« ZurückWeiter »
As Alvaro de Lara and his intriguing partisans yielded but a precarious obedience to their new master, the king resolved to reduce them by force, and, accordingly, raised an army which soon effected his purpose. Alvaro was taken prisoner, through his own imprudence, but he recovered his liberty by surrendering some places which were still in the hands of his dependents.” He afterwards retired to Leon, and prevailed on the king of that country to invade his son's territories; but Alphonso abandoned the project at the earnest solicitation of some ecclesiastics, and the disappointed Alvaro died, soon after, of a broken heart. A. D.
Whilst the archbishop of Toledo 1219.
was employed in assembling a nu
merous army against the infidels, Donna Berengara negociated a match between her son, and the princess Beatrix, daughter to the deceased emperor of Germany; and the marriage was solemnized, amidst general acclamations, in the cathedral of Burgos. About the same time the knights of St. Julian took possession of Alcantara, and received a grant of all places which they could wrest from the Moors, to be held as fiefs from the crown of Leon.
The archbishop of Toledo had the mortification to lose ten thousand men in a fruitless át. tempt upon the fortress of Requena; but the affairs of the enemy were in evident confusion, and the petty principalities which began to multiply among them, paved the way to their destruction.
The year 1221 was marked by the conjugal union of James, king of Arragon, with Donna Eleonora, aunt to the Castilian monarch; the
marriage of the infant Don Alphonso with the daughter of Gonçalez de Molina; the birth of an heir apparent to the crown of Castile; and the suppression of a rebellion in Galicia. In the ensuing year the king of Leon founded an university at Salamanca; Don Ferdinand gained some advantages over the infidels; and John de Brienne, king of Jerusalem, visited the Spanish court at Burgos, and there espoused Donna Berengara, the king's sister. · Having received the homage of Aben Mohammed, ar.d prevailed on him to surrender the castle of Baeza and the fortresses of Bergamilar, Salvatierra, and Capilla, Ferdinand ordered the grand master of the order of Calatrava to take possession of the former, with a competent garrison, and Bergamilar and Salvatierra were evacuated without dispute : but the infidels positively refused to obey their master's orders relative to Capilla; and Mohammed was cruelly murdered on suspicion of holding a secret correspondence with the Christians. This circunrstance was no sooner made public, than the inhabitants of Baeza took up arms against the new garrison, and the besiegers of Capilla were repulsed with extraordinary gallantry; but, at the expiration of four months, the infidels were totally defeated, and Capilla was taken by assault. This conquest was soon followed by another at Baeza, which was deemed remarkable, as being gained on the feast of St. Andrew, to whom its church was anciently dedicated.
Early in the ensuing spring, Ferdinand laid the first stone of a new cathedral at Toledo, which is the magnificent structure noticed by modern travellers. In the course of the same
year the marriage of the king and queen of Ara ragon was annulled by a papal decree; and the king of Leon, having led a numerous army into Estramadura, made himself master of Caceres, which had hitherto resisted all the attempts of himself and his predecessors. In the following year that monarch added the fortress of Merida to his important acquisitions, and obtained a decisive victory over a Moorish army of eighty thousand men ; but, whilst he was travelling to Compostella in order to offer up a solemu thanksgiving for his success, he was seized with a fit of illness which put a period to his life, in the forty-second year of his reign. He appears to have been a prince of great mildness, piety, and justice. He was an excellent husband, though unfortunate in both his marriages; and he was generally beloved by his subjects, though the inconstancy of his temper frequently exposed him to inconveniencies.
As by the will of the deceased monarch, the infantas, Sancha and Dulcia, whom he had by Theresa of Portugal, were declared co-heiresses. of his dominions; and as the states had solemnly sworn to the succession of Ferdinand, great disputes arose among the nobility, and Leon was threatened with all the calamities of a civil war: but, on the voluntary resignation of the princesses in favour of Ferdinand, the public anxiety was tranquillized, and the conjunction of the two kingdoms under the Castilian monarch was deemed equally glorious to the sovereign and advantageous to the people. A.D.
As soon as the settlement of the king
dom of Leon was completed, Don 1231.
Ferdinand concluded a treaty of alli
ance with the king of Portugal; quelled a dangerous insurrection in Galicia ; and granted several Moorish conquests to the archiepiscopal see of Toledo. His brother, Alphonso, also ravaged the territories of Seville and Cordova, and gained a glorious victory over a numerous army of infidels with the loss of only one of his soldiers.
Next year Don Ferdinand took the field in person, and added the cities of Truxillo, Montial, and Ubeda to his former conquests; but the loss of his beloved queen, Beatrix, threw a heavy cloud over his triumph, and retarded the execution of his other military designs. At the expiration of a few months, however, his attention was roused by a proposal for the reduction of Cordova, and he entered so zealously into the scheme, that he soon found himself in possession of that important city.
Though the deceased queen had left behind her six sons, it was deemed advisable for the king to enter again into the conjugal life; and a marriage was, accordingly, negociated between him and the lady Jane, daughter to the count de Ponthieu, who had acquired an extraordinary reputation by the suavity of her temper and the purity of her morals. The solemnization of this marriage, and the renewal of a league with the king of Navarre, took up the greatest part of the year, and precluded the possibility of any important expedition against the infidels.
The great addition 'which had been made to his dominions, in the space
1240. a few years, obliged the king to act with caution in his future expeditions ; and induced him to preserve a regular line of fortifications, VOL. XV. T
rather than to extend his authority over such places as he might eventually be forced to evacu
For this reason he promised lands, ima munities, and various other advantages, to all persons who would settle in the towns and villages situated on his intended boundary, and he had the satisfaction of seeing his proposals embraced with avidity. About the same time the king of Murcia implored the protection of the Castilian monarch ; and in the ensuing year the king of Granada consented to kiss his hand, in token of homage, to surrender the city of Jaen, to pay an annual tribute of fifty thousand pieces of gold, and to serve in his army, with a corps of auxiliaries, whenever it should be required, on, condition that Ferdinand should afford him protection against his enemies, and guarantee his present possessions.
Having obtained the pope's permission for levying the third of the tenths of all his ecclesiastics for the prosecution of the war, and having caused a fleet to be built and equipped under the direction of one of his ablest officers, Ferdinand resolved to make an attempt on the important city of Seville. Accordingly he blocked it up both by sea and land, notwithstanding the furious opposition of the Moors, and continued the siege with such vigor and resolution for several months, that the inhabitants were, at length, compelled to capitulate. The king made his public entry into this new conquest on the twentythird of November 1248, and the remainder of the year was spent in.purifying the churches and re-peopling the city, which was totally evacu. ated by the infidels. Notwithstanding the long series of fatigues