affec- 
tionate solicitude, others affirm that having been told 
that she acknowledged herself guilty of causing the 
death of his son, he retired to his chamber, refusing to 
leave it or see her until she had expired. It is not very 
probable that Juan, who had persecuted his son to his 
last day and given his daughter up to her mortal foes, 
would feel so much anger at the conduct of his ac- 
complice in these iniquitous proceedings. Juana was 
buried, in accordance with her own request, in the 
monastery of Poblete. 


Juan was also fortunate enough to recover, at his 
advanced age, the use of his eye-sight, a Jewish 
physician having successfully performed the then very 
unusual operation of couching both his eyes. Thus 
was this ancient warrior enabled once more to super- 
intend in person the defence of his dominions. The 
war was carried on with varied success in Catalonia, 
until the year 1472, when the king made his entry in 
Barcelona, on the 22d of December, and in the great 
palace swore to respect the constitution and laws of 
Catalonia. But the submission of the Catalans did 
not bring with it the cessation of war in Juan's do- 
minions. The pretensions of France to the county of 
Roussillon occasioned a long and destructive warfare, 
that occupied Juan to the end of his days. Juan died 
at the age of eighty -two, in Barcelona, on the 19th of 
January, 1474, having reigned in Navarre fifty-three 
years, and in Aragon twenty. 


1034 TO 1475 

IK) (IF A V^'vvJ ^ - : ' 





DONA SANCHA, daughter of Don Alfonso first king of 
Leon by his wife, Dona Elvira, was first contracted to 
the young Earl of Castile, as related in the life of 
Dona Teresa of Leon. She subsequently married, in 
1030, Ferdinand, second son of Don Sancho, king of 
Navarre. This prince having inherited in 1034, from 
his mother, the Condado of Castile, then first erected 
into a kingdom, became also king of Leon in 1037, by 
the death of his brother-in-law, Bermudo III., Sancha 
being the sole heiress of the crown. Before her ac- 
cession to the throne of Leon, Sancha had given birth 
to three children, Urraca, Sancha who succeeded his 
father, and Elvira, who, long after her father's death, 
was married by her brother Alfonso to the Conde de 
Cabra. In 1035, Sancha gave birth to Alfonso, who 
also ascended the throne, and some time after to Gar- 


cia, the youngest. The education bestowed on these 
princes by their parents is highly extolled by the an- 
cient chronicles of those times. Ferdinand, who from 
his many victories over the Moors, and his numerous 
personal exploits, was surnamed the Great, had done 
well had he stained his sword with the blood of Infi- 
dels alone ; but having had some unhappy altercations 
with his elder brother Garcia king of Navarre, who 
beheld with jealous eyes the superior power of the 
younger, the troops of the two sovereigns met, at Ata- 
puerca, a village within four leagues of Burgos, and 
after a fierce engagement Garcia was slain. This 
battle was fought in 1054. Ferdinand, shocked at the 
unhappy result of the quarrel, bitterly lamented the 
death of his brother, and ordered his body to be restored 
to the Navarrese, that they might return with it to Na- 
varre, and inter it with regal honors. In the latter 
part of the king's reign, taking advantage of his ad- 
vanced age, and the poverty of the exchequer, the 
tributary Moors, formerly subdued by Ferdinand, rose 
on every side, but more especially in the kingdom of 
Toledo, among the Celtiberie (inhabitants of a certain 
part of Aragon). In this emergency, Dona Sancha 
gave proof of her patriotic and religious spirit, sac- 
rificing all she possessed in money, plate and jewels, 
to defray the expenses of the war. This timely sup- 
ply so encouraged the king, by enabling him to raise 
a powerful army, that he attacked the Moors near the 
Ebro, overthrew thorn, and advancing as far as Cata- 
lonia and Valencia, returned thence with a large booty. 


The same success attended him against the Moors of the 
kingdom of Toledo, whom he obliged to take oath, that 
they would punctually pay the tribute that Ferdinand 
had formerly exacted from them. Having returned tri- 
umphantly from this expedition, Ferdinand died shortly 
after, in the year 1067. Dona Sancha survived her 
husband two years, and was buried by his side in the 
church of St. Isidorus, in the city of Leon. During 
this reign, the renowned soldier, Don Rodrigo del Bi- 
var, laid the foundation of that fame that has rendered 
him the most celebrated of Spain's numerous heroes. 
Don Fernando imitated the evil example set him by 
his father, in subdividing the kingdom at his death 
among his children, and this error of judgment occa- 
sioned new and violent civil wars, that distracted 
the kingdom until again united under the sway of his 
second son, Alfonso. The king's will gave to Sancho, 
Castile ; to Alfonso, the kingdom of Leon, the territory 
of Campo and some towns in Gralicia ; to Gfarcia, the 
youngest son, the remainder of Gralicia and as much 
of Portugal as had been taken from the Moors. To 
his daughter, Urraca, he gave the town of Zamora, 
and to Elvira that of Toro. This king has been 
celebrated for his many good and noble qualities, and 
his queen no less so, being described as "a right excel- 
lent lady, of good understanding, right loving to her 
lord, whom she ever counselled Arell, being herself 
called the mirror of his kingdom and the friend of 
widows and orphans." 









THE beneficial influence of Dona Sancha maintained 
a show of harmony among her children during the 
short period that elapsed between the death of Fer- 
dinand and her son, but the rancor occasioned by the 
division of the kingdom, which he considered should 
have been united under the eldest son, could not long 
be suppressed by Sancho, and, in the fourth year of his 
reign, he attacked, defeated and imprisoned his brother 
Grarcia, depriving him of the domains assigned him 
by his father. Not content with this increase of power, 
the insatiable ambition of Sancho, aiming at the 
recovery of all his father's dominions, now waged war 
against Alfonso, the king of Leon, and, though the 
first day, the tide of battle was against the Oastilians 
who were routed, the courage and perseverance of 
Don Rodrigo del Bivar rallied them on the second, and 
the Leonese in their turn were defeated, Alfonso him- 
self being taken a prisoner to Burgos. To secure his 
life, Alfonso consented to take orders in the monastery 
of Sahagun ; but a monastic life was ill suited to the 
warlike spirit of one whose youth had been spent in 


the martial exercises of the chivalry of that age, and, 
through the instrumentality of his sister Urraca, by 
whom he was greatly beloved, Alfonso escaped and 
took refuge at the court of Almenon, the Moorish king 
of Toledo. Here he remained some time, being 
treated with great courtesy and hospitality, by Al- 
menon, to whom he greatly endeared himself, by 
his winning manners. Meanwhile Sancho caused 
himself to be crowned king of his brother's domains 
in Leon. His reign was, however, of short duration, 
for in the year 1073, having laid siege to the city of 
Zamora, the inhabitants, loyal adherents of their sove- 
reign lady, Dona Urraca, with her consent, chose for 
their captain Don Gfonzalo Arias, a brave commander, 
who had been her tutor, and Sancho met with a 
resistance, that proved fatal to him in the end. After 
many encounters between the townsmen and besieg- 
ers, the king was mortally wounded by a traitor, who, 
under pretence of communicating some piece of intel- 
ligence to the king, struck him with a lance, and 
escaped into the city. Thus ended the reign of San- 
cho, surnamed the Brave, on the 13th Oct., 1073. 

The death of the king occasioned the utmost confu- 
sion in the camp, the majority of the troops disbanding 
and returning to their homes. The Castilians alono 
remained before the town. The body of the king hav- 
ing been buried in the monastery of St. Salvador of Ona, 
by a number of his nobles and gentlemen, on their re-* 
turn to the camp they challenged the men of Zamora, 
through Don Diego Ordonez, Count of Lara, to 


mortal combat, charging them with having sent the 
assassin, Velido Dolphos, to murder the king. Ac- 
cording to the customs of that age, if a metropolitan 
city or a bishopric was challenged, the challenger 
was bound to combat with five knights in succes- 
sion, being allowed, however, to change his horse 
and arms in the intervals, and refresh himself with 
food and wine. Though Zamora was not a bishop- 
ric, the brave Count of Lara allowed of five cham- 
pions being opposed to him, and vanquished suc- 
cessively Don Pedro, Don Diego, and Don Rodrigo, 
the three sons of the governor, Don Gronzalo Arias. 
The judges of the lists here ordered that the com- 
bat should proceed no farther, though the Count in- 
sisted on continuing it until he had fought with five 
knights, as they refused to decide the question of the 
justice of the accusation. Meanwhile, the Infanta 
Urraca, having sent messengers to Alfonso, informing 
him of the death of his brother, and urging his instant 
return, the prince took his leave of the Moorish sove- 
reign, and, loaded with presents by his generous host, 
hastened to Zamora. Sancho, who had never married, 
having no son, Alfonso was unanimously acknow- 
ledged heir to the kingdoms of Leon and Castile, 
though the Castilians insisted, ere he was crowned, 
that he should take an oath that he had had no share 
in the murder of his brother. This Alfonso readily 
consented to do, the famous Rodrigo del Vivar being, 
however, the only chieftain who dared administer the 
oath to the new sovereign. 


Of Ines, the first wife of Alfonso, all we know is 
the name, and that she died in the second year of his 
reign, after his restoration. 

Constance, the second wife of Alfonso, was the 
daughter of Robert, Duke of Burgundy, and his wife, 
Ermengarde. Constance became the mother of Dona 
Urraca, who inherited her father's crown. Though 
mindful of the generous manner in which he had been 
harbored by the king of Toledo, Alfonso maintained 
peace with Almenon, and his son and successor, His- 
sem, assisting the former, unsolicited, with a large 
body of troops against his enemy, the king of Cordova. 
On the accession of the second son, Hiaya, this friend- 
ship and alliance between the Christians and Moors 
ceased entirely. Hiaya, by his tyrannical conduct, 
having incurred the odium of a large portion of his 
subjects, and the enmity of the other princes of Spain, 
was finally besieged by Alfonso, in 1083,* and expelled 
from his dominions. On the taking of Toledo, the 
queen is said to have incurred her husband's displea- 
sure in the following instance : the town having, after 
an obstinate resistance, submitted to Alfonso, among 
other conditions, it was stipulated in the capitulation, 
that the Moors should retain in their possession the chief 
mosque. No danger was to have been apprehended, 
though the Moorish inhabitants far outnumbered the 
Christians, had not the rashness of the queen, and of 

* The siege of Toledo lasted two years. This ancient capital of 
the Goths was entered by the victorious Alfonso, May 25, 1085, 
after it had been in the hands of the Moors upwards of 374 years. 


the new primate, Don Bernardo, who had remained in 
Toledo with a small garrison, exposed the city to fall 
once more into the power of its former possessors. 
That the largest and most beautiful building should 
remain and be still appropriated to the worship of the 
prophet, was a subject of great discontent to the lady 
and the priest, and, their religious zeal blinding them 
to the consequences, they resolved on gaining posses- 
sion of it by surprise. Having entered it by night, 
they caused everything pertaining to the Moors to be 
cast out, erected altars, hung bells, and at daybreak 
summoned the Christian inhabitants to mass. The 
Moors, though justly incensed at this perfidious viola- 
tion of the treaty, confiding in the known justice of 
the king, refrained from taking vengeance by their 
own hands, though they might easily have extermi- 
nated the small band of Castilians. Nor was their 
reliance on Alfonso ill-founded, for the king no sooner 
heard the news of this unprovoked act of aggression, 
than he hastened to Toledo, resolved to punish se- 
verely the perpetrators. Apprised of the sovereign's 
angry determination, the Christians sallied forth to 
meet him, attired in mourning garments, and pros- 
trating themselves at his feet, implored mercy for 
the thoughtless offenders. Their prayers had no influ- 
ence, but when all hope of softening the king's inflex- 
ibility had vanished, it was revived from an unex- 
pected quarter. The Moors, pleased with the readi- 
ness manifested by Alfonso to right their wrongs, and 
doubtless fearing lest his present severity, by exaspe- 


rating the Christians, might prove fatal to them at 
some future period, now urged the king to waive all 
resentment and forgive the delinquents. This petition 
coming from such a quarter so much gratified the 
sovereign that he not only readily granted it, but 
ordered that that day should be ever afterwards com- 
memorated, under the name of our Lady of Peace, 
and promised he would ever be favorable to them.* 
Constance died shortly after, and was buried in Leon. 
After the death of Constance, Zaida, a Moorish 
princess, daughter of Benabet, king of Seville, be- 
came, according to some authors, the wife of Alfonso. 
Zaida is said to have been induced to adopt the Chris- 
tian faith by a dream, in which St. Isidorus appeared 
to her and persuaded her to become a convert. Her 
father, whom she acquainted with the resolution she 
had formed, made no opposition to her wishes, but, 
fearful that his approbation might excite discontent 
among his subjects, agreed that she should undertake 
an excursion to a place from whence Prince Alfonso, 
second son of the reigning king of Castile, could assist 
her to escape to Leon, This scheme having been suc- 
cessfully executed, the princess was received with all 
kindness by the Christian sovereigns, instructed in the 

* This incident is related by Garibay as having occurred in the 
life of queen Beatrix, but Mariana and others relate it of Con- 
stance. Garibay also calls the second of Alfonso's queens Bea- 
trix, and the fourth Constance. It is almost impossible to say 
which is the correct order in which these six queens should be 
given, where there is so great a diversity of opinion. 


dogmas of her new creed, and baptized Isabel, or, as 
some assert, Mary. Zaida subsequently became the 
third wife of Alfonso, though Pelagius, bishop of 
Oviedo, denies her ever marrying that sovereign," and 
asserts she was only his mistress. Of Zaida was born 
Don Sancho, who died in battle when but eleven years 
of age. Nothing can be more characteristic of the 
warlike spirit of those times, than the death of this, 
the king's only son, at an age when, in these degene- 
rate times, children think but of their toys. Hali, 
king of the Moors, having entered the kingdom of 
Toledo, in the year 1100, wasted the country, and 
finally advanced within sight of the city itself. The 
king, disabled by illness from heading his troops in 
person, gave the command to Don Garcia, Conde of 
Cabra, tutor of the prince and brother-in-law of Al- 
fonso, and, to add to his power and authority, permitted 
the youth to accompany him. The two armies met 
near Ucles, and the young heir of Castile and Leon, 
clothed in armor, fought side by side with his 
father's veteran warriors, against the enemies of hin 
country and religion. The Infidels, greatly outnum- 
bering the Christians, finally won the battle, the 
prince being struck down in the heat of the fight. 
Don Grarcia covered him with his shield, and fought 
fur some time with the courage of despair, until, over- 
powered by numbers, he dropped dead on the lifeless 
body of the prince. This instance of precocious valor 
is not the only one to be found in the history of those 
stirring days, when war and the chase were almost 


the only occupations then deemed worthy of the 
sons of royalty. The mother of this prince died soon 
after his birth, but in what year we are not told by 
any of the ancient chroniclers. At the time of 
Zaida's conversion, another Moorish princess also re- 
nounced the creed of the prophet, and her adoption of 
the Christian faith is gravely ascribed by several au- 
thors to the following miracle. Casilda, daughter of 
Almenon, then king of Toledo, was of a very compas- 
sionate nature, and frequently relieved the wants of 
the captive Christians, thereby greatly offending her 
father, who, though he subsequently proved so good a 
friend to Alfonso, seems to have been very averse to 
his daughter's manifesting such tokens of pity. 
Meeting her one day with a dish of dainties she was 
conveying to some of her proteges, the king inquired 
what she had there ; and, she answering they were 
roses, he raised the cover, and, lo ! the meat was 
found to have vanished, leaving in its stead the flow- 
ers she had named. Not being over credulous, we 
prefer ascribing the marvelous conversion of the two 
princesses to the agency of the little blind deity. 

Berta, of Tuscany, was the fourth queen of Alfonso, 
and Elizabeth, a French princess, but of what parent- 
age we know not, the fifth. By Elizabeth, Alfonso 
had two daughters, Sancha, who married Count Rode- 
rick Gronzalez de Lara, and Elvira, who married 
Roger, the first king of Naples and Sicily. Beatrix, 
the sixth and last of Alfonso's queens, brought him 


no children, nor is anything beyond her name known 
with any certainty concerning her. 

Alfonso, whose whole life was spent warring with 
the Moors, over whom he obtained many victories, 
was assisted by several foreign princes, whom he not 
only rewarded with princely generosity, but on whom 
he bestowed in marriage his daughters. To Ramon, 
the ninth Count of Toulouse, he gave his illegitimate 
daughter, Elvira, to Henry, a descendant of the Dukes 
of Lorraine, he gave Teresa, another illegitimate 
daughter, and from this marriage was born Alfonso 
Henriquez, the first king of Portugal. Urraca, the 
eldest daughter of queen Constance, he gave to Ray- 
mond, brother to the Count of Burgundy, and subse- 
quently, on the death of Raymond, to her cousin Al- 
fonso, infante of Aragon and Navarre. Alfonso died in 
the year 1108, in the seventy-fourth year of his age 
and the 35th of his reign, (counting from the death of 
Sancho,) leaving the crown to his eldest daughter and 
heiress, Urraca. 




URRACA, daughter of Alfonso VI., and of his queen, 
Constance, by the premature death of her only brother, 
Sancho, slain at the battle of Ucles, became the heir- 
ess of a crown she subsequently disgraced by her 
licentious conduct. The death of this promising 
youth, on whom, from his good qualities, the nation 
founded great hopes, was the more to be deplored, as 
it left the throne to one who seems to have been en- 
dowed with neither ability, sense, nor talent for gov- 
erning. By her first husband, Raymond, brother to 
the Duke of Burgundy, Urraca had one son, Alfonso, 
who was brought up in Gfalicia, of which his father had 
been named governor, with the title of count,* by the 
king. Raymond is said, by some authors, to have 
died in 1100, though others place his death several 
years later. The Castilian nobles were desirous the 
widowed princess should marry one of their own body, 
Gromez, Conde of Candespina, and deputed Cidelio, 
the Jewish physician of Alfonso, to suggest the match 
to the king. The monarch was so indignant at the 
proposal, that he banished the hapless messenger for 
ever from his court. In the year 1103, Alfonso 

* The title of Conde was at that time the highest in Spain. 


bestowed Urraca on Alfonso, brother of Pedro I., king 
of Aragon. The latter dying in the following year, 
and her husband being the next heir, Urraca became 
queen of Aragon. This second marriage proved a 
very unhappy one, from the want of affection between 
the wedded pair, and the levity and imprudence of Ur- 
raca, who is said to have entertained a decided prefer- 
ence for the handsome Castilian noble. The death of 
Alfonso VI., in 1108, rendering it necessary for the 
heiress of his domains to return to Castile, Urraca pre- 
ceded her husband, at the time engaged in settling 
the affairs of his own kingdom, and by her first acts 
proved herself totally unfit for the important post she 
was to fill. With as little policy as gratitude, she re- 
moved from the management of public affairs Peran- 
zules, a man in great repute, who had enjoyed in a 
large degree the favor of the late king, who had 
reposed unbounded confidence in him. Nor was the 
sovereign's reliance vain, for since his death the min- 
ister's prudence and wisdom had maintained the king- 
dom in peace and tranquillity. Peranzules, who had 
been the queen's tutor, is said to have incurred her 
displeasure by his severe remonstrances on the impro- 
priety of her conduct, but the reason she gave was his 
having, in the letters he had sent to inform her of her 
father's death, addressed her husband as "king of 
Castile." She carried her resentment so far as to de- 
prive him of his estates, but Don Alfonso ordered they 
should be restored to him. A new war breaking out 


in Andalusia, now demanded the king's attention. 


Hali, king of the Moors, taking advantage of the death 
of king Alfonso, invaded the Christian territories, and 
advancing as far as the city of Toledo, demolished the 
castle of Azeca, destroying the monastery of St. Ser- 
vandus, and ravaging the surrounding country. He 
even laid siege to the city, battering it for the space 
of eight days, with all the engines of war then in use. 
The natural strength of the city, and the wall built 
below it by the late monarch, foiled the attempts of 
the Moor. It was also well defended by Alvar Fanez, 
one of the greatest soldiers of that epoch. Seeing no 
prospect of Toledo surrendering, the Moors raised the 
siege, and returned home loaded with spoils, plunder- 
ing on their way Madrid and Talavera, which towns 
they left entirely dismantled. In Aragon, however, 
the king was more successful, taking, in 1110, from 
the Infidels, the town of Exea, in Navarre, and over- 
throwing, in a battle fought near Valterca, Abubasa- 
lem, king of Zaragosa. He then assumed the title of 
Emperor of Spain, as his father-in-law had done, and 
having finally settled matters in Aragon, he passed 
over into Castile in 1111. Here he used all his 
endeavors to conciliate the affections of the people, 
protecting the weak, relieving the distressed, treating 
the nobles with the respect due them, and observing 
towards all classes the strictest impartiality in the 
administration of justice. His affability would have 
won him universal good will, had he not forfeited the 
love of the Castilians, by placing garrisons of Arago- 
nians in many important fortresses, especially in those 


situated on the frontiers of Aragon and Navarre. Hav- 
ing directed the towns destroyed by the Moors to be 
rebuilt, the king returned to Aragon with the queen, 
whom, her conduct having become notorious, he impris- 
oned in the Castellar near the town of Zaragosa. With 
the assistance of some of her Castilian followers, 
Urraca managed to escape and return to Castile, but 
the nobles fearing the evil consequences of a separa- 
tion, which would inevitably bring a rupture between 
Aragon and Castile, with all due respect, sent the queen 
back to her husband, and a momentary reconciliation 
was patched up between them. Meanwhile the nobles 
of Gralicia, displeased that Castile should be under the 
sway of the Aragonese, alleged, that as no dispensa- 
tion had been obtained from the pontiff, the queen's 
marriage was illegal, and they were not bound to obey 
one who was not their lawful sovereign.* The utmost 
confusion now reigned in the divided kingdom. The 
king of Aragon, who had again imprisoned his wife, 
though he desisted, after taking by storm the castle of 
Monterroso in Gralicia, from farther acts of overt hos- 
tility, persecuted those whom he suspected of disaffec- 
tion to his cause, depriving many of their estates. 
The Gralicians leagued with Henry, Count of Portugal, 
and notwithstanding his extreme youth, proclaimed the 

* Don Alfonso was the third cousin of Dona Urraca, both 
being the great-grandchildren of Don Sancho the Great. As 
it was not usual for the Pope to grant a dispensation in such cases, 
this consanguinity frequently offered a specious pretext for ob- 
taining a divorce. 



son of Urraca king of Castile and ...ison. This young 
prince was greatly beloved by the G-alicians, having 
been brought up among them from his infancy, under 
the care of Don Pedro, Count of Trava. He was 
anointed in the Cathedral of Compostilla, by James 
G-elmirez, bishop of that see. This ceremony was 
then performed for the first time in Spain, and was 
introduced to add solemnity on this occasion to the 
proclamation. The king of Aragon, greatly incensed, 
now procured a divorce from his wife, whose alliance 
seemed of no avail to secure him her inheritance, 
which, however, he prepared to retain. Dona Urraca, 
was no sooner free, than she gave out, that she had been 
forced into marrying Alfonso, and that the latter was 
aiming at possessing himself of the prince's person, in 
order to poison him, and seize the crown himself. The 
king of Aragon, refusing to give up the fortresses and 
town? he held in Castile, many of the alcaldes revolted 
to the queen, whom alone, since her divorce, they consi- 
dered entitled to their allegiance. Peranzules, though a 
man of strict integrity, thought himself in duty bound 
to do the same, but his nice sense of honor causing him 
to feel some scruples, from his having formerly sworn 
allegiance to Alfonso, he presented himself before the 
latter, clothed in scarlet, mounted on a white steed, 
and bearing in his hands a halter, placed his person at 
the sovereign's disposal, to be done by as best suited 
his pleasure. Alfonso, though offended at his breech 
of faith, could not but forgive his loyalty, and treated 
him courteously. All the nobles of Castile now unit- 


ed to throw off the yoke of the king of Aragon, whom, 
despite his many good qualities, they regarded as a 
stranger, and, had the queen possessed the judgment 
and prudence indispensable at such a crisis, she would 
have, undoubtedly, made good her right to the crown. 
Her evil passions could not however be subdued by the 
critical circumstances in which she was placed, and 
her undisguised partiality for the Count of Candespina, 
her former suitor, greatly displeased her subjects. 
Though the queen's manifestation of preference was 
particularly injurious to her interests, its object was 
not, in the present case unworthy of it, for the conde 
was in the flower of his age, remarkable for the grace 
and elegance of his person and manners, brave, reso- 
lute, and zealous for the interests of his country. He 
was, unfortunately, made to share the command of 
the queen's forces with Pedro, Count of Lara, another 
successful candidate for the queen's favor, and the 
rivalry between the chiefs was productive of the 
worst effects. The king of Aragon now entered Cas- 
tile by the way of Soria and Osma, at the head of a 
powerful army, and having been met by the queen's 
forces, both parties encamped near Sepulveda and pre- 
pared to give battle. This engagement, called from 
the field where it took place, de la Espina, is one of 
the most famous of that age. The dastardly Count 
of Lara fled at the first shock, and joined the queen 
at Burgos, where she was anxiously awaiting the issue, 
but the brave Count of Candespina, stood his ground 
fo the last, and died on the field of battle. His 

URRACA. 193 

standard-bearer, a gentleman of the house of Olea, 
after having had his horse killed under him, and both 
hands cut off by sabre strokes, fell beside his master, 
still clasping the standard with his arms, and repeat- 
ing his war-cry of " Olea !" The defection of Henry, 
Conde of Portugal, who, in disgust at the queen's con- 
duct, went over to the Aragonese, completed the defeat 
of her party. The nobles of Galicia, having recruited 
their forces, again sought to oppose the progress of the 
foe, and were again defeated, between Leon and As- 
torga. The young sovereign, Don Alfonso, retired to 
the Castile of Orfilon, where his mother was. No bat- 
tle of that age was so fatal to Castile. The towns 
of Najara, Palencia, Burgos and Leon submitted to 
the conqueror, and his success would have been com- 
plete, had he not, being greatly in want of money to 
pay his troops, appropriated to that purpose the treas- 
ures of the churches. The people who could forgive 
the misery and desolation .brought on them by the am- 
bition of one man, their harvests destroyed, and home- 
steads burnt to the ground by a foreign foe, were 
greatly shocked when he availed himself of such 
sacrilegious means to carry out his purpose, and 
from that time fortune began to forsake him. After 
ravaging the kingdom of Toledo, the Aragoniaus pre- 
pared to lay siege to the city, as it was supposed that 
the queen intended making a last effort on that side. 
At this juncture, Martin Muiio, while on his way to 
join the king of Aragon, fell into an ambush, he him- 
self being taken prisoner, and the three hundred men 


who accompanied him killed or dispersed. The loss 
of this reinforcement, joined to his having greatly 
diminished his numbers by leaving garrisons in the 
towns he had taken, so much weakened his army, that 
Alfonso determined to retire to Canion, confiding in 
the strength of that place, and here he was, for some 
time, besieged by the queen's troops, until the abbot 
of Chisensis, appointed by the pope to endeavor to 
settle the difference, prevailed on Urraca, first, to grant 
a truce, and, finally, to raise the siege. This was an 
injudicious step, as the Castilian troops, being raw and 
undisciplined, could not be kept together when inac- 
tive. The Aragonian now bent his forces against the 
domains of the house of Lara ; while Urraca, after a 
long siege, recovered the castle of Burgos. Pedro, 
Count of Lara, encouraged by the queen, and hoping to 
marry her, took on him the state and authority of king, 
thereby exasperating the haughty Castilian, and his 
name was coupled with hers in numberless insulting 
ballads and lampoons. He was at length imprisoned 
by Don Jaime Grelmirez de Castro, but contrived to es- 
cape, and fly to Barcelona. Prince Alfonso was again 
proclaimed king of Castile, and laid siege to the castle 
of Leon, in which his mother had fortified herself. It 
was finally agreed between them, that the queen should 
resign the crown to her son. and that he should allow 
her a suitable sum for her maintenance, It is almost 
impossible to fix the dates of all these events, there 
being such a diversity of opinion among authors con- 
cerning them ; neither is it known precisely when Dona 

DOftA URRACA. 195 

Urraca died, though it is generally supposed she sur- 
vived her father seventeen years, and died about the 
year 1136. Some authors assert she died in childbed, 
in the castle of Saldaiia ; and there is a tradition of her 
having been suddenly deprived of life, at the door of 
the church of Leon, after robbing it of the treasure of 
St. Isidorus. It is also said that Urraca gave birth to 
a son, whose father was the Conde of Candespina, and 
who, from his birth having been kept secret, was called 
Fernan Hurtado. From this son the noble family of 
the Hurtados in Spain derive their origin. Alfonso, 
surnamed the Warrior, (El Batallador,) reigned in 
Castile, as the husband of Urraca, four years. This 
sovereign is not counted by many Castilian writers as 
sovereign of Castile, but the Aragonians assert his 
claim to that title ; and Graribay vindicates it, on the 
ground, that he was as much entitled to it as Don Al- 
fonso I. and Don Sibo were to that of kings of Oviedo 
and Leon, or as Don Fernando I. was to that of king of 
Leon and Castile, as these princes were all indebted for 
their thrones to their wives. Alfonso's whole life was 
spent in a series of battles ; for having, after Urraca's 
resignation of her rights to the throne, made peace 
with her son, he turned his arms against the Moors, 
over whom he won many victories, greatly increasing 
his dominions at their expense. The greatest of 
his achievements was the conquest of Saragossa from 
the Infidels, on the 18th of December of the year 1118, 
after a siege of four years. Alfonso was killed at the 
siege of Fonga, on the 7th September of the year 


1134, having reigned in Aragon and Navarre thirty 
years, during which time he is said to have fought 
29 battles with Christians and Moors. As he left no 
son to succeed him, he willed his domains to the knights 
of Jerusalem, the templars, and the knights of the hos- 
pital; but this singular donation never was fulfilled, 
the Navarrese choosing for their sovereign Don Garcia 
Ramirez, a nephew of the deceased monarch; and the 
Aragonese, Bon Ramiro the monk, broths'- of Don Al- 
fonso the warrior. 


1 128. 



DONA BERENGARIA was the daughter of Raymond 
Berengarius, fourth Count of Barcelona, and of his 
wife, Dulce, Countess of Provence. The fame of her 
beauty and intellect procured her many suitors, from 
among whom she chose Alfonso VIIL, king of Castile 
and Leon, and the nuptials were celebrated with great 
pomp and magnificence at Saldana, in 1128. This 
princess, endowed by nature with firmness and 
strength of miu 1 seldom hum in her sex, was be- 


sieged in 1139 by the Moors, in Toledo. Having de- 
manded a parley with the enemy, the queen appeared 
on the ramparts, and, addressing the Moorish chiefs, 
reproached them as recreant and coward knights thus 
to besiege a woman, when their arms were needed to 
defend Overa, at the time besieged by her husband. 
The Moorish cavaliers, with the gallantry that charac- 
terized that chivalrous race, acknowledged the justice 
of the lady's taunts, and ordered a retreat, the queen 
condescending to receive the homage of the troops as 
they filed off under the walls. 

The Castilians having subsequently, and, by way 
of retaliation for some act of a similar nature, com- 
mitted by the Moors, beheaded two Saracen chieftains, 
that had been taken prisoners, the heads were placed 
on the walls of the royal palace of Toledo. The queen, 
horror-struck at the sight of these sanguinary trophies, 
had them taken down immediately, embalmed, and 
placed in two mourning chariots, in which they were 
by her orders conveyed to the widows of these victims 
of war. A year after the queen's marriage, in 1129, 
some doubts having been started as to the lawfulness 
of the union,* Cardinal Humbertus came to Spain 
as pope's legate to examine the case, and having 
assembled a synod of bishops in Leon, these declared 
the marriage legal, the parties not coming within the 
degrees of consanguinity proscribed by the church. 

"Alfonso VIII. was the great grandson of King Ferdinand I., and 
Berengaria, his wife was the great granddaughter of that monarch's 
brother, Don Ramiro I. king of Aragon. 


This good and amiable princess, though beloved by 
her subjects, esteemed by her foes, and the consort of 
one of Europe's most powerful sovereigns, was far 
from enjoying that domestic happiness to which her 
many virtues entitled her. An unworthy rival long 
held her place in the heart of the faithless Alfonso, 
and embittered every joy of the hapless queen. This 
mistress, whom the king loved with the most ardent 
passion, was Grontrada, an Asturian lady of high rank. 
She had a daughter, Urraca, by the king, for whom 
her fond father procured a throne, by marrying her to 
Grarcia Ramirez, king of Navarre. Grontrade subse- 
quently retired to a monastery of nuns, which she had 
built in Oviedo, and there ended her days. Berenga- 
ria gave birth to four sons, Sancho and Ferdinand, 
who both succeeded their father, the one in Castile 
and the other in Leon, and Garcia and Ferdinand, who 
died young. She had also two daughters, Constance, 
who in 1154 married Louis VI. king of France, and 
Sancha Beatrix, who married Sancho the Wise, king 
of Navarre.* Berengaria died on the 3d February, 
1149, and was buried in the church of St. James the 
Apostle, in Gralicia. 

Rica, the daughter of Uladislaus, duke of Poland, 
was the second wife of Alfonso VIII., whom she mar- 
ried in 1150, and by whom she became the mother of 
one daughter, Dona Sancha. After the death of her 

* Thus the two half-sisters married two kings of Navarre ; the 
illegitimate daughter of Alfonso marrying the father, Garcia Rami- 
rez, and the legitimate marrying the son, Sancho the Wise. 



first husband, the king of Castile, Rica married Ray- 
mond Berengarins, Count of Provence. Alfonso him- 
self died in 1157. This prince was endowed with the 
qualities that became his station, and the following 
incident is illustrative of his impartial administration 
of justice. A gentleman of Gralici a having arbitrarily 
wrested from the owner a small estate, the dispos- 
sessed proprietor repaired to Toledo, and presenting him- 
self to the king, demanded redress. Alfonso, having 
ascertained the truth of the peasant's statement, 
immediately wrote to the oppressor, bidding him 
restore the land, and also to the merino-mayor of 
Gralicia, to enforce his commands. Both, however, 
failing to comply with the sovereign's orders, Alfonso 
set out from Toledo in disguise, and, on arriving in 
Gralicia, caused the residence of the infanzon to be 
surrounded . The latter, apprized of the king's inten- 
tion, fled, but was pursued, seized, and hung at his 
own door. The king then caused the land to be 
restored to its proprietor. This summary punishment 
of the infraction of the law produced very beneficial 
results in Galicia, inasmuch as it acted as a curb to 
the hitherto lawless nobles and gentry. Alfonso, 
though not the first of the Spanish monarchs to style 
himself emperor, was the first who was solemnly 
crowned by that title, and had it approved and con- 
firmed by the pope, in 1135. After his coronation 
Alfonso took the unfortunate resolution of dividing his 
realms during his lifetime between his sons, giving to 
Sancho, the eldest, the kingdoms of Castile and Tole- 



do, which, according to the limits he assigned, consti- 
tuted the better part of his dominions, and to Ferdi- 
nand, the second son, Leon and Gralicia. The king 
was advised to this most injudicious measure by some 
of his nobles, who shared his confidence and favor ; 
these perfidious counsellors hoping to increase their 
own power during the troubles they foresaw would 
emanate from this division. On his return from a suc- 
cessful campaign against the Moors, in the course of 
which he had taken from them the city of Baeza, and 
the towns of Andajas and Quesada, and having left 
his son Sancho in charge of these newly-acquired pos- 
sessions, Alfonso felt the first symptoms of the disease 
that was to prove fatal to him. Overcome by the vio- 
lence of the distemper, he found it impossible to reach 
Toledo, and was compelled to stop and rest under a 
large oak near Fresneda. Here the last rites were 
administered to the expiring monarch by the archbishop 
of Toledo, Prince Ferdinand being also with his 
father, and under this oak the high and mighty 
Alfonso VIII., emperor of Spain, expired in the 36th 
year of his reign, in August, 1157. The body was 
conveyed to Toledo, and interred there with royal 
honors by Prince Sancho, who, when the news of his 
father's death reached him, abandoned the new con- 
quests, and hastened to perform the last honors to a 
parent who had deprived him of a large portion of his 
inheritance ; while Ferdinand, forgetting all filial re- 
spect in his haste to secure his own interests, forsook 
the corpse and hurried to Leon, to take possession of 


his domains. Thus, under the sons of Alfonso, in 
1157, took place the separation of Castile from Leon, 
first united under Ferdinand I., in 1037 ; and these 
kingdoms were not again united until the reign of Fer- 
dinand III. in 1230. 



BLANCHE was the daughter of Garcia Ramirez, nine- 
teenth king of Navarre, by his first wife, Margarite. 
During the reign of Alfonso VIII. Navarre was threat- 
ened with an invasion by that sovereign, but Gfarcia 
having had an interview with him, all differences were 
amicably settled, and the young Blanche betrothed to 
Sancho, whom his father had already designed as his 
successor in Castile. The extreme youth of the bride 
precluding the marriage taking place for some years, 
she was entrusted to the care of her future father-in- 
law, to be educated at his court. In 1144, her father, 
Grarcia, who was then a widower, in order farther to 
strengthen his alliance with Alfonso, married Urraca, 
that sovereign's illegitimate daughter. These frequent 
intermarriages did not prevent the little kingdom of 
Navarre from being frequently menaced by the am- 
bition of its powerful neighbors; and, in 1150, Alfonso 
entered into a league with Raymond, prince of Ara- 


gon, to dethrone his son-in-law, Sancho, surnamed the 
Wise, who, by the death of his father, G-arcia Ramirez, 
(also a son-in-law of Alfonso,) had that year succeeded 
to the throne. It was agreed in Tudelin, between the 
Castilian and Aragonese sovereigns, that they would 
divide Navarre between them ; and it was also then 
and there proposed, that Blanche should be divorced, 
but to this Sancho, who was extremely fond of her, 
refused to consent. Blanche was very amiable, and 
her beauty and fairness are said to have been such 
as to fully deserve the name she bore. In 1153, a year 
after her marriage, the princess presented her husband 
with a son, who was named Alfonso, and who suc- 
ceeded his father. Blanche died in childbed, in 1158, 
on the 24th June, and it is probable her infant did not 
survive her, as no other child but Alfonso is mentioned. 
Sancho, whose private character is without a blemish, 
was also endowed with qualities befitting a king, and 
greatly beloved by his subjects. His sweetness of tem- 
per and generosity of heart prevented his taking advan- 
tage of his superior power to crush that of his brother Fer- 
dinand, and to deprive the latter of the domains his father 
had given him ; and when the king of Leon, on the 
false report that the king of Castile intended to invade 
his dominions, hastened to his presence and offered to 
do homage to him for his kingdom, the magnanimous 
Sancho answered, that " the son of so great a monarch 
never should be the vassal of another, even of his own 
brother." Unfortunately for his people, Sancho sur- 
vived his beloved consort but little over two months, 



dying on the 31st August of the same year, and leav- 
ing his only son, a child in his fifth year, exposed to the 
dangers threatened by the ambition of his uncle. 





1 184. 


DONA URRACA, daughter of Alfonso I. king of Por- 
tugal, and of Malsada his queen, was, in 1165, mar- 
ried to Ferdinand III., who had inherited the kingdom 
of Leon, in 1157, from his father, Alfonso VIII. 
Dona Urraca was, in 1175, on the usual plea of con- 
sanguinity,* divorced from her husband, notwithstand- 
ing which, her son by the king was declared heir to 
the crown. This divorce was preceded and followed 
by long wars between Leon and Portugal. The king 
of Leon still farther incurred the displeasure of his 

* Dona Urraca of Portugal, the first wife of Ferdinand, was her 
husband's second cousin, both being the grandchildren of two sis- 
ters. Dona Urraca and Dona Teresa, daughters of Alphonso VI. 


father-in-law, by building on the borders of the latter's 
dominions the town of Cuidad Rodrigo, following in this 
the advice of a banished Portuguese. 

Teresa, daughter of Fernandez Perez de Trava, was 
the second wife of Ferdinand, to whom she was mar- 
ried in 1175, immediately after his divorce from his 
first queen. Dona Teresa died in 1180, leaving no 
issue. Four years after the death of Teresa, Ferdinand 
married Dona Urraca Lopez de Haro, daughter of the 
Conde Don Lopez Diaz de Haro, Lord of Biscay, Najera, 
and Haro, and of his wife, Dona Aldonza Ruiz de Castro. 
Dona Urraca having given birth to two children, Grarcia 
and Sancho, soon became anxious that her sons should 
take precedence of the heir apparent, Don Alfonso, 
who, she concluded, being the issue of a marriage 
that had been annulled as unlawful, was a bastard, 
and, consequently, not entitled to inherit the crown. 
The queen's unjust treatment of her stepson so irritated 
the young prince, that he determined to take refuge 
with his grandfather, the king of Portugal ; but, as he 
was preparing to cross the Tagus, he was overtaken by 
messengers bringing the news of his father's death, on 
which he immediately turned back. Remembering the 
wrongs inflicted on him by his stepmother, the new 
king deprived her of the towns of Monteagudo and 
Aguilar, assigned to her as a jointure by the late sove- 
reign. That of Monteagudo sustained a long siege, 
surrendering only on the death of the Alcayde, struck 
by the shaft of an arrow, while on the ramparts. 
Aguilar held out still longer, its garrison not submit- 



ting until compelled by famine, having previously con- 
sumed, to allay the pangs of hunger, the most loathsome 
animals, hides, and even grass. After the untimely 
death of her son, Don Sancho, who was torn to pieces 
by a bear, while hunting, Teresa retired from the world 
to a Cistercian monastery in Villena, eight leagues from 
Burgos, and there passed the remainder of her life. 
The date of her death is unknown. 





DON SANCHO, king of Castile, dying in 1158, and leav- 
ing an orphan heir, not five years of age, to the care of 
Fernandez Gfutierez de Castro, occasioned a long period 
of confusion and bloodshed in Castile. The ambition 
of Ferdinand, king of Leon, his uncle, and the rivalry 
of the two powerful houses of Castro and Leon, all 
apparently contending for the honor of protecting and 
guarding the royal orphan, but in reality for their own 
advancement, distracted the wretched kingdom. The 
late king's will having, furthermore, ordered that each 
noble and cavalier should, until the prince attained 
his majority, which was fixed at his fifteenth year, 
retain the command or office which he held at the 


time of Sancho's death, this clause produced much 
trouble. The disputes for the possession and guardian- 
ship of the young king, which divided the Laras and 
Castros, favoring the schemes of Ferdinand, he invaded 
Castile at the head of a large force, and possessed him- 
self of nearly all the towns and fortresses. Don 
Manrique, the noble into whose hands the boy-king 
had passed after the death of Fernandez Ghitierez, not 
only placed the revenues of Castile for the space of 
twelve years in the hands of Ferdinand, but also pro- 
mised that Alfonzo should do him homage as his 
vassal, and engaged to give him the charge of his 
nephew. Don Manrique arriving with the king of 
Leon at the town of Soria, where the prince resided, 
sent for him, in order to fulfil his infamous agreement. 
The child, whose imagination had probably been work- 
ed on by his attendants, at sight of his traitorous 
guardian burst into a passion of tears, which were 
interpreted by them to proceed from his being hungry, 
and Don Manrique consented to his being taken to 
the palace in order to procure him some refreshment. 
Here, as preconcerted, a loyal and noble gentleman, 
Don Pero Nunez de Fuente Almexir, wrapping the 
boy-king in his mantle, placed him before him on a 
fleet steed provided for the purpose, and conveyed him 
in all haste to the town of San Estevan de Grormaz. 
Ferdinand, meanwhile, was urgent to see his nephew ; 
and the condes and cavaliers who were in the secret 
of his escape, in order to facilitate it by gaining time, 
replied to all inquiries concerning him, that he was 



asleep, until, losing all patience, the king sent for the 
child's tutor, and sternly demanded where his pupil 
was. Unable to evade the question, the preceptor 
replied, that a gentleman had taken the prince away 
in the name of the king. Ferdinand, enraged at the 
disappointment, ordered pursuit to be made after the 
fugitives ; but the conde Don Manrique, regretting his 
base promise, and sending timely notice to Don Pero 
Nunez, on the arrival in Soria of the king, the bird 
had again taken wing. The prince was thus for some 
time taken from place to place, until he was finally 
left in the hands of the citizens of Avila, who swore to 
guard and protect him until he came of age. A prom- 
ise so faithfully kept, that it gave rise to the saying, 
of any man who was remarkable for good faith and 
loyalty, " he came from Avila." When Alfonso attain- 
ed the age of twelve, it was judged advisable that he 
should make a progress through the kingdom, the 
minds of the people being predisposed to revolt and 
shake off the yoke of Ferdinand. A guard of a hun- 
dred and fifty horse of the townsmen of Avila, and a 
large number of gentlemen and nobles, escorted the 
young king, and every town through which he passed 
hailed him as its lord, with great demonstrations of 
joy. Peace having finally been restored, ambassadors 
were sent to England to solicit for Alfonso the hand 
of Elinor, daughter of Henry II. and his queen Elinor, 
the divorced wife of Louis VII., king of France. The 
nuptials were celebrated with great pomp at Tarra- 
gona, in September. 1170; Don Alfonso, the king of 


Aragon, being present and giving away the bride. 
The king of Castile, charmed with the beauty of his 
bride, signalized himself by his munificence, settling 
on her as a jointure a large part of Castile, Burgos, 
Medina del Campo, and a number of towns, besides 
assigning as her portion of the spoils half of all that 
should be conquered from the Moors. Elinor gave 
birth to thirteen children : Blanche, who married 
Louis VIII., king of France ; Berengaria, who married 
Alfonso IX., king of Leon ; Ferdinand, Sancho, and 
Enrique, who died young ; Urraca, who, in 1208, 
married Alfonso, eldest son of the king of Portugal ; 
another Ferdinand, who died at the age of twenty, in 
1211 ; Constance, who took the veil, and became 
abbess of the monastery of Huelgas, where she died, 
in 1243 ; Leonor, who married James, king of Aragon ; 
Malsada, who died unmarried ; two daughters who died 
in their infancy, and whose names have not been re- 
corded ; and, finally, another Enrique, the youngest 
child, and sole surviving son, who lived to succeed his 
father. A story is told, in some of the ancient chronicles, 
of Alfonso's attachment to a beautiful Jewess of the 
name of Rachel, with whom he remained seven years 
in Toledo, secluding himself from all society but hers, 
and neglecting the cares of government, until his 
nobles, incensed at the king's blind infatuation, slew 
the fair one in the presence of her lover. Though at 
first the monarch was inconsolable for the loss of his 
mistress, he was roused to a sense of his folly by the 
remonstrances of some of his faithful counsellors, and, 

DOflA TERESA. 209 

shaking off the apathy in which he had hitherto lived, 
applied himself to the duties of his high post with re- 
newed energy. This account is, however, discredited 
by the majority of the historians, who give, as a cogent 
reason for their disbelief, the difficulty of finding, in 
the life of Alfonso, the period of inactivity mentioned 
in the tradition, as, during his whole reign, he was 
constantly employed in wars with the neighboring 
kings of Leon and Navarre, and, above all, with the 
Moors. Don Alfonso is described as being a very kind 
and affectionate husband, and this account, if true, 
certainly precludes the possibility of his affection having 
been for any length of time diverted into another chan- 
nel. This monarch died on the 6th of October, 1214, 
at the age of 57, after a reign of 53 years. His queen, 
whose virtues are highly eulogised, was so overcome 
with grief at his loss, that she survived him but a few 
days, dying on the last day of the same month. 



THIS princess, daughter of Sancho I., king of Portu- 
gal, and of his queen, Dulcis, was, in 1190, married to 
Alfonso IX., then in his eighteenth year, who had suc- 
ceeded his father, Ferdinand II., on the throne of 


Leon. Teresa was celebrated for beauty, benevolence, 
and piety ; and having been born long previous to the 
accession of her parents to the throne, was brought up 
at the court and in the society of her grandfather, 
whose favorite companion she remained from her 
seventh year until the period of her marriage. On 
this occasion, the aged monarch presented his loved 
grandchild with a trousseau, surpassing in magnificence 
that of any princess of that age During the first 
years of her wedded life, Teresa gave birth to a son, 
Ferdinand, who died young, in 1214, and to two daugh- 
ters, Sancha and Dulcis, neither of whom were ever 
married. The royal pair being within the degrees of 
consanguinity proscribed by the church, Pope Celes- 
tine, who at that time occupied the papal chair, issued 
his commands that they should separate. This in- 
junction being disregarded, the kingdoms of Leon and 
Portugal were laid under an interdict, which was not 
raised until the divorce took place, in 1296. Teresa 
then returned to her native land, with Dulcis, her 
youngest daughter, and there retired to a Cistercian 
convent, near Coimbra. Here she remained in peace, 
giving all her attention to winning a more lasting 
crown than the earthly one of which she had been de- 
prived, until the death of Alfonso, in 1230, obliged her 
to leave her peaceful retreat, and assist in settling the 
disputes as to the succession. The deceased sovereign, 
either from jealousy of Ferdinand, his son by his 
second wife, Berengaria of Castile who was already 
sovereign of that kingdom or averse to the union 01 



the two kingdoms, had in his will left the crown of 
Leon to the two infantas, his daughters by Teresa ; and 
the claims of these princesses were supported by the 
nobles of Leon, who were extremely unwilling that the 
kingdoms should come under one crown. The young 
sovereign of Castile, however, determined to make 
good his right to his father's dominions, and great 
preparations were making on both sides, when matters 
were brought to a peaceful conclusion in a conference 
that took place between the queens, mothers of the 
contending parties. The interview between these two 
ex-queens of Leon, both of which had been divorced 
from Alfonso on the same grounds, was in Palencia 
del Miiio ; and it was then agreed that the infantas 
should cede their claims to the crown, and receive an 
adequate compensation, as a dower, from their half- 
brother. The point having been thus amicably ad- 
justed, Teresa returned to her monastery, where she 
spent the remainder of her life, distinguishing herself 
by the piety and numerous charitable deeds that pro- 
cured her to be canonized by Pope Clement XI., in 





THIS lady, the eldest daughter of Alfonso VIII., king 
of Castile, and his queen, Eleonora of England, was in 
the year 1197 married to Alfonso, king of Leon, after 
his divorce from his first wife, Teresa of Portugal. 
This marriage, to which the king of Castile was ex- 
tremely averse, but to which, urged by his queen, who 
was desirous of thus securing peace with Leon, he at last 
consented, was not more lawful than the first one that 
Ferdinand had contracted, the parties standing within 
the same degrees of consanguinity. Innocent III., 
who then occupied the papal chair, refused to grant a 
dispensation, but inclination joining with the more 
solid considerations of state policy, the king persisted, 
and was united to his beautiful and accomplished kins- 
woman. The nuptials were celebrated with great 
splendor in Valladolid, where the two sovereigns 
met for that purpose ; and the dower of the bride con- 
sisted of the towns her father had previously taken 
from her husband. Berengaria gave birth to Ferdi- 
nand, under whom the crowns of Leon and Castile were 
subsequently united ; to Alfonso, lord of Molina ; to 
Berengaria, who married John, king of Jerusalem ; to 
Leonor, who died in 1202 ; and to Constance, who 


became a nun, and died in her convent, of Huelgas de 
Burgos, in 1242. The mutual attachment of the king 
and his consort prevailed over their religious scruples, 
and they resisted, for nine years, all the pontiff's 
endeavors to part them ; but the kingdom being laid 
under an interdict, they were obliged, in 1209, to sepa- 
rate. Berengaria returned to her father's dominions, 
and remained high in honor, and greatly loved and 
respected at his court, until his death in 1214. Al- 
fonso and his queen, both well aware of the superior 
intellect and abilities of their daughter, left her regent 
of Castile at their death, the heir-apparent, Henry, 
being as yet but a child. The ambition of the chief 
of the powerful house of Lara rendered the post of re- 
gent one of difficulty and danger ; and foreseeing 
the anarchy which would ensue, should she attempt 
to retain the reins in spite of these turbulent nobles, 
she convoked the states at Burgos, and there abdi- 
cated the regency in favor of Count Alvar de Lara. 
Berengaria, in whom love of power was ever sub- 
ordinate to the love of peace, thought, by taking 
this step, to ensure a cessation of the strife and dis- 
cord that had hitherto prevailed among the nobles, 
relying on the superior power of the Laras to curb 
that of the rest. Roderick the archbishop,* returning 
from Rome, on the eve of the princess's resignation, 
endeavored to dissuade her from so impolitic a pro- 
ceeding ; but the queen had gone too far to recede, and 
the prelate was obliged to content himself with exaot- 
The celebrated historian. 


ing an oath from the conde, ere he allowed him to 
accept the regency, that he would take no important 
steps, impose no new taxes, nor make either peace or 
war, without consulting the queen, and that he would 
ever treat her with the deference due to her as the 
daughter, sister, and wife of kings. This solemn oath 
proved a poor and inefficient barrier to the will of Don 
Alvaro, whose tyranny soon rendered him odious. The 
offended nobles, and especially Don Lopez de Haro, son 
of the head of the great house of Haro, and Don Gfon- 
zalo Ruiz Griroa, the lord high steward, resenting his 
overbearing insolence and unjust exactions, repaired to 
Berengaria, and bitterly complained of the evils she 
had occasioned by her resignation of the regency, 
which they earnestly entreated she would resume. 
Though she dared not oppose the all-powerful conde, 
the queen endeavored by mild remonstrances to ad- 
just the differences, and remedy the mischief. Having 
sent for Don Alvaro and his two brothers, who shared 
his authority, she reminded him of his oath, and ex- 
horted him to use his power with moderation, prudence 
and impartiality for the good of the nation. Her ad- 
monition produced no beneficial effects, and served but 
to enrage the imperious noble, who, resenting her in- 
terference, seized the queen's estates, and banished her 
from the kingdom. Berengaria, unable to resist for 
the time, retired to the strong castle of Otella, near 
Palencia, accompanied by her sister Eleanor. Here 
she was joined by many of the nobles, among whom 
came the lord of Haro, a!; the head of his vassals 


The regent had, on his side, his own powerful con- 
nections, and by retaining the person of the young 
prince, greatly increased his adherents. Henry, whose 
inclination led him to side with his amiable sister, 
vainly endeavored to escape to her, but Don Alvaro, 
to whom he was indispensable, kept a strict watch 
over all his motions. To conciliate the youth's 
favor as much as was consistent with his safe keep- 
ing, the wily regent endeavored to keep young Henry 
amused with the pastimes most agreeable at his age, 
and also attempted to bring about a match between 
him and the infanta Malsada, sister to the king of 
Portugal, Don Alfonso. This ridiculous project of 
marrying a mere boy greatly grieved Berengaria, who 
no sooner heard of it than she wrote to the pope, re- 
questing his interference, and representing the parties 
as being too nearly allied to allow of the marriage be- 
ing legal. In the meanwhile, the ambassadors sent 
by Don Alvaro having concluded the alliance, the nup- 
tials were celebrated in Palencia in 1216. The pope 
having appointed Tello and Maurice, bishops of Pa- 
lencia and Burgos, to examine the case, the queen's 
objections were pronounced valid, and the marriage 
annulled. The maiden bride returned to Portugal, 
and in the convent of Rucha, which she caused to be 
erected, spent the remainder of her life. Don Alvaro 
is said to have presumed to make an offer of his own 
hand to Malsada, which was indignantly refused by 
the princess. The enmity between Berengaria and the 
regent occasioned great confusion, the nation being 


divided into factions, and rapine, incendiarism, and 
murder were rife in the distracted country. The prince 
being at Maqueda, his sister attempted to open a 
correspondence with him, but her letters being inter- 
cepted by Don Alvaro, his fertile imagination sug- 
gested a scheme to render her an object of hatred to 
the nation. Having caused the hand and seal to be 
closely imitated, he published letters purporting to be 
from her, and containing injunctions to some of her 
partisans to poison the prince. To give some color to 
this calumny, the queen's messenger was strangled. 
The fraud having been discovered, the inhabitants of 
Maqueda were so much incensed that they rose, en 
masse, against the slandering conde, and had certainly 
slain him, but that he escaped to Hueta with his 
royal prisoner. Thither the queen sent another mes- 
senger to the prince, to inform him of the state of af- 
fairs, and concert with him some plan of escape. Don 
Alvaro's spies, however, were too much on the alert, 
and the queen's trusty adherent was seized and im- 
prisoned, though, fearful of again incurring popular 
rage, the regent dared not attempt his life, but 
vented his anger on all whom he suspected of favoring 
his adversary. Having assembled his forces, he laid 
siege to Montalegre, whose lord, Don Suero Tellez 
G-iron, though provided with ample means of sustain- 
ing a long siege, being summoned in the young king's 
name, surrendered. From thence he moved to attack 
Carrion and Villalon. Don Alfonso de Meneses, who 
held the latter place, was out of town at the time, but, 


attended by a few of his followers, he cut his way 
through the enemy ; and though, in so doing, the greater 
part of his servants were killed and himself desperately 
wounded, succeeded in effecting his entrance into the 
town, which he so stoutly defended that the besiegers 
were compelled to withdraw. Having taken Cala- 
horra, the regent carried the war into Biscay, against 
its lord, Don Lopez de Haro, but the mountainous na- 
ture of the country, and the attachment of the inhab- 
itants to their chieftain, foiled all his efforts, and, 
after a protracted warfare, he was obliged to return, 
without having gained any advantages. Don Lope 
then joined the queen at Otella. Some authors assert, 
that a marriage was at this time negociated between 
Henry and Sancha, daughter of the king of Leon by 
his first wife, one of the conditions being, that she 
should inherit the throne of Leon, to the exclusion of 
Ferdinand, that monarch's son by Berengaria. An 
unforeseen event now occurred, and completely changed 
the face of affairs. While at play, with youths of his 
own age, in the court of the bishop's palace in Burgos, 
a tile fell from the roof on the prince's head, wounding 
him so severely that he survived but eleven days, 
dyirj? on the 6th of June, 1217, in the" fourteenth 
year of his age, and the third of his reign. The late 
kin^ Henry had two sisters older than himself 
Blanche, married to Louis, son of Philip Augustus, king 
of France ; and Berengaria, who had been married to 
and divorced from the king of Leon. Blanche, being 
the eldest, had undoubtedly the best right to the 


crown; but her alliance with a foreign prince, her con- 
sequent estrangement from her native land, and the 
love the people bore to Berengaria, who had dwelt 
long among them, and whose winning manners and 
sterling good qualities had won universal good will, 
decided the point in favor of the younger sister. A 
large number of the nobles having met, declared in favor 
of her right to the crown. It being necessary that mat- 
ters should be settled ere the king of Leon should hear 
of the death of Henry, lest he might be tempted to 
lay claim to the crown in right of his wife, though 
separated from her, messengers were sent to desire 
he would send to Berengaria her son Ferdinand, as 
she required his assistance. The king, ignorant of the 
important event that had transpired, immediately com- 
plied with the request ; and on the prince's arrival at 
Otella, the queen made over to him her right and 
title to the throne. The urgency of the case preclud- 
ing the using much ceremony on the occasion, the 
prince was crowned at Najara, under an elm-tree. 
Don Alvaro himself contributed to the success of the 
queen's schemes, as, to further his own designs, he 
concealed young Henry's death for some time from the 
people, carrying the body about with him in a litter, 
and issuing commands in his name. The queen ana 
her son having gone to Valladolid, the latter was there 
again proclaimed sovereign of Castile by the assembled 
Cortes, in a large open space in the suburbs, and from 
thence having been conveyed to the cathedral, he there 
received the oath of allegiance. By the advice of the 


nobles, overtures of peace were made to Don Alvaro, 
but his insolent pretension to become the guardian of 
the new monarch caused them to be of no avail. Fer- 
dinand was at the time about eighteen. The king of 
Leon, enraged at the duplicity practised upon him, 
jealous of his son's sudden elevation, and offended at 
matters having been arranged without his participation 
or knowledge, invaded Castile. Berengaria sent two 
bishops to endeavor to appease him ; but, secure of the 
co-operation of Don Alvaro, he refused to listen to any 
argument they could offer, and continued to advance 
until the energetic measures and bravery of Don Lope 
de Haro compelled him to retreat to his own dominions. 
Don Alvaro having at length consented to the body of 
the late king being interred, it was delivered to Beren- 
garia, who caused it to be buried with regal honors at 
Huelgas, by the side of his brother Ferdinand, The 
death of Don Alvaro, and pacification of the whole 
kingdom soon followed. In 1219, Berengaria having 
negotiated a marriage between her son Ferdinand and 
Beatrix, daughter of Philip Augustus, went as far as 
the borders of Biscay to receive the bride. Within a 
short time after, the Aragonians, having sent ambas- 
sadors to Castile, to ask the hand of Leonor, sister of 
Berengaria, for their young sovereign James II., the 
queen-dowager accompanied her sister to Agreda, on 
the bwders of Castile and Aragon, where the nuptials 
were celebrated. In 1224, having established peace 
in his own dominions, Ferdinand undertook a war 
against the Moors, and obtained great advantages over 


them. Whatever success this king obtained, he no 
doubt owed to his rnother's prudent and wise counsels. 
Berengaria, who had herself been the nurse of her son 
Ferdinand from his earliest years, instilled into his 
mind the soundest principles of morality, Christian 
wisdom, and civil policy. She now found herself 
amply repaid in the respect and affection of her son, 
who never failed to consult her in all his undertak- 
ings, and invariably left her regent during Ins expedi- 
tions. In all the important events of Ferdinand's life, 
we find his mother taking an active part, and entrusted 
by him with full power. On the death, in 1230, of 
his father, Alfonso X., Berengaria was appointed to 
negotiate with Teresa, the first wife of the deceased 
sovereign, the renunciation of the rights to the crown 
of Leon of the two princesses, his daughters by Teresa, 
which would secure to her son the pacific possession of 
another throne. In 1238, we find this indefatigable 
mother negotiating an alliance between her son. then a 
widower, and the lady Joanna, daughter of the Count 
of Poitiers. And, again, at the latter end of the year 
1242, we find the king, at the close of a successful 
campaign against the infidels, spending forty-five days 
at Pozuelo, (now CuidadRodrigo), to treat of important 
affairs with his mother, who awaited him there for 
that purpose. This truly great and good queen died 
at an advanced age, in 1245, greatly lamented, not 
only by her own family, who were indebted to her for 
their continued prosperity, but also by the nation, 
whose welfare had been the constant study of her long 
and well- spent life. 






BEATRIX, daughter of Philip, Duke of Suevia., and 
of his wife Irene, was the first German princess that 
sat on a Spanish throne. Her nuptials with Ferdi- 
nand III., at that time king of Castile only, were cele- 
brated with great pomp and magnificence, in Burgos, 
on the 27th of November of the year 1219. In Novem- 
ber of the following year, the queen gave birth to her 
eldest son, Alfonso, who subsequently ascended the 
throne, and was surnamed the Wise and the Astrolo- 
ger. The birth of this prince was followed by those 
of six sons and two daughters : Frederick, Ferdinand, 
Henry, Philip, Sancho, and Manuel, Leonor and Be- 
rengaria. The German names of Frederick and 
Philip, and the Greek one of Manuel,* were now, for 
the first time, introduced in Spain by the queen, who 
named these sons after her own relatives. Leonor died 

Manuel, youngest son of Ferdinand, by his wife Beatrix, was 
first married to Constance, daughter of James I., king of Aragon, 
and after her death to Beatrix of Savoy, by whom he had Don 
Juan Manuel, so often mentioned in the subsequent reigns of San- 
cho the Brave, and Ferdinand the Summoned. 


young, and Berengaria took the veil, in the convent 
of Huelgas. The beauty and virtues of Beatrix are 
highly extolled in the annals of those times, and her 
piety is said to have equalled that of her husband. As 
a convincing proof of the religious zeal of the latter, we 
are told that he set fire with his own royal hands, to 
the faggots that were to consume the condemned her- 
etics ! It may be objected that the titles of Great and 
Saint are ill bestowed on a prince who could thus out- 
rage the laws of humanity, but what would appear in 
the present day a deed of monstrous cruelty was then 
a meritorious and praiseworthy action, heretics being 
regarded in the light of noxious, plague-tainted beings, 
whose existence endangered the weal of the commu- 
nity, and whose impurity could be purged by fire 
alone. The same man who would have recoiled with 
horror from inflicting the slightest pain on a strict 
believer in the same dogmas, would stifle all feelings 
of pity, as criminal, where an infidel was concerned. 
Nor can this relentless and bigoted cruelty be ascribed 
to the Catholic faith alone, for scarcely a creed is ex- 
empted from the same reproach, and we shall find, if we 
examine the subject with impartiality, that ignorance 
and superstition have prevailed to as great a degree, 
and exercised as baleful an influence, among Protes- 
tants as among Catholics. 

After a peaceful and prosperous reign, Doiia Bea- 
trix died in 1235 V having worn the diadem of Castile, 
sixteen years, and that of Leon five. 




THE death of Beatrix leaving Ferdinand a widower, 
his indefatigable and politic mother immediately began 
to cast about for a princess worthy of taking the 
place of the late queen. The lady selected, with her 
usual tact, by the dowager queen, was Juana, daugh- 
ter of Simon Count of Daummartin and Boulogne, by 
his wife, Maria, Countess of Ponthieu. The marriage 
was celebrated in 1237, in the town of Burgos. 

Juana had been contracted to Henry III., king of 
England, but it having been ascertained that the par- 
ties were within the degrees of consanguinity prohib- 
ited by the church, the match was broken off.* This 
queen gave birth to Ferdinand, Leonor, and Louis, the 
French name of the latter being for the first time 
given to a Spanish prince. Of her three children, the 
daughter alone survived the queen. This princess 
was, during the reign of her half-brother Alfonso, mar- 
Note. Juana was the great grand-daughter of Louis VII., of 
France, by his third wife, Alix. 

*The true reason is said to have been the attachment Henry had 
subsequently formed for the lovely Eleanora of Provence, as a dis- 
pensation could have been obtained for his marriage with Juana, 
but the king sent to recall the ambassadors who were on their 
way to solicit it, and had nearly reached Rome. 


ried to Edward, the Black prince, t son of Henry III., 
her mother's former suitor. The death, in 1252, of the 
husband with whom she had lived happily fifteen 
years, though it took from Juana the honors of a 
reigning queen, caused no diminution in the respect 
paid to her by her step-son, Alfonso, who confirmed the 
jointure settled on her by his father. Three years 
after the death of Ferdinand, Juana returned to her 
own country, and in 1260, contracted a second mar- 
riage with John of Nesle, lord of Faluy and Herelle, 
by whom she had a son, or, according to some authors, 
a daughter, Juana de Nesle. Dona Juana died on the 
16th March, 1278, leaving her domains of Ponthieu 
and Monstruell, to her daughter Leonora, wile of the 
prince of "Wales, who with her husband, entered on 
possession of her inheritance in June of the following 

t This prince visited the court of Castile, in order to claim his 
betrothed bride, in 1254. He was received with great pomp and 
knighted by Alfonso himself, then the reigning monarch. The 
prince of Wales, was accompanied by his mother, the accomplished 
and still beautiful, Eleanora of Provence. 






THIS princess was the daughter of James the Con- 
queror, king of Aragon, by his second wife, Violante 
of Hungary. In 1248, she was married to Alfonso, 
heir presumptive of Castile and Leon, and on the 
death of her father-in-law, Ferdinand III., her husband 
ascended the throne. The alliance between Aragon and 
Castile, of which the union of Alfonso and Violante 
had been the pledge, was neither sincere nor durable. 
The ambition of Alfonso, ever on the alert to extend his 
own dominions at the expense of his father-in-law, was 
the fertile source of frequent broils, and, in the very 
first year of his marriage, had nearly led to an open 
rupture. The young prince of Castile, not content 
with interfering with his martial father-in-law's con- 
quests over the Moors, demanded as part of his wife's 
dower, the town of Xativa, which the Aragonian mon- 
arch indignantly refused to cede, and the dispute was 
with difficulty settled. It is probable that the Cas- 
tilian entertained but little affection for his young 
wife, as in 1253, under pretext of her sterility, he endea- 
vored to obtain a separation, and, even before it was 
effected, so sure was he of the pope's consent, that he 


sent ambassadors to solicit the hand of Christina 
princess of Norway. The event proved he had been 
too hasty, for ere the arrival of the destined bride, who 
was to take her place, the queen had given unequiv- 
ocal hopes of an heir. Alfonso was thus thrown into 
great perplexity, from which he could find no better 
issue than marrying the disappointed princess to his 
brother Philip, who had been intended for the church, 
and even elected Archbishop of Seville. The queen 
gave birth to Berengaria, her first-born child, in 1253, 
and in December of the following year to her second 
daughter, Beatrix. The birth, in 1255, of her son 
Fernando, sworn heir to a crown he was never to 
wear, was followed by that of Sancho, who succeeded 
to the throne. The other children of Violante were 
Pedro, Juan, James, Violante, Isabel and Leonor. 

The sweetness of temper, and winning manners of 
the queen were of great use in conciliating the differ- 
ences that occurred between the king and his brother 
Philip, and other nobles, in 1274. 

Her prudence and amiability having obtained a 
peaceful settlement of the dispute on far better terms 
than those the king had been willing to accede to, the 
latter expressed himself highly pleased. Alfonso hav- 
ing, in the following year, left Spain in order to assume 
the imperial crown, to which he had been elected, 
named the queen, in union with her son Ferdinand, to 
the regency of the kingdom during his absence, which 
was not, however, of long duration, not only on account 
of his meeting with the pope in Provence, but also of the 


disturbances occasioned by the Moors, and the death, in 
his twenty-first year, of the crown prince. On his 
return, the king found the state of affairs much better 
than he had been led to expect ; the valor and activity 
of his second son, Sancho, having given a decided 
check to the Moors. So pleased was the king with 
his conduct on this occasion, that he caused him to be 
sworn as his successor to the throne, in preference to 
the sons of the late prince, Don Fernando de la Cerda.* 
The queen was exceedingly grieved at the injustice 
done to her grandchildren, and fearing lest the ambi- 
tion of Sancho might endanger the safety of these 
rightful heirs, she determined to ensure it by confiding 
them to the protection of her brother, the king of Ara- 
gon. To this effect, under pretence of going to Gua- 
dalajara, she left the court of Castile and, with her 
daughter-in-law, Blanche of France, and the two 
young princes, arrived in Aragon, in the beginning of 
1277, at the commencement of the reign of Don Pedro 
III. Alfonso being informed of the queen's designs, 
and aware of the evils that would accrue from the 
residence of his grandchildren at the court of his pow- 
erful neighbor, sent in pursuit of the fugitives, but in 
vain, as they had already passed the frontiers. Don 
Sancho also wrote to his mother, entreating she would 
return, and his persuasions at length proving effective, 
provided a large sum to defray the expense of her re- 
turn and the debts she had incurred during her resi- 

* De La Cerda, so called from having been born with hair on 
his chest. 


dence of two years in Aragon. Though Violante had 
manifested such solicitude for the infantes de la Cerda, 
she proved herself, subsequently, entirely destitute of 
firmness in the disputes that took place between the 
king and prince Sancho, in which the former, exaspe- 
rated by the ingratitude of his son, vainly endeavored 
to deprive him of the right of succession, which he 
himself had bestowed on him. and substitute his dis- 
inherited grandchildren. 

Violante now openly sided with her second son, who 
since her return from Aragon had treated her with 
marked deference, associating her with him in the 
administration of justice in his progress through the 
towns of Castile and Leon, during which she accom- 
panied him. The quarrel between the father and son 
soon waxed high, and the queen, not content with thus 
favoring the son, gave the sanction of her presence to 
the Cortes, assembled in 1282, in which Alfonso was 
deposed and the title of king bestowed on Don Sancho. 
Alfonso survived this blow but two years, dying on 
the 4th of April, 1284. 

This monarch, whose weak and impolitic conduct 
render him little deserving the title of the Wise, 
might with greater propriety be designated as the 
Learned, his acquirements being extraordinary for 
that age. Of his proficiency in astronomy he has left 
us a proof in the Astronomical tables which he 
composed ; and that science being then usually con- 
founded with that of astrology, he was surnamed 
the Astrologer. His knowledge of jurisprudence is 


evinced in the compilation of the Laws of the Partidas 
from the Justinian and Wisigothic Code.* There is 
also a chronicle bearing his name. But like James 
the I., of England, with all his knowledge, he was 
utterly destitute of sense and judgment, and might be 
justly called a learned fool. Devoid of firmness and 
resolution, his very weakness often caused him to per- 
petrate acts of excessive cruelty, one of which has left 
an indelible stain on his memory, and took place on 
the occasion of the queen's flight into Aragon. Alfonso 
suspecting Violante had been advised to this step by 
his brother Don Frederico, and Don Simon Ruiz, Lord 
of Cameros, son-in-law of Frederico, gave orders for 
their immediate apprehension, and that the latter 
should be burned alive, and the former strangled, with- 
out even the semblance of a trial. This unparallelled 
cruelty is said to have been occasioned by the king's 
astrological studies, the stars having predicted that one 
of his own blood would dethrone him. This atrocious 
deed did not save the credulous monarch from the 
fate he had endeavored to evade, his son Sancho subse- 
quently verifying his prognostics. The pretensions of 
the weak, yet ambitious monarch, to Suevia, in right 
of his mother, Beatrix, the daughter of Philip, Duke of 
Suevia and Emperor of Germany, and his obstinate 
persistence in aspiring to the imperial dignity, involved 

* Alfonso also caused the Bible to be translated into Spanish, and 
was the first king who ordered that language to be used in public 
writings and documents, Latin having previously been used in all 
matters of jurisprudence and divinity. 


Alfonso in a lavish expenditure in support of his claims, 
that greatly incensed his subjects. In his disputes 
with his nobles, he evinced a pusillanimity that sub- 
jected him to their contempt, and led in the end to the 
majority favoring the cause of his ungrateful, but 
brave and able son. Having repented of his injustice 
to the children of his elder son, he vainly attempted to 
remedy it by disinheriting Sancho, and excluding him 
from the succession, and the pope also interfering in 
behalf of the deposed king, and placing the kingdom 
tinder an interdict, until he should be reinstated in his 
rights, the tide began to change and many nobles re- 
turned to their allegiance. Sancho finding himself 
losing ground, endeavored to procure a reconciliation, 
and would probably have been willing to purchase it 
by concessions, but at this crisis, the prince falling 
dangerously ill, his danger revived in the old king his 
natural affection for his former favorite, and he pre- 
pared to revoke his last will, and again constitute him 
heir to the crown. Anxiety, however, had brought on 
a disease that carried him off, ere he could fulfil his 
intentions, and Sancho recovered to find himself har- 
rassed by the thousand cares attending a disputed 

The death of the king opened the eyes of his widow 
to the error she had committed in favoring the cause of 
her son, who, it now became evident, considered his 
weak and fickle mother as a mere tool to ensure the 
success of his ambitious schemes. Violante was now 
of no farther use to the prince, who treated her with 


indifference and neglect. Having joined the party of 
her third son, Juan, and her grandchildren, who had 
erected their standard, and agreed to divide the king- 
dom between them after the death of Sancho, she 
was foiled in her endeavors by the prudence and 
firmness of Sancho's widow, the regent Dona Maria, 
and in 1295, she had the mortification to see the city 
of Valladolid close its gates at her approach. This 
insult greatly incensed her, and she vowed vengeance 
on the insolent townsmen ; but these threats were idle, 
as she never had it in her power to execute them. De- 
prived of the towns and lordships that belonged to her, 
Yiolante lived poor and despised, and died at an ad- 
vanced age, in Roncesvalles, on her return from a pil- 
grimage to Rome. The date of her death is not 





DONA MARIA ALFONSO DE MOLINA, was the daughter, 
. by his third wife, Dona Mayor Alfonso de Meneses, of 
the infante Don Alfonso de Molina, brother of St. Fer- 
dinand. In 1281, Maria was married in Toledo to 
Sancho, second son of Alfonso the Wise, king of Castile. 


The prince had previously been contracted to Dona 
Gruillerma de Moncada, daughter of Gaston, Viscount 
of Bearne, niece of Don Lope de Haro, and the richest 
heiress of Castile, though as deficient in beauty as in 
temper. Fortunately, both for the domestic happiness 
of Sancho and the welfare of the nation, the match was 
broken off, and a lady chosen who seemed designedly 
endowed by a kind Providence, with the qualities that 
so eminently fitted her for the high post she was to 
fill. The marriage was not, however, in accordance 
with the canons of the church, and, though a dispen- 
sation was solicited from the pope, it was not granted 
until after the death of Sancho. In 1282, Saricho 
having rebelled against his father, was so successful, 
that the assembled Cortes in Valladolid declared in 
his favor, but he refused the title of king during the 
life of Don Alfonso, to whom he left the empty name, 
while he himself exercised the authority of a sovereign. 
In 1283, Maria gave birth to a daughter, to whom was 
given the name of Isabel, and who was subsequently 
betrothed to James II., of Aragon. On the death of 
Alfonso, which took place in Seville, on the 4th of 
April, 1284, Sancho and Maria were crowned, in Tole- 
do, sovereigns of Castile, and their daughter proclaim- 
ed heiress to the crown. Previous to the accession of 
Sancho to the throne, Martin IV., who then occu- 
pied the papal chair, had, influenced by the king of 
France, who was desirous his sister should marry the 
Castilian prince, ordered the latter to separate from his 
wife; but this Sancho peremptorily refused to do, and 


the abbot of Valladolid, who had been the medium of 
the proposal of the French king, was never forgiven by 
Maria the active part he had taken in the negotiation. 
In 1285, the queen gave birth to a son, who was named 
Fernando, and sworn heir, and in the following year to 
another, who was named Alfonso, and who died in 
1291. Though the strongest of all ties united the 
royal pair, and seemed to ensure the duration of San- 
cho's affection for his queen, it was, for a time, mate- 
rially affected by the intrigues of Don Lope de Haro. 
This noble had, during the troubles of the preceding 
reign, sided with the prince against the king, and by 
aiding and abetting him in his rebellion, acquired 
great influence over him, which he now used to endea- 
vor to effect a separation between him and the queen. 
This end obtained, the ambitious favorite had no doubt 
that the king would be easily induced to marry Dona 
Gruillerma, and thus firmly consolidate the power 
of the great house of Haro. Though sorely tried, the 
queen opposed an unalterable patience and sweetness of 
temper to the insolent encroachments of the foe of her 
domestic peace, though he neglected no occasion of 
irritating her. Dona Maria Fernandez Coronel, to 
whom the queen was much attached, and who had 
been her governess, and was then acting in the 
same capacity to the infanta Isabel, was, through the 
influence of Don Lope, dismissed from court. But the 
Efforts of the favorite, failed to create any permanent 
ill-feeling between the sovereigns, the prudence of the 
queen foiling all his schemes. The ascendancy of Don 


Lope over the king, and his imprudent and overbear- 
ing conduct at length roused the anger of many of the 
nobles, and their complaints, backed by the advice of 
his nephew the king of Portugal, at length opening 
the eyes of Sancho, he endeavored to remedy the evil 
and restrict the sway of the Lord of Biscay. This, 
however, was not easily to be accomplished. The pow- 
erful noble was supported by a strong party, and could 
count among his adherents, members of the royal fam- 
ily, Don Juan, the king's brother, having married the 
daughter of Don Lope, who had himself married the 
queen's sister. Relying on his powerful connections, 
the favorite replied with insolence to the king's de- 
mands, and words growing high, Don Lope and his 
son-in-law forgot themselves so far as to draw their 
swords on their sovereign. In the scuffle that ensued, 
two of the king's attendants having been desperately 
wounded by Don Lope, the hand of the latter was 
cut off and he was finally despatched. The infante 
himself took refuge in the queen's apartment, whither 
he was pursued by the king, who would have slain 
him on the instant, had not the queen interposed to 
appease his just anger. Don Juan, however, was 
heavily ironed and thrown into prison, from whence 
he was released shortly after through the intercession 
of Dona Maria. Although the king immediately be- 
sieged and took the town of Haro and castles belong- 
ing to Don Lope, he commissioned Dona Juana, widow 
of the deceased, who was then with her sister the 
queen, to endeavor to pacify her son, the new lord, 


offering to extend his favor to him and reinstate him 


in his father's possessions. Though Dofia Juana prom- 
ised to second the king's wishes, she was no sooner out 
of his power, than she used all her influence to incite 
her son to revenge his father's death. No arguments 
were necessary to inflame the hot-headed Don Diego, 
who, having first taken measures to secure the safety 
of his sister Dona Maria Diaz de Haro, wife of the 
imprisoned infante, by removing her to Navarre, re- 
nounced his allegiance and passed over into Aragon. 
There. Don Diego, being joined by his uncle Graston, 
viscount of Bearne, the king of Aragon agreed to 
unite with them in supporting the claims of the infan- 
tes de la Cerda, and these princes having been released 
from the castle of Xativa, after a captivity of ten years, 
Don Alfonso, the eldest, was crowned king of Castile, 
in the town of Jaen, in September of the year 1288. 
Though the death of Don Diego, the only son of Don 
Lope, within a year of his father's death was a severe 
blow to the party of the infantes de la Cerda, the great 
house of Haro being now without a head, yet this did 
not benefit Don Sancho, for the uncle of the late lord 
passed into Aragon with all his followers to join the 
opposite side. The queen, by her tact and prudence, 
was of the greatest use to Don Sancho in this emer- 
gency, her winning manners conciliating many who 
would otherwise have gone over to the La Cerda's. 
Among others, she won to her husband's party one of 
the most powerful of the rebels, Don Juan Nunez de 
Lara, to whose son she gave a royal bride, in the per- 


son of Dona Isabel de Molina, her own niece, and lady 
of the lordship of Molina. The fidelity of Don Juan 
Nunez was, however, of short duration, and his fre- 
quent rebellions were a source of annoyance to Maria 
throughout her whole life. In 1291, Don Jaynie II. 
having succeeded his brother Alfonso on the throne of 
Aragon, Don Sancho concluded a treaty with him, the 
terms of which were that James should be betrothed 
to the infanta Isabel, then nine years old, and marry 
her as soon as she came of age. The queen accom- 
panied her daughter to Calatayud, where the ceremo- 
nies of betrothal took place, after which, the young 
princess accompanied her bridegroom to the court 
of Aragon, that she might be educated in the 
kingdom of which it was intended she should one day 
be queen, Don Juan, though he had, on recovering 
his freedom, taken the oath of fidelity to his brother 
and the young heir to the crown, soon joined the rebels. 
Being defeated by the king's troops shortly after, he 
took refuge in Portugal, from whence being expelled 
at the request of Sancho, he passed over to Tangier!?, 
where he formed an alliance with Aben Jusef, king of 
the Moors, the latter furnishing him with 5,000 men to 
undertake the conquest of Tarifa. 

This place was defended by Don Alfonso Guzman, 
whose constant loyalty fully entitled him to the sur- 
name of the Grood, bestowed on him by the king. A 
young son of Don Alfonso having fallen into the hands 
of the besiegers, the infante sent word to the father 
that the surrender of the town would be the ransom of 


his child, whose life would be the penalty of his refusal 
to comply with the terms offered. Don Alfonso him- 
self answered from the walls, that the town belonged 
to his master, and that so far from seeking to redeem 
his child's life at the expense of his honor, he would 
furnish them with the means of executing their threat. 
So saying, he threw his own sword to the besiegers 
and retired from the walls. The infante, Don Juan, 
enraged at the firm refusal of the brave Alfonso, with 
a barbarity better beseeming the chieftain of a horde of 
savages than a Christian knight, immediately ordered 
the head of his innocent prisoner to be struck off in 
sight of the besieged. The outcries of the beholders of 
this savage deed being overheard by the governor, who 
was at dinner with his wife, Dona Maria Coronel, he 
caught up his arms and rushed out, demanding the 
meaning of the noise. Being told what had occurred, 
he calmly replied, " You alarmed me, I supposed the 
enemy had obtained entrance" He then returned to 
his meal, carefully abstaining from imparting the sad 
news to his wife. The truth of this anecdote is too 
well authenticated to admit of a doubt, incredible as 
it may appear. The strength of the town and the bra- 
very of its commander precluding all hope of taking it, 
the enemy raised the siege and returned to Africa. 
The kingdom was in the utmost confusion ; the nobles 
perpetually revolting, and fighting now on one side, 
now on another ; and the king, though brave, active 
and resolute, assisted moreover, by his indefatigable 
and spirited consort, was unable to extinguish the 


torch of civil war that blazed from one extremity to 
the other of the distracted land. His death, which took 
place in 1395, on the 25th of April, made matters 
still worse, the heir to the disputed throne being a boy 
in his tenth year. Don Sancho left the regency to his 
queen, and truly no better pilot could have been chosen 
to guide the tempest-tossed bark through the wild 
waves of anarchy, that threatened to overwhelm it. The 
memory of Sancho bears the stain of the cold-blooded 
murder of 4000 inhabitants of Badajoz, slain after they 
had surrendered on the promise that their lives should be 
spared. Much allowance must be made, however, for 
the state of irritation in which he was kept by the 
constant revolts of his turbulent subjects. His ap- 
parently ungrateful conduct to his father, may be ex- 
cused, in part, by the total incapacity for governing 
of that monarch, and his irresolute and fickle temper. 





THE difficulty of the queen regent's situation 
brought to light the powers of her strong intellect, and 
her conduct during the agitated reigns of two minors 
falsifies the assertion of those who maintain that 


woman is inferior to man in all that requires depth to 
plan and firmness to execute. No sovereign was ever 
called to contend with greater evils than those which 
on every side beset the widowed queen, who though 
distracted with grief for the loss of a fondly-loved hus- 
band, was forced to exert all her energy for the preser- 
vation of her boy's tottering throne. 

Her first act was one of generous policy. To endear 
the new prince to his people, the queen ordered a tax 
called stfa, that had been imposed by Sancho for the 
expenses of the war, to be annulled. She also confirm- 
ed to each province its fueros. This conduct was well 
calculated to please the nation, and the young heir 
was accordingly joyfully acknowledged. But the am- 
bition of the numerous pretenders to the crown offered 
little prospect of peace. News soon came, that Don 
Juan was coming from Granada, at the head of a large 
body of Moorish troops, to claim the throne of Castile. 
Don Diego Lope de Haro, brother and uncle of the two 
last heads of that house, now entered from Aragon, 
with an armed force to recover Biscay, which had been 
given in charge to Don Enrique, uncle of the late 
king. The house of Lara, which hitherto had adhered 
to the queen's party, jealous of Don Enrique, now 
joined against her, with their former enemies, the 
Haros. The infante Don Enrique, whose restless, 
discontented spirit twenty-six years imprisonment in 
Italy had not sufficed to subdue, sought to create ill 
feelings in the people towards the queen, whose popu- 
larity he envied, and claimed he guardianship of the 


young king, and the regency of the kingdom. The 
Laras and Haros, whose power rivalled that of the 
sovereign, upheld the claims of the infante de la Cerda. 
Without a friend to stand by her, Maria was forced, 
fora season, to bow to the storm, and offered to resign the 
regency to Don Enrique, though the king's person she 
absolutely refused to entrust to him. She hoped, by 
thus apparently giving up to the infante the high 
and troublesome post he coveted, to bribe him to defend 
his grand nephew's rights, while she herself, though 
resigning the title, in reality retained the influence 
and authority vested in it. Having convened the Cortes 
in Valladolid, in order to have the young king sworn, 
she employed every argument to gain the good will and 
assistance of the cities. Reminding the deputies of 
what had been done by those towns for Saint Ferdi- 
nand, the ancestor of the present monarch, and of the 
benefits that had accrued to the nation from the loy- 
alty they had then manifested, she represented in 
glowing colors those that would ensue, from their 
pursuing in the present case a similar line of conduct. 
She depicted the shame and disgrace that would fall 
on them, should they prove themselves to have degen- 
erated from their forefathers, the wretchedness and 
anarchy that would follow their defection, and ended 
by promising to maintain inviolate their fueros, and 
grant them in addition those that should be deemed 
necessary, as far as might lay in her power. Her im- 
passioned eloquence was efficacious, the deputies un- 
hesitatingly took the oath of allegiance, and assured 


the queen of their readiness to support her son's rights 
against all pretenders to the crown. Nor were the 
queen's promises hastily made and as soon forgotten. 
No sooner had the oaths of fealty been taken, than 
each deputy in turn was admitted to her presence, 
and the grievances of which they complained listened 
to patiently, and redressed speedily, her prudence, dis- 
cernment and affability charming her hearers. Her 
zeal for the public welfare was so untiring, that she 
frequently remained engaged in affairs of state from 
an early hour in the morning until three in the after- 
noon, without allowing herself time to dine. Surround- 
ed by powerful enemies, lukewarm friends, and faith- 
less adherents, the life of this remarkable woman 
was one of continual anxiety and harrassing cares, 
and presents examples of policy, prudence, persever- 
ance, and decision that would do credit to the most 
consummate statesman of any age. The queen's next 
step was to bring over to her side the king of Portu- 
gal who, solicited by the infante, Don Juan, had pro- 
mised him his aid, and was actually invading the 
frontiers of Castile in his favor. Maria and her son 
having had an interview in Ciudad Rodrigo with the 
Portuguese monarch, it was agreed that the infanta 
of Portugal, Dona Constanza, should marry the young 
sovereign of Castile, her father engaging to abandon 
the cause of Don Juan, and the queen to give up the 
towns of Serpa, Moura and Moron. At this time also 
the marriage contract between James II., of Aragon, 
and the infanta Isabel was annulled, the pope having 
i 1 


refused to grant a dispensation ; and the princess re- 
turning to Castile, was subsequently married to John 
III., Duke of Brittany. Dona Maria now repaired to 
Burgos to conciliate Don Juan Nunez, Don Nuno 
Gronzalo, and Don Diego de Haro, and though success- 
ful in the end, was forced to concede much more to 
their exorbitant demands than she would have done 
in other circumstances. But Don Juan was not of a 
nature long to remain quiet, and leaguing with Don 
Alfonso de la Cerda, they agreed to divide the king- 
dom between them. To Don Alfonso was allotted 
Castile proper, Toledo, Cordova, Murcia, and Jaen, and 
to Don Juan, Leon, G-alioia, Estremadura, Seville, and 
the remainder. The league was joined by the kings 
of Aragon, Portugal, Granada, the widowed queen 
Violante, mother of Don Juan, and grandmother of 
Don Alfonso, and also by Philip, king of France and 
Navarre. The whole kingdom was distracted by the 
contending factions, the different parties possessing 
themselves of the towns and fortresses, and the king 
himself with difficulty obtaining admittance into the 
cities of his own dominions. 

Don Juan, under pretence of offering to their delib- 
eration important matters, convened the Cortes in Va- 
lencia. The queen, clearly perceiving his object, but 
unable to prevent the meeting of the assembly, with 
her usual prudence determined to turn the enemy's 
plan to her own advantage, and immediately dis- 
patched letters to each town, giving them information 
of the infante's designs, requesting such deputies 


might be sent as she could rely on, and naming each 
individual. Not thinking this sufficient, as she was 
advised that Dona Violante, her son Don Juan, her 
grandson Don Alfonso, and Don Juan Nunez intend- 
ed being present, and fearful lest their persuasions, in 
her absence, might influence the deputies, she sent for 
some of the chief inhabitants of the town, and persua 
ded them to admit within their gates none but the 
deputies, to the exclusion of the infantes, nobles and 
gentlemen. Neglecting no means that could advance 
her son's cause, the indefatigable queen, from Valladolid, 
where she resided, daily sent posts to the deputies, re- 
minding them of their promises, exhorting them to 
seek the welfare of the nation and warning them 
against placing any confidence in the fallacious 
promises of Don Juan. Nor were the precautions super- 
fluous, the intriguing infante having by dint of solici- 
tations, and on condition of immediately withdrawing, 
obtained admittance into the town. But his efforts were 
unavailing ; the deputies remained firm in the queen's 
cause, and a large sum of money was voted her for the 
expenses of the war. The city of Segovia having re- 
volted, the queen, fearing lest the example should 
prove contagious, determined to bring it back to its 
allegiance. Having made her way through a body of 
two thousand armed foes, she arrived at the gates only 
to be mortified by being refused an entrance, and when 
finally admitted, it was entirely alone, the king him- 
self being excluded. Surrounded by a mutinous sol- 
diery, whose equally insolent and rebellious officers 


were little disposed to treat her with the respect 
due to her rank or her sex, the queen preserving 
her presence of mind, cairn and Tindaunted, so won by 
her firm demeanor and persuasive eloquence on the 
turbulent spirits, that they not only allowed the king 
to enter, but voted to the queen a large sum of money, 
to defray the expenses of the war. Maria immediately 
taking advantage of this propitious moment, when, 
excited by momentary enthusiasm, the sordid feeling 
of self-interest was exchanged for the nobler one of 
the love of king and commonwealth, exacted and ob- 
tained that the money should then and there be 
placed in her hands. The Aragonians and Navarrese, 
commanded by Don Alfonso de la Cerda, had now en- 
tered the territories of Castile, and advanced as far as 
the city of Leon, committing great depredations on 
their way, and there the infante Don Juan was pro- 
claimed king of Leon as had been previously agreed 
on, the infante Don Alfonso receiving in Sahagun the 
title of king of Castile. They continued to gain 
several places, but were baffled at Mayorga, from 
which place they were compelled to retire, after having 
besieged it three months. Amid these contending par- 
ties, the queen, unbiassed by any considerations of 
self-interest, was the only one who had at heart the wel- 
fare of the nation. Ever anxious to unite the power- 
ful barons in one common bond, for the support of her 
boy's menaced rights, she vainly endeavored to in- 
duce the old infante Don Enrique to make head 
against the enemy ; but, though invested for that pur- 


pose by the queen with full powers, he contented 
himself with maintaining a strict neutrality. In real- 
ity, the old man, seditious, moody and discontented by 
nature, seemed to delight in sowing discord, and was 
no friend to the young king. Selfish and avaricious, 
he incessantly sought to advance his own interests, 
careless of those of any other. In the meanwhile, the king 
of Aragon possessed himself of Murcia, and the Icing of 
Granada overran Andalusia, receiving, however, a 
great check from the stout resistance opposed to his 
depredations by the brave Don Alfonso de Gruzman. 
The king of Portugal, in contempt of the treaty of 
Ciudad Rodrigo, advanced to the assistance of Don 
Juan. In order to stay the torrent, Don Enrique, at 
this crisis, advised the queen to secure a powerful ally 
by marrying the infante Don Pedro, brother of the 
king of Aragon, the latter offering, in case she did so, 
to withdraw his troops from her dominions. Though 
Don Enrique quoted numberless examples of young 
and royal widows who had married again, the queen 
who was devoted to the memory of her husband, in- 
dignantly rejected the idea of purchasing peace on 
such terms, and replied that she trusted (rod 
would protect her son's rights, without exacting from 
her so unworthy a sacrifice. 

The infante Don Enrique, enraged at Maria for 
scorning his perfidious advice, repaired to the king of 
Granada, leaving the troops that should have defended 
Mayorga without a commander, but an unforeseen cir- 
cumstance occurred that rendered his defection of little 


moment, and seemed to justify her reliance on heaven- 
ly assistance. A plague broke out among the troops of 
Aragon, that were besieging the town, and raged with 
such violence that but one Procer was left alive, Don 
Pedro of Aragon being among the victims. The Ara- 
gonians were forced to beg a truce of the queen in 
order to convey home the bodies of the lords and 
knights that had fallen a prey to the distemper. This 
request was immediately granted, and Maria being 
informed that the mortality had been so great that 
they were destitute of the means of furnishing the 
coffins suitably to the rank of the deceased, with the 
generosity that characterized her, sent rich brocades 
and stuffs to be used for that purpose. Though now 
freed from immediate fears of the Aragonians, numer- 
ous enemies remained. The king of Portugal, who 
had been called to their assistance by the besiegers of 
Mayorga, and was moreover anxious to secure his 
share of the spoils, was advancing rapidly. But the 
well-concerted measures of the queen, who, by keeping 
her troops well paid and clothed, encouraged them to 
oppose a stout resistance, rendering the reduction of 
that place a matter of time and difficulty, the enemy 
determined to besiege the queen herself in Valladolid. 
With a view to securing the faithfulness of some of 
the chief towns, she had confided to the loyalty of each the 
person of one of the royal children, the young sovereign 
alone remaining with his mother. The queen's adherents 
were unwilling she should remain exposed to the risk 
of being taken with the city, and wished her to remove 


to a stronger place, but though she consented that her son 
should do so, she refused to fly, resolving to remain 
and defend the town in person. The nobles, however, not 
deeming it advisable that the king should be separated 
from his mother, both remained. Maria was desirous, 
by a bold defence of this city, to infuse confidence into 
others, and was fearful lest, should her presence be 
wanting, her troops might become discouraged and 
give it up to the foe. Having sent to Don Juan Al- 
fonso de Haro, to request he would come and assist her 
in the defence, that chief replied lie would do so, if she 
would grant" him the lordship of Cameros ; and, his 
services being of the utmost importance, the condition 
was accepted. The king of Portugal, Don Juan, and 
Don Alfonso de la Cerda, styling themselves kings of 
Castile and Leon, and Don Juan Nunez, having joined 
their forces, now marched on Valladolid, in the firm 
belief that both king and queen were in their power; 
but the want of unity between the confederates, each 
being anxious to secure to himself advantages he was 
unwilling his allies should share, and the innate spirit 
of affectionate loyalty that lay dormant but not wholly 
extinguished in the hearts of the Castilian chiefs, con- 
spired as usual to defeat the purposes of Maria's pow- 
erful foes. When within sight of the town, the king 
of Portugal despatched a messenger to the queen, de- 
siring she would send a person in whom she could 
trust, with powers to treat with him. Though reduced 
to such straits as to render any proposal of arrange- 
ment grateful to her, the Queen's proud spirit disdained 


to bend to her false friend, and she returned an indig- 
nant refusal to send an ambassador, at the same time 
boldly upbraiding him, through his own messenger, 
with his infamous rupture of the treaty so recently 
made in Ciudad Rodrigo, in thus ravaging her domin- 
ions after she had fulfilled her promises, and delivered 
into his hands the towns he had stipulated for. " Tell 
your master," she added, " that if he once bring his 
army within sight of these walls, never shall the king, 
my son, marry his daughter." At this crisis, a propo- 
sal was made by a man to the king of Portugal, offer- 
ing to put in his possession some towns on the frontiers; 
and Don Juan Nunez, having declared he would not 
raise his arm against the king, or besiege the city 
while it held within its walls the sovereign, the Portu- 
guese, fearing the other nobles and gentlemen would 
come to the same conclusion, and awed by the deter- 
mined spirit of the queen, decided not to come 
to open hostilities at that time, and accordingly with- 
drew his troops. Thus did the formidable coalition, 
that had threatened to prove so fatal to the widowed 
queen and her boy, dissolve without striking a blow. 
Maria, emboldened by the indecision of her foes, re- 
solved now to turn aggressor herself, and drive from 
the territories of Leon the soi-disant king, her brother- 
in-law, Don Juan. Her military advisers deem- 
ing it expedient to besiege Paredes, then the residence 
of Maria de Haro, the wife of Don Juan, and of Dona 
Juana, his mother, the queen repaired thither in person 
at the head of her troops. Here she was attacked by ill- 


ness occasioned by a tumor in her arm, from which she 
suffered intense pain for the space often weeks. Bnt noth- 
ing could make her neglect the charge she had underta- 
ken, and surmounting her sufferings, she continued to 
direct in person the operations of the siege. Her quick 
tact and superior judgment, detecting the weak points of 
the enemy's defence, repeatedly put to shame the veteran 
warriors who accompanied her, and her perseverance 
and ardor were indispensable to an army, whose mili- 
tary commanders were at best but lukewarm. No 
obstacles could abate her zeal or damp her courage. 
When money was wanted, rather than burthen the 
people and thus render her cause odious, she mortgaged 
her own estates, and, when this resource failed, she 
raised money by the sale of her plate and jewels. But 
the efforts of this heroic woman were rendered ineffec- 
tual, when she was on the eve of success, by the envi- 
ous disposition of Don Enrique, who, as already related, 
had retired to Granada. Informed that the queen 
would, in all probability, take the town, though it was 
defended by forces far outnumbering her own, and 
fearful lest this exploit, by leading to comparisons 
rather disadvantageous to one who so recently had 
allowed himself to be defeated by the Moors, might 
eventually deprive him of the nominal honors of a 
regency, the duties of which were so well performed 
by a woman, the weak-minded dotard determined to 
counteract her measures, and assist her foes. Having 
repaired to Paredes, under the gtiise of a friend and 
ally, he so intrigued with the besieging troops, that 


the queen had the mortification of seeing herself forced 
by her dissaffected soldiers to raise the siege, when 
the town was on the point of surrendering. His petty 
jealousy soon induced him to propose to the Cortes 
assembled in Cuellar, that the town of Tarifa should 
be given up to the Moors. His specious arguments were, 
however, foiled, and the loss of this important place 
prevented, by the spirited remonstrances of the queen. 
With a strength of reasoning and energy of expression 
that carried conviction to the hearts of the hearers, she 
denounced the measure as one which would brand the 
actors with ineffaceable shame, and she exposed the 
folly of thus tamely giving up a place that had been 
so dearly purchased with the blood of many good and 
loyal nobles and gentlemen in the reign of her husband, 
and which was a wall against the encroachments of the 
Africans. The disappointed Enrique now demanded that 
Grormaz and Caltanazor should be given to him ; and 
the queen, willing to make some sacrifice to satisfy 
his rapacity, acceded to the request, hoping that, on 
the king's coming of age, he would be forced to give 
back his ill-acquired possessions. The king of Portu- 
gal now renewed his proposal of marriage between his 
daughter Constance and the young Castilian sovereign, 
and also offered his own son and heir as a husband for 
the Infanta Beatrix, youngest child of Dona Maria. 
The latter pressed by numerous and powerful foes, and 
anxious to procure the assistance of so strong an ally,' 
agreed that Constance, instead of bringing a dower 
should receive one. her betrothed husband, Don Fernando. 


giving to his father-in-law, Olivencia, Conguela, Campo 
Moya, and San Felices delos Gellegos, that sovereign, 
in return, obliging himself to bring an army to assist the 
queen against Don Juan. Beatrix, who was at the same 
time betrothed to Don Alfonzo, the heir of Portugal, was 
in her fourth year and the little bridegroom in his ninth. 
The betrothals were celebrated in Alcanizas, on the fron- 
tiers of Zamora, in 1297. The sovereigns then parted, the 
queen being accompanied by Constance, and the king of 
Portugal by Beatrix. The want of sincerity of the Por- 
tuguese was soon made manifest in his insolent demand 
that Gralicia should be given to Don Juan, together with 
the city of Leon and the towns that prince had taken from 
the queen. The deputies, persuaded by Maria, protested 
against this dismemberment of the kingdom, and her 
faithless ally returned to Portugal with his army, hoping 
that the queen, thus deprived of his assistance, would be 
compelled to yield to Don Juan. Matters seemed now 
irretrievably confused. On one hand was Don Juan aided 
by Don Juan Nunez, on the other Don Alfonso de la Cer- 
da ; France threatening to enforce her claim on Navarre 
and the rights of the king's grandson, Don Alfonso; 
and many of the nobles abandoning the king's party. Here 
were indeed difficulties and perils to shake the courage of 
the stoutest heart, but the indomitable spirit of this 
extraordinary woman seemed to rise with each new 
obstacle, and gather fresh strength with every blow 
that would have crushed another ; and, when her cause 
seemed most desperate, some unforeseen circumstance 
would occur to retrieve it. Don Juan Alfonso de Hare 


now did good service, defeating and taking prisoner 
the great rebel Don Juan Nunez, who, having returned 
from France, whither he had gone to enter into a 
league with king Philip, was overruning the bishopric 
of Calahorra. The capture of this great lord was ex- 
tremely advantageous to Maria and her son, who thus 
recovered Lerma, La Mota, Amaya, Palenzuela, Du- 
enas, and other towns, exacting moreover an oath, that 
he would not for six years take up arms against King 
Ferdinand. The defeat of his ally so much disheart- 
ened Don Juan, that he came to terms, renouncing the 
title of king, and acknowledging that of his nephew 
Ferdinand,* the son of Maria, in June of the year 1300. 
To Don Juan were given as a compensation, Paredes, 
Mansilla, Rioseco, Castro Nuno, and Cabreras. The 
king of Aragon meanwhile, having possessed himself of 
the town of Lora, the castle was in imminent danger 
of being also taken by him, if not succored immediate- 
ly. Advice of this having been brought to the queen, 
then in Burgos, on the 1st of January, 1301, she pro- 
posed to Don Enrique that he should instantly go to its 
assistance, as this fortress was the key to Murcia. To 
her urgent entreaties, Enrique replied with his usual 
indecision, ever treating with indifference the most im- 
portant questions, when proposed by her. 

This silly conduct so disgusted the queen, that she 
declared that she would go in person, and that whoso- 
ever chose might follow. Her energy infused some 

* Don Juan had another nephew of that name, son of his brother 
Ferdinand de la Cerda. 


little shame into Enrique, and he prepared to accom- 
pany her. The inclemency of the weather did not 
deter Maria, and she accordingly set out on the 4th 
January, and by forced marches managed to reach 
Alcaraz, to be mortified with the tidings that the castle 
had been surrendered by treason. Determined to reap 
some benefit for the trouble and expense she had in- 
curred, Maria entered Murcia, where she not only suc- 
cored several places that were in danger of being 
taken, but would infallibly have captured the king of 
Aragon and his queen, who, unconscious of her prox- 
imity, were in Navarre, had not the infantes Juan and 
Enrique refused to act in concert with her against this 
monarch, whose allies they were in secret. Enrique 
was desirous of securing the regency for his life-time, 
and for this purpose secretly intrigued with Aragon. 
The Pope's dispensation, legalising the queen's mar- 
riage with her late husband and legitimising her chil- 
dren, now arrived from Rome, having been solicited 
unremittingly by Maria, since the period of Sancho's 
death. The jealousy of Enrique, inflamed by every 
circumstance that favored the queen, sought to coun- 
teract the good effects the Pope's decree was likely to 
produce, by industriously circulating a report that the 
letters supposed to have been sent by the pontiff were 
forged. Not content with this imposture, Don Enrique 
consorted with Don Juan Nunez, to create ill feelings 
between the young king and his mother, and with- 
draw him from her. Maria being obliged to go to 
Victoria, to meet the governor of that place and settle 


some disputed points, Ferdinand was persuaded to ex- 
press a wish to spend the time of the qceen's absence, 
hunting with Don Juan Nunez. Too frank and truth- 
ful herself to suspect treason in one whose past misde- 
meanors had been so recently pardoned, the queen readily 
consented to her son's being absent with the traitor noble 
four days. This imprudence soon occasioned much 
grief to Maria, the inexperience of the boy-king making 
him an easy prey to his subtle companion, who repre- 
senting in the most distorted light the subjection in 
which he was held, taught him to view the necessary 
restraint his age warranted as an unworthy yoke, add- 
ing that he, the monarch, was but a cipher, poor and 
despised, while she, the brilliant cynosure of all eyes, 
would keep him, during her life-time, merely as the 
instrument of her will. Ferdinand, who seems to have 
inherited neither his father's brilliant valor, nor his 
mother's firmness and prudence, weak, unstable, and 
prone to every new impression, was easily swayed by 
the subtle reasoning of his new advisers, whom he ac- 
companied to Leon, and who even persuaded him that 
whatever might be the ostensible purpose of the 
queen's journey to Victoria, the real object of it was 
the negotiation of a marriage between his sister Isabel 
and Don Alfonso de la Cerda, whom she intended to 
assist in his claim on the crown. The simple youth 
giving the inventors of this preposterous falsehood 
credit for all the zeal they professed in his behalf, be- 
came a mere tool in their hands against his noble mo- 
ther. While Dona Maria was in Victoria, she received 


a message from the king of Aragon, offering to restore 
all the places he had taken in Murcia, if she would 
allow him to keep Alicante, but this she absolutely 
refused. To remedy, as far as lay in her power, the 
evils accruing from the king's confidence in his artful 
counsellors, Maria thought it advisable his marriage 
with his betrothed bride should now be celebrated, and 
accordingly opened a negotiation with the king of Por- 
tugal to induce him to give up the towns that had 
been placed in his hands as pledges that the union 
should take place. The queen was on the point of ob- 
taining her just demand, when her plan was frustrated 
by the young king's false friends, who, to ingratiate 
themselves with the king of Portugal and obtain his 
co-operation in their schemes, persuaded their dupe to 
marry immediately, and the nuptials took place in 
January, 1302. Ferdinand, having convened the 
Cortes to meet in Medina del Campo on the 10th April, 
the procuradores refused to assemble, unless called to 
do so by the queen mother, and, when summoned by her, 
they sent to her, offering to exclude the king if such were, 
her pleasure. But that princess was too wise and 
good to allow of her son's conduct, however ungrateful 
to her, being made a plea for disrespect to himself, and 
seeking to repair the mischiefs he occasioned, not to 
revenge the wrongs inflicted on herself, at her son's re- 
quest attended the Cortes. The deputies were ill 
pleased that the king should be but a puppet in the 
hands of Don Juan Nunez and the infante Don Juan, 
and the latter, aware that the deputies would <lo no- 


thing but what should be in strict accordance with her 
wishes, sought to annoy Maria in all possible ways. By 
their ad vice, Ferdinand demanded of the abbot of Santan- 
der, the queen's chancellor, an account of the outlays 
and receipts during her administration ; but. instead 
of ascertaining, as he had been led to expect, that she 
had secreted large sums, the strict inquiry he insti- 
tuted only served to show the king in debt to his mo- 
ther, for those she had disbursed from her own funds, 
in his service. On another occasion, being informed 
that, if he inquired for certain valuable rings that had 
belonged to his father, his mother would be unable to 
produce them, having bestowed them on some of her 
creatures, the young king hastened to her apartment 
and requested she would show him the jewels. Though 
aware of the suspicion that prompted the demand, tho 
queen, dissembling the grief this insult caused her, 
calmly turning to one of her ladies in waiting, Dona 
Maria Sanchez, bade her bring them, together with 
her own, and when they were brought, besought the 
crestfallen boy to take them all, if such were his 

Ferdinand, after such repeated proofs of his mother's 
integrity, seemed to repent of his past unkind doubts, 
and breaking away from his evil advisers, spent some 
time with his best and most sincere friend. But his 
weak mind rendered him too prone to bad impressions 
to allow of his long continuing firm in any wise course, 
and being persuaded that his mother still cherished the 
desire of marrying her daughter Isabel to his competi- 


tor Don Alfonso de la Cerda, he sent to demand that 
his sister should come and abide with his wife Con- 
stance. Many nobles, and among them Don Alfonso 
Lopez de Haro, indignant at the childish and wavering 
conduct of the king, proposed to Maria that she should 
deprive him of all power, and offered to join with her 
against him, but she refused to take a course which, 
though warranted by his mismanagement of public 
affairs, would ruin him irretrievably. The lords, on 
her refusal, raised the standard of Don Alfonso de la 
Cerda. Don Enrique, offended by Ferdinand, also pro- 
posed to Maria that they should join in resisting his 
overstrained authority, and had she acceded, the 
power of Don Enrique was such, and the love the 
nation bore the queen was so great, that the king would 
have been thrust from the throne he so ill became. But, 
far from giving the proposal a moment's thought, the 
queen mother endeavored to palliate and excuse his 
folly, on the score of his youth, and sought to reconcile 
the hearts he was continually alienating. Many nobles 
and gentlemen having gone to the queen mother in 
Valladolid, Ferdinand repaired thither to ascertain 
their intentions, and Maria, seizing this favorable 
opportunity of reasoning with him, entreated he would 
say what cause moved him thus to persecute, misjudge 
and insult a mother who had made his happiness and 
welfare the study of her life, and what could induce 
him to join with those who had for so long a time 
proved his most bitter foes. The king, moved by her 
just and unanswerable remonstrance, manifested some 


little gratitude for her solicitude and care, but, as 
usual, no lasting good was produced, and he was easily 
brought to consider this momentary repentance a 
weakness. Don Enrique, Don Diego de Haro, and Don 
Juan Manuel, a grandson of San Fernando, now joined 
with the infante Alfonso de la Cerda, who called him- 
self king of Castile, and began to treat with the king 
of Aragon. This coalition, into which vain efforts 
were made to draw the queen mother, would doubtless 
have proved fatal to Ferdinand, had not the death of 
one of its chief members greatly reduced its power. 

The infante Don Enrique ended his turbulent career 
in August, 1303, at the age of 73, and was interred in 
Valladolid. So little was the personal regard he had 
inspired, that not one mourning friend followed his re- 
mains to their last resting place, nor would the body 
of this, the most powerful and wealthy of Spain's no- 
bles have been buried with common decency, had not 
the queen, whose life he had so constantly sought 
to embitter, provided everything in accordance with 
his rank, called on the clergy and inhabitants of Vallado- 
lid to attend the funeral rites, and herself and her 
daughter Isabel been chief mourners. The numerous 
towns of which, taking advantage of the troubles of 
the times, Don Enrique had possessed himself, now, by 
the prompt measures of Maria, returned to the crown, 
she herself recovering Ecija. 

The death of Don Enrique greatly contributed to 
quell the rising storm, and restore peace and tranquil- 
lity. The sovereigns of Aragon, Portugal, and Castile, 


having met in Agreda and Tarragona in August of the 
following year to settle the claims of Don Alfonso de 
la Cerda, the royal arbiters decreed that that prince 
should renounce his pretensions to the throne of Castile 
and the title of king, and receive as a compensation, 
a number of towns and lordships in Castile. 

Though the queen mother sorely felt this dismem- 
berment of the dominions of Castile, still she deemed 
it far preferable to make this sacrifice, costly as it 
was, than to continue the civil war. The infante Don 
Alfonso was as little satisfied, because, as the places 
assigned to him were in different parts of the country, 
their importance was greatly diminished. But, not- 
withstanding the dissatisfaction of the parties con- 
cerned, they were compelled to abide by the decision 
of the arbitrators, and great rejoicings took place on 
the occasion. 

The king, now freed from his most powerful ene- 
mies, might have enjoyed the sweets of peace had his 
temper been different. But his prudent mother was 
constantly employed in soothing the irascible spirits by 
whom he was surrounded, and whom he was unsuited 
to manage. Ferdinand was preparing to war with the 
Moors, who had taken advantage of the discord reign- 
ing among the Christians, when his death, which occur- 
red in Jaca, September, 1312, in his 27th year, again 
involved the Castilian dominions in the confusion gene- 
rally attending the minority of princes. Ferdinand 
was surnamed the Summoned, from the following cir- 
cumstance. Two brothers, Don Pedro and Don Juan 


Alfonso Carvajal, were accused of having murdered a 
gentleman of the name of Benavides, one evening as 
he retired from the palace of the king in Valencia. 
Though they protested their innocence, and the proofs 
were very slight against them, the king condemned 
them to be thrown from a rock called La Peha de 
Marios. On their way to the place of execution, the 
brothers solemnly summoned the king to answer within 
thirty days, at the tribunal of God, for this his unjust 
condemnation. Though Ferdinand subsequently suf- 
fered a slight indisposition, he had apparently en- 
tirely recovered from it some days previous to that 
appointed by the criminals, or victims ; but having 
thrown himself on hia couch on the thirtieth day, with 
the intention of reposing for an hour, his prolonged 
sleep alarming his attendants, they ventured to endea- 
vor to rouse him, and found him dead ! 

NOTE. In the following year, Philip, king of France, and Pope 
Clement, both died, having been summoned in a similar manner by 
two knights templars. 


l 312. 

ON the death of Ferdinand, the royal standard was 

DO5?A MARIA. 261 

raised by his brother, Don Pedro, for the young heir to 
the crown, Alfonso, then but a year old. The infante, 
Don Juan, and Don Juan Nunez, declared their inten- 
tion of supporting the claims of Dona Maria to the 
guardianship of the young prince, to which they con- 
sidered her entitled, but insisted that her son, the in- 
fante Don Pedro, should be entirely excluded from all 
participation in the administration. On the other hand, 
the infante Don Pedro and Don Juan Nunez de Lara 
were equally imperative in their demands of the same 
office. The city of Avila, where the young king 
then was, following the example of loyalty set by its 
inhabitants during the reign of the eleventh Alfonso, 
decided that neither of the contending parties should 
have possession of the person of the infant sovereign 
until their respective claims should be settled, and 
placing him under the protection of an efficient guard, 
bred him with the most affectionate solicitude. The 
wretched kingdom was now again divided by rival fac- 
tions, the dowager queen, though with her usual 
moderation, favoring the party of her son Pedro, and 
Constance, widow of Ferdinand, that of the infante 
Juan. The Cortes assembled in Valencia, but the 
procuradores were divided in opinion, some being in 
favor of the infante Don Juan, and the wiser portion 
in favor of Dona Maria and her son Pedro. The town 
of Avila, after innumerable treaties, negotiations, <Scc., 
at length received within its gates Dona Maria and 
her son as tutors of the baby sovereign, but without 
permitting him to be taken beyond its precincts. The 


death of queen Constance, in 1214, contributed greatly 
to settle all disputes, and Maria was then allowed to 
take her grandson to Toro, and there educate him. 
The subsequent deaths of the infantes, Don Juan and 
Don Pedro, while warring with the Moors, in 1319, 
seemed to secure peace to Castile, the undisputed pos- 
session of the regency being now in the hands of Maria. 
But this was rather the prelude to fresh commotions. 
Don Juan Manuel, grandson of St. Ferdinand, aspired to 
the guardianship of the young king, and his preten- 
sions were supported by several cities. Don Felipe, a 
son of Dona Maria, undertaking to punish his arro- 
gance, commenced ravaging the towns that had de- 
clared in his favor, but his mother, ever careless of her 
own interest, and mindful of that of the people, inter- 
posed her authority, and caused him to desist. Don 
Fernando de la Cerda, Don Juan, son of the late 
Don Juan, and of his wife Dona Maria, and Diaz de 
Haro, were stirring up the disaffected against Don 
Juan Manuel and the queen's party. To appease the 
threatened storm, Maria convoked a Cortes in Vallado- 
lid, but, worn out with the cares to which she had 
been a constant prey during the whole of her well- 
spent life, exhausted nature gave way. The queen 
beheld the approaches of death with the calmness of a 
Christian, her last earthly thoughts being, as ever, 
bent on securing peace to the kingdom, and the crown 
to him whom she considered its legitimate heir. 

Having summoned the regidores and chief gentle- 
men of the city, she solemnly entrusted her grandson 

DO5?A MARIA. 263 

to their loyalty, bidding them guard and keep him, un- 
til his majority, and not to allow of his being taken from 
them under any pretence, by any party, until that pe- 
riod. Having thus fulfilled her duty to the last, doing 
all that lay in her power for the good of the nation, 
she considered her task on earth accomplished, and 
prepared to receive a crown in heaven, resigning the 
terrestial one, that had often been so heavy a weight to 
her aching brow. Maria died in July, 1321. The 
death of this indefatigable woman, whose strong intel- 
lect, keen foresight, and disinterested zeal had so often 
preserved the kingdom when on the verge of ruin, was 
lamented throughout the nation. Maria, if we con- 
sider the age in which she lived, was truly a prodigy. 
In her were blended the masculine virtues of the 
stronger sex and the mild ones of her own. She 
united the talents of the experienced politician and the 
art of the great general and tactician. The firm sup- 
port of a tottering throne, yet the conscientious advo- 
cate of the rights of the people, neither daunted by re- 
verses, nor elated by prosperity, wise, humane, and 
pious, amid a host of ambitious, selfish contenders for 
power, she alone was unmoved by motives of self-inte- 
rest, and from the first to the last day of her long and 
useful career, steadily kept on her undeviating path of 
rectitude. In the history of nations her name shines 
with a radiance dimmed by no one blot. Justly surnam- 
ed the Great, placed in a situation as perilous as it was 
exalted, living in times when it was often deemed ex- 
cusable, if not praiseworthy, to do evil for the sake of 


effecting good, this queen has left a memory unstained 
by crimes, unsullied by foibles. 

Besides the children already mentioned, Maria gave 
birth in 1288 to Enrique, who died in 1299 to Pedro who 
born in 1290, was married in 1311, to Maria, eldest 
daughter of James II. of Aragon, and died in batile in 
1319 to Felipe, who, born 1292, married Margarita, 
daughter of Don Alfonso de la Cerda, and died 1327 
to Beatrix, born 1293, and betrothed in 1301 to Alfonso 
of Portugal, to whom she was married in 1309. 



CONSTANCE, the daughter of Denis, king of Portugal, 
and of his queen, Isabel, sur named the Saint, was born 
on the 3d of January, 1290, betrothed in 1297 to Fer- 
dinand, the young king of Castile, and married to him 
in 1302. The superiority of Maria, the dowager 
queen of Castile, has so completely cast the young 
reigning queen into the shade, that the latter has at- 
tracted little or no attention. The only political act 
in which she took part was when she was sent to en- 
deavor to obtain a loan of money from her father, by 
her husband Ferdinand, who at the time was besieging 
Tordehumos. Constance survived the premature death 


of Ferdinand but a short time, dying in Sahagun, 
November 18th, 1313, in the 24th year of her age. 
It is said that this daughter, wife, sister and mother 
of sovereigns, actually suffered the miseries of penury 
during the latter part of her short existence ; it is 
certain that she died so poor that her jewels were 
insufficient to defray her debts. Constance gave birth 
in 1307 to Leonor, and in 1311 to Alfonso, who suc- 
ceeded to his father's throne. Leonor was betrothed 
when four years of age to Pedro, crown prince of Ara- 
gon, son of James II., but that prince renouncing 
the throne and taking orders, Leonor subsequently 
married his brother Alfonso in 1329. (The events of 
this reign have been given in the Annals of Maria the 



ON the 13th of August, 1325, Alfonso XII. having at- 
tained his fourteenth year, took the government of the 
kingdom on himself, thus putting a stop to the contin- 
ual wrangling of his tutors, which had hitherto kept the 
land in a state of confusion. Dona Constanza, daugh- 
ter of Don Juan Manuel, one of the wealthiest heir- 
esses of Castile, had been promised by her father to 
Don Juan el Tuerto, son of the infante of the same 


name who had created so much disturbance during the 
preceding reigns. The king, foreseeing the evils like- 
ly to arise from a marriage that would cement an al- 
liance between these two ambitious and disaffected 
barons, offered himself as a suitor to the lady, and the 
prospect of a throne proving too powerful a bait to be 
refused, the betrothals were celebrated in November, 
1325. The age of the little maid rendering it neces- 
sary that some years should elapse ere the marriage 
should take place, circumstances intervened in the in- 
terval, that rendered Alfonso extremely averse to fulfil- 
ling his engagement, though his bride was honored 
with the title of queen. 

The restless, discontented temper of Don Juan 
Manuel could not long endure restraint, and so irri- 
tated the king, that, heartily repenting his alliance 
with the insolent, rebellious noble, he sought, and 
finally obtained, a separation from his child-bride, and 
the quarrel with her father having come to an open rup- 
ture, Constance was regarded as a hostage rather than 
a queen consort, being kept a close prisoner in Toro, Irorn 
October 1327, to September, 1328, when, Alfonso having 
married the infanta of Portugal, she was allowed to return 
to her father. Fate, as though determined to cheat 
her with the hope of a diadem that was never to crown 
her brow, once more seemed to favor the designs of 
the ambitious Juan Manuel, who, in 1340, married his 
divorced daughter to Pedro, prince of Portugal, son of 
Alfonso XI. But the domestic life of Constance, like 
that of her successor, in the heart and on the throne 


of the king of Castile, was destined to be embittered 
by the pangs of a jealousy but too well founded. 
Shortly after her marriage, it became evident that the 
beautiful Ines de Castro, one of the princess's ladies, 
had inspired Pedro with a vehement passion ; a passion 
that proved stronger than the ties that bound him to 
his consort, and so enduring that, the subsequent death 
of its hapless object was insufficient to extinguish it. 
The king, alarmed at the influence Ines was acquiring 
over the mind of his son, contrived to place a spiritual 
bar between the lovers, by causing the lady to stand 
god-mother to Luis, the eldest child of Pedro and Con- 
stance. But a man of the prince's passionate and de- 
termined nature was not to be deterred by this obstacle 
from following his inclination, and his continued indif- 
ference to his consort, and devoted attachment to her 
rival, is said to have preyed on the spirits of the for- 
mer, and hastened her death, which took place at 
Santarem, 13th November, 1345. The queen had 
given birth to three children, Luis, Maria, and Ferdi- 
nand. The two last survived her. 

NOTE. The majority of readers are doubtless acquainted with the 
tragic story of Inesde Castro, which has furnished so rich a theme for 
the poet and the novelist, but those who have not met with it 
elsewhere, may be gratified to find a sketch of it here, though the 
incident belongs, more especially after the death of Constance, to 
the history of Portugal. 

The death of Constance freeing the prince from all restraint, he 
sought to unite himself to his mistress by indissoluble ties, and for 
this purpose obtained a dispensation from Rome, and the marriage 
was secretly solemnized at Braganza in the presence of a Portu- 


guese prelate and the prince's own chamberlain, January 1st, 1355. 
It has been much disputed whether the marriage was performed 
before or after the birth of the offspring of Ines, who, however, 
were by this ceremony legitimised. Notwithstanding the precau- 
tions taken to ensure secrecy, suspicions were entertained, and the 
king, alarmed lest the interests of his grandchild Ferdinand should 
suffer in consequence, sent for the prince, and urged him to declare 
whether there was any truth in the report. Though Pedro was 
questioned repeatedly on the subject, he persisted in denying his 
marriage, but when the king remonstrated on the sin of continuing 
his criminal intercourse with his mistress, he, as positively, refused 
to give her up. Several alliances with European princesses were 
proposed to the prince, and his refusal to listen to any overtures of 
the kind, confirmed the king's suspicion that he was already mar- 
ried. Enraged that his son should have allied himself to a subject, 
and urged by some of his counsellors, who represented that, after 
his rfeath the prince would set aside his eldest child's claims in fa- 
vor of those of the offspring of the woman he so passionately 
loved, and thus involve the kingdom in the horrors of civil war, 
the king determined to remove the cause of his annoyance. It 
seems almost incredible that a man, a knight, and a king, should 
deliberately meditate and cause to be executed the barbarous, 
cold-blooded murder of a woman, surrounded by her young chil- 
dren. That he did so, however, is a fact too well authenticated 
to allow of a doubt. The queen-mother and the Archbishop of Bra- 
ga, having ascertained the king's murderous intentions, apprised Don 
Pedro of the danger of Ines, but several months elapsing without 
any attempt being made, Pedro fancying his father had given up 
the shocking idea, or, as is more probable, unwilling to believe he 
had ever conceived it, became less vigilant, and Alfonso's spies at 
length brought word that the prince had departed on a hunting ex- 
pedition and would be absent some days. The king instantly left 
Monte Mor, where he then was, and hastened to the convene of 
Santa Clara in Coimbra, where Ines resided. On learning the king's 
approach, the hapless lady, foreseeing her danger, attempted to 


avert it, and issuing from the gates attended by her three little 
ones, embraced his knees and implored his mercy. Her extreme 
beauty and youth, her tears and those of his little grandchildren, 
made some impression on the heart of the sovereign, and he with- 
drew irresolute, but the persuasions of his confidential advisers, 
who happened to be enemies of the Castro family and jealous of 
their influence with the prince, soon caused the dictates of a mis- 
taken policy to prevail over those of nature, and Alfonso ordered 
the unprotected Ines to be stabbed by his minions, without the 
mockery of a trial, for the crime imputed to her of inspiring the 
prince's love was too well proved, without an hour's space to im- 
plore the mercy of one whom even these tigers acknowledged as the 
Supreme Judge. When Pedro on his return from the chase beheld 
the bloody corpse of the only woman he had ever loved, his rage 
knew no bounds, and the burning thirst for revenge mastered his 
grief. Assembling all his adherents, among whom were the mem- 
bers of the powerful house of Castro, he ravaged the provinces of 
Entre Douro e Minho, and Tras os Monies, where the possessions 
of his wife's murderers lay, and besieged Oporto. The king, 
alarmed at the progress of his son's arms, sent the queen to con- 
ciliate him, but in vain ; Pedro received his mother kindly, but 
swore that he would never Jay down his arms until the perpetrators 
of the deed were given into his power. The king could not give 
up those who, though they had advised the act, had yet only exe- 
cuted it by his orders, and a compromise was finally agreed on. 
The obnoxious nobles were banished and the prince admitted to 
participate in the administration of the government. The death of 
Alfonso soon followed this reconciliation, and is said to have been 
accelerated by the pangs of remorse for the cruelty of which he 
had been guilty. Pedro was no sooner king than he set about 
gratifying his long-cherished desire for vengeance. Having by 
dint of negotiation obtained the persons of two out of the three 
assassins from his namesake, the king of Castile, at whose court 
they had taken refuge and who gave them up in exchange for 
some of his own personal enemies and rebellious subjects in Por- 


tugal, Pedro exercised all his ingenuity to devise tortures for these 
wretches. To detail the torment they were made to undergo 
would be harrowing to the feelings of the reader ; suffice it to 
say that they seemed the invention of a fiend rather than of a man. 
Indeed, the temper of Pedro became from the death of Ines, stern, 
harsh, and inflexible in the extreme, and though he has been 
celebrated for his impartial and strict administration of justice dur- 
ing his reign, that justice was never tempered with mercy, and 
he even seemed to take a ferocious pleasure in witnessing the in- 
flictions of the cruel punishments to which he sentenced malefac- 
tors. Mrs. Hemans, in her beautiful ballad of the Coronation of 
Ines de Castro, has given a description of the regal honors the 
heart-stricken sovereign bestowed on his murdered wife, whom he 
caused to be disinterred, clad in royal robes, and solemnly crowned 
in the cathedral of Coimbra, after which the corpse was conveyed, 
attended by a procession of the most noble ladies and men of the 
highest rank, clad in mourning, to the monastery of Alcobaca, and 
deposited in the magnificent tomb he had prepared for that purpose. 



THE king of Portugal had long been anxious to pro- 
cure the marriage of his daughter Maria with the young 
king of Castile, and therefore saw with no little plea- 
sure the breach between Alfonso and his father-in-law 
daily widening. Aware that the marriage with Con- 
stance had not been consummated, he renewed his 
proposals, and these were so advantageous to Castile 


that Alfonso, wearied with his insolent subject's con- 
tinued disobedience, accepted them. Among other 
conditions it was agreed that the crown prince of 
Portugal should marry Blanche, daughter and heiress 
of Don Pedro,* lord of Cameros, and that her heredita- 
ry domains should be given to her cousin, the king of 
Castile, the king of Portugal obliging himself to in- 
demnify her for the loss by settling on her domains of 
equal value in Portugal. This condition was extreme- 
ly advantageous to the king of Castile, as it not only 
ensured a splendid alliance to his cousin Blanche, but 
added to the domains of the crown the vast estates of 
his uncle Don Pedro, which in the hands of another 
lord might have proved too dangerous a resource for a 
subject. The marriage between Alfonso XII., king of 
Castile, and Maria, daughter of Alfonso IV., king of 
Portugal and his consort. Beatrix of Castile, was sol- 
emnized in September of the year 1328. Though a 
dispensation had not been procured previous to the 
marriage, it was readily granted in the following year 
by the pope. These nuptials were followed by those 
of Blanche with the prince of Portugal, and Leonor, 
infante of Castile, sister of Alfonso, with the king of 
Aragon. Alfonso IV. The union of Maria and Alfonso, 
like the generality of those formed from motives of 
policy, where the feelings of the parties chiefly con- 
cerned have been totally disregarded, proved extremely 

* The infante Don Pedro, who had been co-regent with Dona 
Maria the Great, and was killed in the Plain of Granada, fighting 
agrainut thp Moors. 


unhappy. The king's anxious hopes of an heir seemed 
to be doomed to disappointment, the queen remaining 
childless during the first three years of her marriage ; 
and his amours with Dona Leonor de Guzman, of which 
he made no secret, concurring to mortify and grieve 
Maria, a fountain was unsealed whose poisoned waters 
were to embitter the whole current of her life. To add 
to the queen's vexation, the favorite gave birth to a 
numerous family, thus strengthening the ties that 
united the king to her. This high-born darne, whose 
long term of prosperity and tragical end have con- 
curred, doubtless, as much as her being the mother of 
a prince who subsequently ascended the throne, to give 
her a conspicuous place in history, was the daughter 
of Don Pedro Nunez de Guzman and the widow of Don 
Juan de Velasco. By birth and alliance, Leonor was 
of the richest and noblest families in Spain, and unan- 
imously allowed to be the most beautiful woman in the 
kingdom, while even her enemies pronounced her in- 
tellect equal to her beauty. The king saw her for the 
first time in Seville in 1330, and the impression her 
matchless charms made was indelible, her wit and 
amiability strengthening and maintaining the king's 
passion for the space of twenty years. During this 
long period Leonor was, if not dejure, at least de fac- 
to, the queen of Castile, the neglected Maria, possess- 
ing but an empty title, while all the authority was 
vested in the fascinating mistress. But though enjoy- 
ing unbounded power during the king's life, Leonor 
used it with prudence and moderation, making it the 


study of her life to promote her royal lover's happiness, 
sharing in his joys and triumphs, and by her gentle 
sympathy soothing and dispelling the cares and vexa- 
tions that assailed him. All the historians of those times 
have united to do homage to the charms of mind and per- 
son of Alfonso's mistress, albeit his passion for her was 
the occasion of the domestic sorrows of his consort, and 
the origin of the long and desolating civil wars that dis- 
tracted Castile during the subsequent reign of his son 
Pedro. The birth, in 1330, of the first son of Leonor, 
was hailed with delight by the king, and celebrated 
with great rejoicings by many of the courtiers, who, 
foreseeing the important part the mother would enact, 
sought to ingratiate themselves with the king, by 
flattering the object of his passion. Alfonso endowed 
this, his first-born son, richly, and the fame of the in- 
fluence of Leonor spreading far and wide, the powerful 
rebel Don Juan Manuel sent to solicit her good offices 
to effect a reconciliation with the king. The messen- 
gers of the crafty baron were also empowered to ne- 
gotiate a secret treaty with Leonor, and offer her the 
assistance of their master if she would induce the king 
to obtain a divorce from his sterile and unloved queen, 
and marry her who had already given him a male heir. 
Don Manuel offered, in case she would do so, to return 
to his allegiance and employ all his power to farther 
her plans. Leonor had too much sense not to perceive 
the hidden drift of the traitorous noble, who, to obtain 
his own ends, sought to weaken the sovereign by involv- 
ing him in a war with Portugal, and to create, moreover, 


great disturbances in the kingdom. She not only 
resolutely refused these specious offers, but requested 
the king might never be spoken to on the subject. 
Though she would not acceed to his treacherous propo- 
sals, Leonor wisely endeavored to bring about a recon- 
ciliation between Alfonso and his great vassal. To the 
accomplished favorite was also due the creation of the 
Order of La Banda. To be admitted a member of this 
Order, it was necessary to prove a term of service of 
not less than ten years, and an unblemished and noble 
birth. A crimson band worn over the right shoulder 
was the insignia. The king himself was the Grand 
Master, and it was instituted with a view of refining 
and polishing the manners of the nobles, who, from a 
long continuance of civil wars had become rude and 
ferocious. It was governed by many excellent laws 
and regulations, and became so celebrated that to be 
one of its members was accounted one of the highest 

The neglected queen was somewhat consoled by the 
birth, in 1332, of Fernando, her first-born. This event 
was celebrated with great pomp. Leonor about the 
same period also gave birth to a son, who was named 
Sancho. A few months previous to the queen's confine- 
ment, the coronation of the sovereigns of Castile had 
taken place, and on this occasion was revived the 
ancient ceremony of the king knighting all those who 
were entitled to the honor. This ceremony which had 
always been used at the coronation of the sovereigns 
of Spain, had fallen into desuetude during the agitated 


reigns of his two immediate predecessors, and was now 
restored by Alfonso in all its original splendor. 

The king of Portugal, incensed at the insult offered 
to his daughter in the publicity of Alfonso's passion for 
his mistress, now confederated with the restless Don 
Juan Manuel and Don Juan Nunez de Lara to obtain 
by force of arms the dismissal of the cause of offence. 
The infante of Portugal repudiated his wife Blanche 
of Castile, her infirmities (she was paralytic) afford- 
ing a sufficient plea, and married Constanza, the 
daughter of Don Juan Manuel, and the repudiated bride 
of the Castilian sovereign. The energy with which 
Alfonso attacked his rebel lords, and especially Don 
Juan Nunez, whom he besieged in Lerma and com- 
pelled to come to terms, soon reduced them to a tem- 
porary submission, and allowed him time to turn his 
attention to the inroads of the Moors, who were com- 
ing from Africa in great numbers The king of Gra- 
nada, anxious to free himself from the tribute Alfonso 
exacted from him, solicited the assistance of the king 
of Morocco, and their united forces would have un- 
doubtedly proved fatal to the sovereign of Castile, had 
he not taken efficacious measures to oppose them. The 
court having removed to Seville, to be nearer the seat of 
war, Dona Leonor there gave birth to the twins who 
were destined to enact so important a part in the suc- 
ceeding reign Don Fadrique, Grand Master of Santi- 
ago, who was to perish by the dagger of his half-brother, 
Don Pedro, and Don Enrique, the first-born, who was 
to avenge his twin-brother's death by the assassination 


of Pedro and the usurpation of his crown. The joy 
afforded to the queen by the birth of her own son was 
of short duration, the young prince dying in 1333, but 
in November of the following year her hopes were re- 
vived by the birth of another son, who was named 
Pedro, and was destined to succeed his father. Some 
authors assert that Leonor endeavored, at the time of 
the queen's confinement to cause the death of both 
mother and son, for which purpose she had recource 
to sorcery, but this ridiculous imputation is as stoutly 
denied by others. The character of Leonor was 
tainted with neither cruelty nor ambition, though she 
is by some accused of having caused the downfall of 
Martin de Oviedo, Grand Master of Alcantara, who, 
irritated against the favorite, rebelled, was taken, and 
expiated his crime by a cruel death. 

It being indispensible that the Christian powers 
of the Peninsula should unite to repel the numerous 
forces of the allied Moors, Maria setting aside all re- 
sentment for private wrongs, in her anxiety for the 
public weal, repaired to Ebora, a town of Portugal, to 
solicit in person the assistance of her father against the 
common foe of Christianity. The Portuguese monarch, 
won by his daughter's persuasions, joined Alfonso at 
the head of a considerable force, and the united sove- 
reigns having encountered the Moors near Tarifa, which 
the latter were besieging, won the famous battle of El 
Salado, so called from the little river of that name, on 
the banks of which it was fought on the 28th October, 
1340. The Moors were in immense numbers, and 


commanded by the king of Granada and Albohacen, 
prince of Morocco. This was the greatest battle that 
had taken place since that of Las Navas de Tolosa, 
when Alfonso VIII. and his allies, the kings of Navarre 
and Leon, humbled the crescent to the dust. That 
the Christians at the battle of El Salado performed 
miracles of valor can scarcely be doubted, when we 
find they triumphed over forces four times as numerous. 
The more moderate Spanish historians reckon their 
own number at 60,000, and that of the Moors at 
140,000. This certainly appears incredible, and what 
is still more so, is the assertion that 12,000 Moors fell 
on the field of battle, while the loss of the Christians 
amounted to some twenty men.* Though we can 
give no credit to so absurd an account, we have no 
means of ascertaining the exact numbers on each side. 
That the loss of the Saracens was immense, we have 
the authority of their own chroniclers to vouch, and 
there was not a family in Granada but had to mourn the 
loss of a member. Alfonso proved himself the worthy de- 
scendant of his heroic forefathers. Though at one time 
surrounded by a multitude of foes, his firmness was 
unshaken, and he defended himself vigorously at the 
head of his small band until disengaged by his troops. 
The king of Portugal having thus efficiently assisted 
his son-in-law, returned to his own dominions, refusing 
to accept any share in the spoils beyond a few rich 
swords and caparisons. The booty, in gold alone, was 

* Some of the Spanish writers assert that 200,000 Moors fell in 
that battle! ! ! Cronica de Alfonso Onceno. 


so great that the coin of that metal decreased one sixth in 
value. In this battle Alfonso certainly won more renown 
than his predecessor and namesake at that of Las Navas 
de Tolosa. Alfonso VIII. had had time to prepare 
himself, he had ample means, and three kings with 
their forces to assist him, besides an immense number 
of foreigners, who came from all parts of Europe to 
win fame and the blessings of the church, this having 
been a species of crusade enjoined by the Pontiff him- 
self. Alfonso XII. was greatly weakened by the 
defection of several of his high vassals, had had little 
or no time to prepare to resist so numerous a force, 
and was assisted only by his father-in-law. The Cas- 
tilian sovereign sent a portion of the spoils as presents to 
the Pope, among which were twenty-four banners won 
from the foe and now borne by as many captives, one hun- 
dred magnificent horses splendidly caparisoned, with 
rich swords and shields hanging at the saddle bows, and 
led by as many captives. The king also sent his own 
standard to the Pope, and the steed he rode during the 
battle, with trappings embroidered with the arms of 
Leon and Castile, and many valuable jewels. The 
king's gift was received with the utmost solemnity by 
the Pope, who ordered public thanks to be returned to 
(rod for the signal victory he had vouchsafed to the Chris- 
tian arms. This famous battle was the precursor of 
many others between the Moors and the Castilians, Al- 
fonso ever distinguishing himself by his personal bravery 
and his talents as a commander. Four years afterwards, 
the kingdom of Algeciraswas also conquered, having pre- 


viously sustained a long and tedious siege, by Alfonso, 
who had in the meanwhile won several naval battles. 
During the five succeeding years, the kingdom enjoyed 
peace and tranquillity, though it is more than probable 
the inmates of the royal palace were far from partici- 
pating in these blessings. The neglected queen, how- 
ever, whatever might be her feelings, gave no outward 
signs of resentment, but though she appeared thus 
patiently to endure being reduced to a secondary po- 
sition, she secretly nourished a hope of vengeance, and 
silently awaited the day when she could retaliate her 
wrongs on the head of her hated rival. Nor did Maria 
wait in vain. The death of Alfonso, who fell a victim 
to a pestilence in March, 1350. while engaged in the 
siege of Gibraltar,* entirely changed the face of public 
affairs in Castile. Pedro, the son of Maria, a youth 
not sixteen, was proclaimed king, and urged by his 
mother, gave his consent to the first of those sanguin- 
ary deeds that have caused succeeding generations to 
view his character through a veil of blood. The un- 
happy Leonor was arrested, thrown into prison, and 
finally strangled by an attendant of the queen. Thus 
she who had reigned in Castile, if not with the title, 
at least with the sway and attributes of a queen, 
passionately beloved during twenty years by one of 
Spain's greatest monarchs, while still in the bloom 

* Gibraltar had fallen into the hands of the Moors in 1331, through 
the want of forethought of the Alcalde Vasco Perez, who, during 
the previous peace sold the surplus of provisions the place con- 
tained to the Moors, and was afterwards forced to surrender by 


of her extraordinary beauty, cruelly expiated her long 
usurpation of that place in the king's heart which the 
laws had assigned to another.* The records of those 
times, while they say little of the mental and personal 
attractions of Maria, endow her rival with every charm. 
The attachment of Leonor to the king during so long 
a space of time, was evinced by the untiring devotion 
with which she constantly sought to promote his 
welfare and anticipate his every wish. Though she 
might easily have induced her royal lover to repudiate 
a queen whose feelings and tastes were so uncongenial, 
and give to her he loved that place on his throne she 
had already secured in his affections, and though not 
only did the manners of those times allow of this being 
easily effected, but she was repeatedly urged to this 
step by powerful adherents, her good sense never per- 
mitted her to yield to the suggestions of ambition. 
During the life of Alfonso, the brilliancy of Leonor 
threw the queen into the shade, the few adherents of the 
latter being weak and powerless, while the court of 
the favorite was thronged by the high-born and wealthy 
lords of Castile. Maria, though she had satisfied her 
thirst for revenge, and freed herself from the detested 
rival whose dying pangs it is said she witnessed with 
exultation, was far from enjoying as a widow the happi- 
ness she had failed in attaining as a wife. She had 
instilled from early childhood in the mind of her son 
the cruel doctrine of retaliation, she had induced him to 

Leonora de Guzman was one year older than Alfonso, and 
eighteen years of age when the intimacy commenced. 


the first revengeful act, but the first step once taken in 
the career of blood, no hand could check his headlong 
course. Maria, who had won no love from her husband, 
was equally unsuccessful with her son, whom she 
could not even inspire with respect towards the parent 
who had cultivated instead of stifling the evil passions 
he had derived from her. Having persuaded her son 
to marry the princess Blanche of France, the queen re- 
paired to Valladolid in 1353 to receive the bride, but 
though the nuptials were celebrated, she had the mor- 
tification of seeing Don Pedro neglect his young queen 
for Maria Padilla. Finding her persuasions ineffectual, 
the queen dowager thought to coerce her son into 
adopting another line of conduct, and for that purpose 
joined the league the nobles had formed against him, 
and momentarily obtained her object, Pedro being forced 
by them to dismiss all the relatives and creatures of his 
mistress from his service, and replace them with gen- 
tlemen named by the leaguers. But these extorted 
concessions were annulled the instant Pedro was able 
to free himself from the restraint in which he was 

In 1355 the king was in a condition to revenge the 
insult offered, and in Toro. before the eyes of the hor- 
rcr-struck queen, whose garments were covered with 
their blood and brains, four of her partisans were felled 
by the maces and daggers of the king's ballesteros,* 
by his commands. The miserable witness of this 

* Ballesteros, a body of men-at-arms, whose principal weapon 
was a short club, or mace. 


bloody scene fainted on the bodies. She could not 
with justice reproach her son for thus revenging his 
wrongs, since she herself had taught him the lesson he 
now put in practice on his own account, and she 
but reaped the fruits of the seed she had sown. Dis- 
regarded, despised, even suspected, and not without 
some foundation, of having plotted to dethrone her son, 
almost trembling for her own life, while in the power 
of one who in his resentment was inflexible and piti- 
less, Maria solicited the king's permission to retire to 
Portugal in 1356. She vainly sought to avoid the fate 
that pursued her, and, doomed throughout the whole 
course of her existence to suffer through her nearest 
and dearest, she was put to death by the orders of her 
own father, in Portugal, in 1357. The reason assigned 
for this unnatural deed was the scandal occasioned by 
the disorderly conduct of the queen, who, forgetful of 
her elevated station, gave loose to the most licentious 
passions. One of the adherents who was slain in her 
presence in Toro, Don Martin Tello, had been suspected 
of being more intimate with his sovereign lady than was 
becoming, and the knowledge of this probably contribu- 
ted to lessen Pedro's respect and affection for his mother. 

NOTE. A singular coincidence is noticed by Garibay. Three 
of the sovereigns of Leon and Castile of the same name had 
mistresses of the noble house of Guzman, and the descendants of 
each of these ladies, albeit illegitimate, ascended a throne. Dona 
Ximena Nunez de Guzman was mother by Alfonso VI. of the in- 
fanta Teresa, who married Henry, Count of Portugal, and became 
the mother of Don Alfonso Henriquez, first king of Portugal 
Dona Maria Guillen de Guzman, the mistress of Alfonso the As- 


trologer, gave birth to Beatrix, who married Alfonso III., fifth king 
of Portugal ; and Leonora de Guxman gave birth to the Count of 
Trastamara, afterwards Henry II. king of Castile. 



THIS ill-fated lady was the daughter of Pedro I., 
Duke of Bourbon, and of his duchess, Isabella of Valois. 
Already nearly allied by birth to the royal fam- 
ily of France, her father being the cousin of king 
John, these ties had been strengthened in 1350 by the 
marriage of her sister Jane with Charles, Dauphin of 
France and Duke of Normandy. Fate seemed to have 
surrounded Blanche with powerful connections but to 
prove their uselessness to shield her from the sorrows 
and tragical death to which she was destined. By 
the advice of his mother and council, Pedro, the young 
sovereign of Castile, in 1351, sent ambassadors with 
proposals for the hand of the French princess, which 
was granted. The marriage contract was signed on 
the 7th of July, 1352, the dower consisting of 300,000 
gold florins, and the princess arrived on Monday, 25th 

* El Jiisticiero ; literally this word implies one who executes 
rigid and summary justice, an inflexible but just executioner. 
There is no English word that conveys exactly the meaning of the 
Spanish term. 


February, 1353, in Valladolicl, where the queen mother 
and other members of the royal family were waiting 
to receive her. The Castilian envoys had met the 
princess in Narbonne, and attended her through the re- 
mainder of her journey. 

While the negotiations for her marriage were going 
through the tedious forms of diplomacy, an event had 
occurred which influenced the whole course of Blanche's 
married life, and ere she reached the dominions of her 
destined husband, her place in his heart had been taken 
by another. The sons of Leonor having fled to Portu- 
gal after their mother's death, Pedro, by the persua- 
sions of his grandfather, granted a safe conduct to En- 
rique and his brothers, that they might return and 
reside on their own estates in Asturias ; but his leniency 
in the present case was productive of no good results, 
his half brothers commencing the series of rebellions 
and vexations that, irritating a naturally impetuous 
temper, caused Pedro to retaliate by those summary 
executions which have procured him the surnames of 
the Cruel and the Avenger, according to the light in 
which they have been viewed. Don Alfonso Fernandez 
Coronel, a powerful noble, rebelling, fortified himself 
in his town of Aguilar, in Andalusia, Don Tello, a 
son of Leonora,* did the same in his lordship of Aranda 

* Doiia Leonor de Guzman gave birth to nine sons and one 
daughter. Peilro, who died when eight years of age, Sancho, who 
hecame an idiot, Henry, Cjount of Trastamara, and Frederic, the 
grand master of Santiago, Fernando, Tello, Juan, Pedro, another 
Sancho. and Juana, who married Don Fernando de Castro. All 


de Duero, ravaging the king's domains, and the Count 
Enrique followed his example in his own town of 
Gijon. Having left a force before Aguilar, the king 
proceeded to Gijon, which he besieged, and took. 
While thus engaged, Pedro lodged at the house of Doiia 
Isabel de Meneses, the wife of his favorite minister, 
Don Alfonso de Alburquerque, and there met with 
Maria Padilla, a very pretty damsel of good birth, 
under the care of his hostess. An uncle of Maria, Don 
Juan de Hinestrosa, in the hope that her beauty would 
assist materially in raising him to power, facilitated 
the intrigue, which was, moreover, encouraged by Don 
Alfonso, with a view of keeping the king amused, and 
thus rendering his own services indispensable. 

Pedro, who carried everything to the extreme, gave 
himself up to the fascination of the charming Padilla, 
and appeared to have entirely forgotten the bride then 
on her way, and to whom he was expected to sacrifice 
what now constituted his happiness. This fair one, 
who retained the affection of her sovereign to her last 
hour, and whose death caused him such excessive 
grief, was a pretty brunette, rather below the middle 
height, with a clear olive complexion, fine dark eyes, 
a graceful figure, and possessed, in addition to these 
personal charms, of a good heart and sweet disposition. 


The arrival of Blanche was a source of great annoy- 
ance to Pedro, who was, with the utmost difficulty, 
induced to repair to Valladolid to see the affianced, 

these natural children being richly endowed, the patrimony of the 
young king was consequently diminished. 


and already hated, bride, that policy was about to 
force on him. The nuptials were celebrated with the 
utmost splendor, in that town, on Monday, 3d of June, 
1353, the king's half brothers, Don Enrique and Don 
Tello,* his cousins, the exiled infantes of Aragon, 
and the high vassals of the kingdom vying with 
each other in magnificent display. The tournaments 
that took place on the occasion were honored by the 
presence of the sovereign and princes, mounted on 
white horses, splendidly caparisoned, Don Enrique 
and Don Tello leading the bride's palfrey, Don 
Fernando prince of Aragon that of his mother the 
dowager queen of Aragon, and his brother Don Juan 
that of the dowager queen of Castile. But though 
the mask was decorated with regal pomp, it 
could not long be worn by one of Don Pedro's 
impetuous temper, and his dislike of his consort, 
* Though Don Frederic had been reconciled with the king, 
when his brothers were received into Don Pedro's favor, his name 
is not mentioned in any of the occurrences that took place from 
that time to the 4th March, 1353. nor is it known where he was 
from March, 1351, to February, 1353. He may have been re- 
siding on his own domains, or the territories that belonged to his 
jurisdiction as grand master of the order of the knights of Santiago, 
but it is strange he did not attend the king's nuptials. From his 
absence on this occasion, the author of the notes to Ayala's chroni- 
cle of Don Pedro opines that the grand master did not accompany 
Blanche from France ; a sense of guilt, and prudential considera- 
tions may, however, have dictated his absence on that occasion, and it 
is probable that on his arrival in Spain he retired to his estates. If, 
as some assert, he was in love with Blanche, it was natural he 
should wish to avoid seeing her wedded to his brother. 


far from diminishing on a more intimate acquaintance, 
soon became insurmountable abhorrence. What- 
ever may have been his faults, hypocrisy was not 
among them, and scorning to feign an affection he 
could not feel, he treated the queen with indifference 
and neglect. This state of things could not last long, 
and on the third day after his marriage, while the 
king was dining alone, his mother and aunt entering 
the apartment bathed in tears, expostulated with him 
on the coldness he manifested towards Blanche. These 
remonstrances produced the effect that usually attends 
reasoning in such cases. Affection was never yet 
inspired by persuasive arguments, and Pedro, of all 
men, was the least likely to be driven to love where 
he hated. Returning an evasive answer to their 
entreaties, he avoided all further discussions on the 
subject by mounting his horse, two hours after, and 
rejoining Maria Padilla, at Montalvan. 

Many are the reasons assigned for the strange 
hatred Pedro had conceived in so short a time for a 
bride of eighteen, who, though not praised for beauty 
is not said to have been homely, and is described as a 
good-looking blonde. Rumor asserted that Don Fred- 
eric, the king's half brother having been one of the 
envoys sent to conduct the French princess to Spain, 
had become enamored of his fair charge who had 
reciprocated his passion, and that this intrigue, of 
which a living proof remained, coming to the know- 
ledge of the king, occasioned the inveterate animosity 
he ever displayed to both Blanche and Frederic, and 


which in the end proved so fatal to both. For this 
story no good authority can be found, and it is even 
asserted that Frederic did not form part of the retinue 
named to accompany Blanche.* It is likely, however, 
that Henry II. took especial pains on his accession to 
destroy every document that would criminate his 
brother, the grand master, and exculpate his murdered 
brother, king Pedro. Among other reports, a story 
was circulated which in those times was probably 
thought deserving of credit, however absurd it may 
appear in ours. 

Among the marriage gifts presented by Blanche to 
the king, it was said there was a belt studded with 
gems, which having fallen in the hands of Maria Pa- 
dilla, was by her given to a Jewish sorcerer, who 
worked such wonders on it by his magic art that when 
the king attempted to put it on it appeared to his dis- 
torted vision a serpent, whereupon filled with horror, he 
threw it from him, demanding of his attendants the 
meaning of this portent, and whence came the belt. 

* Those who favor the idea that an intrigue had existed between 
Blanche and Frederic, not only assert that the grand master was 
one of the envoys sent to bring her to Spain, but that they were a 
whole year on the way thither" a proof," they maliciously add, 
" that the roads were in a shocking bad condition, or that they 
took the wrong one. In the history of Languedoc, by the monks 
of St. Maur, it is expressly stated that the princess crossed that 
province by the way of Rousellon at the end of the year 1352, 
that she was in Bagnolles 17th Dec., that she left Mines on the 
26th, and remained in Narbonne ten days waiting the arrival of 
the Castillan envoys who were to accompany her to Spain Notes 
to thx Cronica de Alfonso Oneenopr. Ayala. 


They being creatures of Maria, reminded the king that 
this was the queen's gift, and from that day forth indif- 
ference became hatred. But in one of Don Pedro's vio- 
lent passions, and who from early childhood had never 
known opposition, this hatred is sufficiently accounted 
for by the fact of his having been compelled, as it were, 
to marry Blanche, when his affections were engaged 

The departure of Pedro, and the knowledge that he 
had gone to join his mistress, caused a great commo- 
tion in Valladolid, the nobles dividing and taking sides 
according as their several interests made it appear 
most advantageous. The king's half-brothers, Don 
Enrique and Don Tello, his cousins, the infantes of 
Aragon, and other nobles, took horse and followed him 
while his great favorite, Don Alfonso de Alburquerque, 
who had been a party to the introduction of Maria 
Padilla to the king, now jealous of that lady's influence, 
which threatened to counterbalance his own, remained 
behind and joined the queens in taking measures for 
the re-union of Don Pedro with his bride. Meanwhile, 
the king apprised of the schemes of his minister, and 
the plots against his idol, whose safety he had reason 
to consider in danger from his knowledge of his minis- 
ter's character, sent a message to him, purporting that 
he required his services, but the wily lord, aware of 
the king's intentions, took the road to his domains on 
the frontiers of Portugal, and there fortified himself. 

From Montalvan Don Pedro removed to Toledo, ac- 
companied by Maria, and there gave his attention to 
^_ 13 


the disposal of the different offices of which he had de- 
prived the creatures of the disgraced minister. The 
relatives of Dona Maria Padilla representing to him 
the mischiefs that would arise from his abandonment 
of his bride, Pedro finally consented to return to Val- 
ladolid, but, from whatsoever cause it might spring, 
his invincible aversion seemed to increase tenfold in 
the society of his bride, and two days after he again 
left her, nor could any persuasion ever induce him 
even to see her again. Blanche then removed with 
her mother-in-law to Tordesillas, and thence to Medi- 
na del Campo. While in the latter place, Dona Maria 
assisted Don Alvar Perez de Castro* and Don Alvar 
Gronzalez Moran, by providing them with fresh horses, 
to escape into Portugal. These gentlemen had been 
warned by the humanity of Maria Padilla, that the 
king, whose just resentment they had incurred, in- 
tended to arrest them, and that it would go hard with 
them should they fall into his hands. Don Pedro 
having removed to Segovia, there bestowed on Don 
Tello, his brother, the hand of Dona Juana, daughter 
and heiress of Don Juan Nunez de Lara, Lord of Bis- 
cay. This marriage had been arranged during the 
life-time of the late sovereign. Advised that Medina 
del Campo was the focus of the secret spirit of rebellion 
that pervaded the whole kingdom, and Blanche the 
pretext of all the plots, the king sent orders that she 

*A countryman of the queen dowager and brother of her 
orother's mistress, Ines de Castro, subsequently acknowledged 
queen of Portugal. 


should be forthwith removed to Arevalo, and deprived 
of all communication with his mother. Don Pedro 
was betrayed on all sides, for the grand master of 
Santiago and the count of Trastamara, even while 
with him were negotiating with Don Alfonso de Albur- 
querque, who had taken refuge in Portugal, and these 
traitors were endeavoring to persuade Pedro, the crown 
prince of Portugal, to dethrone the king of Castile.* 
The prince was rather inclined to favor this project, 
but his father scouted the idea, and it lived and died 
in a day. The agent of the conspirators was Don 
Alvaro Perez de Castro. Dona Juana, a sister of this 
gentleman, does not seem to have shared the hatred 
with which the king pursued him. This lady, widow 
of Don Diego de Haro, lord of Biscay, whose beauty 
inspired Pedro with a passion as violent as it proved 
evanescent, was too proud and high-born to consent to 
become his mistress, and, strange to tell, Don Pedro 
offered her his hand ! To satisfy her scruples and re- 
move her objections, two bishops (of Salamanca and 
Avila) were summoned to Cuellar, and the king having 
given the reason he thought valid for regarding his 
marriage with Blanche as worthless, these courtier pre- 
lates pronounced him free, and at liberty to marry 
whomever he chose. The reason assigned by Pedro 
was, that previous to his marriage with the French 

* They wished the prince of Portugal to claim the crown of 
Castile as his right, he being the son of Beatrix, daughter of 
Sancho IV. 


princess, he had entered a solemn though secret protest 
against that union. 

This mock marriage with Dona Juana de Castro 
was performed in Cuellar in the early part of 1354 ; 
but the lady found she had been too hasty and too 
credulous, and purchased the momentary gratification 
of her vanity at the expense of her honor, for the king 
left her the day after the wedding, and never after 
came near her. He, however, presented lior with the 
town of Duenas, and she persisted to her death in 
retaining the empty title of queen, though it was 
never acknowledged. That two high dignitaries of 
the church could have been found willing thus to 
desecrate the sacrament they professed to hold sacred, 
and perform this solemn farce, is almost incredible and 
for the king no apology can be offered in extenuation. 
It would appear that some misunderstanding had 
arisen between him and Dona Maria Pad ilia, but his 
love for her was too strong to be quenched thus sud- 
denly, and he returned to her immediately. 

I will not attempt to follow Don Pedro through 
the civil wars that continued for nineteen years with 
varied success, but relate all that was ever known of 
the hapless Blanche. From Arevalo, where she was 
strictly guarded rather than attended by Don Pedro 
Grudiel, bishop of Segovia, Don Tello Gonzalez Pal- 
ameque and Don Juan Manso, who were officers of 
the queen's household, the king ordered she should be 
conveyed to Toledo under the charge of Don Juan de 
Hinestrosa, and there lodged in the Alcazar. On her 


way thither some friend contrived to advise Blanche 
to take sanctuary on her arrival at Toledo, and in 
accordance with this suggestion the queen expressed 
a wish, when they entered the town, to offer up her 
prayers in the cathedral. 

Once within its precincts, she refused to leave them, 
and Don Juan not daring to violate the sacred prem- 
ises, hastened to report this occurrence to his master. 
The ladies of Toledo hearing of their queen's arrival 
immediately waited on her, and, moved by the appeal 
she made to them to protect her life, which she thought 
in danger, warmly espoused her cause and urged 
their husbands and brothers in her favor with such 
success that they prepared to resist even their king.* 
A deputation of the principal gentlemen of Toledo 
escorted the queen and her attendants to the Alcazar 
which she had once dreaded as a prison, but was now 
to consider as a place of safety, and a number of noble 
Toledans volunteered to mount guard for her better 
security. This occurred on the 14th August, and 
this decisive step taken it was necessary to prepare 
to sustain what they had done. Messengers were 
dispatched to Don Frederic, Don Enrique, Don 
Alonzo de Alburquerque, Don Fernando de Castrof 
and other disaffected lords inviting them to join in the 
queen's defence, and offering to receive them into the 
town with the troops they might collect. 

* They bade them beware how they refused to protect the queen 
for their names would become infamous throughout Castile, 
t Another brother of the deceived Dona Juana de Castro. 


The example of Toledo was followed by the towns 
of Cuenca, Cordova, laca, and Talavera. Many gentle- 
men also thronged to the queen's standard. The 
nobles already mentioned, the princes of Aragon, the 
king's three brothers, Don Juan de la Cerda, many 
ricos-hornbres and cavaliers, numbering in all some 
seven thousand horse, and a large body of infantry* 
assembled in Medina del Campo, and from thence 
sent their petitions, or rather their demands to the 
king. The principal among the conditions the rebels 
dictated to their sovereign, were ; that he should live 
with his queen, dismiss his favorites, (the brother and 
uncle of Maria Padilla,) of whom they loudly com- 
plained as insolent and overbearing, and that the 
offices they filled should be bestowed on others, whom 
they, the leaguers, should name. If these conditions 
were accepted they professed themselves willing to 
return to their allegiance. The bearer of these pro- 
posals was no less a person than Leonora, the dow- 

* Frederic having answered the call of the Toledanos at the 
head of seven hundred horse, was received and lodged in the sub- 
urbs of the town. On his arrival the grand master repaired to the 
Alcazar, and in an interview with the queen swore to devote his 
sword to her service. Being apprised that the army of the insur- 
gents had assembled in Medina del Campo, Frederic was advised 
by the chief townsmen to join his forces with theirs, which he 
did, carrying with him large sums, that had been left in Toledo in 
the king's treasury, and which Blanche collected and placed in 
his hands to be used by the leaguers to further their plans. The 
proof this visit afforded of the devotion of the grand master to 
the service of Blanche, vras not overlooked by his enemies. 


ager queen of Aragon, but her previous conduct had 
given rise to so much suspicion in her nephew's mind, 
that her persuasions could avail but little. 

The nobles having, in order to procure the necessary 
provisions for their troops, removed to the territory of 
Zamora, Don Pedro went to Urena* where Maria 
Padilla was then residing, thus giving a tacit refusal 
to their demands. After vainly attempting to possess 
themselves of Valladolid and Salamanca, the leaguers 
removed to Medina del Campo, which they took by 
scaling the walls, and here one of the chief nobles, 
Don Alfonso de Alburquerque, died. His death was 
attributed to poison, and the king accused of bribing 
his leech to commit the deed, though this report is as 
unfounded as that of many other crimes laid to his 

The dying noble carrying his hatred beyond the 
portals of the tomb, ordered in his will that his body 
should not be consigned to the grave until the enter- 
prise in which he had been engaged while alive had 
come to a conclusion, and the corpse was, in accor- 
dance with his wishes, borne in the coffin whitherso- 
ever the army moved. The queen mother openly 
declaring against her son, invited the leaguers to join 
her in Toro. All repaired thither, among others, the 
widow of Don Alfonso, Dona Leonor, dowager of 
Aragon, the countess Dona Juana, wife of Don En- 

* Don Pedro had hut six hundred men with him, and could offer 
no resistance. 


rique,* and other high-born ladies. Here, against the 
express will of the king, tlte marriage of Don 
Fernando de Castro with Pedro's half-sister, Juana, 
daughter of Leonor de Guzman, was celebrated. 

Powerless to resist the large force of the insurgents, 
the king was forced to consent to their demands, and 
join them in Toro ; but they no sooner had the sov- 
ereign in their power, than they exacted the most 
outrageous concessions, dismissing all those whom ho 
had appointed to office, replacing them from their own 
ranks, and obliging the king to distribute among the 
chiefs a number of towns and castles, the two queens 
being no less eager than the nobles for a share of the 

Four years was Don Pedro kept thus a prisoner by 
his insolent vassals, enduring every species of morti- 
fication. This situation must have been intolerable to 
Don Pedro, who could not take the air without being 
attended by a body guard of a thousand men ! Some 
time after, however, the surveillance was somewhat 
relaxed, and being out one day hawking, he watched 
his opportunity, and setting spurs to his horse dis- 
tanced his pursuers and made his escape to Segovia. 
From this town he sent to demand of the queens, his 
mother and aunt, the royal seals, intimating that if 
they did not send them, he had metal to cast others. 
They however made no difficulty of surrendering them, 

* Afterwards queen of Castile. 

t Having now attained their object, the leaguers buried the 
corpse of Don Alfonso in Toro. 


and the king's departure breaking up the league, nearly 
all the nobles retired to their own domains. From Se- 
govia he removed to Burgos, where, having convened 
the Cortes, he complained bitterly of his mother and 
the league that had held him a prisoner, and requested 
a grant of a considerable sum in order to raise troops 
and punish the conspirators. This was readily granted, 
and Pedro immediately took the most energetic mea- 
sures for the chastisement of his rebellious vassals. 

Having gone to Medina del Campo, the irritated 
sovereign there commenced the terrible retaliation 
with which he mercilessly visited their treason on the 
heads of the offenders, taking signal vengeance when- 
ever the ill fortune of his enemies placed them in his 
hands. Many were the heads that fell in Medina del 
Campo, though whether this severity was not neces- 
sary, nay, indispensable rather than wanton cruelty, 
if we take into consideration the distracted state of 
the country, I will leave the reader to decide. 

From Medina, the king returned to Toro which he 

NOTE The leaguers kept no more faith with each otherthan with 
their sovereign. The king's aunt Leonor, and her sons, the infantes 
of Aragon having some time previous to his departure, entered 
into a secret treaty with Don Pedro, connived at his escape. The 
price of the treachery of Leonor and her sons to their own party 
was stipulated as follows. To Dona Leonor the town of Roa; 
to Don Fernando of Aragon, the town of Madrigal, the Real of 
Man/anares, Aranda, and other places in Andalusia. To his 
brother, Juan of Aragon, Biscay, Lara ; Valdecorneja and Oropesa, 
and the post of governor of the frontiers. Other lords joining them, 
were paid in proportion. The king was scrupulous in putting each 
in possession of the places promised them. 



besieged. On the king's approach, Don Enrique and 
Don Frederic left Toro and took the way to Toledo, 
but the inhabitants of that town were now greatly 
divided, and the majority refused to admit the princes, 
and advised them to retire to their own possessions. 

The princes, displeased that the proffered hospital- 
ity of the Toledanos should be reduced to advice, broke 
into the town forcibly, with the assistance of some of 
their adherents within the gates. The townsmen then 
summoned the king, who came immediately, and, 
though the princes attempted to prevent his entrance, 
they were forced to yield and retreat with their follow- 
ers to the number of 800 men through one gate, as 
the king entered by another. Here again the useless 
efforts of the grand master in favor of Blanche were 
noted to his disadvantage, and fed the king's resent- 
ment without bene fitting her. The king, in order to 
avoid seeing the queen, took up his residence in a 
private house, and shortly after Blanche was, by his 
orders, removed to the castle of Siguenza. Twenty- 
four of the chief rebels of Toledo were executed during 
the king's stay. No half measures were possible ; the 
rebellion was spreading rapidly, and to pardon one of 
its heads was to let loose another foe. Strange to say, 
the decrees issued by Don Pedro prove that amid this 
confusion and warfare, the administration of civil af- 
fairs was carefully attended to. 

Don Pedro entered Toro on the sixth of January, 
1357, and here new executions took place. This town 
had been the head-quarters of the rebels, and the king 


bore a keen remembrance of the insults he had en- 
dured there. On the news of the king's approach, his 
mother sent to request the assistance of Don Enrique 
and Don Frederic, but, though both came, and the 
town made a desperate resistance, the former, foresee- 
ing it would be vain, retreated to Galicia. The 
Grand Master having held a parley with the king from 
the walls, agreed to throw himself on his mercy, and 
with only six or eight followers issued from the gates 
and repaired to his brother's camp, where he was kind- 
ly received. Well it was that he did so, as some of 
the citizens had agreed to open the gates to the king 
that very night, and Frederic's reliance on his brother 
alone saved his life. The queen, seeing herself forsa- 
ken by the Grand Master, took refuge in the Alcazar 
with many gentlemen, while others sought conceal- 
ment in the town. The king having entered that 
night, on the following day came to the palace 
gates and summoned the queen to come forth. Maria 
answered with an entreaty that he would ensure the 
lives of those who were with her, but the king bade 
her come forth, and he would do that which should 
seem best to him. The queen mother then came forth 
accompanied by Dona Juana, the wife of Don Enrique, 
and all the gentlemen that had taken refuge with her. 
Her forced compliance was of no avail to soften her 
son, who had probably already given his orders, for the 
ballesteros instantly despatched the four followers of 
the queen, though she was leaning on the arms of two 
of them at the time. One of the victims of the king's 


ire was Don Martin Alfonso Tello, a Portuguese, who 
had come with the queen on her return from a visit to 
Portugal, and whom it was suspected she favored more 
than was consistent with propriety. 

When the queen recovered from the long fit into 
which the sight of these massacres had thrown her, 
she uttered the most frightful maledictions on the 
head of her son, who took no farther notice than order- 
ing her to be removed to the palace where she resided. 
She shortly after requested and obtained leave to 
retire to Portugal. To those who unconditionally 
threw themselves on his mercy, Pedro was lenient, as 
happened in the case of Martin Abaroa, who, previous 
to the gates being opened, had taken the king's young 
half-brother, Juan, in his arms and asked the king to 
guaranty his safety, that he might come to him ; but 
Don Pedro replying that he would only forgive his 
brother, and would order him to be killed, Abaroa 
threw himself unconditionally on his mercy, and com- 
ing down with the boy, knelt at his feet. Don Pedro, 
though he turned from him, gave him his life. 

Though soon after involved in a war with the king 
of Aragon, who sided with his rebellious nobles, and 
continually betrayed by those in whom he most trust- 
ed, Don Pedro, by his energy, bravery and perseverance, 
repeatedly defeated the plots of the traitors. Don 
Enrique, hopeless of succor, and fearful of falling into 
the hands of his irritated brother, fled into France, 
where he was kindly received by John, who furnished 
him with troops to return and recommence hostilities. 


The victorious Pedro, entering Biscay, Don Tello was 
forced to fly, and the Countess, his wife,* being thrown 
into prison, and the infante Juan of Aragon who claim- 
ed Biscay as his wife's patrimony, slain, that lordship 
was annexed to the crown. Don Frederic was the next 
victim of the king's resentment, or rather of the 
necessity of the times, being slain on the 29th of May, 
1358, in Seville, some say by the hands of the king 
himself. In 1361 took place the death of the hapless 
Blanche, who had been kept a close prisoner since her 
removal from Toledo. The queen had been taken 
from the castle of Siguenza to that of Xerez, and from 
thence to Medina Sidonia, where she ended her sad 
existence. Whether her death was natural or brought 
about by violence, has never been ascertained. Some 
writers assert that it was effected by poison, others 
say she fell by the dagger of one of the king's balles- 
teros, acting by the king's express command. 

The greatest enemies of Don Pedro, the most de- 
termined partisans of the bastard of Trastamara, the 
writers who have labored most to attach every species 
of odium to his memory, have never been able to prove 
that Blanche was murdered. The impenetrable veil 

*Don Tello de Guzman had married Dona Juana de Lara, and 
Juan, the son of Leonor, had married the younger sister, Isabel de 
Lara. These two ladies were the heiresses of the lordship of 
Biscay. Isabel and her mother-in-law, Leonor, the king's aunt 
were, by his orders, imprisoned in the Castle of Castro Xeria, and 
both sisters, as well as Queen Leonor, subsequently put to death^- 
Juana de Lara in Seville, Isabel in Herez de la Frontera, and 
Leonor in Castro Xerix. 


of mystery that shrouds that event has allowed full 
scope to the fertile imaginations of the poet and the 
novelist, and the supposed jealousy between the king 
and the grand master has contributed not a little to 
heighten the romance. 

The same year saw the death of Maria Padilla, who 
had for nearly ten years been the object of Pedro's af- 
fection. Her loss was a great blow to the king, who 
endeavored to find consolation by bestowing those 
honors on her when dead which he could not confer on 
her while living. Having convoked the Cortes in Seville 
in the following year, he declared that Maria had been 
lawfully wedded to him previous to his marriage with 
Blanche, and that he had consented to his union with 
the latter only in the hope of preventing a civil war. 
As witnesses of the marriage he brought his chaplain, 
his chancellor, and a brother of Maria. The Arch- 
bishop of Toledo having received their oaths to that 
effect, no farther opposition was made, and the four 
children to whom Maria had given birth were declared 
legitimate heirs to the crown. 

These were Alfonso, then four years of age, who 
died shortly after, Beatrix who took the veil, Con- 
stance, who married John of Graunt, Duke of Lancas- 
ter, and Maria, who married Edmund, Duke of York. 
It was thought by many that Don Pedro had proclaimed 
the lawfulness of his union with Maria to procure the 
legitimation of her children, and baffle the hopes of 
the numerous pretenders to the crown. 


This prior union, however, was the reason he chose 
to assign for his constant refusal to live with Blanche. 
Be this as it may, there is not sufficient evidence of a 
pre-contract with Dona Maria to warrant her being 
placed in the rank of the queens of Castile. Navarre 
having joined Aragon against Don Pedro, and France 
also assisting Don Enrique, in asserting his claim on the 
crown, the Castilian sovereign was compelled to solicit 
the aid of Edward the III. king of England, for which 
purpose having gone to Bayonne, he there had an inter- 
view with Edward, the black prince, who received him 
with kindness and readily promised his assistance, for 
which he was to be amply remunerated with the lordship 
of Biscay, 56,000 florins of gold for his own use, and 
550,000 for the pay of his troops, the daughters of Don 
Pedro being left as hostages for the fulfilment of the con- 
ditions. In the spring of 1 367, the English allies having 
entered Spain, a battle was fought between the forces 
of the two brothers, in which the army of Don Enrique, 
although amounting to 70,000 men, was completely 
worsted. This battle was fought on the third of April, 
in the vicinity of Najara, the lawful prince and the 
usurper* defending their respective claims in person, 
Pedro especially displaying the undaunted bravery that 
was his chief characteristic. Don Tello, who command- 
ed a body of horse, disgraced himself by a hasty retreat, 
nor did any part of the army appear to oppose with 

Enrique, after -overrunning Castile, had caused himself to be 
proclaimed king, in 1366. 


any degree of energy the troops of Pedro, and Enrique 
fled into Aragon with a few attendants only. 

At the close of the year, Enrique returned to Castile 
and renewed the contest, which was continued with 
alternate success on both sides, until 1369, when 
Don Pedro was beseiged in Montiel and cut off from 
all supplies. In this extremity one of his knights, 
Men Rodriguez de Sanabria, having solicited and 
obtained an interview with the famous Bertrand Du 
Guesclin, one of the commanders of the French mer- 
cenaries, in the army of Enrique, proposed to him 
that he should facilitate the escape of the Castilian 
monarch. For this service he offered the French 
knight the hereditary possession of the towns of Soria, 
Almazan, Monteagudo Alienza, Deza and Moron, 
besides 200,000 doubloons in gold. The conditions 
were accepted, and it was settled that Don Pedro 
should leave Montiel under cover of the night, and 
repair to the tent of the Breton chief who was to escort 
him thence to a place of safety. At the appointed 
hour the king made his appearance, attended by three 
of his devoted followers; but, in the meanwhile 
Du Guesclin had stained his honor and imprinted on 
his name a brand of shame that no after deeds of glory 
could erase. 

The traitor had. I'M- a still larger reward, sold the 
monarch, who trusting to his knightly faith, had placed 
himself in his hands. Having dismounted and entered 
the tent of his betrayer, the king urged him to haste 
and take horse, to which Du Guesclin replied that the 


horses were saddling. Pedro's suspicions being roused 
by the delay, he insisted on returning to the fortress, 
when the truth was made evident by the entrance of 
Enrique. Time had probably greatly changed the 
king, for his brother did not recognize him, but 
advancing said ; Where is the bastard who calls him- 
self king of Castile?" To this the king instantly 
replied, " Thou art the bastard, I am the son of King 
Alfonso." On this Enrique, who was completely armed, 
struck the king in the face with his dagger, but the 
latter instantly grappled with him, and both fell to the 
ground. Though unarmed, Don Pedro's activity and 
strength of muscle gave him the advantage, and in 
this desperate struggle, having contrived to get Enrique 
under him, he would have decided the contest by throt- 
ling his antagonist, had not Du Gruesclin, seeing the 
prince's danger, thrust the king down and held him, 
while Enrique plunged his dagger in his throat. Some 
say the Frenchman wounded the king in the back while 
Enrique was underneath him, and thus compelled him to 
relinquish his hold. Thus perished Don Pedro in his 
thirty-sixth year, on the 23d March, in the year 1369. 
This truly unfortunate sovereign has been depicted 
with the blackest colors, and stigmatised as a capri- 
cious tyrant, a monster revelling in the miseries he 
inflicted, and sparing neither friend nor foe. Without 
seeking to exonerate him from the blame that many of 
his actions undoubtedly deserved, I would remind the 
reader that almost everything that has been written 
of him is from the pens of the adherents of his sue- 


cessor, and that these sought to make good their mas- 
ter's precarious tenure of a crown to which he had 
not the shadow of a claim,* by exaggerating every evil 
trait in his predecessor. 

Don Pedro had been left from his infancy under the 
care of a mother whose subsequent conduct showed her 
to be very unfit for the charge, and who aggravated by 
her own wrongs, and actuated by the hope of revenge, 
instilled the most pernicious doctrines in her child's mind, 
then ascending, at the early age of sixteen, a throne sur- 
rounded by secret foes, false friends and selfish and 
ambitious partisans, all agreeing on one point, viz : to 
consider the prince as a mere tool, and his dominions 
a lawful prey, of which, according to the strength of 
each, they were to have a larger or less share. During 
the first four years of his reign, a mere cipher, whose 
name was made use of to sanction every atrocity, Don 
Pedro was far more entitled to pity than execration. 
From the day he assumed the diadem, to that in 
which, together with his life, it was traitorously 
wrested from him, he was constantly at war with 
his grasping kinsmen and rebel barons, disputing the 
possession of his hereditary kingdom, inch by inch, 
with a perseverance deserving better success. 

During the long reign, for so it may be called, of 
his father's mistress, the popularity her intellect and 
tact had enabled her to acquire, and transmit to her 

* If the daughters of Don Pedro and Maria Padilla were illegit- 
imate, they yet stood nearer to the throne than the son of Alfonso 
XII. and Leonor de Guzman. 


numerous family, who, moreover, strengthened them- 
selves by their marriages with the wealthiest heiresses 
of Castile, prepared the way for the daring, and with 
one exception* unprecedented attempt in Spain of an 
illegitimate son to dispossess the legitimate heir of the 
throne. Pedro had faults, and they were the natural 
results of the education and examples he had received. 
That he committed crimes is equally undeniable, but, 
with his passions, they were the almost inevitable 
consequences of the situation in which he was placed. 
To judge impartially of an action, we must consider the 
cause and motives for it. What in another monarch 
would have been unwarrantable cruelty, in Pedro 
was strict but necessary and retributive justice. In 
many cases where he is censured as merciless, leni- 
ency would have been weakness. 

The spirit of rebellion had cast its roots far and 
wide, and he was compelled to apply the axe deeply 
to eradicate them. History, while it takes note of 
the errors of this much abused prince, should also 
chronicle the many great and good traits that partially 
redeem his character from the odium cast on it. 
Taught suspicion by the falseness of those around him, 
betrayed by his own mother and his aunt, forgiving re- 
peatedly and receiving into his grace traitors, who, as 
often cast off their allegiance and turned their swords 
against him, what wonder that a naturally fiery tem- 
per should have at times carried him too far, that, ex- 

* Mauregato the bastard son of Alfonso I. usurped the crown 
from his nephew Alfonso II. 


asperated by these never-ending plots, his justice 
should have merged into cruelty, that he should have 
felt justified in crushing those who so unscrupulously 
sought to deprive him of his rights? His most bitter 
detractors allow that he never took the life of one who 
had not been convicted or strongly suspected of treason. 
He was ruthless, but not without much provocation. 
One great argument in his favor is, that the commons 
loved, while the great vassals hated him, and the bal- 
lads in which the traditions of Las justicias del Rey 
Don Pedro are preserved, prove that his memory was 
long venerated by the lower ranks. A still more con- 
vincing proof of the love the people bore Don Pedro is 
found in the fact that wherever resistance was opposed 
to the entrance of Henry in any town, the struggle 
against him was maintained by the citizens, while the 
lords and gentry sided with the usurper. Administer- 
ing even-handed justice to the poor as well as to the 
rich, to the peasant as well as to his powerful lord, 
imposing no fresh imposts on the people, defending 
their rights as tenaciously as he did his own, carrying 
his personal bravery to the verge of fool-hardiness, and, 
after a reign of continual warfare, dying at length, like 
the lion at bay, one against a multitude, betrayed, 
sold and murdered, resigning his crown only with his 
life, Don Pedro was one as much sinned against as 
sinning. In person he was spare and tall, with sin- 
ewy and well-knit limbs, a fair complexion and brown 
hair, and he gpoke with a slight, but not unpleasing 
lisp. To those who served him faithfully, he was mu- 


nificent and kind, and his will proves that he forgot 
none of his good friends and loyal servants, for he not 
only left them ample legacies but strenuously enjoined 
his heirs to continue them in their offices. It is seldom 
that a great personage disappears from the face of the 
earth but the event is found to have been proph- 
esied by some cunning seer, and many announcements 
of his impending fate are said to have been conveyed 
to Don Pedro. Among other things it was told him, 
that from the tower of La Estrella he would go forth 
to die. The king had never been able to find out 
where such a tower existed, until on leaving Montrel 
he happened to look back and see on one of the towers 
of the town these words, carved in the stone This is 
the tower of La Estrella. 

1 369. 


DoJfA JUANA, born in 1339, was the daughter of Don 
Juan Manuel and of Dona Blanca de la Cerda y Lara. 
Of royal descent on both sides,* this high-born dame 
was thought by Alfonso XII. a desirable match for 
Enrique, count of Trastamara, the son of his beloved 

* Her father was the grandson of St. Ferdinand, her mother was 
the granddaughter of the eldest son of Alfonso the Astrologer, and 
daughter of the infante Don Fernando de la Cerda, 


Leonor de Guzman. But the proud relatives of Juana 
shrank from an alliance even wilh royal blood when 
illegitimate, and ambition, pointing to a seat on the 
throne itself, turned in disdain from the bastard to the 
legitimate scion of royalty. The will of the monarch 
would, however, in all probability, have triumphed over 
that of the subject had not death intervened and frus- 
trated for a season the plans of Alfonso. No sooner 
had this event placed the crown on young Pedro's head 
than Don Fernando Manuel endeavored to break his 
sister's contract with Enrique, and effect an alliance 
with the sovereign himself, or at least with his cousin, 
Don Fernando, the infante of Aragon. 

Leonor, aware of the intentions of the " high-reach- 
ing " noble in her affectionate solicitude for her son's 
interests, hastened the nuptials, and probably her own 
violent death. The lady being under the charge of 
Leonor shared her imprisonment. The marriage was 
performed in secret, the bride probably preferring the 
gentle and insinuating Enrique to his brave but hasty 
and impetuous brother. Far from strengthening her 
own cause by her son's marriage with the wealthy 
heiress, this impolitic and dangerous step completed 
the ruin of Leonor, and confirmed the enmity between 
the brothers. Don Pedro, who had resolved on the 
enlargement of Leonor, now left her entirely at his mo- 
ther's disposal, and the queen ordered her to be more 
strictly confined, and finally strangled. Henry fled 
to Asturias with his bride, arid two attendants, and 
fortified his town of Grijon, using the jewels given 


to him by his mother in Seville, for the pay of his 
troops. Having come to terms with the king, Enrique 
attended his wedding in Valladolid. and, together 
with his brother Tello, was charged with the defence 
of the frontiers of Portugal against any attack from 
Alburquerque. While there, the brothers entered into 
a secret league with the very men against whom they 
were sent. 

The king, however, was informed of these negotia- 
tions, and it was then that, to strengthen himself 
against his brothers, and punish Don Tello, he gave 
Dona Isabel de Lara in marriage to his cousin, Juan of 
Aragon, and ordered that henceforth he and his wife 
should be called the lords of Biscay, though that title 
belonged to the wife of Don Tello, she being the elder 
of the sisters. 

The infantes of Aragon were not more faithful than 
the Gruzmans, and, joining with the latter, formed the 
league that in Toro dictated laws to their sovereign. 
The next fact we find mentioned of the countess Juana 
is her imprisonment in Toro by Pedro's order, after the 
taking of that city. Enrique himself had escaped to 
G-alicia, and it is probable he had found it impossible 
to take his countess with him, as we cannot otherwise 
account for his leaving her to the mercy of Pedro. 
Juana remained a close prisoner during her husband's 
absence in France, whence, at the request of the 
king of Aragon, he returned to assist that sovereign in 
his wars against Castile, in 1357. It was in this year 
that Pedro Carrillo, a devoted adherent of the count 


of Trastamara, determined to make an attempt to free 
Dona Juana, and bring her to Aragon. To this end 
he sent to propose his services to Don Pedro, offering, 
in case the king would endow him with lands in Gas- 
tile, to abandon the banner of the count, and transfer 
his allegiance to him. Don Pedro accepted the proffer. 
Carrillo came to Castile, and was rewarded with the 
town of Tamariz, and its territory. 

His scheme succeeded, and in the month of Decem- 
ber having contrived to obtain access to the countess, 
and procured her a disguise, they escaped together to 
Aragon. The rage of Don Pedro at finding himself 
thus duped by the traitor, can be better imagined than 
described. On the twenty-fourth of August of the 
following year, Dona Juana gave birth, in the town of 
Epila, to Don Juan, who succeeded his father. The 
success that during a short time attended the arms of 
Enrique, assisted by his French allies, seemed decisive, 
and he was crowned in Las Huelgas in the spring of 
1366, on which occasion he sent for his wife and two 
children, Juan and Leonor, who had remained in 

*"With Dona Juana came the archbishop of Zara- 
gosa, Don Lopez Fernandez de Luna, and other nobles 

* Previous to her departure from Aragon, Juana was made by 
the king to swear on the gospel that she would do all in her pow- 
er to induce Henry to keep the agreement he had entered into with 
that sovereign. Henry had promised, in return for the assistance 
afforded him, in the usurpation of the crown of Castile, to give to 
the king of Aragon, the kingdom of Murcia, and a large portion of 
that of Toledo. 


who accompanied Dona Leonor, the infanta of Aragon, 
who, the sovereigns had agreed should marry the 
infante Don Juan, son of the count, or as he now 
called himself, Enrique II. The little betrothed bride 
was of the same age as the bridegroom, having been 
born in February of the same year. 

The stay of Juana in Castile was short, for Enrique 
losing, on the third of April, of the following year, the 
battle of Najera, his consort and children were forced 
to make a precipitate retreat into Aragon. The 
numerous suite of ladies and followers that had con- 
tributed to add splendor to the court Dona Juana held in 
Burgos, now only increased the difficulties and perils 
of her flight, and when, after escaping many dangers 
the fugitives at length reached Zaragosa, it was to 
meet that cold reception with which worldly friends 
greet the fallen. The unhappy Juana oppressed with 
grief, arising from her ignorance of what had befallen 
Enrique, of whom she had received no tidings since the 
battle, was treated with small courtesy by Don Pedro 
IV. who annulling the marriage contract of his daugh- 
ter took her from Juana, and entered into a negotia- 
tion with his namesake of Castile, and the prince of 
Wales. Many at the court of Aragon favored the 
cause of the legitimate prince, and bore ill will to 
Enrique for his participation in the murder of Don Fer- 
nando, infante of Aragon, (vide queens of Aragon, 
reign of Pedro IV,) and Juana soon found that her 
residence there was no longer safe, and determined to 
join her husband in France, whither he had gone to 


solicit fresh aid. The French monarch who had re- 
ceived Henry with great kindness, and furnished him 
with large sums of money, now gave him the castle 
of Paupertius, on the frontiers of Aragon, as a resi- 
dence for his family. Henry having again raised 
troops, with the assistance of the French king, once 
more returned to Castile with his consort, and son, 
leaving his daughter, the infanta Leonor, in France. 

On their way through Aragon, Juan was joined by 
the attendants she had been obliged to leave in Zara- 
gosa. In Burgos, Henry captured the king of Naples, 
one of Pedro's allies, and sent him to the castle of 
Curiel, where he remained until ransomed by his wife, 
queen Juana, for 80,000 dollars. Dona Juana and her 
son remained in Toledo until after the murder in 
Montiel of king Pedro, when Henry remained in peace- 
ful possession of the throne. 

Toledo having surrendered to the victor, Juana 
removed to that city, and the court was established 
there. The new sovereigns having sent to France for 
their daughter Leonor, that princess, as a pledge of 
peace between Portugal and Castile, was offered to 
king Ferdinand, but, though the marriage was agreed 
on in March, 1371, it never was carried into effect, the 
Portuguese sovereign that very year acknowledging his 
marriage with Dona Leonor de Meneses, though that 
lady was already the wife of Don Lorenzo de Acuna. 
Leonor was betrothed two years after, to Don Carlos 
III. king of Navarre, and from this marriage which 
took place in 1375, was born the princess Blanche 


who inherited Navarre and became the first wife of 
John I. of Aragon. 

The queen witnessed the nuptials of both her chil- 
dren in Soria. Prince Juan marrying the infanta of 
Aragon, formerly betrothed to him. The nuptials 
were attended by nobles of the three kingdoms, and 
celebrated with great magnificence, the rejoicings 
lasting during all the month of May. Though the 
death of his brother, Don Pedro, seemed to ensure him 
the possession of the throne he had so long coveted, the 
usurper was beset with difficulties. The Portuguese 
sovereign, the lawful heir of the crown of Castile,* 
still asserted his claim, and though, in 1373, Henry 
had retaliated with such success as to penetrate as far 
as Lisbon, it was neither permanent nor advantageous. 
The Pope interposing his mediation, that year obtained 
a temporary reconciliation, but the treacherous Portu- 
guese continued to annoy the Castilian during the 
whole of his reign. To ensure the continuance of 
peace between the kingdoms, a double matrimonial 
alliance was agreed on.t The duke of Lancaster also 

* Ferdinand, king of Portugal, was the grandson of Beatrix, 
daughter of Sancho the Brave, king of Castile, who had married 
Alfonso IV., king of Portugal. 

t Sancho de Guzman, brother of Henry, married Beatrix, sister 
of Ferdinand, and at the same time Alfonso, an illegitimate son of 
Henry, by Elvira Inigues, was betrothed to Isabel, an illegitimate 
daughter of Ferdinand. Alfonso, being exceedingly adverse to the 
marriage, in 1375 repaired to the courts of France and Rome to 
solicit the interference of the King and Pope, but both advising him 
to submit tq his father's will, he returned, and in 1378 was married. 


urged the claims of his wife Constance, and though 
he could do little but threaten during the life of Hen- 
ry, the latter had much ado to avert the storm, which 
he was only enabled to do by the assistance of his 
constant friend, the king of France, who kept the 
English so much engaged that they found it impossible 
to carry the war into Castile. The marriage of his 
daughter with the prince of Navarre did not ensure 
peace with that country, hostilities recommencing in 
1378. Charles having by secret treaties engaged to 
support the English in their war with France, the ally 
of Castile, a dispute for the town of Logroiia was the 
pretence made use of for breaking with Enrique, but the 
latter was successful, as he recovered several places 
from the king of Navarre. Enrique died on the 29th 
of May, 1379, after an illness of twelve days, in the 
forty-seventh year of his age, and was interred in the 
chapel constructed by his orders in the church of St. 
Mary, in Toledo. Though success crowned the efforts 
of this usurper of the crown of Castile, his character 
did not render him more worthy of it than his prede- 
cessor. Pedro was unfortunate, and his evil traits 
have been portrayed in their worst light, while the 
few good qualities of Enrique have been dwelt on con 
amore by panegyrists whom that prince's liberality 
encouraged and rewarded. His numerous illegitimate 
children by different mistresses prove him still less 
scrupulous on that point than Pedro, and his conduct 
in many instances shows him to have been treacherous 


and cruel.* His liberality has be.en exceedingly ex- 
tolled, and it is undeniable that he lavished his largesses 
without stint, to ensure the success of his schemes 
and reward his partizans. In person, he was below 
the middle height, well made, with a fair complexion 
and brown hair. Juana survived her husband but a 
short time, dying March 27th, 1381. She was interred 
by the side of her husband, in the dress of the nuns of 
the order of St. Glair, which she had worn from the 
period of the death of Enrique. 

In the schism which divided the church, arising 
from the rival claims of Urban VI. and the anti-pope 
Clement to the throne of St. Peter, Enrique had care- 
fully abstained from declaring in favor of either, and 
the difference remaining still undecided at his death, 
the queen in her last illness was troubled with consci- 
entious scruples. To relieve her indecision, she dis- 
patched a messenger to a Portuguese Franciscan friar, 
who was said to be endowed with the spirit of proph- 

* An instance of Enrique's perfidy and cruelty is exhibited in his 
treatment of Don Martin Lopez. This faithful adherent of an 
unfortunate master had heen entrusted with the care of Don Pedro's 
children, and was governor of the town of Carmone, which he 
bravely defended against the usurper, in behalf of Don Pedro's 
heirs, after the death of that sovereign, in 1371. A.fter a despe- 
rate resistance, the want of provisions forcing him to come to 
terms, Don Martin capitulated, his life and liberty being guaranteed 
by the king, who took an oath to that effect on the holy gospels. 
No sooner, however, had Enrique entered the place than he sent 
the governor and the chancellor of the late king to Seville, with 
orders for their immediate execution, and both gentlemen were be- 


ecy. The queen's envoy met the seer in Gruimaracus, 
and without waiting to be interrogated, the latter ad- 
dressed him as follows : "I am aware of thy errand, 
and by whom thou wast sent. Know that the illus- 
trious queen, by whose orders thou hast sought me, 
is now no more, and that her son, following evil coun- 
sels, will support the pretensions of Clement." The 
soothsayer had doubtless procured information from 
good authority, for the sequel proved the truth of his 
assertions. Juana had been endowed with great mu- 
nificence by her husband, and her revenues exceeded 
those of any of her predecessors. Aware that these 
extravagant donations might prove a dangerous prece- 
dent, Henry, in his will, counselled his son against being 
as liberal to his consort. Juana is called by the 
chroniclers a most pious, charitable and noble lady, 
but nothing is said of her personal appearance. 




THIS lady, whose nuptials with the Town prince of 
Castile, on the eighteenth of June, L I, have been 
recorded in the preceding reign, was tt daughter of 
Pedro IV. king of Aragon, and of his thii wife, Leo- 
nor of Sicily. The dower of the Aragonese incess was 


80,000 florins. Four years after the marriage, on tho 
death of Enrique, in 1379, Juan and Leonor were sol- 
emnly crowned in Las Huelgas de Burgos, and on tho 
fourth of October, of the same year, the queen gave 
birth to her first child, Enrique, who inherited the crown. 
On the twenty-seventh of November of the following 
year, was born her second son, Ferdinand, who subse- 
quently ascended the throne of Aragon. 

The birth of her third child, a daughter, cost the 
queen her life, on the thirteenth of September, 1382. 
The infant was named Leonor, after its mother, whom 
it survived but a short time. The piety and charity 
of this young queen, cut off in the flower of her age, 
is greatly eulogised by several authors, and it is 
recorded that she spent all her income in deeds of be- 
nevolence. Her religious scruples were carried to 
such an extreme that at one time, though greatly in 
want of money, she positively refused to accept the 
voluntary offer of a large donation from the Jews who 
inhabited the towns that formed part of her jointure, 
"lest the money might prove cursed and the donors in 
their hearts c?'.rse the king and her children" 

That a miracle might not be wanting to prove the 
virtue of this queen, the Chronicle of Santo Domingo, 
records the following one. 

The king having conceived some injurious thoughts 
of his consort, was visited one night, while on his way 
returning from Carrionciilo, near Medina del Campo, 
by no less a person than the Apostle St. Andrew. The 
celestial visitant reprimanding the king for his suspi- 


cion of his consort, assured him it had been totally 
unfounded, she being a perfect model of chastity, and 
every other virtue. As a proof of his assertion, and 
that no doubt might remain on the king's mind of his 
own miraculous appearance, the saint foretold the 
birth on a certain day of the infante Fernando, and the 
event verified the prediction. The apparition was so 
satisfactory to Juan, that from that time he never 
indulged a suspicion of his queen's fair fame. 




THIS princess, the daughter of Fernando I. king of 
Portugal, by his queen Leonor de Meneses, before her 
marriage with Juan, had been successively promised 
to that sovereign's brother,* to his two sons, and to the 
earl of Cambridge. The death of his first wife, Leo- 
nor, leaving the king of Castile a widower at the early 
age of twenty-four, the king of Portugal proposed that 
the peace between Castile and Portugal should be 
cemented by the marriage of his daughter with the 

* Don Fadrique, duke of Benavente, son of Henry II. by a noble 
lady, Dona Beatrix Ponce de Leon. 


father instead of the son, who was as yet but an infant, 
and the conditions proving very satisfactory to Juan, 
the nuptials were celebrated at Badajoz, seventeenth 
May, 1383. A dispensation had previously been pro- 
cured from the pope, as the parties were second cous- 
ins. By- the marriage contract, Beatrix being the 
only child was to inherit the kingdom of Portugal, the 
administration of which was, however, to be left after 
the death of Ferdinand, to his queen, should she sur- 
vive him, and the issue of Beatrix and Juan, whether 
a son or a daughter was to inherit the kingdom, 
and bear the title of sovereign from the age of 
fourteen, his parents from that period ceasing to enti- 
tle themselves king and queen of Portugal. 

Ferdinand died the very year of this marriage, and 
his death gave occasion for a renewal of the war. 
Juan, regardless of the conditions stipulated in the 
treaty, immediately entered Portugal at the head of 
forces to sustain his claim. Though many of the 
nobles admitted the justice of his pretensions, and the 
queen dowager caused her daughter to be proclaimed 
in Lisbon, the majority of the towns, with the hatred 
of the Castilian sway that has ever characterized the 
Portuguese, proclaimed Don Juan* a bastard brother 
of the late king, regent of the kingdom. 

The duke of Lancaster now offered his aid to the 
new regent, and concluded an alliance with him by 
which they mutually engaged to defend each other's 

*Not the youngest son of Pedro I. and Ines de Castro, but 
another illegitimate son of that monarch by a lady of Galicia. 


claims, and overwhelm the Castilian sovereign. For- 
tune appeared to desert Jflan whose army met every- 
where with defeat, and though his mother-in-law had 
declared in his favor, and voluntarily given up t<j 
him the administration, she was so strongly suspected 
of bad faith, that he caused her to be arrested and 
conveyed to Castile. 

In 1385, the states of Coimbra proclaimed the 
regent king ; and that prince, who had secured the co- 
operation of the English, by his marriage with Phil- 
lippa, the daughter of the duke of Cambridge, showed 
himself equal to the task of defending his newly 
acquired dignity. Cool, energetic, courageous, unscru- 
pulous, and crafty, he successfully foiled all the plans of 
his young, rash and inexperienced rival. A great 
action fought between 10,000 men on the side of the 
Portuguese, and 30,000 on that of the Castilian, 
decided the contested point in favor of the former. 

This battle which took place near Albajarota was 
won by the Portuguese in consequence of the strength 
of the position in which they had entrenched themselves, 
and by the rashness and inferiority of tactics of the Span- 
iards, who confiding in their numerical superiority 
disdained all the precautions that might have ensured 
them success. Two thousand French knights who 
fought as allies of the Castilians and bore the brunt of 
the battle, suffered exceedingly. The loss of the Cas- 
tilian arrny was enormous, the greater part of the 
cavalry and 10,000 of the infantry remaining on the 
field of battle. The contest was, however, continued 


for some time, until the plague breaking out in the 
army of the Portuguese sovereign, and making great 
ravages among the English allies, overtures of peace 
were made by the duke and accepted by the Castilian. 
The conditions of this treaty which was concluded 
towards the close of 1387, were that Catharine, daugh- 
ter of the duke, by his wife Constanza, should be 
betrothed to Henry, son of Juan, and if the latter 
should die before the period at which the age of the 
parties would allow of the marriage being celebrated, 
his place should be filled by his brother Ferdinand, 
that prince being bound to remain free and unengaged 
until Henry should have attained his fourteenth year ; 
that Constanza herself, (the daughter of Pedro the 
Cruel,) should receive in fief, several towns in Castile, 
and a revenue of 40.000 francs per annum, while the 
duke should receive 600,000 in gold by instalments, to 
enable him to defray the expenses of the war ; that 
both Constanza and her husband should renounce all 
claim to the throne of Castile, and that sixty men of 
note should be given to them as hostages for the ful- 
filment of the three first conditions. In the spring of 
the following year, the betrothals took place, the bride 
being in her fourteenth year and the bridegroom in 
his ninth. These conditions were extremely onerous 
to Castile, impoverished by these long wars, and it 
was exceedingly difficult to raise so large a sum, but 
on the other hand it was of great advantage to settle 
the claims of the daughter of Pedro, as these preten- 
sions were likely to prolong the war for an indefinite 


period. The treaty having been signed, and the be- 
trothals solemnized, Juan, received the visit of his 
cousin, Constance, whom he entertained in Medina 
del Campo, in November of that year. 

In token of amity and good will, besides sundry rich 
jewels, the king presented to Constance the town of 
Huete and its revenues, to be possessed during her life, 
which the duchess on her side reciprocated by the gift of 
a magnificent gold crown studded with valuable gems, 
which she had brought from England to be used at her 
own coronation. This diadem had belonged to her 
father. A truce was also agreed on with the king of 
Portugal, and Castile was beginning to taste the bless- 
ings of the peace it so much needed, when the pre- 
mature death of Juan threatened to involve the kingdom 
in the evils attending the minority of princes. 

At the period of the conquest of Spain by the Moors, 
a small number of Christians had passed over to Africa 
and obtained permission from the emperor of Morocco 
to reside in his dominions and retain their own creed, 
customs and manners. Of these Christians, called by 
the Moors, Farfanes, fifty cavaliers had been invited by 
Juan to settle in Castile, and as an inducement he had 
offered to endow them with lands sufficient for their 
honorable maintenance. The offer having been accept- 
ed, the king, on their arrival, sallied forth to receive 
them, and witness the equestrian exercises for which 
they were celebrated. Having for some time remained 
a spectator of their feats, he determined to join them, 
being himself an expert horseman. The ground over 


which he had to pass had been recently ploughed, and 
when the king set spurs to his spirited steed, the 
animal stumbled, and throwing his rider, fell heavily 
over him. When his attendants extricated the sove- 
reign, it was found that life was extinct. Such was the 
tragical end of a prince, who, if he did not exhibit 
great abilities, was kind-hearted, gentle, willing to 
take advice, and tinctured by no vices. Liberal, high- 
minded, and benevolent, his reign is stained by no 
bloody deed or flagrant act of injustice. His liberality 
and courteous conduct to the king of Armenia, whose 
liberty he obtained from the Soldan of Egypt, and whom 
he hospitably entertained and largely endowed, consti- 
tute one of the many generous acts of kindness that 
this prince lavished on the unfortunate. 

Juan was of small stature, with a fair complexion, 
and brown hair, and little over thirty-two years of 
age. His constitution was exceedingly delicate, and 
he was subject to several infirmities. His tragical 
death, which occurred on the 9th October, 1390, 
was concealed from the public by the Archbishop of 
Toledo until he had taken measures to secure the suc- 
cession of the young Enrique. A tent was pitched 
on the spot, and the body deposited in it attended by 
leeches, while messengers were dispatched to the 
queen informing her of the real nature of the catastro- 
phe, and to the cities, towns, lords, prelates and gen- 
tlemen, with tidings that the king was very ill, and 
reminding them of their oath of allegiance to his heir, 
should the event prove fatal. This done, the body 


was conveyed to a chapel belonging to the Archbishop 
in Alcala de Henares, whither the queen immediately 
repaired, overwhelmed with grief. The corpse, at- 
tended by the queen and many nobles, was then re- 
moved to Toledo, where it was interred in the Church 
of St. Mary. Though thus early left a widow, Beatrix 
never would consent to a second marriage. She re- 
ceived many offers ; among others, one from the Duke 
of Austria, as late as the year 1409, after she had 
been eighteen years a widow, during which time she 
resided on her own domains, where she continued until 
her death. 

Juan, in his will, dated June 21st., 1385, left his 
consort three hundred thousand maravedis a year, 
which she was to have in addition to the revenues of 
the towns and villages belonging to her, that she might 
" be enabled honorably to maintain her state." The 
royal testator laid his injunctions on Prince Enrique, 
her step-son, to honor and respect her as his mother, 
pay her the revenues assigned her, and demand from 
her no account of the jewels, crowns, diadems, and 
precious stones, he had bestowed on her. Henry 
obeyed these commands to the letter, and in his own 
will, orders that his " mother, the queen Dona Beatrix, 
continue to receive her yearly allowance." 

The date of the death of Beatrix is not recorded. 








THE betrothals of Catharine, daughter of John of 
Graunt, duke of Lancaster, and Constance of Castile, 
with the young heir of the throne of Castile, have 
been recorded in the annals of the preceding reign. 
On the occasion of this happy union, that put an end 
to the war that for so long a time had desolated Cas- 
tile, Henry and his bride were created prince and 
princess of Asturias, this being the first time that the 
titles of prince and princess were used in Spain. 

The tragical death of Juan, in 1390, calling Henry 
to the throne at the early age of eleven, occasioned 
the dissensions incidental to the minority of princes, 
and many were the disputes that took place ere it was 
decided what form of government should be adopted, 
until the king should attain his majority. After seve- 
ral changes in 1392, the Cortes at Burgos decreed that 
twelve governors should be chosen, six of which should 
exercise the authority delegated to them during half 
the year, and the other six during the remaining six 
months. After some demurring and altercation as to 


who should have the priority, the affair was settled. 
Though there were not wanting disaffected spirits, 
among whom Fadrique, Duke of Benavente played an 
important part, and created some disturbance, it was 
finally appeased without any effusion of blood, and 
the truces with the kings of Granada and Aragon 
having been renewed, the peace of the kingdom con- 
tinued unbroken. 

The most important event that occurred during this 
minority, was the rising of the people in many large 
towns against the Jews, who were the agents and re- 
ceivers of the royal revenues, and contributions from 
the towns. Their rapacity having irritated the popu- 
lace who were moreover incited by the preaching of a 
fanatical archdeacon of Ecija, of whom one of the 
Spanish writers says, "he was one, more holy than 
wise," they had well nigh exterminated the race. 
Many were massacred, numbers to save themselves 
becams Christians, while others, to save themselves 
and part of their property, were obliged to have re- 
course to the protection of some high lord, of whom 
they purchased their safety at so enormous a rate as 
to reduce themselves to poverty. 

In 1393, Henry having attained the age of fourteen 
assumed the administration, and put an end to the 
regency. Though of so delicate a constitution as to 
cause him to be surnamed the Infirm, the king lacked 
neither energy nor firmness, but the evils he had to 
correct were too deeply rooted to be easily eradicated, 
and his reign was too short to enable him to effect 


any lasting good. His uncles, Fadrique, Duke of 
Benavente, and Alfonso, Count of G-ijon, continued for 
some time to disturb the public peace, and the king's 
liberality and moderation towards them alone pre- 
vented them from breaking out into open rebellion. 

During his short career, Enrique won the love of the 
nation by his 2eal for the public weal He caused 
many excellent laws and regulations to be enacted for 
the better and more impartial administration of justice 
and restraining the rapacity and extortions of the rev- 
enue officers. Unfortunately for the nation, he was, 
while preparing on the frontiers to war with the Moors 
of Granada, attacked by a disease which, having no 
strength of constitution to resist it, carried him off on 
the twenty-sixth December, 1406. 

Of the queen little is recorded during the life of 
Enrique, but after his death, she was called to play an 
important part as co-regent of the kingdom, and guar- 
dian of her son Juan, who at the time of his father's 
death had not attained his second year. Catherine, 
during the first eight years of her marriage had been 
childless. At the end of this period she gave birth to 
the infanta Maria, proclaimed heiress to the crown, of 
which the subsequent birth of a brother deprived her. 
This princess, who was born in Segovia, November 14, 
1401, married Alfonso V. king of Aragon, her cousin. 
(Vide annals of the queens of Aragon.) The second 
child of Catherine, the date of whose birth is not re- 
corded, was also a daughter, Catherine, who married 
her cousin, Don Enrique, brother of Alfonso of Aragon. 


Several years had elapsed since the birth of the two 
infantas, and all hopes of a male heir to the crown 
had ceased, the king's health becoming daily more 
delicate, while the queen had grown exceedingly corpu- 
lent, when she at length gave birth to a son, on the 
sixth March, 1405, in the town of Toro. The joy of 
both parents was excessive, but especially that of the 
queen, who immediately caused letters to be written 
in her name, to all the chief towns of the kingdom, 
imparting the tidings and ordering the customary re- 
joicings on the occasion. On the twelfth of May of 
the same year, the prince was sworn to as heir with 
extraordinary pomp. 

Though deprived of his father at so early an age, 
the loss did not affect the interests of the infant king, 
being supplied, fortunately for himself and the nation 
by an uncle whose zeal for the interests of both prince 
and people could only be equalled by his ability. To 
the prudence, forbearance, judgment and military zeal 
of the infante Ferdinand, Castile was indebted for the 
comparative quiet and prosperity she enjoyed during 
the first nine years of the minority of a prince whose 
subsequent reign was to prove so disastrous. The 
late king's will named his brother Ferdinand, and his 
consort, queen Catherine, co-regents of the kingdom, 
and guardians of his children, and the choice met the 
approval of the nation. There were not wanting 
restless, disaffected spirits to whom any change was a 
relief from the monotony of order and quiet, and who 
sought to induce the infante to place on his own head 


the crown of his nephew, but he turned a deaf ear to 
all proposals of that nature, and gave all his attention 
to consolidating the throne he might easily have 
usurped. Had the queen shown equal good sense - 
and firmness, both would have been spared many petty 
vexations, but unfortunately, Catherine with the best 
intentions often acted with strange inconsistency, from 
her too easy compliance with the suggestions of those 
to whom she became attached. 

On the death of Henry, the most friendly messages 
were exchanged between his widow and his brother, 
the former professing herself, in her affliction, fortunate 
that heaven should have left her the support of one 
whom henceforth she would hold in the light of a 
brother, son and dear 'friend, and Ferdinand replying 
in terms of great amity and respect. The only clause 
of the late king's will to which the queen objected, 
was one by which two nobles, Juan de Velasco and 
Diego Lopez Destuniga, were named as tutors of the 
young king, and who were to have the charge of his 
person. To this Catherine was exceedingly opposed, 
saying that she, who had given birth to the prince, 
was the best entitled to have the care of him. After 
some debate, the queen obtained her wish, the appoint- 
ed tutors agreeing to relinquish their claims, and 
receive as a compensation for the honor and emolu- 
ments of the post, 12,000 florins from the queen, who 
thought she could not purchase too dearly the privilege 
of keeping her son under her own charge. This point 
settled, the regents took the customary oaths, binding 


themselves to maintain the kingdom undivided, to 
keep and respect the fueros and privileges of the peo- 
ple, to guard the king's person from harm, and to 
protect his interests, governing with justice and equity, 
and ordering all things to his honor and glory, until 
he should have attained his fourteenth year. 

Matters went on smoothly for but a short space of 
time. Catherine, with the royal infante had taken 
up her residence in the Alcazar of Segovia, attended 
by a numerous suite of noble dames and gentlemen, 
the chief of whom were Gromez Carillo de Cuenca 
charged with the young king's education, Alfonso 
Gfarcia de Cuollar, his treasurer and alcalde of the 
royal residence, Leonor, daughter of the duke of Ben- 
avente and wife of the Adelantado, Pero Manriquez, 
the countess his wife, and many others of high station. 
Of all the noble ladies in attendance on Catherine, 
none had attained the degree of favor enjoyed by 
Leonor Lopez, daughter of Don Martin Lopez, who in 
the reign of Pedro had been master of the order of 
Alcantara. This lady had ingratiated herself with 
Catherine, and acquired so unbounded an influence 
over her, that if her royal mistress gave an order, or 
took a resolution, without previously consulting the 
favorite, and obtaining her sanction, the latter inso- 
lently countermanded it. Thus the well-concerted 
measures of the infante Fernando frequently met a 
check in their execution, from the unrestrained author- 
ity of the minion, and the consequence was that the 
union between the regents a union so necessary to 


the proper administration of affairs seemed in danger 
of being materially impaired by the intrigues of the 
meddling favorite, who even endeavored to create ill 
feeling between the queen and her brother-in-law, by 
instilling into the mind of her credulous tool, suspi- 
cions of his ulterior plans. 

Ferdinand was at this time preparing for war with 
the Moors of Granada, and though his annoyance was 
great at finding his efforts for the public good frequently 
foiled by the impertinent and ill-judged interference of 
Leonor, he never allowed his temper to be irritated so 
far as to come to an open rupture with the queen, though 
a coolness ensued, which would have proved dangerous 
to the welfare of all, had not the council, foreseeing the 
evils that would ensue from its continuation, expostu- 
lated with the queen> and, having convinced her of 
her error, obtained the exile from court of Dona Leonor. 
The success of this timely interposition, proves Cathe- 
rine to have been open to conviction, and though weak, 
not obstinate. Having thus thwarted the views 
of the interested sycophants who had endeavored to 
embroil him with the queen, Fernando pursued with 
vigor the war with the Moors, obtaining signal advan- 
tages and taking many places from them. In the 
division the regents had made of the administration, 
according to the clause to that effect in the late king's 
will, the infante had the provinces of the seat of war, 
and remained in Andalusia, from April of 1407 until 
the spring of the year 1408, when he rejoined the 
court assembled in Guadalajara, to concert measures 


for the continuation of the war. During this year, a 
truce of eight months was granted to the king of Gra- 
nada, at his earnest solicitation. 

In the following year the betrothals of the infanta 
Maria, the king's eldest sister, with Alfonso, eldest 
son of the infante Fernando, were celebrated, in com- 
pliance with the will of the late king. In February 
of 1410, the infante again renewed the war with the 
Moors, which he prosecuted with such success that in 
1411 he crowned himself with laurels, by the con- 
quest of Antequera. Having stopped at Seville on his 
return, he made a triumphant entrance, on the four- 
teenth of October, and from thence proceeding to Yalla- 
dolid, he was warmly received by the queen, who in 
presence of the court, honored him with an embrace, 
and the kiss of peace, as the king had done before her. 
Dona Leonor Lopez, whose ambitious spirit could ill 
abide her exile, in 1412, wrote to the infante, entreat- 
ing the intercession of the one against whom she had 
used her arts when in power, that she might again be 
received in the queen's service and good graces. 

To this the infante, though he had weighty reasons 
for disliking the lady, returned a kind answer, purport- 
ing that she should come to Cuenca, and consult with 
him what it was best to do. Catherine, being advised 
that her quondam favorite was on her way from Cor- 
dova to Cuenca to see Don Fernando, immediately 
wrote to the latter, requesting he would send her back 
the instant she arrived, and that if she dared venture 
to appear in her presence, she would have her burnt. 


The virulence of the queen's hatred towards her once 
loved attendant was in proportion to the love she had 
formerly borne her, and proves her to have lacked a 
well-balanced mind, and have been prone to carry all 
things to extremes. Leonor, on arriving at Cuenca, 
was shown the queen's letter, and her disappointment 
and fright were so excessive that she had well-nigh sunk 
under the blow. Ferdinand treated her kindly, and 
after administering such consolation as he could with- 
out feeding hopes which would have been utterly 
without foundation, advised her to return immediately 
to Cordova, and avoid adding, by a dangerous persis- 
tence, to the queen's anger. Dona Leonor had no 
sooner put in practice this wise advice than the queen 
deprived her relatives of the offices they held in her 
household, and in that of the king her son. Not sat- 
isfied with this, Catherine dismissed from her service 
all those who were indebted to Leonor for their places. 
The king of Aragon, Don Martin, having died with- 
out leaving any male issue, after a short interregnum, 
his nephew, Ferdinand, was declared the next of kin, 
in the male line, and heir to the crown. (Vide life of 
Dona Leonor de Alburquerque, queen of Aragon.) In 
1412 the new king passed over into Ajagon, having 
previously named a council to continue his duties as 
co-regent of Castile. As long as the life of this truly 
able and prudent sovereign lasted, his influence seemed 
to direct the councils of Castile, and maintain peace 
and prosperity, but with his death, in 1416, the civil 
broils again broke out. The friendship between Cath- 


erine and her brother-in-law, however, suffered no 
dimunition after the accession of the latter to the 
throne of Aragon, and, far from showing the slightest 
jealousy of his elevation, she rejoiced most sincerely in 
it, and proved her good feeling by sending him a mag- 
nificent crown to be used at his coronation. This 
diadem was the same worn by King Juan I., his father, 
at his coronation. 

Having been advised that the count of Urgel was 
preparing to dispute Ferdinand's claim to the crown of 
Aragon, Catherine, unsolicited, sent four hundred lan- 
ces to her brother-in-law's assistance, and a message 
purporting that if he required still farther aid, she 
would come, with her son, at the head of all the forces 
she could command, and rather than he should fail in 
asserting his rights, would sell her jewels. These 
tokens of amity were very satisfactory to Ferdinand, 
though circumstances rendered the proffered aid 

On the death of Ferdinand in 1416, the regency 
devolved entirely on Catherine, (as stipulated in the 
will of Enrique,) but Don Juan de Velasco and Don 
Diego Lopez de Zuniga took advantage of it to renew 
their claims to the tutorship of the young king. The 
Archbishop of Toledo, Don Sancho de Rojas, however, 
presented the matter in such a light to Catherine, that 
she agreed to deliver the king's person to the claimants 
in order that, as she said, she might never have to re- 
proach herself with leaving unfulfilled any clause of 
the late king's will. The two nobles, satisfied with 


the queen's ready compliance, and pleased with the 
confidence reposed in them, declined accepting the 
honor, leaving him tinder her charge, merely adding 
to his attendants guards of their own selection. 

The factions that had arisen in Castile on the death 
of Ferdinand, soon extended their ramifications through- 
out the kingdom, and the last two years of the life of 
Catherine were harrassed by the intrigues, complaints, 
and quarrels of the turbulent nobles. Her own death, 
which took place June 2d, 1418, removing all restraint, 
left Castile a prey to the anarchy and disorder that 
distracted it during all the unhappy reign of her weak 
son. Catherine was deeply regretted, for, though not 
possessed of great abilities or brilliant talents, she had 
a kind heart, and the errors into which she fell 
proceeded ever from want of judgment, and too ready 
a compliance with the wishes of those by whom she 
was surrounded. Her temper was even and her 
manners kind and affable. 

Catherine was tall and handsome, and in youth, 
though stout, her figure was good and her carriage 
graceful, but as she advanced in years, she became 
exceedingly corpulent. Unlike the generality of Span- 
ish sovereigns, who are noted for their sobriety, Cathe- 
rine was addicted to excesses in eating, and even 
drinking, which doubtless hastened her end. She died 
of a paralytic stroke, and was interred in the royal 
chapel of Toledo. The qualities of the head are, how- 
ever, more necessary to a sovereign than those of the 
heart, and the character of Catherine has been treated 


with little leniency by the majority of historians, who 
ascribe to her jealous and narrow-minded policy the 
weak, uncultivated intellect of her son. Enrique III. 
testified his want of confidence in her abilities, by the 
clause in his will, in which he expressly desired his 
son should be placed under the care of those therein 
designated, and who were men fully equal to the task 
of educating the heir to the crown. Catherine, how- 
ever, expressed so much repugnance to giving up her 
child to the guardians, and it seemed so cruel to de- 
prive a mother of this source of gratification, that, 
unfortunately for the prince and the nation, the in- 
fante Fernando seconded her wishes, and they were 
complied with. Of a suspicious temper, Catherine 
was always tormented by fears that her son would 
be taken from her, and with this idea she kept him 
immured within the palace walls, neglecting his edu- 
cation, and preventing those whose advice and pre- 
cepts would have strengthened and improved his mind, 
from having access to the secluded youth. 

Thus Juan grew up amid the puerilities and idle 
pastimes of an effeminate court, in complete ignorance 
of the high duties that awaited him, and having im- 
bibed from his mother that pernicious weakness which 
made him the tool of the parasites by whom he was 
surrounded. When, at her death, he was brought out, 
and made to exhibit himself to the people, it seemed 
like a second birth, so ignorant was he of the world 
beyond the palace gates. 

Much of Catherine's popularity was due to her being 


the granddaughter of Pedro. Many, especially among 
the middle and lower classes, regarding the memory 
of this unfortunate monarch, with peculiar veneration, 
considered his descendant the legitimate heiress of the 
crown of Castile. The English blood of John of Gaunt 
predominated, however, in Catherine, whose fair hair, 
blonde complexion and stout figure, betokened her 
paternal origin, and northern birthplace, while her tastes 
and inclinations essentially differed from those of her 
royal grandfather, noted like the generality of the 
Spanish sovereigns for his sobriety. 




ON the death of Catherine, the king of Portugal, 
Juan I. endeavored to negotiate the marriage of his 
daughter Leonor with the young king of Castile, then 
thirteen years of age, but he encountered an unsur- 
mountable barrier to his project, in Don Sancho de 
Rojas, the archbishop of Toledo. This prelate, who 
was indebted for his elevation to the infante Fernando, 
was devoted to the interests of the royal house of Ara- 
gon, and employed the power and influence he had 


acquired under Catherine, to place a daughter of that, 
prince on the Castilian throne. Several of the high 
barons, jealous of the favor enjoyed by the archbishop, 
endeavored to frustrate his schemes, favoring the alli- 
ance with Portugal, but Don Sancho being backed by 
the dowager queen of Aragon and her sons, who, en- 
dowed with vast domains in Castile, the land of their 
birth, possessed great influence in that court, was suc- 
cessful, and on the 20th October, 1418, Maria, daugh- 
ter of Ferdinand I., king of Aragon, and of Dona 
Leonor de Alburquerque, was led to the altar by the 
young king. The parties were first cousins, but dis- 
pensations had then become so common, that no 
scruples were entertained on that score. The nuptials 
graced by the presence of the dowager queen of Ara- 
gon, her sons, the infantes Juan, Enrique and Pedro, 
together with the principal nobles of Castile, and many 
from Aragon, were celebrated with the greatest mag- 
nificence, and the festivities usual on such occasions 
in Medina del Campo. 

The court then removing to Madrid, the Cortes was 
summoned, and in the spring of the following year, 
Juan having attained his majority, was solemnly en- 
trusted with the government. 

On the 7th March, 1419, began the disastrous reign 
of the hitherto nominal king, Juan IT., or rather that 
of his favorites. Of these the most conspicuous, not 
only for the important part he enacted, but for his 
brilliant accomplishments, his extraordinary rise and 


sudden fall, was Don Alvaro de Luna. This remarka- 
ble man, who, from a state of obscurity and compari- 
tive insignificance, rose to the height of power, con- 
trolled during upwards of thirty years, the destinies of 
Castile, and was in reality the real occupant of a throne 
from which he descended to lay his head on the block 
this minion of fortune, who, in his elevation and fall, 
as well as in many points of character, resembled the 
no less celebrated Cardinal Wolsey, was the son of 
Don Alvaro de Luna, Lord of Canete Jubero and 
Cornado, and cupbearer of Enrique III., by a com- 
mon courtesan of the name of Maria Canete. The 
subsequent disreputable conduct of the mother causing 
Don Alvaro to doubt whether the child was his, he 
refused for some time to acknowledge him. Being 
unmarried, he converted his possessions into ready 
money, leading a gay life without thinking of making 
any provision for his son, whose life would have 
been spent, in all probability, struggling with the 
evils attending penury, had not this fate been 
averted by a faithful squire to whose care he had been 
confided. This man, whose name was Juan de Olio, 
having expostulated with Don Alvaro, to whom he 
represented the injustice he was doing the boy he knew 
to be his own, persuaded the then dying noble to leave 
him a sum of eight hundred florins, the residue of the 
proceeds of the sale of his- patrimony. Juan de Olio 
then conducted his young charge to Rome, where the 
boy was confirmed by Pope Benedict, who changed his 


name from Pedro to that of his father. Here he re- 
mained from the age of seven to that of eighteen, when 
his uncle, Don Pedro de Luna, the archbishop, brought 
him back to Spain, and obtained a place for him as 
gentleman of the bed-chamber or page to the young 
king, in 1408. Educated in all the refinement of the 
court of Rome, skilled in all the mental and bodily 
accomplishments of that day, the best horseman, most 
adroit swordsman, most elegant dancer, in his own 
country, a poet and a musician, endowed by nature 
with a good voice and possessing amiable manners and 
an insinuating address, Don Alvaro could not fail to 
attract notice at court, and by the time the sovereign 
had attained his majority had so completely won his 
favor, that Juan could do nothing without his advice 
and consent. 

Nor was Don Alvaro less fortunate in ingratiating 
himself with the ladies, and the favors they lavished 
on him, though highly gratifying to his vanity, at times 
placed the recipient in rather embarrassing situations. 
From a dilemma of this nature that occurred during 
the regency of Queen Catherine, his firmness and 
decision with difficulty extricated him. Among the 
ladies who appeared most charmed with the grace and 
gallant bearing of the king's favorite page, was Dona 
Ines de Torres, one of the queen's attendants, and so 
unguarded was she in her tokens of regard that she 
roused the jealousy of her intended, Don Juan Alvarez 
de Osorio, one of the most influential nobles in Castile. 


The irritated lover carried his complaints to the queen 
and succeeded in enlisting her sympathy. He had, 
moreover, the art to persuade her that the attentions of 
Don Alvaro had won the heart, and affected the repu- 
tation of Dona Constanza Barba, another lady of the 
royal household, attached to the service of the infanta 
Catalina. The queen mother, anxious to sustain the 
dignity of her household, which she deemed sorely 
compromised by such levities, sent for the culprit, and 
without consulting his inclinations intimated that it 
was her pleasure he should then and there prepare to 
marry Dona Constanza, who was preparing in the 
inner apartment for the ceremony. But young as he 
was, the minister in embryo had already higher views 
and was not to be thus entrapped. Resolutely decli- 
ning to comply with the queen's peremptory command, 
he instantly withdrew to his own quarters, refusing to 
return until the queen should give up her matrimonial 
project. His presence was too necessary to the young 
sovereign to allow of his being long an exile from the 
palace, and Catherine was forced to aoceed to her son's 
wishes and recall his favorite companion, at the sacrifice 
of her own pride. 

Nor did his refusal to allow himself to be victimised 
injure him with the ladies, who seemed, on the contrary, 
greatly pleased that he should have preserved a free- 
dom that left hopes to all. 

While ho possessed all the lighter qualities of the 
finished cavalier, Don Alvaro lacked none of the more 


solid ones that befit the statesman. A profound dis- 
sembler, while he carefully veiled his own intentions, 
he was gifted with the art of eliciting from others 
whatever it imported him to know of theirs. "With a 
strong mind, a clear intellect, a daring, unscrupulous 
spirit, and an indefatigable application to business, he 
was peculiarly well adapted to be the minister of the 
indolent Juan, who signed, it is said, everything his 
minister desired without casting his eye on the contents 
of the papers. 

The haughty Castilian nobles could not long brook 
the sway of one whom his birth had placed so far 
beneath them, and a series of revolts and commotions 
was the result of their struggle to displace him. 

The first disturbance of any moment was occasioned 
by Don Enrique, infante of Aragon. This prince, 
whom love or ambition had led to become the suitor of 
Catherine, the king's sister, met with a repulse from 
the lady, which, instead of allaying, inflamed his passion, 
and he determined to obtain by force of arms what was 
denied his entreaties. The rage of Enrique was prin- 
cipally directed against Don Alvaro de Luna and his 
ally, Don Fernan Alfonso de Robles, whose influence 
in his behalf he had vainly sought to secure. Both 
nobles knowing Catherine wished to marry some for- 
eign prince, and probably desirous of thwarting the 
obvious ambition of Enrique, whose power this close alli- 
ance with the sovereign would still further strengthen, 
upheld the princess in her refusal. On the 12th 
July, 1420, Enrique repaired to Tordesillas, where the 


royal family resided, at the head of three hundred 
lances, and accompanied by other troops furnished him 
by his friend Ruy Lopez Davalos, high constable of 
Castile. Under pretence of taking leave of the king, 
previous to his departure on a visit to his mother, 
Leonor, the prince forced the palace gates, and pene- 
trating to the royal chamber, the door of which had 
been purposely left unguarded by the groom of the 
stole, who was an accomplice, found the king asleep, 
as also his inseparable companion, Don Alvaro, who 
lay on a mat at the foot of the royal couch. The 
favorite, roused by the noise, and seeing the armed 
followers of the infante, at once perceived that resist- 
ance was vain, and repressing all appearance of fear or 
resentment, calmly remonstrated with them for the 
want of respect they manifested in thus approaching 
their lord, the king. His prudence saved him from 
imprisonment, The king himself greatly agitated and 
incensed, exclaimed, " Cousin, what mean ye ? what 
would ye do?" To which the infante replied, " Sir, I 
come to do you good service, and put away from you 
some who do ugly and base things against you, and 
therefore I would free your grace from subjection, and 
have arrested here in your palace Juan Hurtado de 
Mendoza and his nephew, for reasons I will relate to 
your grace." The customary excuse of traitors, that 
all is for the king's service, was no blind even for Juan, 
but he had no alternative but to submit, as he found 
that, as the prince said, Hurtado had been arrested by 
some of his attendants while asleep with his wife in 


one of the royal apartments. To keep the king con- 
tented, his favorite, Don Alvaro, was not only left to 
him, but he was advised to keep him as one who loved 
him well, while at the same time the power of the 
favorite was retrenched by the exile of his adherents 
and allies. The young queen and princess Catherine 
were exceedingly alarmed at the outcries and distur- 
bance attending the arrest of the several nobles in the 
palace, and remained shut up in their private apart- 
ments, from whence Catherine, apprehending she was 
the secret object of the outrage, managed during the 
confusion to escape, and take refuge in the convent of 
St. Glair. Enrique having removed from the sove- 
reign's household all those he deemed hostile to his 
plans, and replaced them with creatures of his own, 
removed Juan and the queen to Avila. Previous 
to the departure of the royal cortege, the queen was 
persuaded to send for Catherine to come and join her, 
bat the princess replied that she would remain where 
she then was. 

The queen then went in person to the convent, but 
she was obliged to return alone, as no solicitations could 
induce Catherine to leave it. The bishop of Palencia, 
a friend of Enrique, then ordered the Abbess, who was 
in his jurisdiction, to surrender the lady, and another 
of Enrique's partisans, Grarcifernandez Manrique, inti- 
mated that he would pull down the convent unless 
she did so. The intimidated nuns then entreated the 
princess that she would save them from destruction by 
complying with the request made to her, and Cathe- 


rine yielded, stipulating, however, that she should 
not be compelled to marry the infante, and that she 
should retain in her service Mari Barba, a faithful 
attendant. The royal family then set out for the Alca- 
zar of Avila. 

This audacious outrage raised the indignation of 
many of the nobles, and Juan, brother of Enrique, 
who had been to Navarre in order to celebrate his nup- 
tials with the infanta Blanche, hastened back to Cas- 
tile, and sent letters to all of his party to hold themselves 
in readiness to rescue the king from the durance in 
which his insolent cousin held him. The dowager 
queen of Aragon, alarmed at the prospect of the strug- 
gle for power between her sons, repaired to Avila, to 
remonstrate with Enrique, but finding him bent on 
pursuing his plans, returned in great sorrow to Medina 
del Campo, where she resided. The weak sovereign, 
though he at first, through Don Alvaro, had sent word 
to his cousin Juan to rescue him, now, yielding to the 
ascendancy of Enrique issued a manifesto, purporting 
that he was enjoying perfect freedom. Urged also by 
the infante, the king daily importuned Catherine to 
accept his suit, but the princess resolutely refused, 
and dispatched her faithful attendant Mari Barba, to 
solicit Juan's protection. Enrique still farther to 
thwart the designs of his brother Juan, caused the 
king to convoke a cortes to which none of the opposite 
party, though bound by their rank to attend such 
meetings, were summoned, and the weak sovereign 
here again publicly avowed himself free and unre- 


strained in word and deed. The queen of Aragon, ad- 
vised of her brother's situation, sent ambassadors to 
ascertain the true state of matters, and to these he 
repeated his assurances of being at liberty. 

Again the dowager queen, Leonor, interfered to re- 
store peace, and again returned in disgust at the 
uselessness of her efforts. Enrique then removed his 
royal prisoners to Talavera, and here at last obtained 
the hand of the changeable Catherine, who, either 
from fear of his power or vanquished by his persever- 
ance, consented to marry him. The realization of his 
wishes, however, caused him to lose much, of what he 
had gained, for Juan, amid the rejoicings incidental 
on the nuptials, being no longer as closely watched, 
planned and managed, with the aid of Don Alvaro, his 
escape, under pretence of hawking. Some trusty ser- 
vants of Don Enrique, having suspected the king's 
design from his movements, returned in haste and 
warned their master, the infante, who was attending 
mass in his wife's apartments. Enrique and a large 
body of troops pursued the sovereign, who having got 
the start of him with his small number of attendants 
possessed himself of the castle of Montalvan, and dis- 
patched orders to the neighboring peasantry to take 
arms and assemble there for his protection. Letters 
were also sent to the same effect to the infante Juan 
and other nobles. Previous to Enrique's departure 
in pursuit of his sovereign, the queen and princess 
Catherine, fearing lest the two brothers should meet, 
and fatal consequences ensue, hastened to where he 


was preparing to take horse, regardless of the mud 
through which they were forced to make their way, 
dishevelled and unattended, and earnestly, but vainly 
besought him to give up his purpose. 

The infante, arriving before Montalvan took meas- 
ures to prevent all access to it, and the little garrison 
which had already been increased by an arrival of 
fifty ballesteros, was reduced to great straits, the in- 
fante allowing a passage to no provisions excepting 
what were absolutely necessary for the king himself, 
who daily received a fowl, a loaf, and a small silver 
pitcher of wine for his dinner, and the same for his 
supper. Juan ordered the horses to be killed, begin- 
ning with his own. A few provisions were now and 
then smuggled in, but they were suffering great straits, 
when the approach of the infante, Don Juan, and 
many nobles at the head of troops, joined to the news 
that the whole nation, indignant at such treatment of 
the sovereign, would rise against him, induced En- 
rique to retire. Juan was escorted back to Talavara, 
by his more loyal subjects in triumph. Enrique con- 
tinued in arms during nearly all the year 1422, though 
without any active demonstration of resistance beyond 
keeping together an armed force against the king's 
reiterated orders. Towards the close of the year, hav- 
ing ventured within the king's power, on the faith of 
a safe conduct, he was thrown into prison. The in- 
fanta Catherine, hearing of her husband's arrest, took 
refuge in Aragon, together with the Condestable, 
Don Ruy Lopez Davalos. The prince's claim of the 


Marquisate of Villena, which he had extorted from 
the king as his sister's dower, when Juan was in his 
power, was the pretence of his remaining in arms. 

On the 5th of October of the same year, the queen 
gave birth to her first child, a girl, to whom was 
given the name of Catherine. The queen had been 
confined in Illescas, whence, on her recovery, she 
proceeded to Toledo where the princess was to be 
sworn heiress. The queen herself made her entrance 
on one day and the infanta on the next, with great 
solemnity. In the apartment of the Alcazar a rich 
throne was erected for the king, and by it was placed 
a state bed, magnificently adorned, for the royal babe. 
Around the bed stood a number of lords, and ladies, 
and prelates, the apartment being so crowded beyond 
the space which etiquette decreed should remain vacant, 
that it was almost impossible to pass to and from it. 
After the customary oration had been pronounced in 
the king's name by the bishop of Cuenca, the infante, 
Don Juan of Aragon, the king's cousin, advanced to 
kiss the hand of the little princess, and took the oath 
of allegiance to her as rightful heiress of the crown, 
should the king have no male issue. The other nobles 
then followed his example, the infante Juan receiving 
their oaths, and the bishop holding the crucifix. This 
ceremony was followed by great rejoicings and a tour- 
nament, in which sixty gentlemen took part, besides 
many jousts which took place during a whole week. 

In 1423, the queen gave birth to another daughter, 
the infanta Leonor, who, her elder sister dying in 


1424, was in her turn sworn heiress to the crown, in 
Burgos, but this princess also died young. In 1425, 
on the 5th of January, the nation was gratified by the 
birth of a prince, who subsequently ascended the 
throne as Enrique IV. This prince was sworn with 
still greater pomp than his sister. In the course of 
this year, through the influence of his brother Alfonso, 
the king of Aragon, the infante Don Enrique was 
restored to liberty and the possession of his estates, his 
protracted imprisonment having almost led to a war 
between Aragon and Castile. In this year also, the 
death of his father-in-law, Charles the Noble, left the 
infante Don Juan the heir, in right of his \v ife, of the 
crown of Navarre. 

The excessive partiality of the king for Don Alvaro, 
and his prodigality towards him, had for some time 
past excited great jealousy among the nobles, and dis- 
content in all the nation, and the murmurs and com- 
plaints growing daily more violent, Juan was obliged 
to cede, and the constable was, in 1427, sentenced 
to exile from court for eighteen months. In the inves- 
tigation that preceded this sentence, no charge could 
be brought against Don Alvaro, who was charged 
with no abuse of the great power he had exercised, 
and who had ever shown the warmest zeal for 
his sovereign's interest. His only crime, then, was 
the being so greatly beloved by his royal master ; but 
this affection was no way impaired by his absence, 
Juan daily writing to his favorite. Don Alvaro had 
too many and too powerful adherents to remain long 


absent from court, and but few months passed ere he 
was again invited to take his place in the council, but 
he was too politic to appear over eager, and it was 
found necessary to reiterate the invitation three times 
ere he could be prevailed upon to return. The king of 
Navarre who was too much of a Castilian noble to be 
able to take the same interest in his kingdom that he 
did in the intrigues of the court of his native land, left 
the government of Navarre to his wife, and remained 
in Castile to dispute the favor of the monarch and the 
administration of affairs with the favorite, and his own 
brother, Enrique, and the ambition of these two 
princes kept the nation in continual commotion during 
the whole reign of the feeble Juan. Enraged at seeing 
the high constable again at the head of the adminis- 
tration, the disaffected nobles once more formed a 
league, at the head of which were the kings of Aragon 
and Navarre, who uniting with the infante Enrique, in 
1429, invaded Castile. 

The king's forces, commanded by Don Alvaro, met 
the leaguers near Cogolludo on the 1st July, and the 
armies were preparing to engage, when Cardinal Foix, 
the pope's legate to Aragon, presented himself on the 
field with the crucifix in his hand, and persuaded them 
to refrain that day from hostilities. Dona Maria, the 
queen of Aragon, who had set out in haste to prevent, 
if possible, this unnatural warfare between princes so 
nearly connected by blood and alliance, arrived on the 
following day, and, having procured a tent, caused it 
to be pitched between the two armies. Her negotia- 


tions were so successful that at her solicitation, backed 
by the persuasions of the pope's legate, the Aragonese 
returned to his dominions without striking a blow. The 
conditions were, however, objected to by the Castilian 
sovereign, who, refusing to ratify them, in his turn in- 
vaded the western frontiers of Aragon, the states of 
Burgos giving their sovereign the warmest support in 
hi3 enterprise. Nothing of any consequence was 
gained, and shortly after a truce of five years was 
agreed on, the king of Aragon being anxious to give 
his undivided attention to the prosecution of his war 
in Naples. Matters continued pretty tranquil during 
the next ten years, for, though murmurs were rife 
against the king for his excessive partiality towards 
his minister, who was the only channel through which 
he could be reached, no outbreak took place during that 

In 1431. the king repaired to Andalusia to superin- 
tend in person the war with the Moors of Granada, which 
was prosecuted with good success. The queen accompan- 
ied her husband in this expedition, passing through Ciu- 
dad Real, Cordova, and Carmona, remaining at the latter 
place until the close of the campaign. In the year 
1434, the court removed to Guadalupe and thence to 
Madrid. The royal family were in Ihe course of the 
year magnificently entertained by the high constable 
in his town of Escalona, and the king also received 
an embassy from the king of France. Juan gave the 
envoys a most cordial reception in the great hall of the 
palace in Madrid, which, it being night, was brilliantly 


lighted. The king was seated on his chair of state, 
and at his feet was crouched an enormous lion with an 
embroidered collar, but with neither chain nor cord to 
restrain his motions, whereupon the French were some- 
what afraid to advance until encouraged to do so by 
the king himself. The seneschal then knelt, and 
would have kissed the king's hand, but his majesty 
graciously prevented, and embraced him most cordially. 
Having caused the envoys to be seated on rich cush- 
ions placed on either side of his own seat, Juan inquir- 
ed concerning the health of their sovereign, and also 
that of several lords with whom he was acquainted. 
A splendid collation was then served up, and the stran- 
gers duly escorted, took their departure. The follow- 
ing day they were sumptuously entertained by Don 
Alvaro, and subsequently by other nobles, departing 
at last well pleased with their reception at the court 
of Castile. The object of the embassy was to renew 
the alliance between the two monarchs, and solicit 
the aid of the Castilians in the war against England. 
In December of the following year, the queen, being 
at Alcala de Henares with the king and her son, re- 
ceived the news of the death of her mother, Dona 
Leonor, dowager queen of Aragon, at Medina del Cam- 
po. Magnificent funeral honors were performed at 
Alcala, and subsequently in Madrigal, whither the 
queen retired to spend the season of her mourning. 
Dona Maria inherited from her mother the castle and 
town of Montaloza, and the king, ever seeking to lav- 


ish new bounties on his favorite, was exceedingly de- 
sirous she should bestow them on Don Alvaro. 

It seldom happens that the king's favorite stands 
equally high with the queen, who is not unfrequently 
jealous that another should possess that influence she 
considers should belong exclusively to herself, and 
to Maria Don Alvaro was an object of dislike, if 
not hatred. She was, therefore, excessively reluctant 
to give up her domains, which she was the more loth 
to part with, from their having belonged to her mother, 
and long returned a denial to the king's request. In 
the spring of 1437, won by Juan's importunities, she 
at length gave them up, receiving instead the reve- 
nues of the town of Arevalo. 

In the month of March of this year, the betrothal 
of her son, prince Henry, with the infanta Blanche of 
Navarre, his cousin, took place. On this occasion the 
queen entered into a secret compact with the infante, 
Don Enrique of Aragon, and the king of Navarre, her 
brothers, the admiral Don Fadrique, the count of Haro, 
Don Pedro Fernandez de Velasco, and others, against 
the hated Don Alvaro de Luna. In 1440, the par- 
ties being of age, the king thought it high time 
that the marriage of his son with the infanta of Na- 
varre should take place. Don Pedro de Velasco, count 
of Haro, Don Inigo Lopez de MenJoza, lord of Hita 
and Buytrago, and Don Alfonso de Cartagena, bishop 
of Burgos, were sent to bring the bride to Castile. 
These lords met the princess, the queen her mother, 
and prince Carlos, her brother, in Logrono, from 


whence the prince returned to Navarre, and the queen 
and princess with a numerous suite of ladies, lords 
and prelates, continued their way to Castile. 

On their passage through Vilhorado, belonging to 
the count of Haro, they were magnificently enter- 
tained by its lord, and in Briviesca, also forming part 
of the count's domains, their arrival gave occasion to 
that lord to display his taste and wealth in fetes un- 
surpassed in magnificence and originality. "When 
within two leagues of the town they were greeted by 
a most novel species of entertainment, devised by the 
constable. A hundred men-at-arms appeared on the 
road, fifty mounted on steeds covered with red trap- 
pings, and fifty on steeds covered with white, the 
riders being clad in complete armor and wearing 
helmets with flowing plumes. As soon as this goodly 
band came in sight of the regal cortege, the horsemen 
divided according to their colors, the red drawing up on 
one side of the road, and the white on the other, and 
then charged furiously with their lances. These being 
shivered, they drew their swords and continued the 
combat until the signal was given by the constable, 
when, wheeling round, they reunited and rode off. 

The royal ladies were received in Briviesca with 
great pomp by the towns-people, each trade with ban- 
ners, and some cunning emblematical device. These 
were followed by quadrilles of dancers, and then came 
the Jews in grand procession, with the book of their 
law, and the Moors in another with the Alcoran borne 
in state, with a mighty noise of tabors, kettle-drums 


and trumpets. All these followed the queen and her 
suite to the count's palace, where a number of tables 
were set forth with all manner of meats and the choic- 
est fruits, in such profusion that the like was never 
seen before, the guests being waited on by richly- 
dressed gentlemen, and pages of the count's household. 
The queen and princess were seated at a separate 
table, but they insisting that their hostess should bear 
them company, the countess sat with them. The 
ladies and damsels of the royal suite were seated at 
other tables, a knight or gentil-hombre, sitting beside 
each lady. To those whose rank did not allow of 
their dining in the palace, a plentiful supply of the 
same dishes was sent, to their several lodgings, and 
this was continued during the four days the royal 
party remained in Briviesca, the count having caused 
it to be proclaimed that no provisions should be sold 
to either Castilians or foreigners, but that the wants 
of all would be supplied by him at his own expense. 
In a lower hall in the palace, a silver fountain sup- 
plied day and night excellent wine to all who chose to 
drink or carry away, as best pleased them. 

During the first three days the guests were enter- 
tained either with balls in the palace, or with bull- 
fights, mummeries and the Moorish game of reeds. On 
the fourth day, the company was taken to an immense 
enclosure, behind the palace, where a large temporary 
hall had been erected, at one extremity of which was 
a raised platform to which an ascent of some twenty 
steps led, the whole being covered with green sods so 


closely united that the verdant carpet seemed to have 
been laid by the hand of nature. Here, under a mag- 
nificent canopy of crimson tapestry, were chairs of 
state for the royal guests, and a seat for their hostess, 
while a table spread with every delicacy was placed 
before r them. Below the platform, were tables at 
which the other guests were placed in the same order 
as on the foregoing days. At one extremity of the en- 
closure twenty gentlemen tilted in full armor, at 
another was a large artificial pond wherein a number 
of fish of a large size had been purposely deposited ; 
these were caught by anglers and brought to the 
princess. At another extremity of the enclosure 
was a wood, the trees of which had been purposely 
brought there for the occasion, and this forest had 
been stocked with a number of wild boars, bears 
and deer, the whole being so enclosed as to preclude 
any risk of their escaping and harming the spectators. 
Into this forest there entered fifty huntsmen with their 
mastiffs and hounds who hunted, ran down and killed 
the animals, which were presented as spoils to the 
princess. And truly, to all present it appeared matter 
of exceeding great wonderment, to behold all the pas- 
times of mimic war, the chase, and fishing within 
that space. The tilting, hunting and angling being 
finished, the tables were removed from the banquet- 
ting hall, and dancing began and lasted till dawn of 
day, the light of the sun having been amply compen- 
sated for by the splendid illumination. When the 
dancing was over, a sumptuous collation was served 


in the same order as before, after which the instru- 
mental musicians and the singers were rewarded 
for their performances with two large bags of coin by 
the count. The noble host then approaching the 
princess, knelt before her, and thanking her for the 
honor she had vouchsafed his house by her presence, 
begged her acceptance of a jewel of great price. The 
same ceremony was repeated to the queen, and to 
every lady present a rich jewel was also given, not 
one being forgotten, but each being presented with a 
diamond, emerald or ruby ring. Every knight and 
gentleman in the royal cortege had a gift of either a 
fine mule, or piece of costly brocade or rich silk. 

These magnificent fetes being ended, the cortege 
pursued its route to Burgos. Here also the royal 
ladies were welcomed with gay fetes and well enter- 
tained several days, when they again set out and pro- 
ceeded to Duefias, where they were met by prince 
Henry with a numerous suite of nobles and gentlemen. 
The bride and bridegroom exchanged costly gifts ac- 
cording to the custom of the age, and on the following 
day the prince returned to Valladolid. The day after 
his departure, the queen and princess resumed their 
journey, and when within half a league of Valladolid, 
they were met by the nobles and clergy of the court 
of Castile, who had sallied forth to receive them. 

In Valladolid they were welcomed by Dona Maria, 
the queen of Castile and the noblest of the Castilian 
ladies. The nuptials were celebrated on the fifteenth 
September, 1440, in presence of the king and queen 


of Navarre, the king and queen of Castile, and the 
flower of the nobility of both kingdoms. On the sixth 
of October the bride presented herself, for the first time 
since her marriage, in public, the king of Castile lead- 
ing his daughter-in-law's palfrey, followed by a num- 
ber of nobles on foot. The palfrey of the queen of 
Castile was led by her brother, the king of Navarre. 
Many and brilliant were the entertainments given on 
the occasion of the marriage. Among others was a 
famous passage of arms held by Don Ruy Diaz de 
Mendoza, with nineteen gentlemen of his household, 
during forty days, against Castilians or foreigners, the 
condition being that each challenger should break four 

So many were the deaths and grievous wounds in- 
flicted in these lists, to which a number of knights 
repaired to exhibit their dexterity, that the king inter- 
posed Lis authority, and put a stop to these perilous 
games. These catastrophes presaged but too truly 
those that were to ensue in the civil war of which 
these mimic encounters were the forerunners. The 
machinations of the league against the favorite minis- 
ter, interrupted for a season by the nuptial festivities, 
were now resumed with greater activity than ever, 
the prince and his mother openly declaring their en- 
mity to Don Alvaro, and joining with the king of Na- 
varre, the infante Enrique, and the nobles, in demand- 
ing the expulsion from court of a man whose chief 
crimes were his superiority of intellect and the love 
his sovereign bore him. Juan, treating these insolent 


demands with contempt, persevered in supporting his 
long tried friend, and the league now resorting to open 
hostilities, the whole kingdom was divided into parties, 
some towns siding with the king, and others with the 
league, city after city of those that held out for the 
king being invested and taken by the rebels. The 
queen and her son, together with her sister Leonor, 
the widowed queen of Portugal, having taken up their 
residence in the monastery of St. Mary of the town of 
Duefias, sent the most insolent proposals to the king, 
who peremptorily rejected them. 

The king of Navarre and the infante Don Enrique hav- 
ing effected a forcible entrance into the town of Medina, 
where the king and constable were, the latter was 
forced to retreat precipitately, as all the animosity of 
the leaguers was against him, while the king, unable 
to contend against their superior forces, was compelled 
to give his approval to the iniquitous sentence given 
by the queen and her son, who now joined their con- 
federates in Medina, against the constable, exiling 
him for six years from court. Matters were quieted 
in appearance for a time, though in reality nothing 
was permanently settled. The queen, either satisfied 
with the concessions she had obtained, and the prom- 
inent part she had taken in these broils, or from want 
of firmness to continue the opposition she had shown 
to the constable, in the year 1443, together with the 
king, was sponsor to an infant daughter of Don Alvaro. 
The incensed leaguers now held their sovereign almost 
a prisoner in his own palace, and dictated every mea- 


sure, but the politic constable acting on the ancient 
but infallible rule, to divide and reign, found means to 
induce the prince, who seems to have been as weak 
and infirm of purpose as his father, to abandon his 
party, and Enrique called on all loyal subjects to join 
him in rescuing the king from the species of subjec- 
tion in which he was held by his cousins Enrique and 
Juan king of Navarre. Don Juan having made his es- 
cape to his son's camp, the confederates were defeated 
in several actions, and the towns and fortresses they 
had seized recovered by the king, who seizing also their 
personal estates drove them to take refuge in Aragon. 
Amid these hostilities, in the year 1445, the queen 
sickened and died so suddenly as to create suspicion 
of her death having been accelerated by the constable, 
whose enemy She had long been. For this suspicion, 
however, no other foundation existed but the sud- 
denness both of her death and that of her sister, 
Leonor, the widowed queen of Portugal. Dona Maria 
complained of no other illness than a violent headache, 
and expired on the fourth day from that on which she 
was first attacked by the pain. The precise date of 
her death is not recorded, though it was probably 
towards the end of February, as she died a few 
days after her sister Leonor, who expired on the eigh- 
teenth of that month, without any previous illness. 
That both were the victims of poison, was inferred 
from the bodies of both being covered immediately 
after death with livid and swollen spots, and the nu- 
merous foes of Don Alvaro were not backward in 


charging him with this crime, though no proof could 
be given of his having committed it, either directly or 
indirectly. Rumors were rife as to the motives that 
could have induced the king to consent to his consort 
being thus sent to a premature grave, and it was by 
many asserted that the light conduct of both the royal 
ladies had provoked the sovereign's anger, and that 
Don Alvaro was but the agent to execute the ven- 
geance of a justly incensed husband. But even if the 
surmises concerning the conduct of the queens were 
correct, Juan II. was of too easy a nature and too ut- 
terly indifferent to his consort's deportment, to resent 
any infidelity, and to Don Alvaro it must certainly 
have been of no consequence. Whatever ill feeling 
might have existed between the queen and the minis- 
ter had subsided some time previous to her death, and 
had his disposition been revengeful and cruel, he 
would have exercised his vengeance on others, who 
were far more obnoxious to him than the queen and 
her sister. 

Maria of Aragon died in Villacastin, within a few 
days after the battle of Olmedo, in which the king of 
Castile, who commanded his army in person, was victo- 
rious, and the king of Navarre and the infante Don 
Enrique defeated, and the latter mortally wounded. 





THE battle of Olmedo seemed to have consolidated 
the power of the king, and insured that of his minister, 
but that of the latter had reached its acme, and the 
very means which a mistaken policy sugge>ted to him 
to secure his influence proved his ruin. What neither 
the prayers, remonstrances nor open rebellions of his 
consort, son, royal cousin and powerful barons had 
effected, was done by the imprudence of Don Alvaro 
himself, who introduced into the royal palace and 
seated on his master's throne the fair cause of his 
downfall and bloody death. Presuming on an inti- 
macy of nearly the third of a century, on his thorough 
knowledge of his sovereign's foibles, his weak, irreso- 
lute character, his incapacity for business, and his 
consequent dependence on his able favorite, the latter 
overstepped the limits of patience, and contradicted 
his easy tool on the subject that he had most at heart. 
After the death of his first queen, Juan was desirous 
of selecting as his second, Radegouda, daughter of 
Charles VII., king of France, who was famed for her 
beauty, and afterwards married Sigismund, duke of 
Austria. Don Alvaro, however, who deemed it more 
to his interest that the future queen of Castile should 
be indebted to him for the throne, without even con- 
sulting his master, had negotiated with Don Pedro, 


the regent of Portugal, to obtain for the royal widower 
the hand of Isabel, daughter of the infante Don Juan, 
and of Dona Isabel de Barcelos, and granddaughter of 
Don Juan, king of Portugal. Within five months after 
the death of Maria, the constable had solicited at the 
court of Rome a dispensation for the marriage of 
Don Juan with her successor, and in November of the 
same year, it was signed by Pope Eugenio IY. The 
king was ill disposed to consent to this arbitrary dis- 
posal of his hand, but he was too well drilled to obey 
his minister to make any decided opposition, however 
he might murmur in private. With his usual dex- 
terity, the constable represented the advantages that 
would accrue from the alliance with Portugal, as in 
Juan's frequent contests with his disaffected nobles, 
he could rely on powerful aid from that country. The 
debt, also, due by Castile for the assistance of troops 
during the last civil wars, would be cancelled, as it 
would be included in the dower of the bride. The 
arguments of Don Alvaro, joined to Juan's habit of 
yielding to him, prevailed, and he unwillingly con- 
sented to ratify the conditions made in his name, and 
empowered Don Garcia Sanchez de Valladolid as his 
proxy to sign the contract and marry the infanta, all 
which was performed on the 9th of October, of that 
year, in the town of Ebora. The king of Portugal 
gave the bride 45,000 florins, (the amount of the debt 
of Castile,) and 60,000 florins as her own patrimony. 
The king of Castile settled on her a jointure of 15,000 
florins, the towns of Soria, and Ciudad Real and Mad- 


rigal. The nuptials were celebrated in August of the 
year 1447, in the town of Madrigal. Though the 
beauty of his young bride charmed the king, he could 
not forget that he had been treated like a child or an 
idiot, that his inclinations had been disregarded, and 
his will set aside by the constable. Time and impu- 
nity had rendered the favorite careless of the arts with 
which he had formerly governed his sovereign, and the 
yoke which had before become galling to Juan, was 
rendered insupportably so by his late arbitrary pro- 
ceedings. Still, surrounded as he was by the creatures 
of Don Alvaro, he 'dared not give vent to the angry 
feelings that rankled in his breast, and having vainly 
sought counsel from two confidants, he at length 
opened his heart to his young queen, and besought her 
to advise him how to rid himself of his quondam friend. 
Isabel, who had been greatly displeased by the un- 
called for interference between the king and herself, 
on several occasions, of Don Alvaro, and who was gifted 
with ready wit and an active spirit, bade the king re- 
pair to Valladolid, and leave the matter to her, and 
she would devise means to arrest the all powerful 
favorite, who, though disliked, was greatly dreaded by 
his pusillanimous sovereign. Though the downfall of 
the constable was then determined, the continual dis- 
turbances that daily took place throughout the king- 
dom long rendered its accomplishment impossible, 
and it was not until the beginning of the year 1453 
that the plots of his enemy were realized. 

In 1451, on the twenty-second of April, the queen 


gave b th, in Madrigal, to an infanta, to whom was 
given her mother's name, and who was destined to be 
the first sovereign who wore the united diadems of Cas- 
tile and Aragon. The king bestowed on his daughter 
the town of Cuellar as an apanage, and in his will 
left her a considerable sum in gold as a dower. This 
princess could not be then sworn heiress as the king 
had a male heir by his first queen, but this ceremony 
was subsequently performed. 

Two years after the queen gave birth to a prince, 
who was named Alfonso, and to whom the king, his 
father, would willingly have left his crown, had he not 
feared the great disturbances such a measure would 
have created. Juan could scarcely be expected to 
feel much affection for prince Enrique, who had been 
the bane of his life, and whose repeated revolts were 
a source of continual torment to him. In the frequent 
quarrels between Juan and his unnatural heir, Don 
Alvaro continued to be umpire, and he was also the 
commandant of the royal troops in the hostilities that 
still existed between the king and his cousin of Na- 
varre. In every case of emergency, Don Alvaro was 
indispensable to his weak master, and though his con- 
duct became daily more tyrannical, years elapsed before 
the king dared shake off his authority, nor did he even 
then venture to act openly, but to the very last dis- 
guised his intentions. It is even probable that Juan 
would never have proceeded to extremities against 
his minister, had he not been sustained, and even 
driven on by the queen, who, jealous of the superior 


influence of the favorite, decreed and accomplished his 
ruin and tragical death with the most vindictive and 
persevering cruelty 

Having obtained from the king the order for the 
arrest of the constable, Isabe. confided it to the countess 
of Rivadeo, desiring her to hasten with it to her uncle, 
the count of Plasencia, who was entrusted with the 
perilous charge of executing it. The countess arrived 
in Bejar in the middle of the night of the third of 
April, 1453, and immediately communicated her 
errand to the count, who was one of the constable's 
most inveterate foes. The old noble, exulting in the 
prospect of his enemy's ruin, yet deprived by his age 
and infirmities from executing in person the welcome 
commission, entrusted it to his son, Don Alvaro Destu- 
niga, who set out with seven hundred lances for Burgos. 
Marching by night only, and observing the greatest 
secrecy, young Destuniga arrived in Burgos, into the 
fortress of which, having entered first himself, he man- 
aged to introduce his men. While on the way, he 
was met by a messenger from the king bidding him 
return, for that his forces were insufficient for the 
purpose. " Return !" replied the bold youth, " never 
shall such shame be told of me. Tell his majesty to 
rest in peace, for return I will not from Burgos until 
I have taken the constable, alive or dead." The mea- 
sures of his enemies could not be conducted with such 
secrecy but that some rumors reached the constable, 
who sending for the bishop of Avila, whose sister was 
the wife of the Alcayde 01 the fortress, bade him go 


to the castle and ascertain if fresh troops had entered 
it. The bishop obeyed, and inquired concerning the 
matter of his sister, who, either deceived by her hus- 
band or a party to the plot, replied affirmatively, but 
that they were merely a reinforcement of sixty men 
added to the garrison. 

The constable was satisfied with the reply, but ru- 
mors were rife in the town that he was to be seized 
on the following day, though none dared inform him of 
the unwelcome news. A faithful servant, however, 
Diego de Gotor, advised him of the reports that were 
circulated, and urged him to seek safety in flight. 

The constable, who was at supper when the news 
was brought him, at first seemed inclined to take this 
advice, but the thing appeared after some reflection 
so utterly impossible that he bade his faithful adviser 
" go, for naught would come of it." " Grod grant it 
may prove so," replied Diego, " but it grieves me much 
that you will not abide by my counsel." After the 
departure of Diego, Don Alvaro was persuaded to send 
a faithful page to the king, informing him that troops 
had entered the castle, and asking what he determined 
in this matter. The king, who was undressing before 
the fire at the time, appeared exceedingly confused 
when Chacon, the page, delivered his message, and it 
was some time ere he could return an answer, which 
he did at length, to the effect that on the following 
day he would talk over the business with the consta- 
ble. Pedro de Lujan, gentleman of the chamber to 
the king, and a warm friend of Don Alvaro, accompa- 


nying the page to the door, bade him tell his master 
from him, that " he prayed to Grod they might all 
wake with their heads on the morrow morn." The 
constable, on hearing this message, becoming rather 
alarmed, sent for a friend and asked his advice, but 
was by him dissuaded from mounting his horse and 
attempting to make his escape. The few adherents 
of the constable now attempted to make head and op- 
pose any attempt that might be made, but too much 
time had been suffered to elapse, and but forty men 
could be got together. 

Don Alvaro himself, with a coolness that seems inex- 
plicable, gave his attention for some time during the 
night to some lately arrived musicians who were sing- 
ing in the streets, after which he retired to rest. The 
rashness and indifference with which Don Alvaro dis- 
regarded the signs of danger, the many warnings of 
his friends and the suggestions of his own reason, would 
seem to warrant the belief that some irresistible power 
compelled him to await the fate he felt he could not 
ultimately avoid. How otherwise can be understood 
this neglect of the most ordinary precautions in one 
who had sailed so long a pilot on those stormy seas, 
yet now, when the tempest lowered, forsook the helm 
and calmly awaited the storm that was to launch him 
into eternity ? The day had scarcely dawned when 
the lances of Destuniga, issuing from the fortress, ap- 
proached the residence of the constable. When within 
sight of the house, which they surrounded that no one 
should escape from it, they raised the cry of " Castile, 


Castile, the king's freedom /" The constable, whom 
one of his servants had that instant told of the approach 
of the troops, came, partly dressed, to the window, and 
carried away by his military enthusiasm, could not 
forbear exclaiming, " Voto a Dios, these be splendid 
fellows !" A shot that struck the edge of the casement 
warned him to retire. A desperate resistance was now 
begun by the inmates, headed by the brave Chacon, 
every missile of offence, such as stones, faggots, arrows, 
being used to compel the assailants to retire. The 
chief object of this defence was to gain time, that the 
constable's people, who were dispersed in the town, 
might collect, and thus rendering the chances more 
equal, enable them to continue the resistance or obtain 
better conditions than they could otherwise expect. 
But, whether prevented by the king, who with many 
armed citizens was awaiting in the square the result, 
or from want of a chief to head and guide them, none 
ventured to approach. The besiegers had orders from 
the king to surround the house and prevent egress, 
but not to attack it, and as man after man dropped, 
the patience of the young commander was well nigh 
exhausted. Chacon and Sise, seeing that sooner or 
later they would be forced to surrender, besought their 
lord to take advantage of a postern gate still unvvatched 
by the enemy, and take to flight, as he was the sole 
object of the attack, and no danger was dreaded by 
his servants. With great reluctance, the constable at 
length consented to go, accompanied by one who knew 
every issue, and was to guide him through narrow 


by-streets to the river side. With little confidence 
in his guide, filled with misgivings as to the course he 
was pursuing, in thus leaving his devoted little band to 
their fate while he himself sought safety in an ignoble 
flight, his motions impeded by the cumbrous disguise 
he had assumed, the progress of Don Alvaro was slow, 
and he could with difficulty keep up with his guide. 
Fatigued, disheartened, and desperate, the careworn 
noble called to his attendant, and declaring that he 
" would return and die nobly fighting with his follow- 
ers, rather than escape through blind alleys and sewers 
like a base-born criminal," he turned about and made his 
way back through the still un watched door. Having 
again assumed hi.s armor, he mounted his horse, and 
placing himself at the head of his little troop in the 
courtyard once more, prepared to sell his life dearly. 

Meanwhile, the king, seeing it would be impossible 
to take the lion alive from his den, sent to summon 
him to surrender, with a promise that justice should 
be done him, signed and sealed by the king himself. 
The faithful adherents of Don Alvaro endeavored to 
dissuade him from trusting to the faith of one in whom 
he knew no trust could be placed, and whose weak and 
fickle nature rendered him the tool of others. " Better 
far, my lord," urged the resolute Chacon, " that we all 
die like good men, and true in your defence, and you, 
eir, with us, leaving the memory of this brave fight, 
than submit to dishonor and a death of shame. Heed 
not, sir, these safe-conducts, worded to allow of double 
meaning, and trust that he who delivered you from the 


lances of your enemies in Medina de Carapo and Olme- 
do, will save you from the peril of this day." These 
brave words were, however, powerless to persuade the 
now disheartened noble, within whose breast also the 
deeply rooted spirit of loyalty pleaded against resist- 
ance to his sovereign. " G-od forefend," replied the 
veteran, "that at my age, on the brink of the grave, 
after forty years of honor and power, I should leave to 
my sons the stain of having fought against the stan- 
dard of my sovereign. It shall be with me as God 
and the king will it, and in the king's hands shall I 
place myself." The messengers having returned with 
his answer to the king, Don Alvaro employed the little 
time left him in arranging his affairs. Having ordered 
his chests to be brought to him, he distributed part of 
the treasures contained in them among his followers, 
leaving the remainder to the king's disposal, burned 
part of his papers, bestowed the commandery of Usagre, 
then vacant, on one of his pages, thus making use for 
the last time of his authority as Grand Master of 
Santiago. This done, he asked for a hammer, and 
with his own hands broke and defaced his seals, that 
they might not be put to evil uses by his foes. He 
also named the two pages that were to remain in 
attendance on his person, and charged Chacon with 
the care of conducting the remainder of his household 
to his wife and son, entreating they would continue 
their faithful service to his family. He then clothed 
himself in the habit of his order, and mounting his 
horse, awaited the return of those to whom he was to 


surrender. At the noble and affectionate farewell he ad- 
dressed to his followers, they melted to tears, and with 
cries and lamentations vainly sought to oppose 
his departure. " Whither go ye thus without us, sir ? 
With you will we also go, sir ; with you will we live 
or die. Leave us not thus, my lord !" With kind 
words, Don Alvaro endeavored to sooth and inspire them 
with hopes he was far from feeling, until the arrival of 
the envoys from the king put an end to this heart- 
rending scene. 

To tell the many insults and mortifications with 
which his vindictive enemies vainly sought to vex and 
break the undaunted spirit of the noble constable, 
would fill more pages than the limits of this work 
allow. Twelve lawyers and several barons were 
assembled to try him, or in other words, to condemn him 
to death and confiscate his property. In this mock 
trial, the most absurd charges were made against him, 
and the spirit and letter of the law equally disregarded. 
When sentence had been pronounced on him, he was 
removed to Valladolid. None of the attendants being 
willing to tell him of his impending fate, it was con- 
trived that on the way two friars of a neighboring 
convent, one of whom was a celebrated preacher known 
to Don Alvaro, should join the escort as if by accident. 
Entering into conversation with the prisoner, the monks 
introduced the subject of the vicissitudes of fortune, and 
the folly of attaching any value to a life of so unstable 
a tenure. Don Alvaro, perceiving the drift of their mo- 
rality, coolly inquired if they came to warn him to pre- 


pare for death. " While life endures, we all are journey- 
ing towards death," replied the friar, " but he that is a 
prisoner is nighest the bourne, and you, my lord, are 
sentenced already." " While a man remains in igno- 
rance of his fate, he may fear it," returned the grand 
master, calmly ; " but when once its term is fixed, death 
can have no terrors for a Christian, and ready am I to die 
if such be the king's will." With the same firmness, 
Don Alvaro went through all the preparations for his 
execution, making his will and settling his affairs. 

The king was far from possessing the tranquillity of 
mind of his victim. During the night preceding the 
execution of the companion of his youth, the friend of 
his manhood, the supporter of his throne, he was 
greatly agitated, and memory brought vividly before 
him the services of long years, and the tried affection 
of the doomed man. Once or twice he called a page 
and bade him deliver a sealed paper to Destuniga, 
doubtless an order to delay the execution, and as often 
recalled him, and took it from him. The queen being in- 
formed of his perturbation, hastened to his apartment, 
and remaining with him, succeeded in preventing him 
from giving way to his remorseful scruples. With 
the cunning inspired by hatred, she artfully recalled 
every petty occasion on which the great mind of 
the constable had controlled and subdued the weak and 
imbecile faculties of his master; every insignificant 
contradiction, and every instance of careless breach of 
etiquette, were clothed in the darkest colors, and the 
years of past thraldom and future liberty descanted on 


with eloquent pertinacity till the king was wearied 
and silenced, if not convinced, and resigned himself to 
allow of that which neither his heart nor his reason 

At dawn of day, on the second of June, 1453, hav- 
ing attended mass, and devoutly received the sa- 
crament, the grand master prepared himself for the 
scaffold. Having asked for some refreshment, a dish 
of cherries was brought to him, of which he ate, and 
then drank a cup of wine. He then mounted a mule 
and attended by two monks and the officers of justice, 
he was paraded through the streets, preceded by a her- 
ald vociferating, " This is the justice our lord the king 
has decreed to this cruel tyrant and usurper of the 
royal crown, and to punish these his crimes is he or- 
dered to be beheaded." " I accept this humiliation as 
a penance for my sins," said the prisoner. 

When near the scaffold, perceiving in the crowd a 
page of the prince, he called to him. " Page," said 
he, "tell my lord the prince, to give his servants a 
better guerdon than that which my sovereign has be- 
stowed on me." Having walked around the platform 
twice, as though he would have spoken to the crowd 
below, he drew his seal ring from his finger, and giv- 
ing it, together with his hat, to Morales, one of the 
pages who had waited on him, bade him keep them as 
the last gift he would receive from him. The page, 
on this, burst into tears, in which he was immediately 
joined by all the spectators of this sad scene. The very 
populace that had been clamorous for the death of 


the proud and powerful lord, now struck with admiration 
at the quiet dignity with which he submitted to his 
fate, deeply compassionating his sufferings. 

The holy men exhorting him to give all his 
thoughts to dying like a Christian, " I do, indeed," 
said Don Alvaro ; "rest assured I die in the faith of 
the martyrs." The executioner then produced a cord. 
"What wouldst thou do with that?" inquired Don Al- 
varo " Bind your hands, my lord." " Nay, use not 
that for the purpose," returned the noble, drawing 
from his breast a silken one he had provided, " bind 
them with this, and see that thy dagger is well sharp- 
ened, that thou mayest despatch me quickly. Tell 
me," he added, "wherefore is yon hook in the post?" 
The executioner replying that it was intended to place 
his head on after it was severed. " Do as ye will 
with it," he returned, " when I am no more ; both it 
and my body are but clay." These were his last 
words. Laying his head on the block, after baring his 
neck with his own hands, the executioner gave him 
the kiss of peace, then, according to the barbarous 
manner of that day, plunged the knife into his 
throat, severed the head from the body and placed 
it on the spike, where it remained nine days. The re- 
mains of Don Alvaro were at first privately buried, but 
years after his death they were removed, and pom- 
pously interred by his faithful follower, the gallant 
Chacon, in the magnificent sepulchre he had caused 
to be erected in the days of his prosperity. 


Thus perished the high and mighty lord, Don Alvaro 
de Luna, high constable of Castile, grand master of 
Santiago, conde of Santiestevan, and lord of innumera- 
ble towns, castles and fortresses, a victim to the faith- 
lessness of his king, to the ingratitude of the queen 
he had raised to the throne, and to the jealousy and 
envy of the courtiers whom his superiority in all things 
mortified and cast in the shade. Much has been said 
of the unmeasured ambition of Don Alvaro, but his 
ambition to govern was fully equalled by his ability 
to do so, and he well deserved the favor shown him by 
the sovereign, to whose very life he was indispensable, 
as the sequel will show. Of the numbers whom he 
had enriched and honored, but few ventured to raise 
their voices in his defence. It may appear to the reader 
that more than the just proportions have been allowed 
to the sketch of the last days of the life of the consta- 
ble, but they present so vivid a picture of the times, 
bringing before us not only the events, but the man- 
ners, habits, and principles of the men who then 
flourished, that I have thought it might not prove 

From the period of his minister's death, the health 
of the king declined rapidly, and finding his end 
approaching, he removed to Valladolid, where the queen 
then was, and died on the 22d of July, 1454. 

The grief of the queen at the loss of her husband 
was so excessive as to impair her reason, and from that 
time to her death, which took place on the 15th August, 
1496, she never wholly recovered the use of her mental 


faculties. During this long widowhood of forty-two 
years, she continued to reside in retirement in her own 
town of Arevalo. The king, her step-son, treated her 
ever with great respect, allowing her a body-guard of 
two hundred ; and her own children, Isabel and Alfonso, 
resided with her until after the birth of the daughter 
of King Enrique, at which time they were sent for by 
him, to reside at court. Her daughter, afterwards 
queen of Castile, frequently visited her in Arevalo, 
ministering to her wants with her own hands. 



I> the reign of Juan II. was distracted by fierce 
civil feuds, no less so was that of his equally weak, 
but less refined son. Juan neglected the administration 
of public affairs to indulge his taste for the elegant 
pursuits of the scholar, the poet, and the musician, 
while his son, when scarcely ont of his childhood, had 
rendered himself equally unfit to govern by his indul- 
gence in the gross pleasures of the voluptuary. At 
the age of fifteen, worn out by debauchery, his 
physical faculties prostrated by early excess, and 
weakened in mind as well as body, he became the tool 
of parasites, a rebellious subject, and an unnatural son. 


The only qualities which his most partial adherents 
and chroniclers could find to praise in him, were his 
liberality and his mildness of temper, but the one 
degenerated into a prodigality that exhausted his 
treasury and left him penniless, the other into a weak- 
ness fatal to himself and his people. 

His marriage in 1440 with the amiable princess of 
Navarre, celebrated with a magnificence unprecedented 
in Castile, (see annals of the preceding reign,) was, 
at his own solicitation, annulled, thirteen years after- 
wards, on grounds the most humiliating and absurd.* 
After the iniquitous sentence by which the prince sought 
to conceal the deplorable effects of his profligacy had 
been pronounced by the bishop of Segovia,t and con- 
firmed by the supreme pontiff, taking from her the 
jointure settled on her, and reducing her to a poverty 
that was but the precursor of worse evils, Blanche 
returned to Navarre. Left heiress of that kingdom 
in 1461, by the death of her unfortunate brother, 
Charles, prince of Viana, and destitute of power to 
enforce her claim against her ambitious father and 
sister, the inheritance proved her ruin, occasioning 
first, the loss of her liberty, and, two years after, that 
of her life, in 1464. (Vide, annals of queens of Aragon, 
Juana Enrique.) 

At the accession, in 1454, of Prince Enrique to the 

* " Dijose que mediaron hechizos, &c., &c., &c." 

Florez, Regnas Catolicas, vol. 2, p. 137. 
f Declare ser nulo el matrimonio por impotencia respectiva." 



throne, the people, heartily tired of the late long strug- 
gle of the proud and powerful aristocracy against the 
crown, and of their incessant fluctuations between 
suffering from the encroachments of the royal prerog- 
ative, and from the unrestrained license of the insolent 
nobles, ventured to indulge in cheering anticipations 
of better days under the new sovereign. His open- 
handed generosity contrasted well with the avarice of 
Juan during his last years, and his vices were excused 
as the foibles of an uncontrolled and ardent youth, 
whom age would sober down. His affability, which 
led him to a familiar intercourse with the middling and 
even lower ranks, while it endeared him to the bulk of 
the people, soon rendered him an object of contempt to 
the higher classes, while his want of spirit and perse- 
verance to carry out his plans, caused him to be de- 
spised by his foreign foes. 

In the first year of his reign, Enrique published a 
crusade against the Moors, and his call was enthusi- 
astically responded to. Had the brilliant preparations 
he made against the king of Grenada been followed 
by decisive and vigorous measures, he would have won 
golden opinions from a nation with whom wars against 
the infidels were ever popular. But, with neither 
judgment to devise or direct military operations, nor 
courage to carry out the plans of others, the costly 
expedition was productive of no satisfactory result. 
The war proved destructive to the inhabitants of the 
frontiers, both Moors and Castilians, who beheld their 
harvests destroyed and their homesteads burnt to tho 


ground, without compensating advantages to either 

The haughty Castilian barons, disdaining to obey a 
monarch who could neither win their admiration nor 
compel their submission, soon renewed the tumultuous 
scenes that had disgraced the preceding reign, and, as 
cowardice ever provokes aggression, the spirit of insub- 
ordination he was powerless to quell, though it failed 
in its efforts to wrest the crown from his brow, harassed 
him during the whole course of his life. 

Irritated by the tame policy that led the king to 
content himself with border forays, and withdraw his 
forces whenever an engagement offered, wasting his 
time in ravaging the enemy's frontiers, under the 
pretence " that he prized the life of one of his subjects 
beyond those of a thousand Musulmans," several of his 
brave and impatient barons even formed a conspiracy 
to detain the person of the sovereign forcibly, and 
compel him to carry on the war with energy. But 
the project was disclosed too soon to be feasible. 

In 1455, the king announced to his council his 
intention of soliciting the hand of the princess Juana, 
the posthumous daughter of Edward, king of Portugal, 
and sister of the reigning sovereign, Alfonso V. The 
council approving the king's choice, Don Ferran Lopez 
de Lorden, treasurer of the church of Segovia, chap- 
lain of the king, and member of his council, was de- 
spatched to Portugal, with full powers, and so diligently 
did he fulfil his instructions, that on the 22d January 
of the same year he solemnly espoused the princess in 


his master's name. The king ratified the marriage 
contract on the 25th of February, in Segovia. 

So eager was Enrique to obtain this bride that he 
consented to receive her without a dower, obliging 
himself to provide in a suitable manner for the main- 
tenance and establishment in life, according to their 
rank, of twelve Portuguese ladies, whom, together 
with a duena, a lady of the bed-chamber, and a 
number of domestics of inferior rank, the princess was 
to bring with her. The towns of Ciudad Real and 
Olmedo were assigned as her jointure, and 20,000 
golden florins besides. 

The bride was to be on the frontiers within eighty- 
one days from that of the signing of the contract, and, 
having accordingly set out, accompanied by the Count 
and Countess of Alonguia, she was met in Badajoz by 
Don Juan de Gruzman, Duke of Medina Sidonia, uncle 
of the king, with a numerous and brilliant suite, under 
whose escort she proceeded to Cordova, where the king 
awaited her. The progress of the princess was marked 
by the gay and splendid pageants with which she was 
greeted by every town on her way. When within a 
short distance of the town, Enrique, at the head of a 
number of nobles, sallied forth to receive her, and the 
nuptial rites were solemnized on the 21st of May, by the 
Archbishop of Seville, assisted by the Archbishop of 
Tours, ambassador from the court of France. The court 
then removed to Seville, where the nuptial festivities 
were continued with great magnificence, and the usual 
entertainments of bull-fights, and the game of reeds and 


tilting. A great tournament, in which one hundred 
knights engaged, fifty against fifty, was held by the Duke 
of Medina Sidonia, and Don Juan Pacheco, marquis of 
Villena. Having spent a few days in Seville, the king 
and queen set out on a progress througl. the kingdom. 

The state kept up by Enrique exceeded that of any 
of his predecessors, his body guard consisting of three 
thousand six hundred lances, well equipped, and com- 
manded by officers of high rank. The court was fol- 
lowed by many nobles and gentlemen, receiving pay 
and maintenance from the king, though exercising no 
functions. The royal treasurer, Diego Arrias, ven- 
tured one day to remonstrate on the extravagance of 
maintaining so many attendants at the expense of the 
royal coffers, and suggested that those alone who were 
in actual service, should be paid. " You speak as be- 
comes Diego Arrias," returned Enrique, " but, it 
behoves me to act as a king ; the treasures of kings 
should not be hoarded, but liberally dispensed for 
the happiness of their subjects ; we must remunerate 
the services of those we employ, and give gratuitously 
to those we do not, that they may not seek their sub- 
sistence by means that would bring them to shame ; 
and, that this may be done without oppressing my 
subjects by the imposition of fresh imposts, I give my 
own rents and treasures." 

The king was, notwithstanding this pomp in his 
household, personally averse to ceremony, and would 
never allow his hand to be kissed ; but the homage 
he was ever anxious to avjid receiving himself, he 


was most desirous should be paid to his bride, and 
during the royal progress, Juana was everywhere 
greeted with the pompous reception of the entrance in 
state, under the royal canopy, usual on such occasions, 
while Enrique entered privately. 

The court having in 1459 returned to Madrid, the 
facilities for the chase afforded by its adjoining for- 
ests making that town the favorite residence of En- 
rique, a series of splendid entertainments were 
given by the great vassals of the crown. At the con- 
clusion of one of these, given by the archbishop of 
Seville, Don Alonzo de Fonseca, two vases filled with 
gold rings set with precious stones, were placed on 
the table, that the queen and her ladies might each 
select therefrom as their tastes dictated. 

Amid the lovely Castilian dames by whom she was 
surrounded, and who contributed not a little to render 
the court of Enrique as gay and attractive as it was 
splendid, his consort bore away the palm of beauty. 
Juana, young, lively and thoughtless, by the brilliancy 
of her wit and the grace of her manners, which had 
made her the delight and admiration of the court of 
Portugal, fascinated the young Castilian nobles, though 
her sprightliness was rather incompatible with the 
grave formalities of the elder. One or two events, 
however, amid the perpetual round of pleasure in 
which Enrique sought to forget his duties, occurred to 
mar the domestic happiness of the royal pair, and also 
to sow the seeds of the foul suspicion that staining 


indelibly the queen's honor, subsequently disinherited 
her offspring. 

Among the ladies who had accompanied Juana from 
Portugal was Dona Gruiornar de Castro, whose rare 
beauty distinguished her amid the bevy of fair ones 
surrounding their lovely mistress, and to this lady 
the king, greatly to the surprise of all, paid atten- 
tions so unequivocal in their expression as finally to 
arouse the jealousy of the queen, who, quick-tempered 
and unaccustomed to self-control, took the earliest 
opportunity of manifesting her resentment in a man- 
ner little beseeming a lady and a sovereign, certainly, 
but to which she was provoked by the insolence of the 
favorite. The king having proclaimed a bull-fight, in 
honor, probably, of the new object of his capricious 
fancy, the queen peremptorily prohibited all her ladies 
from attending it, and bade them remain in the inner 

Dona Gruiomar, presuming on her intimacy with 
the king, disregarded her mistress' injunctions, and, 
in splendid attire, witnessed the games from a balcony 
of the royal palace, overlooking the square where they 
were performed. Greatly incensed at this contempt 
of her authority, the queen, forgetting all self-respect, 
awaited at the foot of the staircase her rival's descent, 
and seizing her by the hair saluted her ears with cuffs 
as sound as were ever bestowed by regal and feminine 
hands. Enrique in person came to the rescue of the 
prostrate dame, and highly resenting this summary 
administration of justice, forced the queen to relin- 


quish her grasp, and flung her from him. From rage, 
jealousy and mortification, Juana fainted. Thinking 
it well to prevent the repetition of such scenes, En- 
rique removed the lady from court, and established 
her in a village within two leagues of Madrid, where 
she maintained a state scarcely less than regal. This 
intrigue, thus acquiring scandalous notoriety, pro- 
duced the usual effects of dividing the courtiers into 
factions, no less a personage than the archbishop of 
Seville, forgetful of all decency, openly advocating 
the cause of the favorite, while the marquis of Villena 
adhered to the queen. 

Nor was this the only instance of apparent infidelity 
in the king. Dona Catalina de Sandoval was also for 
some time the object of his preference, but, endowed with 
neither constancy nor prudence, she was convicted of 
bestowing her favors on another lover, and the enraged 
king was in this case guilty of the only act of cruelty 
ever perpetrated by his orders. His rival expiated his 
presumption with the loss of his head. His vengeance 
went no farther, for though Dona Catalina was sent 
to the convent of San Pedro de Las Duenas, in Toledo, 
it might have been considered rather a reward than a 
punishment, the abbess, a lady of high rank and 
spotless fame being expelled, and her post bestowed 
on the king's paramour, under pretence that "the 
strict laws of the order had fallen into desuetude and 
must be restored /" 

The conduct of Enrique, however, could scarcely 
be adduced to palliate the levity of the queen's, her 


partiality for one of the king's favorites becoming so 
evident as to give rise to the grossest imputations. 
Enrique himself being generally supposed not only to 
be cognizant of, but the promoter and encourager of 
the intrigue. His reasons for pursuing a line of con- 
duct as novel as it was degrading, may be better con- 
jectured than explained ; but the suspicions that had 
been entertained at the period of his first marriage, 
never having been wholly dispelled, now acquired 
greater strength than ever. 

Don Beltran de la Cueva, the supposed recipient of 
the queen's favors, was newly risen in the king's grace. 
Endowed with uncommon beauty, enhanced by pol- 
ished manners and all the accomplishments indispen- 
sable to the knight aiming at success with the fair, 
he ascended with incredible rapidity to the possession 
of high honors, great wealth and unlimited influence 
over both king and queen. Of his gallantry and prow- 
ess an instance is related on occasion of the en- 
tertainments given in honor of the ambassador of the 
duke of Brittany. The fetes, which lasted four days, 
were exceedingly brilliant, and commenced with a 
sumptuous banquet in a hunting lodge belonging to 
the king, within two leagues of Madrid, and surround- 
ed with dense woods stocked with game. The buffets 
were garnished with gold and silver plate to the 
amount of 20,000 marks. This gorgeous display 
proving too strong a temptation for the honesty of two 
squires, under the pretence of obeying some order of 
the master of the revels, and in the guise of serving- 


men, they approached a side board, and stole several 
of its valuable ornaments, the king himself being an 
unobserved and silent witness of their movements 
When subsequently informed of the loss, he coolly re- 
plied, " Those who committed the theft were probably 
in want, and, as it was better they should steal from 
me than from any one else, ye need not seek to recover 
the booty, for I freely allow them to keep it." This 
kindness, or rather weakness, constantly put in prac- 
tice by Enrique, occasioned nearly all his misfortunes. 
On this day also, was held a tournament, in which 
twenty cavaliers engaged. On the second day there 
was a race, followed by the game of reeds, in which 
one hundred nobles, magnificently attired, took part. 
The third day was taken up by a great hunt, on foot 
and on horseback. The amusement provided on the 
fourth and last day by Don Beltran de la Cueva, then 
majordomo of the king's household, eclipsed, in point of 
novelty, if not also in splendor, those of the preceding 
days, and consisted in a passage of arms held by that 
noble in the following manner : In the road through 
which the royal cortege was to return to Madrid, an 
enclosure was constructed with gates at cither side, 
at the entrance of which were stationed certain 
guards disguised as savages, who, as the nobles ap- 
proached, each leading a lady's palfrey, forbade their 
passing until each had run six courses with the 
knight challenger, or left his right hand glove 
as a forfeit. A carved arch, with a number of 
golden letters, was near the lists, and each knight who 


shivered three lances was allowed to take therefrom 
the initials of his lady's name. Overlooking the lists 
were three platforms, richly decorated ; one for the 
king, the queen and her ladies, and the ambassador, 
the second for the grandees, and the third occupied by 
the judges, and on each sumptuous collations were 
served to the occupants. Though he concealed the 
name of the lady in whose honor he contended, so gal- 
lantly did Don Beltran bear himself that the king, 
charmed with his prowess, commemorated the day by 
the erection, on the spot where his feats had been 
achieved, of a chapel dedicated to St. Jerome ! 

Thus did continual fetes keep the mind of the weak 
monarch occupied, veiling with garlands the abyss to 
which his folly was conducting him. The example of 
a dissolute court was not likely to be lost on the mid- 
dling and lower ranks, who, while they criticized and 
condemned, were too prone to imitate as far as, and even 
beyond what their means would allow, the licentious- 
ness and extravagance of their rulers, first ruining 
themselves, then seeking to retrieve their fortunes by 
enlisting under the banners of the robber chieftains so 
numerous in that age. 

Many of the barons fortifying themselves in their 
castles, and setting at naught the king's authority and 
the laws, led the lives of freebooters, occasionally 
sallying forth to plunder travellers or attack some vil- 
lage that refused to acknowledge their rule. One of 
these noble land pirates, Don Alonzo Fajardo, who, 
during the troubles of the preceding reign had contrived 


to increase his power on the frontiers of Murcia by the 
addition of the towns of Cartagena and Lorca, with 
fortresses pertaining to the crown, to the Marquisate 
of Villena, and to the Grrandmastership of Santiago, 
actually carried on a traffic with the Moors, to whom 
he sold the Christian prisoners of both sexes and all 
ages he captured in his expeditions. The king, roused 
at length from his apathy, sent a force of six hundred 
horse against him, and, after a stout resistance, he was 
compelled to surrender, his estates were confiscated, 
and he himself was barely allowed to retain a life he 
had forfeited by unparalleled crimes. 

Nor were the spiritual lords free from the contagion 
of the canker of vice that spread through every class. 
Don Rodrigo de Luna, Archbishop of Santiago, having 
endeavored to carry off a young bride from the very 
midst of the nuptial festivities, was driven from his 
see and forced to end his days in a miserable exile ; 
not indeed by the proper enforcement of the outraged 
laws, or by the authority of the sovereign, but by an 
indignant populace, headed by Don Luis de Osorio, son 
of the Count of Trastamara. 

But the people, while they slavishly imitated the 
vices that caused their misery and oppression, had still 
too much of their ancient spirit left not to murmur 
impatiently against the yoke whose weight daily in- 
creased ; and the symptoms of the coming earthquake 
were neither few nor light. The king, entirely given 
up to sloth and pleasure, abandoned the administration 
to his ministers. Don Juan Pacheoo and the Archbishop 


of Seville, the expression of his will, when he uttered 
it, being merely that of his minions ; and the arbitrary 
and unconstitutional measures that had caused so 
much displeasure during the foregoing reign were now 
renewed with even less attempt at disguise. The law, 
distorted by the arbitrary will of its ministers, was 
converted into a tool to enact every species of injustice 
with impunity. 

One of the first and most flagrant acts of injustice 
that contributed to alienate the nobles from the king, 
was his treatment of the Count Don Juan de Luna, 
nephew of the great constable. This noble, one of the 
most powerful in Castile, was the guardian, since the 
death of her father, of the grand-daughter of the con- 
stable, and heiress of the condado of Santiesteban. 
Instigated by his chief favorite, Don Juan Pacheco, 
Marquis of Villena, who, anxious his son should marry 
the heiress and enter into possession of her vast do- 
mains, persuaded his sovereign that Don Juan de Luna 
was disaffected, and by his position could, if so dis- 
posed, do great harm, Enrique determined to arrest 
and imprison the conde. With the cunning of weak 
minds, he masked his evil designs under the guise of 
friendship, and repaired to Ayllon, the residence of the 
unsuspecting noble, under pretence of honoring him 
with a visit. He was received by the host with splen- 
did hospitality, which he repaid by the treacherous 
seizure of. his entertainer, when the latter, having 
accompanied -his sovereign beyond his own gates, was 
taking a courteous leave. The king ordered his pris- 


oner, under the penalty of being instantly beheaded if 
he refused to comply, to give up all his fortresses, 
together with the young countess and her domains 
Yielding to necessity, the count complied, and the king 
immediately entered into possession, placing alcaldes 
of his own in the several castles. The estates of the 
countess, by her subsequent marriage with the son of 
Don Juan Pacheco, contributed to the increase of the 
already formidable power of the house of Villena, and 
thus were the weakness and injustice of the king pre- 
paring his own ruin by the concentration of so much 
strength in one man. 

Though the reign of Enrique is one of the most 
inglorious in the history of Spain, considering the 
means he possessed and the causes that might have 
excited him to war, some brilliant feats of personal 
valor still shine forth amid the dark eclipse that veiled 
the sun of Castile. 

In 1462, the Moors of the kingdom of Grenada, 
either tired of the long inaction of a peace that had 
lasted three years, or despising the pusillanimous ad- 
ministration of Enrique, under the conduct of Muley 
Bulhacern, one of the king's sons, and to the number of 
two thousand five hundred horse and ten thousand 
foot, invaded and ravaged the town and territory of 
Estepa, making a number of prisoners, and taking a 
large booty, consisting mostly in cattle. The news of 
this inroad reaching Don Rodrigo Ponce de Leon, eldest 
son of the Count of Arcos, the gallant youth vowed to 
intercept their retreat and retrieve the honor of Castile. 


Having assembled a hundred of his own mounted 
retainers, he set out for Estepa, and was joined on the 
way by the Alcalde of Osuna, Don Luis de Pernia, with 
one hundred men. As they passed through the villages, 
on their way, these two valiant cavaliers called on the 
inhabitants to join them against the common foe, and 
the little band had swelled to two hundred and sixty 
horse and six hundred foot, when they came in sight 
of the vanguard of the Moors, near Pena-rubia. On the 
approach of the Christians, the Moors sent to encounter 
them a detachment of two thousand three hundred 
horse, all picked troops, the remainder continuing the 
retreat with their plunder. At sight of the immense 
numerical superiority of their enemies, dismay perva- 
ded the little band of Castilians, but the undaunted 
leaders, cheering them with brave words and no less 
brave example, infused new spirit into their hearts, and 
with the banner of Don Rodrigo unfurled and trum- 
pets sounding, they advanced intrepidly to what seem- 
ed certain death. For some time the battle raged 
without any apparent advantage on either side, but 
the reckless valor of ihe Christians, who fought with 
the conrage of despair for their homes, their property, 
their faith, and life itself, finally gained the field, and 
the Moors, who had from the first been surprised and 
shaken by the furious onset of the Christians, at length 
gave way, and fled precipitately on all sides. The 
panic of the fugitives communicating itself to the 
party that had gone on before, they doubtless thought 
an army was in pursuit of them, and abandoning their 


charge, made a prompt retreat. Don Rodrigo having 
assembled his men, found his loss to amount to thirty 
of the cavalry and one hundred and fifty of the infantry 
slain, while that of the Moors was one thousand four 
hundred men left dead on the field. On the following 
morning a cloud of dust at a short distance induced 
at first the belief that the Moors were returning, but 
it proved to be the flocks and herds, that with the in- 
stinct of their nature, were returning to seek their 
wonted pasturage. The banners of the Moorish prince 
and rich spoils were collected by the victors, and this 
signal achievement was celebrated with great rejoicings 
and solemn processions in Madrid and other towns. 

In the spring of this year, Juana, whose levity had 
become notorious, and who was now in the eighth 
year of her marriage, gave unequivocal hopes of soon 
becoming a mother, to the unbounded delight of the 
king, whose anxious wish for issue had been gratified 
by none of his mistresses, and who now, in token of 
his satisfaction at the prospect, immediately bestowed 
on his consort the town of Aranda, where she was then 
residing. Enrique, being desirous that the queen's 
confinement should take place in Madrid, she was 
placed in a litter, and removed thither with all thn 
care her situation required, and in six months after 
gave birth to a princess called Juana after her mother, 
but subsequently designated as La Excelentisima 
Senora, and by the populace, by the less honorable but 
significant appellation of La Beltraneja, in allusion to 
her reputed father, Bon Beltran de la Cueva. The 


ceremony of the baptism took place eight days after 
the birth, with great pomp, in the palace chapel, the 
Archbishop of Toledo officiating, assisted by the bish- 
ops of Calahorra, Cartagena and Osma. The spon- 
sors were the count of Armagnac, French ambassador, 
the Marquis of Villena, the king's young sister, the 
infanta Isabel, and the Marchioness of Villena. The 
count de Alva de Lista had the honor of holding the 
royal babe during the ceremony. The event was cele- 
brated with great rejoicings throughout the kingdom, 
and the cortes were convened two months after to ten- 
der the customary oaths of allegiance to the princess 
as heiress apparent to the crown, on which occasion 
the Archbishop of Toledo held her in his arms. The 
infantes Isabel and Alfonso were the first to take 
the oath and kiss the hand of her whom they now 
acknowledged as their future sovereign, but from whom 
each in turn was to take the crown, and their example 
was unhesitatingly followed by all the clergy, nobility 
and deputies ; nor did one dissenting voice oppose this 
act of homage, though so many of those then present, 
subsequently affirmed they had, at the time, privately 
protested against it. 

Within a year after the birth of this daughter, an 
incident as singular as it is incredible, is gravely related 
by all the chroniclers of that reign. As Juana, then 
far advanced in her second pregnancy, was sitting at 
the window of her apartment in Aranda, she was 
thrown into considerable alarm by the sudden ignition 
of her hair by the rays of the sun. Prompt assistance 


was rendered by her ladies ere any material damage 
to the queen's person had resulted from this extraor- 
dinary conflagration, but the fright occasioned the 
premature delivery of a still-born male infant. 

Soon after the birth of the princess, the king had 
bestowed on his favorite, Don Beltran de la Cueva, the 
title of Count of Ledesma, and he also procured for 
him the hand of the youngest daughter of the Marquis 
of Santillana. The nuptials were celebrated with great 
magnificence and graced by the presence of the royal 
family. Such high honors, conferred on a man raised 
from nothing over the heads of the ancient nobles, 
greatly increased the discontent of the latter, and 
hastened the outbreak of a warfare the most strange, 
unprincipled and unrelenting, yet excusable, if not 
justifiable, if we take into consideration the turpitude 
of a corrupted court and its imbecile head. Among 
those who felt themselves especially aggrieved by the 
king's partiality for the favorite, were the Marquis of 
Villena and his uncle, the Archbishop of Toledo, and 
their rage knew no bounds when Don Beltran was 
openly called to share with them the administration. 
The important part enacted by these two ministers in 
all the transactions that occurred during this reign, 
entitle them to some notice here. 

Pacheco, of noble Portuguese parentage, had been 
a page in the household of Don Alvaro de Luna, 
who procured him a similar post in that of Prince 
Enrique. Though greatly inferior in many re- 
spects to his first great master, Paoheco possessed a 


smooth insinuating manner, and a certain tact in po- 
litical intrigue that soon won the favor of his new 
master, who found him an agreeable, a useful, and 
soon an indispensable companion. Crafty, ambitious, 
and restless, he followed to the letter the Machiavellian 
maxim of diviser pour reg-ner, and took care to keep 
his lord continually embroiled in discussions with his 
father. Now siding with the enemies of the sovereign, 
now with the sovereign himself, civil war was his ele- 
ment. Created Marquis of Yillena by Don Juan II., 
his extensive domains rendered him second in power 
to the king alone. 

Don Alfonso Carillo, the archbishop, was one of 
those warrior prelates so frequently met with in that 
and the preceding ages, who felt far more at ease in 
the martial array of the knight than in the peaceful 
robes of the churchman. Ambitious and proud, as 
eager to advance the interests of his friends as to foil 
the schemes of his adversaries, unyielding and perse- 
vering, his firmness contributed no less than his power 
to win him success in his undertakings. Little could 
these two haughty nobles, the most turbulent spirits 
of those turbulent times, accustomed as they were to 
rule with despotic sway the sovereign and the nation, 
brook the interference of a third partner to share the 

In 1464, Enrique, who had taken part with the 
Prince of Viana against his father, Juan II. of Aragon, 
and assisted the Catalans in their rebellion, with men 
and money, on the death of the prince was offered by 


them the sovereignty of that province. But, following 
the advice of his false minister, the king, whom not 
even the pathetic appeal of his cousin and former wife, 
the hapless Blanche,* could arouse to any act of deci- 
sion, abandoned the Catalans and made peace with 
Aragon, thus neglecting a legitimate and favorable 
opportunity of extending his dominions. 

The diplomatic talents of the politic Juana Enriquez, 
queen of Aragon, contribute no little to matters being 
settled so advantageously to her husband. On the 
arrival of the Marquis of Villena, in Saragossa, as am- 
bassador of Castile, he found the king had left for 
Catalonia, and deputed the queen to entertain him 
during an absence that was to be of short duration. 
Juana having received the marquis with the grace and 
affability for which she was noted, invited him to dine 
tete a tete with her on the following day, when the 
noble found himself entertained by his royal hostess, 
and waited on by none but ladies, and those of the 

* This ill-fated princess, when on her forced journey to the castle 
of Ortes in Bearne, whither her implacable and remorseless foes 
were hurrying her, feeling that she was on the way to captivity 
and death, found means to write to Enrique, from St. Jean Pie du 
Port, a letter couched in terms that might have softened the hard- 
est heart and infused courage into the most pusillanimous, but, being 
addressed to one little better than an idiot, failed to have any effect. 
Recalling the days of peaceful happiness she had spent under his 
protection, she invoked his assistance, and made over to him her 
claims on Navarre, to the exclusion of the Count and Countess of 
Foix, of whose murderous intentions she had but too true a forebo- 


highest distinction. Each day was marked by some 
new attention to him, until the arrival of the king 
allowed of the settlement of the business that had 
brought him there, and the marquis, intoxicated with the 
flattery so delicately administered, and disgusted with 
the partiality of Enrique for Don Beltran, was easily 
won to sacrifice his sovereign's interests to the crafty 
Juan of Aragon. 

Enrique, though he had made no inconsiderable 
conquests in Catalonia, was induced to refer the arbi- 
tration of the difference between himself and Juan to 
the king of France, and the latter sent an ambassador 
to arrange the preliminaries of an interview. At a 
ball given on the occasion of his reception, the envoy 
Juan de Rohan, lord of Montaloan, and admiral of 
France, was honored with the hand of the queen as his 
partner in the dance ; a favor the gallant Frenchman 
appreciated so highly that he made a solemn vow never 
1 o dance with another woman. 

The conference between the kings of France and 
Castile took place near Bayonne, on the banks of the 
Bidasoa, that river dividing their several dominions. 
A strange contrast was exhibited between the two sove- 
reigns, not only in their own persons, but also in 
those of their followers, and everything pertaining to 
them. The avaricious and crafty Luis the XI., dressed 
in the mean, coarse attire that formed his usual cloth- 
ing, was followed by a suite, who, imitating with 
courtier-like servility, their sovereign, adopted a simi- 
lar style of costume, while Enrique the IV., appareled 


in the rich and becoming Spanish garb of that day, 
was attended by his Moorish guard, splendidly equip- 
ped, and by a train of nobles whose dress and equipage 
were of the most gorgeous and costly description. 
The favorite of the Castilian monarch distinguished 
himself by the splendor of his jewel-studded dress, his 
very boots being embroidered with pearls, and his 
barge decked with cloth of gold, and sails of brocade. 

The two sovereigns having doffed their bonnets, 
embraced with much apparent cordiality, neither sit- 
ting down during the interview; a fine, large-sized 
greyhound stood between them, on which both kept 
their hands. Luis, in his quality of mediator, pro- 
nounced that Enrique should renounce Catalonia, give 
up the territory he had conquered, and receive, as a 
remuneration, the town of Estepa, with its jurisdiction 
in Navarre, and the sum of 50,000 doblas within six 
months. The queen of Aragon was to be left as hos- 
tage for the fulfilment of these conditions, and to re- 
side until they wore executed, in the town of Lanaga 
in Navarre, under the charge of the Archbishop of 
Toledo. None of the conditions were performed, nor 
in all probability had any intention of performing 
them been entertained. 

This tame relinquishment of advantages already 
secured was extremely unsatisfactory to the Castilians, 
who loudly accused the ministers, Don Juan Pacheco 
and the archbishop, of having sold the interests of king 
and country. Even the king perceived at length his 
error, and dismissing his false counsellors from their 


office of trust, attempted to retrieve matters by sending 
to the Catalans a retractation of his refusal to head their 
revolt, and a promise to come forthwith to their assis- 
tance, with a large body of troops. But his recanta- 
tion was tardy ; the indignant Catalans had already 
offered their allegiance to Don Pedro, the constable of 

The king, daily more disgusted with the conduct of 
the marquis and archbishop, whose plots he more than 
suspected, resolved, without communicating his plans 
to them, to effect an alliance with Portugal. To this 
effect an interview was arranged with that king, at 
which were present the queen and the infantes, Isabel 
and Alfonso, and the hand of the young infanta was 
promised to the Portuguese. 

Meantime the ex-ministers were not idle. Having 
formed with the disaffected nobles, of whom there 
were not a few, a coalition which, from the power and 
wealth of some of its members, was truly formidable, 
they assembled at Burgos and declared that the oath 
of allegiance they had sworn to the Princess Juana 
was compulsory, and that they recognized no legiti- 
mate heir nearer to the throne than the infante Alfon- 
so, whom they required Enrique to place in their 
hands to be publicly sworn as his successor. The 
Marquis of Villena exasperated beyond the limits or 
all prudence, by the king's bestowal of the grand 
mastership of Santiago on the Count of Ledesma, made 
no less than three bold attempts to seize his rival and 
the whole of the royal family, each of which was ren- 


dered abortive by the 'vigilance of some of Enrique's 
faithful servants. A little timely energy would doubt- 
less have crushed the conspiracy in the bud. and, had 
the king seized the marquis, who was actually in the 
royal palace when information was brought of two 
schemes for the abduction of the royal family, and used 
the severity the culprit had so manifestly incurred, he 
would have saved himself from a long series of insults. 
Provided as he still was with ample means, sur- 
rounded by numerous and loyal vassals, brave and 
well-equipped troops, the pusilanimity evinced by En- 
rique is almost incredible. Having assembled his 
council to consult on the conduct to be observed to- 
wards the rebels, all were of opinion that the king 
should pay no attention to their insolent demands, but 
employ force to reduce them. The venerable and 
learned Archbishop of Cuen9a, who had been the king's 
preceptor, was especially urgent that strong measures 
should be adopted. The advice was too much in 
opposition to the weak, wavering nature of Enrique 
to be relished by him. " Those who are not called on 
to peril their own lives are prodigal of the blood of 
others," said he ; " it is easy to see that those who are 
to fight are not your children, or you would bo more 
chary of endangering them ; these matters, father 
bishop, are to be treated in another fashion than ye 
would propose and vote for." To this the churchman 
replied, with more truth and warmth than breeding, "I 
plainly perceive, sire, that ye have no mind to reign 
in peace and freedom, and, since your highness will 


neither defend your honor, nor revenge an outrage, I 
will live to see you the most degraded king that ever 
reigned in Spain, and to see you repent, but too late, 
this cowardice." 

Enrique was not to be moved by the advice, entrea- 
ties, or remonstrances of his wise adherents, and, 
notwithstanding all they could say, entered into a ne- 
gotiation with the coalition. In the interview he had 
with the leaguers, he even surprised them by the 
ready servility with which he complied with all their de- 
mands. He consented that his young brother Alfonso 
should be declared heir, that Don Beltran should re- 
nounce the grand mastership of Santiago in his favor, 
and that he would within twelve days place the young 
Alfonso in their hands. The leaguers, on their side, 
promised that Alfonso should marry the princess 

These were the principal items of this most shameful 
treaty. The king then returned to Segovia, whore 
the royal family then was. His faithful friends ear- 
nestly besought him to reconsider the matter, nor give 
up his brother to the conspirators, who, they warned 
him, only wanted him to raise him to the throne. 
But advice and warning were equally useless with the 
cowardly Enrique, who was resolved at any cost to 
avoid war, and, early in the year 1465, the conditions 
stipulated on his part were punctually fulfilled. As 
might have been expected, these concessions served 
only to increase the insolence of the leaguers who 
refused to disband their troops. The town of Vallado- 


lid also declared against the king, and the rebels con- 
ducted the young infante to Avila to proclaim him 
king of Leon and Castile. 

In the open plain near the city, a high scaffolding, 
sustaining a platform, was erected, and on it was 
placed a throne, on which was seated an effigy of En- 
rique, dressed in mourning robes, with the crown, 
sceptre, and other attributes of royalty. A herald 
then ascended the platform and in a loud voice read 
the charges brought against the king, disabling him 
from exercising the royal prerogatives. 

At the first accusation, declaring Enrique unworthy 
of royalty, Don Alfonso Carillo, the archbishop of 
Toledo, approached the effigy and tore the crown from 
its head. At the second, declaring him unfit to ad- 
minister justice, Don Alvaro de Zuniga took the sword 
from its side ; at the third, pronouncing his political 
incapacity, Don Rodrigo Pimentel, Count of Benevente, 
deprived it of the sceptre ; at the fourth, declaring he 
had forfeited the throne, Don Diego Lopez de Zuniga 
hurled the image into the dust, amid shouts of deri- 
sion and loud insults. The nobles then raising the 
infante Don Alfonso on their shoulders, the cry of 
Castile, Castile, for the king, Don Alfonso ! pro- 
claimed his accession. Having seated him on the 
throne, each lord, in turn, kissed his hand in token of 
homage, the Marquis of Villena being the first to seal 
his treason to his liege lord. 

The king received the news of this unparalleled 
insolence with extraordinary calmness, merely saying, 


" Truly may I repeat the words of the prophet Isaiah, 
' I have nourished and brought up children, and they 
have rebelled against me.' But though they have 
destroyed an image, they have no power to destroy 
the reality embodied in my person, and to Jesus, the 
Judge of kings, do I submit my cause, for he krioweth 
my innocence." 

While the weak monarch consoled himself under his 
disgrace with biblical sentences, the league was mak- 
ing daily conquests, fortress after fortress submitting 
to it. The large cities of Burgos, Toledo, Cordova, 
and Seville, declared for the insurgents. The domains 
of the principal lords of the league being situated in 
the southern provinces, these favored the party of 
Alfonso. The news of the defection of so large a por- 
tion of his subjects, which would have roused some 
spirits to acts of daring, and crushed others to the 
very earth, merely elicited from Enrique a quotation 
from Job, which the miserable sovereign was well jus- 
tified in applying to himself. " Naked came I from 
my mother's womb, and naked must I go down to the 
earth !" 

The country meanwhile was in a state of dire con- 
fusion from one extremity to the other. While pre- 
senting the sight, unprecedented in Castile, of two 
sovereigns reigning at once with all the attributes of 
royalty, issuing decrees, convoking Cortes, and exercis- 
ing all the functions of government, rule, legislation 
and law were by- words of mockery and cloaks for 
crime. Large bands of robbers openly infested the 


highways, and levied their contributions on the country 
people, who, in turn, confederated for the defence of 
their property, and soon growing insolent as they in- 
creased in strength, even attempted to gain immunity 
from their regular taxation by waging war with their 
feudal lords. The ktter, however, backed as they 
were by numerous well-armed and well-disciplined 
troops of retainers, easily foiled these ill-planned at- 
tempts. Many of the old nobles, alarmed at the con- 
vulsed state into which the factions had thrown the 
nation, which seemed on the eve of perishing in the 
whirlwind of anarchy, and disgusted with the arbitrary 
proceedings of the league, pitying, too, the miserable 
monarch, whose weakness rather than vices had reduced 
him thus low, began to rally round the legitimate 
occupant of the throne. The king having issued a 
proclamation calling all the loyal subjects 1o his aid, 
Don Grarci Alvarez, Count of Alva, was the first to 
respond to the summons, with three hundred men-at- 
arms, two hundred horse, and a thousand foot soldiers. 
The queen was despatched to Portugal, accompanied 
by the infanta Isabel, to solicit aid from her brother, 
and the king removed to Zarnora, where he was joined 
by the Count of Trastamara with two hundred foot 
soldiers and as many horse, by the Count of Valencia 
with one hundred men-at-arms nnJ two hundred horse, 
and many other nobles, who, hoping to restore order, 
flocked to the standard of the king. The ; ' good Count 
of Haro," the ever faithful and powerful Mendozas, 
the Marquis of Santillana, whose immense estates in 


the north gave him great influence there, through 
every storm had adhered to the king, and the army 
that now assembled for the defence of his rights, 
amounting to no less than eighty thousand infantry 
and fourteen thousand cavalry, far outnumbering the 
forces of the insurgents, would have ensured complete 
triumph to his cause, had not his imbecility and cow- 
ardice again ruined it, and dashed the hopes of the 
true hearts, who sought to give peace to their distracted 
country. The wretched instrument by which they 
endeavored to achieve their laudable purpose, frustrated 
all their well-concerted measures, and wantonly threw 
away every chance of securing his tottering throne. 

Meantime Enrique ha4 dispatched two trusty officers 
with three hundred horse to bring the little princess 
Juana from Segovia, and she accordingly made her 
entrance in state into Zamora, under the royal canopy, 
with the customary homage paid to the heir-apparent 
of the crown. Every succeeding day, while it added 
strength to the king's party, weakened that of the 
enemy. The Marquis of Villena, who had thought 
by elevating a child to the throne to reign under his 
name, finding his ambitious plans checked by his con- 
federates, no less eager than himself for power, now 
endeavored to counterbalance their influence by in- 
triguing with the royal party, and thus securing also 
an asylum in case of a defeat. The crafty marquis 
was too well acquainted with the easy, apathetic na- 
ture of his master, to doubt of his eagerly embracing 
any means he might offer of conciliating the difference 


between them, and the event showed he judged rightly. 
The debased sovereign stooped to negotiate with the 
rebel, and accepted the humiliating proposal of uniting 
his sister Isabel to Don Pedro Giron, Grand Master of 
Calatrava, and brother of the Marquis, the latter 
agreeing to come over to the king with three thousand 
lances, to lend him seventy thousand doblas, and to 
place his young brother Alfonso in his hands. The 
king, moreover, was to send from his court the Duke 
of Alburquerque and the bishop of Calahorra. The 
king's adherents were justly incensed at this shameless 
treaty, but the death of the Grand Master soon dissi- 
pated the hopes of the rebels. That noble having, 
despite the open refusal of the infanta, made the most 
brilliant preparations for his approaching nuptials, 
while on his way to claim his bride, followed by a 
numerous suite, was taken suddenly ill of a disease 
which carried him off on the fourth day, to the grief 
of the craven Enrique, who had hoped from this union 
to obtain repose. 

The insurgents still remaining in arms, and no hope 
of conciliation being now possible between the con- 
tending parties, the settlement of the respective claims 
of each was finally left to the decision of arms. A 
battle was fought in 1467. on the plains of Olmedo, 
which lasted three hours, and was brought to a con- 
elusion by the approach of night, without any very 
signal advantage to either side, though the king's 

# Two-and-twenty years before, these plains had witnessed tb 
battle between Don Juan II. and his rebellious subject* 



forces remained in possession of the field. The king's 
army had far outnumbered that of the league, but the 
want of spirit in the head infused irresolution into the 
men, while the chiefs of the other party made up by 
their bravery, and well judged decisive movements, 
for their numerical inferiority. Previous to the battle, 
an incident occurred which is truly characteristic of 
the reckless valor of the Castilians. The archbishop 
of Seville sent to warn Don Beltran de la Cueva not to 
appear on the field, as forty gentlemen had taken an 
oath to seek him out and take his life. The favorite, 
who had recently been created duke of Alburquerque, 
returned an answer that shows him not to have been 
totally undeserving the partiality with which his sov- 
ereign regarded him. " Tell your lord," said the gal- 
lant noble, " that I take kindly, as the act of a friend, 
this his courteous message, but that it would ill beseem 
a knight to act as he advises, for honor hangs ever on 
the skirts of danger ; and, as to those gentlemen who 
have sworn my death, to them, also, shall ye bear a 
message." Then drawing the man's attention to the 
dress he wore, " look here," continued Don Beltran, 
" this same dress and colors shall I wear on the day 
of the battle. I prithee mark and describe them well 
to those bold knights, that by these signs and tokens, 
they may know, when they meet him, the duke of 
Alburquerque." This knightly defiance came well 
nigh costing the bold noble his life, but Enrique him- 
self was not one to follow his fearless example, and 
kept out of reach of danger, until, receiving false in- 


telligence of his party losing the day, he, with some 
thirty or forty attendants, spurred till they reached 
the shelter of a neighboring village. The archbishop 
of Toledo, who had headed the forces of his party, 
distinguished by the rich scarlet mantle with its em- 
broidered white cross worn over his armor, after prov- 
ing himself possessed of the talents of an able general, 
as well as of the brilliant valor of a gallant knight, 
and rallying again and again his disordered troops, 
though suffering from a wound in the arm, was the 
last to retire, accompanied by the young Alfonso, who, 
though but fourteen years of age, rode by his side, 
clad in mail, through all the battle. The counts of 
Alva and Luna, and several other nobles, were cap- 

Both parties were recruiting to renew the contest, 
when a legate from the pope arrived, who endeavored 
to prevail on the insurgents to lay down their arms 
and submit their quarrel to his arbitration. Finding 
his arguments ineffectual, he had recourse to the weap- 
ons that had in other days proved so decisive, and 
threatened them with the thunders of the church. 
But the time when these anathemas could cause dread 
had gone by, and the bold barons, while they acknow- 
ledged the sway of the pontiff in all spiritual matters, 
laughed at and denied his claim to the right of inter- 
ference in the temporal affairs of Castile. The legate, 
imprudently attempting to insist, was insulted, hooted, 
and forced to make a precipitate retreat from the camp 


of the insurgents. A suspension of arms was, how- 
ever, agreed on between the leaguers and the king. 

In the meanwhile the queen, who had remained 
with the royal family in Segovia, was greatly alarmed 
by the news brought to her of that town having been 
betrayed to the insurgents, by its treacherous alcalde, 
Don Pedro Arrias. She immediately took refuge with 
her daughter, and the duchess of Alburquerque, in 
the fortress, but could not induce the infanta Isabel 
to accompany her thither, as the latter, having prede- 
termined to join her brother Alfonso's party, chose with 
her own ladies to await his arrival in the palace. 
The Segovians, though little pleased with the en- 
trance of the leaguers, could make no opposition to 
forces so superior, and submitted quietly ; but the king 
was greatly grieved at the loss of this town, which, 
from its surrounding forests, abounding with game, 
was a favorite residence. Segovia was, moreover, the 
place of his birth ; it contained his treasures and had 
been embellished and enriched con amore by Enrique, 
who reckoned himself among its citizens. Destitute 
of firmness to look the evil steadily in the face, and 
rally against the blow, the spiritless monarch dis- 
banded his troops, and tamely placed himself in the 
hands of the rebels, who offered to make a complete 
restitution of all they had taken from the king within 
six months ; a promise they never intended to realize. 
The queen was placed in the fortress of Alahijos un- 
der the charge of the archbishop of Seville, and the 
king, after spending four months in the palace of the 


count of Placencia, was conducted from one place to 
another, amused by the promises of the Marquis of 

In the following year the death of the young Alfonso* 
Deemed to promise the dissolution of his faction, but 
the leaguers immediately proclaimed his sister Isabel, 
as heiress to his right, queen of Castile and Leon. 
Enrique, with his customary facility, negotiated with 
the league and accepted all the proposals made to him. 
He not only recognized the princess as his heiress, 
(she refused to accept the title of queen during the 
life of Enrique,) but consented that his queen Juana 
should be divorced and sent back to Portugal within 
four months. Enrique also agreed to give to Isabel 
the towns of Avila, Buete, Molina, Medina del Campo, 
Olmedo, Escalona, and Ubeda, to sustain her state as 
crown princess. The infanta, on her part, promised 
never to marry without the king's consent. This treaty 
took place in Toros de Gruisanda, on Monday, September 
19th, 1468. 

Juana received with emotions of mingled indigna- 
tion and sorrow the news of her husband's weak 
compliance with the decree that sent her back an exile 
and a divorced queen to her native land, and, illegiti- 
matizing her child, deprived her of her inheritance. 
Having concerted with Don Luis Hurtado de Mendoza, 
reputed one of her lovers, her escape from the fortress 

* The infante Alfonso was found dead in his bed on the 5th of 
July, 1468. By some his sudden demise was attributed to the 
pestilence then raging, and by others, to poison. 


of Alahijos, where she was kept a close prisoner by 
the archbishop of Seville, the queen was lowered one 
night from the window of her apartment in a basket. 
The rope unfortunately proved short, and those above, 
who thought the queen had reached the ground, letting 
it go suddenly, she was precipitated several feet, and in 
the fall injured her face and one of her limbs. "With- 
out loss of time, and regardless of pain, Juana mount- 
ed behind Don Luis and repaired to Buytrago, where 
her daughter resided. The archbishop of Seville was 
so much incensed by the queen's flight, that he became 
from that day her most implacable enemy. 

Juana no sooner found herself at liberty than she 
took all the measures in her power for the assertion of 
her child's rights. Having been advised that Isabel 
had been sworn heiress to the crown, she dispatched 
Don Luis Hurtado, invested with full powers, to pro- 
test against the injustice done to herself and daughter, 
asserting that the latter, being born in wedlock, and 
in the king's palace, could not be pronounced illegiti- 
mate. To this, the enemies of the queen replied, that 
if the being born in wedlock and in the king's house 
constituted a right to the throne, the queen had two 
other children, Don Fernando and Don Apostol, by Don 
Pedro de Castilla, who, as males, had a still better 
right to the inheritance. 

That the queen's conduct was little in accordance 
with the grave dignity of Castilian royalty, and that 
her youth and vivacity led her to commit many im- 
prudent acts that gave ample scope to the misinterpre- 


tations of her enemies, there is no doubt ; but, it is 
also very probable that her levity has been greatly ex- 
aggerated by the faction who sought to place another 
sovereign on the throne ; and, the chroniclers who 
wrote during the reigns of Isabel and her immediate 
successors were careful to record in the worst colors 
every circumstance that, by rendering the illegitimacy 
of Juana doubtful, substantiated the claim of her suc- 
cessful rival. Enrique himself never, of his own free 
will, expressed a doubt of his paternity. His own 
early misconduct had subjected him to an imputation 
from which his partisans had in latter years vainly 
sought to clear him, by asserting that time had restored 
his vigor, but suspicion once excited is difficult to allay. 
Blander, like some foul substance thrown into a calm 
lake, may sink for a while and seem to be laid at rest 
forever, but let a strong breeze ruffle the face of the 
waters, and it will rise to the surface impregnated 
with the slime in which it has been imbedded. The 
imprudent, if unfortunate, are seldom allowed to be 
guiltless. If. as many circumstances would tend to 
show, Juana, with the connivance of her weak hus- 
band, had one lover, it is more than probable that the 
voice of rumor multiplied the one to ten. 

It was concerted between the Marquis of Villena/ and 
the king, that the princess Juana should marry tho 
crown prince of Portugal, and the infanta Isabel the 
king, his father, and that if the latter should have no 
issue, the former should inherit the crown of Castile. 
Isabel, however, though present when this arrangement 


was made, never gave her consent to marry one whose 
years so greatly outnumbered her own. 

Q,ueen Juana was invited to be present at the inter- 
view proposed with the king of Portugal, but fearing 
lest it might prove a scheme to leave her in the power 
of her brother and prevent her returning -to Castile, 
she positively refused to go. 

Many nobles resenting that Isabel should have been 
sworn heiress without their participation, others indig- 
nant at the king having received in his favor the 
arch rebel Villena, and others again convinced of the 
legitimacy of Juana, upheld the claim of that princess. 
Among these were the powerful house of Mendoza and 
the great marquis of Santillana. The king himself 
secretly favored this party, and neither in public nor 
in private was ever heard to express a doubt of the 
princess, to whom he manifested great affection, being 
his own child. He moreover wrote with his own hand 
to the Pope, Paul II., requesting he would not confirm 
the infanta Isabel's election, and also to the king of 
Portugal, and to his own agent at Rome, that they 
might urge the matter with the pontiff. 

The refusal of Isabel to marry either the king of 
Portugal or the duke of Gruienne, who was subse- 
quently proposed, irritated the king greatly, as the 
a llience in either case would have been very advantage- 
ous to the interests of the princess Juana, the age of 
the Portuguese rendering it highly improbable that any 
issue would be born of the marriage, and the French- 
man being at so great a distance as to render that 


marriage a species of exile for the bride. The prefer- 
ence of Isabel for the prince of Aragon was soon con- 
firmed, to the great anger of the king, by her secret 
marriage with him against the express will of Enrique, 
who manifested his resentment by openly retracting 
his acknowledgment of Isabel as heiress, and negotia- 
ted the marriage of the princess Juana with the duke 
of G-uienne. The betrothal took place in Valde Loz- 
oya, between Segovia and Buytrago, in October of the 
year 1470. The queen having brought her daughter, 
accompanied by the marquis of Santillana and a num- 
ber of nobles, the king gave his reasons for revoking 
his promise to Isabel, dwelling chiefly on her disobedi- 
ence to his commands. The cardinal, ambassador of 
France, then approaching the queen, received her sol- 
emn oath that the princess Juana, her daughter, was 
the legitimate child of King Enrique, who, in his turn, 
swore that he had no reason to doubt that the said 
princess was his child, and that he had over held her 
as such. This extraordinary ceremony was followed 
by that of the betrothal, the count of Boulogne acting 
as proxy for the duke. The nobles and prelates then 
took the oath of allegiance to Juana. Three days 
after the king and queen repaired, with but few follow- 
ers, to Segovia, the princess making her entrance into 
that town with great solemnity, accompanied by a 
numerous suite of lords and prelates. 

This alliance was, however, soon dissolved by the 
sudden death of the duke, caused, as it was supposed, 
by poison. Enrique then endeavored to conclude the 


marriage between Juana and the heir of Portugal 
that had formerly been treated of, but his efforts met 
with no success, the king of Portugal being too prudent 
to wish to connect his son with one whose pretensions 
were matter of so much dispute, and whose alliance 
would involve him in the civil war then pending. The 
king still anxious to establish the princess suitably, 
then sent for his cousin Enrique, son of the infante 
Don Enrique, and nephew of his mother. Dona Maria, 
queen of Aragon. 

The king, in the meanwhile, was constantly urged 
by his mayordomo, Don Andres Cabrera, to be recon- 
ciled to his sister. The wife of Cabrera, Dona Beatrix 
de Bobadilla, having been brought up with Isabel, was 
united to her by the closest ties of friendship, and 
neglected no opportunity of advancing her mistress's 
interests. Enrique's pliant temper was not proof 
against these repeated solicitations, and he finally 
consented to an interview, which took place in Segovia, 
December, 1473. Enrique received his sister with 
tokens of affection, and, after a conversation that lasted 
two hours, during which Isabel endeavored to vindicate 
her conduct and obtain his sanction to her marriage 
with Ferdinand of Aragon, to prove publicly the good 
terms on which they stood, led her palfrey by the reins 
through the streets of Segovia. Isabel, judging the 
occasion propitious, sent for her husband, and Enrique, 
with his usual facility, having been persuaded to 
receive and welcome him kindly, the reconciliation of 
these three members of the royal family gave rise to a 


series of fetes and rejoicings. At the first of these 
entertainments, the king partook of a banquet with 
his sister and brother-in-law, and was immediately 
after taken severely ill. He recovered but partially 
from this indisposition, the effects of which continued 
to afflict him to the day of his death. While the king 
lay ill, the partisans of Isabel wearied him with con- 
tinual importunities, to induce him to acknowledge 
her as his successor, but Enrique eluded every attempt 
of the kind, and finally irritated by the perseverance 
with which the unwelcome subject was forced on him, 
concerted measures with the Grand Master of Santiago* 
for the seizure of the person of his daughter's rival. 
The scheme, having been discovered prematurely, was 
foiled by Isabel and her adherents. 

The king, worn out by the disease contracted at 
the time of the reconciliation with Isabel, survived it 
but one year, during which he was taken from place 
to place, a mere tool of the whims and selfish ambition 
of the grand master. This intriguing, restless spirit 
preceded by a few months his master to the tomb ; 
but Enrique, by a strange infatuation, not only la- 
mented with many tears the event that terminated 
his slavery, but continued all the father's honors to 
his son, the Marquis of Villena, in whose behalf he 
underwent so much fatigue of mind and body as con- 
tributed greatly to aggravate his disease, and hnrry 
him to the tomb. 

* Don Juan Pacheco, having been created Grand Master ot 
Santiago, had renounced the Marquisate of Villena to his son 


On the eleventh of December, 1474, expired the last 
male scion of the line of Trastarnara, a line that for 
one hundred years had occupied the throne of Castile. 
Whether or not Enrique left a will has been matter of 
great doubt and dispute, and never to this day clearly 
ascertained, but that he declared, on his death bed, 
the princess Juana, to be his lawful daughter and 
heiress, is too well authenticated to admit of a doubt. 

During the last four years of Enrique's existence, 
his queen had almost contantly lived apart from him. 
A dislike on the part of the king, caused by Juana's 
dissolute conduct, is assigned as the reason of this 
estrangement. If we take into consideration that the 
king, during that period, was entirely under the con- 
trol of those who were the bitterest enemies of Juana, 
and that his actions never emanated from any will of 
his own, but were dictated by the interests of those 
who held him in subjection, we may be inclined to 
doubt whether the queen were as criminal as she is 

Juana survived her husband but six months, and 
died on the thirteenth June, 1475, in Madrid, at the 
early age of thirty-six. 

To the historian who writes the reign of Enrique 
IV., devolves the unwelcome task of recording the 
most disastrous and corrupt period of the history of 
Spain. The last five years of this unhappy reign, 
were especially marked by the frightful anarchy into 
which the state was thrown. The work of destruc- 


tion and ruin effected by the selfish ambition and 
crushing despotism of the rulers, aided by the turbulent 
current of demoralization that, taking its source in 
the higher classes, and pervading all ranks, threatened 
to sweep away all that remained of wisdom, greatness 
and goodness in Castile, presents a fearful picture. 
The student of history will have frequent occasion 
to notice that corrupted civilization is ever the fore- 
runner of national decay, and in this instance, the 
cancer, whose roots were in the venal system of gov- 
ernment, had spread its infection far and wide, threat- 
ening complete annihilation. The loyalty innate in 
the majority of the Castilians, the repeated efforts of 
many powerful, brave, upright and conscientious no- 
bles to rouse the king from his lethargy and rescue 
the state from the abyss into which the factions were 
precipitating it, his own shame and degradation, all 
these motives were neutralized by the apathetic na- 
ture of Enrique, who, a votary of pleasure, sacrificed 
his honor and the nation to his love of indolent and 
luxurious ease. In the number of sovereigns that had 
preceded him on the throne, not one can be found so ut- 
terly destitute of every qualification of a king. Neither 
did his ill-chosen ministers possess the talent and patriot- 
ism that might have atoned for the imbecility of the 
monarch. Intent on his own personal aggrandizement, 
his favorite, grasping, insatiate and tyrannical, caused 
his wearied tool to exclaim. " Oh that the world were 
mine for a few days, perchance I might then satisfy 


the inordinate cupidity of Villena !' The long con- 
tinued struggle of the rival factions had given a death 
blow to commerce, and produced a complete paralysis 
of industry in all its branches. The agriculturist, 
seeing his fields ravaged repeatedly, and hopeless of 
reaping his harvests, ceased to cultivate the ground, 
and for two years a fearful scarcity added to the hor- 
rors of civil war. The high roads had become impassa- 
ble, save to numerous and well-armed bodies of men, 
from the numbers of bands of robbers that infested 
them, composed of the idle, the licentious and the dis- 
affected. These were not unfrequently the retainers 
of men of rank and fortune, whose castles were con- 
verted into the strongholds of freebooters, dens of idle- 
ness, and schools of civil war. No hostile invaders 
could have committed worse depredations than these 
robber chieftains, the incentive of private feud being 
often added to that of cupidity. Society, shaken to 
its very foundations, had ceased to be aught but a sys- 
tem of strife and contest, the strong tyrannizing over 
the weak, through all its grades. Wholesale pillage, 
incendiarism and massacres threatened to make a 
wide and desolate waste of this beautiful land, when 
the death of Enrique ended the fearful crisis. With 
the reign of Isabel and Ferdinand commenced a new 
and splendid era. The- chaos slowly dispelled, and the 
sun of Castilian glory, on the eve of being quenched 
forever, rose through the mist with a brilliancy far 
surpassing the light of the fairest of its former days. 
Everything had to be reorganized, remoulded, recon- 


structed, created anew; but, though dispersed, trodden' 
under foot and perverted to evil, the elements were 
there, and it required but a prudent and skilful hand 
to disentangle the threads from the maze. 

The incidents occurring in this reign, connected with the life of 
Isabel, are given more at large in the annals of that queen. 


Muza sent over a much larger force, p. 19. 

THE Moors under the command of Tharick, or Tarif-Ben 
Zayad, landed on the rock of Calpe, afterwards called, from the 
name of the Arab chief, Gebel-al-Tarif, which, in process of time, 
was corrupted to Gibraltar. The army of the invaders was sooii 
increased by vast numbers of fugitive slaves, and Jews. To both 
these two classes any change of government was welcome, the laws 
of the Goths treating them with unmitigated severity. The Jews 
were as much objects of execration to the Goths as to the Span- 
iards of eight centuries later, and it is not to be wondered at that 
they should have embraced the opportunity that presented itself of 
turning on their oppressors. 

The remainder of the Goths, astounded at this unparalleled 
treachery, &c. p. 20. 

Count Julien was also assisted by Eba and Sisebuth. the sons of 
Witiza, Roderic's predecessor. Blinded by their ambition and 
seduced by the fallacious hope that their infidel allies would, after 
assisting them to overthrow the reigning sovereign, leave them to 
llie quiet possession of the kingdom their father had forfeited by 
Jiis vices, these traitors who commanded the two wings of the army 
of the Goths, passed over to the Moors on the fourth day of this 
prolonged engagement. Notwithstanding this fatal defection, the 
brave king continued to maintain the desperate contest for several 
days, and the prodigies of valor he achieved are attested by both 

NOTES. 425 

Moorish and Christian authorities. The engagement is said to 
have lasted eight days, but it is probable that several of these were 
spent in skirmishes and encounters of detached bodies of troops. 

Many stories and probable surmises as to his fate. p. 20. 

A sepulchre is said to have been discovered near Viseo, in 
Portugal, two centuries after the defeat of the Gothic king, bearing 
the following inscription : 

Hie requiescit Rodericus UltJmus Rex Gothonm. 
This apparently confirmed the belief entertained by many that the 
heroic Goth had succeeded in fording the river and had sought 
refuge in Portugal, where, in despair at the loss of his kingdom, he 
remained incognito, leading a life of austere penitence and dying 
in obscurity. 

No doubt largely contributed to the success of the invaders, p. 20. 

The rapidity with which the Moors accomplished the conquest 
of the hitherto indomitable Goths, would appear incredible did we 
not take into consideration the numerous causes that led to their 
final destruction. Wherever we find that a brave and powerful 
nation has been easily subdued we will also find that it was a prey 
to intestinal divisions ere it became that of the invaders. 

Abdahsis, (he son of Muza, &c. p. 21. 
Abdalesis appears to have been a man of genius, who, to carry 
out the system he had adopted of conciliating the Christians, 
blending the two nations into one, the conquerors with the con- 
quered, and thus securing the possession of the newly acquired 
territory, married Egilona. The imprudent zeal of the Goth may 
have contributed to mar the well-concerted measures of the mag- 
nanimous Moor. It is related of the ex-queen, that finding her 
arguments powerless to convince her already too tolerant lord and 
make him a convert to the tenets he permitted her to follow, she 
caused the doors of her private apartment to be made so low that 
the chieftain was forced to incline his head when he entered, and 

426 NOTES. 

thus do homage to the holy images placed within it. This invol- 
untary compliance with her wishes while it pleased Egilona, 
incensed his warriors, who, seeing in this unintentional act of 
submission, the signs of a conversion which in truth was far from 
his heart, and coupling it with the wise indulgence shown to tho 
conquered race an indulgence founded on reasons they had not 
discernment to divine and appreciate determined to punish his 
apostacy. It is however equally probable that the Caliph himself, 
jealous of the influence the superior intellect of his lieutenant had 
enabled him to acquire, and dreading lest he should finally render 
himself independent, caused him to be assassinated. 

Reign of Don Pelayo. p. 25. 

I have given Pelayo as the first Christian king who reigned in 
Spain after its conquest by the Arabs, the dynasty of that prince 
having continued in possession of the throne and enlarged the 
boundaries of the kingdom he founded. Several Gothic princes 
are however mentioned by the ancient historians as having been 
his contemporaries in Spain, though the title of king has unani- 
mously been accorded but to Pelayo. Theodomir, by some called 
Sancho, a prince of the blood royal, was governor of Andalusia at 
the time of the invasion, and having opposed a brave but vain 
resistance to the Moors, look refuge with his band of devoted 
followers, into the mountain fastnesses of the Alpujarras, and 
thence into Orijuela. To deceive the Moors who besieged the 
town into the belief that its garrison was numerous, the Gothic 
chief caused the female inhabitants to appear on the walls dressed 
as men, and this stratagem, together with his gallant defence, ob- 
tained for him the most favorable terms of capitulation, and even 
the government of a principality composed of the whole of the 
province of Murcia and part of that of Valencia, under con- 
dition of paying the Caliph a stipulated tribute, and acknow- 
ledging himself his feudatory. That he reigned some time 
in that part of Spain, and was succeeded by his son Atha- 
nagild, is a well-authenticated fact. Athanagild was despoiled of 

NOTES. 427 

his possessions by one of the successors of Abdalesis, and, amid 
the confusion that reigns in the history of that period, all traces of 
his descendants are lost. 

There, trere many towns that had freely submitted to the 
invaders, &c., p. 26. 

The manner in which the infidels treated the conquered Spaniards 
forms a strong contrast with the conduct of the latter towards the 
Moors when, three centuries later they, in their turn, subdued their 
former conquerors. The leniency of those we find most unjustly 
termed barbarians, their numerous traits of magnanimous clemency, 
romantic generosity, and gallant self devotion, are recorded by the 
Spaniards themselves. The terms of capitulation granted by them 
were in every case, without a single exception, strictly observed. 
Wherever the Spanish towns, yielding to necessity or inclination, 
opened their gates to the invaders, such of the inhabitants as chose 
to remain were allowed to retain their possessions on the payment 
of the same taxes as were paid by the Mussulmans themselves. 
Nor was the exercise of the Christian faith prohibited, though it 
was fettered by some slight restrictions, such as celebrating the 
sacrament of mass with closed doors, and no external manifestations 
in the form of religious processions, &c. being permitted. Many 
towns, such as Toledo, Cordova, and Seville, continued, under the 
rule of the Arabs, to elect their bishops and regular clergy ; though 
Cordova was the only city in which the Christians were allowed 
the privilege of ringing bells to summon to worship. They were 
exempted from military service, for which exemption a tax, payable 
but once in a lifetime, was levied on each adult. The cities that 
had offered a desperate resistance were given up to pillage, but the 
treatment of the captives and prisoners of war was neither Aiel 
nor even harsh. The Christians who, submitting to the Moors, 
continued in the possession of their lands and the exercise of their 
religion, were denominated Mozarabes. They were not, indeed, 
allowed to build churches, but they had the privilege of repairing, 

428 NOTES. 

and even entirely rebuilding the old. Of eighteen Emirs who 
successively governed in Spain for the Caliphs, (not including 
those who temporarily usurped the title), from the year 714 to 
that of 755, two only can be found who did not exercise their 
authority with strict equity and moderation towards both Christians 
and Mussulmans, though the restlessness, ingratitude and insolence 
of the former might well have provoked angry retribution. 
Although the Mozarabes were indebted to the toleration and 
generosity of the emirs for the protection they enjoyed, they joined 
in every insurrection of the Moors against their princes. This 
numerous Christian population mingled with the Arabian in each 
town, and dispersed throughout the country occupied by the Moors, 
greatly facilitated its reconquest by the Christian princes who were 
frequently enabled to penetrate into the heart of the enemy's 
possessions through the connivance and aid of the Mozarabes. 
The generous and enlightened princes of the Ommiade dynasty 
were succeeded by the Almoravides. These African Moors, 
imitated neither the magnanimous clemency nor the imprudent 
toleration of the Asiatic emirs, and, after the retreat of Alfonso the 
Warrior, who having, in 1125, penetrated, with four thousand 
knights only, into the territory of Grenada, was then joined by 
fifty thousand Mozarabes and thus enabled to commit great ravages, 
the latter, who had quietly returned to their homes, were driven 
by the Moors to the coast and transported into Africa. Those 
who chose to take service in Morocco were promoted to posts of 
trust. A portion of their descendants returned to Spain in the 
reign of Juan I. of Castile. They were called Farfanes, and 
excelled in horsemanship. The Almoravides had allowed the 
expelled Mozarabes to dispose of their property ere they left 
Spain, and permitted those who had not been convicted of abetting 
the King of Aragon to remain, but their ferocious successors, the 
Alrnohadis, butchered all the Christians and even the Jews whom 
they found on their entrance into the towns they conquered from 
the Almoravides, and, from the period of the conquest of Valencia 
by these fanatics the race of the Mozarabes became extinct. 

NOTES. 429 

Battle of Clavijo, p. 37. 

This famous battle \v:is fought by the Leonese against the 
Moors, in the year 844. The incredible number of 70,000 infidels 
is said to have been left dead on the field. 

Doha Teresa never forgave the celebrated Fernan Gonzalez the 
death of her father, Ifc.. p. 42. 

The story of the death of Sancho Abarca by the bands of Fer- 
nan Gonzalez, is treated as a fable by some authors. Teresa is 
called by Aleson, Teresa Florentina Sanchez, and he also says she 
was the daughter of Sancho Garcia II., King of Navarre, but de- 
nies to her father the surname of Abarca, and gives it to a grand- 
son of that sovereign. 

Velasquita and Elvira, p. 50. 

Elvira was the daughter of Don Garcia the Trembler, and the 
sister of Sancho the Great, both successively kings of Navarre. 
After the death of Bermudo, Elvira retired to the monastery of St. 
Pelayo, of Oviedo, where she became a nun. 

Condado of Aragon, first erected into a kingdom under Ramiro /., 
in 1034, p. 57. 

Garibay numbers six counts of Aragon, from Don Aznar, who 
was the first, and who is proved to have existed about the year 
780. This petty military chieftain, at the head of a small band, 
and with the connivance of Garcia Iniguez I., King of Navarre, 
possessed himself of the castle of Apriz and its adjoining territo- 
ry, situated between the rivers Aragon and Subordan. Master of 
this extensive domain, measuring in length about six leagues, Don 
Aznar deemed it behooved him to assume a title corresponding in 
importance with his territorial acquisitions, and with the consent 
of the King of Navarre, took that of count. His descendants, by 
continual inroads on the Moors managed greatly to extend the li- 
mits of their domains, until, by the marriage of Urraca, the only 
child and heiress of the sixth count, Don Fortun Ximenez with 

430 NOTES. 

Garcia Tniguez II. this condado was united with Navarre. This ia 
one of the most probable of the numberless and most contradictory 
accounts that remain of those times to puzzle the modern historian. 
From that period, the kings of Navarre bore also the title of counts 
of Aragon for seven generations, until the condado was, as related, 
erected into an independent kingdom by Sancho the Great, and 
bestowed on his son Ramiro. From the accession of that sove- 
reign to that of Petronilla, five kings occupied the throne of Ara- 
gon. By the marriage of this lady with Raymond, twelfth count of 
Barcelona, that territory was united to Aragon in 1137. From the 
reign of that sovereign to that of Ferdinand II. the Catholic, fifteen 
sovereigns occupied the throne of Aragon, making, in all, twenty 
from its foundation. 

Ftteros, p. 77. 

Fueros, franchises. Each town had its own fueros, particular 
jurisdiction, and exemptions from certain taxes or services, granted 
by different kings, and dating frequently from the period of its 
conquest by the Moors. 

After a protracted siege. James altai led his object, and, on the eve 
of St. Martin's day, September, 1238, entered the famous city 
of Valencia, fyc., p. 83. 

The celebrated chieftain, Rodrigo del Bivar, a contemporary of 
Ferdinand the Great, and of his son, Alfonso VI., among other 
exploits took Valencia from the Moors ; but it was retaken by 
them after his death in 1 103. 

James, the Conqueror, was interred in the royal monastery of 
Poblete. In one of the leading Havana papers, the Faro Indus- 
trial of April 6, 1848, an account, (said to have been copied from 
the Guia del Comercio of Madrid of same year,) was given of the 
dismterment at Poblete of the remains of several personages, and 
among them those of King James the Conqueror; which were 
recognized partly by his extraordinary stature, and partly from the 
circumstance that they were o well preserved that the mark of 


an arrow wound which he received at the siege of Valencia, was 
still visible on his forehead. 

18,000 doblus de oro de juro de heredad. Note to p. 145. 

The dobla was a Spanish gold coin varying in value in different 
years. '' Taking the average of values, which varied considera- 
bly in different years of Ferdinand and Isabella, it appears that the 
ducat, reduced to our own currency, will be equal to about eight 
dollars and seventy-seven cents, and the dobla to eight dollars and 
fifty-six cents." Prescott, Introduction to History of Ferdinand 
and Isabella. 

Juro de Heredad hereditary and perpetual income. 

Castile, p. 175. 

The ancient Cantabria, subsequently called, from the number of 
fortresses with which it was covered by Alfonso I. to protect it 
from the incursions of the Moors, Castella, (since corrupted to 
Castilla) was governed by counts until the year 1034, when, as 
related in the text, it was erected into an independent kingdom un- 
der Ferdinand the nephew of the last count. From the period of 
the reign of Alfonso I. who redeemed old Castile from the yoke of 
the infidel, its counts or governors, remained feudatories to the kings 
of Leon, but the very names of the earlier portion of these military 
chiefs, are lost in the impenetrable obscurity which covers that re- 
mote age. Roderic [., whose existence is well authenticated, was a 
contemporary of Alfonso I. Sancho Garcia, the eighth and last 
of his successors, being murdered, as related in the annals of Te- 
resa, the consort of Bermudo III., the condado passed into the fe- 
male line in the person of Sancha, the wife of King Ferdinand. 

The prince took his leave of the Moorish sovereign, and, loaded with 
presents, returned to Zamora, p. 180. 

Although all accounts agree as to the generous hospitality exer- 
cised by the Moorish prince towards his Christian guest, they dif- 
fer as to his willingness to allow him to depart. No less than 

432 NOTES. 

three towns had been assigned as an appanage to Alfonso during 
his stay at the court of Toledo, by his munificent host : but when 
the prince was sent for to assume the crown that had once been 
his, the king was advised by his counsellors to prevent the depar- 
ture of the Christian whose knowledge of the plan of fortifications 
of the capital might prove dangerous at some future period, and 
Alfonso, fearing he might be detained, made his escape secretly on 
a horse, the shoes of which were inverted. This is one version. 
Another says that Almenon permitted his guest to depart after ex- 
acting certain conditions of alliance from him. However this 
might be, it is certain that the Castilian sovereign came several 
times at the head of his forces to the assistance of his infidel ally, 
when the latter was threatened by the emirs of Cordova and Se- 
ville. On one of these occasions it is said that Alfonso, having 
invited Almenon to visit him in his camp outside the walls, spoke 
to him in the following terms : " The conditions of our alliance 
having been stipulated when I was in thy power, are null and 
void, but now that I have thee in mine I renew them voluntarily, 
that they may be of full value." 

Gomez, Count of Candespina, p. 187. 

The Count Don Gomez Gonzalez was not surnained de Candes- 
pina until after his death, that name being given to him in allusion 
to the field of battle where he was slain el campo de lasespinas 
the field of thorns. 

Suspected, and not without reason, of having plotted to dethrone 
him, p. 282. 

The conduct of Maria in Toro was not the first instance of her 
disregard for her son's feelings. In the first year of his reign, 
Pedro was attacked by a malady which in a short time increased 
to such a degree as to render his recovery doubtful. The lowei 
ranks, who had already learned to appreciate the many noble qualities 
of this unfortunate youth, grieved much at the prospect of losing 
him, but the nobles and those most nearly allied to him, disputed 

NOTES. 433 

around the bed of their dying sovereign for the inheritance of his 
crown. Some proposed the Infante of Aragon, Ferdinand, Mar- 
quis of Tortosa. the king's cousin, on the ground that his mother, 
Leonor had, during the life of her father, Ferdinand the Summon- 
ed, and before the birth of her brother, the late king, Alfonso XII. 
been twice proclaimed heiress of the crown of Castile. The par- 
tisans of this claimant proposed that he should marry Maria, the 
queen-mother, in order to strengthen his party by the alliance of 
Portugal. For this purpose a dispensation was to be sought. On 
the other hand, Don Alfonso Fernandez Coronel, and Don Garcia 
Lasso de la Vega, were in favor of Don Juan Nunez de Lara, lord 
of Biscay, the son of Don Alfonso de laCerda, and consequently 
the lineal male descendant of King Alfonso the Astrologer. The 
partisans of Don Juan Nunez were also desirous that he should 
marry the queen-mother, and thereby secure her father's support. 
It is evident that Dona Maria took more part in these intrigues 
than well beseemed the mother of tbe sovereign whose speedy re- 
covery, however, disconcerted the plans of the vultures who 
eagerly watched for his last breath to seize the spoils. It can 
cause little surprise that Pedro, with his deep impassioned feelings, 
should have harbored a keen resentment of the conduct of his rela- 
tives a resentment which the continued intrigues of his aunt 
Leonor were too well calculated to keep alive. 

Four years was Don Pedro thus kept a prisoner by his insolent 
vassals, p. 296 

Until the period of his detention in Toro, Don Pedro had shown 
himself impetuous and irritable, but open tn conviction, full of 
truthfulness, knightly honor and magnanimity. But the humilia- 
tions to which he was then subjected effected a great change in his 
temper. He acquired a habit of dissimulation which he found indis- 
pensable to cope with his false kinsmen and traitorous friends, and 
that contempt and hatred for the nobles, which led him to shed 
their blood without scruple or remorse on the slightest orovoca- 

VOL. I. 


434 NOTES. 

Don TeUo, who commanded a body of Aorse, disgraced himself by 
a hasty retreat, p. 303. 

Don Tello, the third son of Dona Leonorde Guzman, waa 
younger than Don Pedro, but, with an old head on his young 
shoulders, was possessed of craftiness, subtleness, and selfishness 
far beyond his years. 

And Enrique fled into Aragon, p. 304. 

After the battle of Najara the prince of Wales ordered that four 
knights and four men-at-arms should reconnoitre the field. When 
they came before him to make their report Edward enquired in bis 
Gascon dialect : " E lo bort, es mort o pres "?" " And the bastard, 
is he killed or taken ?" and they replying that he could be found 
neither alive nor dead, the prince exclaimed, "Non ay res fait !" 
" There is nothing done." 

Men Rodriguez de Sanabria, p. 304. 

When Enrique, count of Trasramara, fled into Asturias to es- 
cape from the anger of the king, which he had provoked by his 
marriage with Juana de Villena, he was accompanied by two of his 
favorite knights, Pedro Carrillo and Men Rodriguez de Sanabria. 
If this last was the same that negotiated with du Guesclin the 
escape of Don Pedro, there is little doubt that he was a party in 
the treason that sold that sovereign to his foes. 

The many good traits that redeem his character from the odium cast 
upon zY, p. 307. 

Among the traits of chivalrous magnanimity that, starlike, stud 
the dark pall spread over the reign of Pedro is the following, taken 
from the pages of Alfonzo Martinez de Toledo, chronicler of 
Juan fl. | lO v 

During the period that the cardinal legate was endeavoring to 
reconcile the kings of Aragon and Castile, Don Pedro was besieg- 
ing Cabezon, a castle that held out for count Enrique. Though 

NOTES. 435 

the garrison numbered but ten men, the peculiar situation of the 
fortress built on perpendicular rocks, precluding the possibility of 
its being attacked with battering engines, joined to its being amply 
provisioned, rendered it capable of holding out for a considerable 
length of time, as it could be reduced but by famine. The ennui 
inevitable to being cooped up in this manner becoming intolerable 
to the ten soldiers accustomed to a roving, active life, probably 
suggested the diabolical proposal made by them to the governor 
which was neither more nor less than that he should give up his 
wife and daughter to divert the tedium of their long leisure hours or 
witness the surrender of the castle. Thus placed between the 
alternative of sacrificing his wife and child or his knightly honour^ 
the governor chose compliance with the insolent demands of his 
refractory soldiers rather than break the oath that bound him to 
maintain at all hazards the castle for his lord. Two of the men- 
at-arms, horrified at the infamous exactions of their comrades, made 
their escape from the castle and were brought into the presence of 
King Pedro, to whom they related what had passed. The king 
immediately sent a message to the governor, offering him, in ex- 
change for the miscreants, ten knights of his own army who should 
bind themselves by a solemn oath to hold the castle, under the 
governor's orders, against the king himself, even unto death, until 
he himself should surrender it. The generous offer having been 
accepted, the ten traitors were by Pedro's orders drawn and quar- 

His justice merged into cruelty, p. 308. 

Don Pedro has been greatly censured for the cruel punishment 
inflicted by his orders in Miranda de Ebro, on two citizens of that 
town, Pero Martinez and Pero Sanchez for theft and rebellion. 
But this king was not the only one who sentenced to such deaths. 
Boiling and burning were punishments in vogue in those days in 
many countries of Europe, and if not very frequent in Spain, they 
were not unusual and had been decreed by princes famed for equity 
and goodness. Ferdinand I. surnamed the Great, and the Saint, 


caused many malefactors in Toledo to be hung, and many to be 
thrown into cauldrons of boiling water. Alfonso the Warrior 
did the same in Avila, and Sancho the Brave, if he did not cause 
it to be done, threatened to do so. The Goths were outdone by 
their Christian successors in cruelty, but these punishments were 
relics of barbarism that gradually disappeared. 

No sooner had Enrique, entered the place than he sent the governor 

and the chancellor of the late King to Seville with orders for their 

immediate execution, p. 307. 

The final execution of these gentlemen was preceded by inor- 
dinate attrocities. Martin Lopez was dragged through all the 
streets of Seville ; his hands and feet were then cut off, and he 
was burned to death. The chancellor, after being subjected to the 
same indignities and mutilation, was decapitated. Dona Leonor, 
the daughter of Don Martin, rose high in the favor of Catherine of 
Lancaster, but lost it through the indiscreet use she made of it. 

Zamora affords another proof of the barbarity of the bastard of 
Trastamara. The governor of this town after the murder of Don 
Pedro, continued to hold it for the children of his late royal master. 
Enrique laid seige to it in person, and having obtained possession 
of the three children of the governor himself, made their lives con- 
ditional on the surrender of the place. But the brave Spaniard 
saw them put to death without offering to save them at the expense 
of his honor. This atrocious barbarity did not accelerate the 
, cession of the town, the inflexible soldier holding out until pesti- 
lence had decimated his garrison and famine was threatening to 
leave none alive in it ; he then made his escape by night into Por- 
tugal, carrying the keys with him. Several towns and castles 
preferred submitting to Aragon rather than to Enrique. The 
message of the Alcayde of Canete to the King of Aragon, purporting 
his determination to give up the place to Moors or Jews rather 
than to Enrique, is characteristic of the little love many bore the 

NOTES. 437 

Speaking of the final capitulation of Zamora after tbe departure 
of its governor, tbe old chronicler Pero Nino says : "-diose al Rey 
a pleijtetia, e si el Rey ge la tovo non es mio de escrebir. making 
Enrique's observance of its articles somewhat doubtful. 



University of California 


405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388 

Return this material to the library 

from which it was borrowed. 



^ , * />> ^^ 

^aiMN,13\\ N