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he prudently compromised his own difference with the king of Navarre, by which means he obtained the promise of speedy and zealous assistance against the Moors. Having taken these precautions, and bestowed the order of knighthood on the infant, Don Ferdinand, he advanced, at the head of a numerous army, to Alcala, and overran the greatest part of the kingdom of Murcia, till the extreme heat of the season compelled him to retire. However, his triumph on this occasion was soon converted into mourning: for Mohammed, king of Morocco, having passed the Sierra Morena, made himself master of Salvatierra after an obstinate resistance; and the infant, Don Ferdinand, being over-fatigued by the campaign, fell ill of a fever, and breathed his last, soon after his return to Madrid.
As it appeared that the king of Morocco had actually assembled his whole force with an intention to destroy the kingdom of Castile, Alphonso resolved to have recourse to a crusade for the defence of himself and his Christian brethren. Accordingly he sent the bishop of Segovia
to Rome, and some other eminent prelates into France, to facilitate his design, whilst himself contrived to fix the kings of Arragon and Navarre in his interest. These exertions were crowned with complete success: for the pope readily sanctioned the undertaking; prodigious multitudes enlisted under the holy banners in France, Italy, and Germany; the grand rendezvous of the confederates was appointed at Toledo about the month of May; and on the sixteenth of July a battle was fought in the vicinage of Toloso,, which terminated in the utter defeat of S 3
the miramolin, and the loss of two hundred thousand of his bravest followers. The Chris. tians, whose loss was remarkably trivial, pursued the fugitives till the approach of night, and then took possession of the enemy's camp), while the Spanish bishops performed a solemn te deum, and the greatest part of the spoil was cheerfully relinquished by the Castilians to their foreign auxiliaries. Thirty-five thousand horses are lid to have fallen into the hands of the victors on this memorable occasion ; and the quantity of arrows, spears, and javelins found upon the field of battle was so prodigious, that they served the confederates for two days, as fuel for dressing their provisions, though, during that time, they burnt nothing else. A.D.
After the conquerors had devoted 1212.
about three days to repose and refresh ment, they resumed their
and ravaged all the country as far as Baeza. They then proceeded to Ubeda, which they determined to reduce either by famine or assault; but, as the inhabitants defended themselves with astonishing bravery, and the fortifications were of extraordinary strength, they thought proper to raise the siege, and to repass the Sierra Morena. On their arrival at Calatrava, the king of Arragon bade adieu to the confederates, and returned to his own dominions: the king of Castile, accompanied by Sanchez of Navarre, returned in triunph to Toledo; and an annual festival, called the “ Triumph of the Holy Cross,” was. instituted to commemorate the great event which, in a great measure, determined the fate of the infidels in Spain. Whilst Alphonso was engaged in this import
ant war, the king of Leon had recovered all the places that had been conquered by the Castilians, However, his cousin was so far from revenging these acts of hostility, that he generously yield. ed all pretensions to the objects of former disa pute, and assured his royal kinsman of a perpetual and unfeigned friendship. About this time, the infant, Don Pedro, of Portugal, fled from the malice of his brother to the mira. molin; and that monarch retired, soon afterwards, to his African dominions, where he passa ed the remainder of his life in sorrow and vexation.
Alphonso took the field again as soon as he had arranged his affairs; reduced Duegnos and some other places at the foot of the Sierra Mo. rena; effected the reduction of Alcaros after an obstinate resistance, and returned in triumph to St. Torcaz.
In the course of the next year, the king of Leon, with the assistance of some Castilian cavalry, made himself master of Alcantara, and threatened some other places with reduction: but the excessive heat of the weather delayed the execution of his designs, and obliged him to put his troops into quarters for refreshments Soon after his return from this campaign he was deeply afflicted by the death of his heir apparent, the infant Ferdinand, whom he had by Theresa of Portugal; and this melancholy circumstance incapacitated him for some time from resuming the war.
The king of Castile being extremely solicitous for the welfare of his cousin, and supposing that he did not perceive the great advantages which might result from his entering zealously into the
war against the infidels, invited him to a friend. ly conference at Placentia: but before he him. self arrived at that place, he was attacked by a malignant fever, which terminated his life on the sixth of August, after he had swayed the sceptre for about fifty-five years. A.D.
Don Henry succeeded his father, in 1214.
the eleventh year of his age, under the
protection of the queen dowager; but, as she followed her consort to the grave in about two months, the regency devolved upon the queen, Berengara, in pursuance of the late monarch’s will, and with the general approbation of the nation. A powerful faction, however, was soon formed by the counts of Lara and some other nobles, and the regent was eventually persuaded to resign her office, and to leave the election of another candidate to a general assembly of the states. Hereupon Don Alvaro de Lara was chosen regent under several restrictions, and the young king was committed to his care. But no sooner was the assembly dissolved than Alvaro began to exercise unlimited authority, and to govern with a rod of iron. This conduct exasperated the people in all parts of the kingdom; the ecclesiastics thundered out excommunication against the wretch who presumed to trample on their liberties and to seize their revenues; the queen, Berengara, with some of the prime nobility, retired, in disgust, to the fortress of Autillo; and all things seemed has, tening to a general insurrection.
To avoid the impending calamities, or to turn them upon the head of his opponents, was the anxious wish of Alvaro, and with this design he put a Castilian gentleman to death, on pretence
that he had been employed by Berengara to poison the king. This artifice failed of its intended effect; and, though the regent confirmed his assertion by a letter from the queen, the populace accused him of forgery, and compelled him to raise a body of forces for his personal de. fence. Hereupon he levied a numerous army at Valladolid; summoned Berengara and her partisans to surrender all the places they held, upon pain of being treated as rebels; and proposed a marriage between his royal pupil and the infantą of Leon, in order to preclude the interposition of that court on behalf of the queen. However, whilst Alvaro took these precautions against his adversaries, and a civil war was expected by most of the Castilians, the young king was accidentally killed, by the fall of a tile, in the third year of his reign; and the aspect of affairs was consequently changed. Upon the first intelligence of this
A.D, event, Donna Berengara sent for her
1217. son, Ferdinand, from the court of Leon, and convened an assembly of the states at Valładolid, where she was solemnly acknowledged queen of the Two Castiles. She then made a solemn resignation of her crown to the infant Don Ferdinand, and caused him to be inaugurated, in the cathedral, amidst the universal acclamations of the people. As this step was taken without the knowledge of the king of Leon, that monarch felt himself offended, and actually marched into Castile, in order to revenge the affront which had been put upon his dignity: but he was soon convinced of the impropriety of his behaviour, and returned peaceably to his own dominions.