« ZurückWeiter »
versation, majestic in deportment, and passiona ately addicted to the study of literature. He augmented several privileges which had been granted to the university of Salamanca; directed a general collection of the laws, made by himself and his predecessors, to be digested under proper titles, for the benefit of his suba jects ; caused a general history of Spain to be compiled in the Castilian language; and wrote some treatises, with his own hand, upon the subjects of rational philosophy, ethics, and astrology. A. D.
The commencement of Don Sancho's 1284.
reign was marked by an invasion of the
Moors, and some other public disturbances : but as the new king was known to punish with great severity and to reward with equal generosity, his domestic troubles, were soon suppressed; and such active measures were taken against the enemy, that their king Aben Joseph was compelled to conclude a peace upon. very disadvantageous terms.
Early in the ensuing year, Sancho sent for his young son Ferdinand (whom he had by Donna Maria, the daughter of his great uncle) to be solemnly acknowledged heir apparent to the throne of Castile and Leon. About the same time, he took an opportunity of regulating the affairs of Galicia; and of enacting several new laws, with the approbation of an assembly of the states, which had been convened, by his orders, in the city of Palencia.
As the king's marriage with Donna Maria had excited the anger of the pope, and as the kingdom of Castile had been long distracted by factions, so the intrigues that now broke out
among the courtiers were attended with very fatal consequences. Don Lopez de Haro made so ill an use of his accumulated titles, posts, and revenues, that he became odious to the majority of the people ; Alvaro de Lara retired into Portugal, for the express purpose of raising forces against his sovereign; and the infants Don Juan and Alonso de la Cerda took every opportunity of ravaging the Castilian dominions. These circumstances involved the king in great perplexity: yet he supported himself with extraordinary firmness, and his exertions were crowned with considerable success, till, at length, he had the satisfaction to witness the death of Lopez de Haro, the arrest of Don Juan, and the defeat of Alonso de la Cerda.
Early in the spring of 1290, the kings of France and Castile had an interview at Bayonne, where it was agreed that the infants de la Cerda should possess the kingdom of Murcia, on condition of doing homage for it to the king of Castile ; that Philip should use his interest with
for the confirmation of Sancho's marriage; and that both princes should make war upon the king of Arragon, who had assisted the malecontents in the late disturbances. However, on the accession of James to the throne of Arragon, the ancient treaty between the kingdoms was renewed ; a new treaty was con. cluded with the king of Granada; and the troops of Aben Joseph were defeated with prodigious loss both by sea and land. Notwithstanding the unmerited cle
A. D. mency which the infant Don Juan had
1293. received from the king, he soon entered into fresh intrigues, and actually offered to assist
Aben Joseph in the reduction of Teresa, which his brother had lately wrested from the infidelsa His proposal was cheerfully accepted, and, with the assistance of five thousand Moorish cavalry and a suitable number of infantry, he formed the siege of Teresa. Upon this occasion he committed an act of unmanly cruelty which has stamped eternal infamy upon his name; for, on hearing that the governor of the city had a little son at nurse in a neighbouring village, he contrived to get the child into his possession, and publicly threatened to cut his throat, unless the place was immediately surrendered. This base declaration occasioning much disturbance among the garrison, Alonso Perez de Guzman came upon
the walls, and heard Don Juan repeat his threats. Don Alonso immediately drew his sword and threw it to the infant, saying, “ If you, who are a prince by birth, and a Christian by education, dare to perpetrate so execrable a crime, know that I dare both to keep the town and to furnish you with a weapon.” This spirited address excited the admiration of all the troops, both Moors and Christians; but it had no effect upon the obdurate Don Juan: for he immedi. ately took up the sword, and sacrificed the helpless babe to his blind vengeance. The length of the siege gave the king an opportunity of marching to its relief; upon which the Moors returned to Morocco, and Don Juan took refuge with the king of Granada. A. D.
The king, Don Sancho, finding that
his health declined rapidly, resolved to 1294.
take the speediest method of arranging his concerns, previously to his expected dissolution. Accordingly he convened several of his
nobles and prelates, and made a will, by which he appointed the queen, regent and tutoress of the infant Don Ferdinand, to whom all who were present took an oath of fidelity. He afterwards removed to Toledo, where he died in the eleventh year of his reign, leaving behind him three sons, Ferdinand, Pedro, and Philip; and two daughters, Elizabeth and Beatrix. Ferdinand IV. was solemnly inau
A.D. gurated in the cathedral church of To
1295. ledo, immediately after the performance of his father's obsequies ; and Donna Maria, the queen dowager, assumed the regency during his minority: but, though every possible precaution was taken for the preservation of tranquillity, the court was soon involved in perplexities, and the minds of the populace were considerably agitated by the pretensions of Don Juan and Alonso de la Cerda to the Castilian diadem ; the rebellion of several powerful lords; a formidable invasion conducted by the kings of Arragon, France, Portugal, and Granada ; and the loud demands of Henry, uncle to the deceased king, for the regency.
In this alarming posture of affairs, the queen resolved to make every reasonable concession, and actually resigned the government of the kingdom to Don Henry, on condition of her retaining the care of her son's
person and edu. cation. She also persuaded Don Juan to lay aside his ill-founded pretensions, and lured the disaffected nobles back to their allegiance.
The national prospect was now tolerably serene, as the queen had restored tranquillity among the Castilians, and the numerous armies of invaders had achieved nothing of import
ance: but fresh disorders were soon excited by a restless faction; Don Juan, with his intriguing adherents, again renounced their allegiance; the ungrateful rebel was proclaimed king at Leon, whilst a similar ceremony was performed for Alonso de Cerda at Sahagun; Taufa was invested by the king of Granada; and all things seemed to conspire against the existence of the present Castilian government. At length, how. ever, the Moors were compelled to retire into their own dominions; an amicable treaty was concluded between Ferdinand and the king of Portugal; and the attention of the Castilian's was agreeably engaged by a treaty of marriage between king Ferdinand and the infanta, Donna Constantia, of Portugal, and between Alphorso, prince of Portugal, and the infanta Donna Beatrix, of Castile.
Conscious of his inability to wrest A.D.
the sceptre from Ferdinand's hands, 1300.
and vexed at the ill success of the confederates, Don Juan renounced his empty title of “ King of Leon and Galicia,” and swore to the established succession in an assembly of the states. But he still kept up a private corréspondence with the king of Arragon, and cari ried on his intrigues with such indefatigable perseverance, that he even beguiled the young monarch, and persuaded him to leave his mother. Ferdinand, however, soon perceived the impropriety of his conduct, and his seducer's scheme was happily rendered abortive.
Shortly after this occurrence, Ferdinand so. lemnized his marriage with the infanta of Pori tugal; and the infant Don Henry died without issue, after rendering himself obnoxious to the