John II of Aragon

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Biography

A Sicilian-Athenian-Neopatrian carlino of John II. Carlino Giovanni II.jpg
A Sicilian–Athenian–Neopatrian carlino of John II.

John was born at Medina del Campo (in the Crown of Castile). In his youth he was one of the infantes (princes) of Aragon who took part in the dissensions of Castile during the minority and reign of John II. Till middle life he was also lieutenant-general in Aragon for his brother and predecessor Alfonso V, whose reign was mainly spent in Italy. In his old age he was engaged in incessant conflicts with his Aragonese and Catalan subjects, with Louis XI of France, and in preparing the way for the marriage of his son Ferdinand with Isabella I of Castile which brought about the union of the crowns of Aragon and Castile and which was to create the Kingdom of Spain. His troubles with his subjects were closely connected with tragic dissensions within his own family.

John was first married to Blanche I of Navarre of the house of Évreux. By right of Blanche he became king of Navarre, and on her death in 1441 he was left in possession of the kingdom for his lifetime. But one son, Charles, given the title "Prince of Viana" as heir of Navarre, had been born of the marriage. John quickly came to regard this son with jealousy. After his second marriage, to Juana Enríquez, it grew into absolute hatred, being encouraged by Juana. John tried to deprive his son of his constitutional right to act as lieutenant-general of Aragon during his father's absence. Charles's cause was taken up by the Aragonese, however, and the king's attempt to make his second wife lieutenant-general was set aside.

There followed the long Navarrese Civil War, with alternations of success and defeat, ending only with the death of the prince of Viana, perhaps by poison administered by his stepmother in 1461. The Catalans, who had adopted the cause of Charles and who had grievances of their own, called in a succession of foreign pretenders in a War against John II. His last years John spent contending with these. He was forced to pawn Roussillon, his possession on the north-east of the Pyrenees, to King Louis XI of France, who refused to part with it.

In his old age John was blinded by cataracts, but recovered his eyesight by the operation of couching conducted by his physician Abiathar Crescas, a Jew. The Catalan revolt was pacified in 1472, but John carried on a war, in which he was generally unfortunate, with his neighbor the French king till his death in 1479. He was succeeded by Ferdinand, his son by his second marriage, who was already married to Isabella I of Castile. With his death and son's accession to the throne of Aragon, the unification of Spain under one royal house began in earnest.

Marriages and issue

From his first marriage to Blanche of Navarre, John had the following children:

A ducat with John II's effigy Ducado aragones Juan II de Aragon (1453).jpg
A ducat with John II's effigy

From his second marriage to Juana Enríquez, John had the following children:

Illegitimate children:

Ancestors

Related Research Articles

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References

  1. Ruiz 2007, p. ?.
  2. Woodacre 2013, p. 91.
  3. Earenfight 2015, p. 143.
  4. 1 2 Merriman 1918, p. 61.
  5. de Sousa, Antonio Caetano (1735). Historia genealogica da casa real portugueza [Genealogical History of the Royal House of Portugal] (in Portuguese). 2. Lisboa Occidental. p. 497.

Sources

John II of Aragon
Born: 29 June 1397 Died: 20 January 1479
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Alfonso the Magnanimous
King of Aragon, Valencia, Majorca,
Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica;
Count of Barcelona

1458–1479
Succeeded by
Ferdinand the Catholic
Count of Roussillon and Cerdagne
1458–1462
Succeeded by
Louis the Prudent
Preceded by
Charles III
King of Navarre (jure uxoris)
1425–1441
with Blanche I
Succeeded by
Charles IV de jure
King of Navarre de facto
withholding the crown from
Charles IV and Blanche II

1441–1479
Succeeded by
Eleanor
Spanish nobility
Vacant
Title last held by
Martin of Aragon
Duke of Montblanc
1415–1458
Succeeded by
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Preceded by
James II of Urgell
Lord of Balaguer
1418–1458
Preceded by
Hugh of Cardona
Duke of Gandia
1433–1439
Succeeded by
Charles of Viana