Alfonso III of Aragon

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Alfonso III
Jaume Mateu - Alfons III the Liberal - Google Art Project.jpg
King of Aragon, Valencia and Count of Barcelona
Reign1285–1291 [1]
Coronation 2 February 1286 (Valencia)
9 April 1286 (Zaragoza)
Predecessor Peter III
Successor James II
Born4 November 1265
Died18 June 1291 (aged 25)
Barcelona Cathedral; prev. Convent de San Francisco, Barcelona
House House of Barcelona
Father Peter III of Aragon
Mother Constance II of Sicily
Religion Roman Catholicism
His grave Barcelona Cathedral Interior - Royal tombs in the Cathedral of Barcelona - The Kings.jpg
His grave

Alfonso III (4 November 1265, in Valencia 18 June 1291), called the Liberal (el Liberal) or the Free (also "the Frank," from el Franc), was the King of Aragon, King of Valencia, Count of Roussillon, Count of Sardinia and Count of Barcelona (as Alfons II) from 1285. He conquered the Kingdom of Majorca between his succession and 1287.

He was a son of King Peter III of Aragon and Constance, daughter and heiress of King Manfred of Sicily.

Soon after assuming the throne, he conducted a campaign to reincorporate the Balearic Islands into the Kingdom of Aragon – which had been lost due to the division of the kingdom by his grandfather, James I of Aragon. Thus in 1285 he declared war on his uncle, James II of Majorca, and conquered both Majorca (1285) and Ibiza (1286), effectively reassuming suzerainty over the Kingdom of Majorca. He followed this with the conquest of Menorca – until then, an autonomous Muslim state (Manûrqa) within the Kingdom of Majorca – on 17 January 1287, the anniversary of which now serves as Menorca's national holiday.

He initially sought to maintain Aragonese control over Sicily early in his reign by supporting the claims to the island of his brother, James II of Aragon. However, he later retracted the support for his brother shortly before his death and instead tried to make peace with the Papal States France. [1]

His reign was marred by a constitutional struggle with the Aragonese nobles, which eventually culminated in the articles of the Union of Aragon – the so-called "Magna Carta of Aragon", which devolved several key royal powers into the hands of lesser nobles. His inability to resist the demands of his nobles was to leave a heritage of disunity in Aragon and further dissent amongst the nobility, who increasingly saw little reason to respect the throne, and brought the Kingdom of Aragon close to anarchy.

During his lifetime a dynastic marriage with Eleanor, daughter of King Edward I of England, was arranged. However Alfonso died before meeting his bride. He died at the age of 25 in 1291, and was buried in the Franciscan convent in Barcelona; since 1852 his remains have been buried in Barcelona Cathedral. [2] [3] [4]

Dante Alighieri, in the Divine Comedy, recounts that he saw Alfonso's spirit seated outside the gates of Purgatory with the other monarchs whom Dante blamed for the chaotic political state of Europe during the 13th century. [5]

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  1. 1 2 Jones, Michael (2000). McKitterick, Rosamond (ed.). The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 6, C.1300-c.1415. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 595. ISBN   978-0521362900.
  2. Reuter, Timothy (1995). The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 6, C.1300-c.1415. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   9780521362900.
  3. Pedro IV, King of Aragon, 1319?-1387. (1991). The chronicle of San Juan de la Peña : a fourteenth-century official history of the crown of Aragon. Nelson, Lynn H. (Lynn Harry), 1931-. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN   081223068X. OCLC   23179912.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. O'Callaghan, Joseph F. (1975). A history of medieval Spain. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN   0801408806. OCLC   1272494.
  5. Alighieri, Dante (1308–1321). Purgatorio. pp. 115f. ISBN   1786648113. OCLC   1015805722.
Alfonso III of Aragon
Born: c. 1265 Died: 18 June 1291
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Aragon and Valencia
Count of Barcelona

Succeeded by
Preceded by King of Majorca
disputed with James the Prudent