Aragon, 1479-1516

During the last years of his reign, King John II. had to fight off the claim for the crown of Duke Jean of Lorraine who in 1467 came with an armed force to Catalonia; King Louis XI, of France used the Aragonese War to occupy Roussillon and Cerdagna. The troubles in Navarra proved another distraction. Aragon's heir apparent, Ferdinand, in 1469 went to Castile and married Castilian heir apparent, Isabel. In 1474 Isabel succeeded to the crown of Castile, having to fend off a claim of Portuhal's King on behalf of his wife (1474-1476; peace concluded 1479). In 1479, Ferdinand inherited the crown of Aragon; the union of Castile and Aragon helped Ferdinand establish his authority over Aragon (with Catalonia, Valencia).
Isabel and Ferdinand ruled their kingdoms together; legally, both kingdoms, however, remained separate entities. In 1503-1504 Ferdinand conquered Naples for Aragon.
In 1504 Queen Isabel died, and King Ferdinand returned to Aragon, only to be recalled to Castile in 1506, because of the madness of his daughter Juana. Ferdinand was appointed Regent of Castile. Castile-Aragon fought two more wars, the War of the League of Cambrai against Venice 1508-1509, and in the War of the Holy League against France 1510-1516, the latter partially being fought on the French-Aragonese border.
Ferdinand seems not to have intended the Castilian-Aragonese union to last, for he married again. As his marriage to Germaine de Foix remained childless, on his death in 1516, Charles of Habsburg inherited Aragon and was appointed Regent of Castile; he is regarded the first King of Spain. During the 15th century, Castile went through troublesome years, involving competition among claimants for the crown often dividing the country into hostile factions and at times resulting in civil war. Aragon often interfered in these troubles.
In the 1460es, it was King ENRIQUE IV., without sons, and his chosen heiress, young ISABELLA OF CASTILE, who competed for the domination of the Kingdom of Castile. King Enrique arranged Isabella to be married to a crony of his, a marriage Isabel resented. She selected FERDINAND, heir of Aragon, instead, who in 1469 entered the country incognito and secretly married his bride. Enrique now disinherited Isabella and chose Juana, alleged to be an illegitimate daughter of his wife, heiress. She was promised to King Alfonso V. of Portugal.

Fernando, Los Reyes Catolicos, from ArteHistoria, in Spanish
Juan II. Union of Aragon with Castile, from A History of Aragon and Catalonia by H.J. Chaytor
Ferdinand II. of Aragon, from Wikipedia
Titles of European Rulers : Aragon
REFERENCE Teofilo F. Ruiz, Spanish Society 1400-1600, Harlow : Pearson Education 2001, KMLA Lib.Sign. 306.0946 R934s

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 9th 2004

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