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of Cæsar, which had been hitherto used, should be laid aside for that of Christ.
Upon the twenty-second of October, 1383, Portugal was involved in confusion by the death of Ferdinand, and Don Juan determined to assert his right to the crown by force of arms: but, after several sanguinary conflicts, he was obliged to abandon his enterprise, and his own dominions were, soon afterwards, invaded by John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster. This invader, however, consented to withdraw his pretensions, on condition that the infant Don Henry should espouse one of the duke's daughters; that six hundred thousand pieces of gold should be paid for the expences of the war; that the duchess of Lancaster should receive forty thousand franks per annum; and that the heir apparent to the crown of Castile should bear the title of « Prince of Asturias.” Shortly after the cessation of hos
A.D. tilities, Juan erected -a new order of
1390. knighthood, which he styled that of the
Holy Ghost.” He also exerted himself successfully to obtain the dismissal of some Christians of distinction from the city of Morocco ; and had the satisfaction of receiving their grateful acknowledgments, on the road to Burgos: but, whilst he was attending, with great delight, to some equestrian exercises, he was unfortunately thrown by his own horse, and crushed to death. Such was the unfortunate end of a monarch who was universally celebrated for his justice and munificence, and who, upon one occasion, offered to resign his crown, under the idea that his people were not sufficiently happy in his administration.
year of his
Henry III. had scarcely entered the eleventh
when he succeeded his father on the throne of Castile. The treasury was, at this time, burthened with the maintenance of six princesses, besides the children of Pedro the. Cruel; and the intrigues of the duke de Benavente were extremely perplexing to the regency. Henry, therefore, resolved to assume the management of affairs, and, in the thirteenth year of his age, espoused the princess Catherine of Lancaster, pursuant to the will of his deceased parent. He then endeavoured to make some retrenchments in the splendid establishments of the royal family, and, though this measure excited great disturbances, he carried his point, and compelled the rebellious princes and nobles to submit to his authority. He also renewed the truce which Don Juan had concluded with the king of Granada; and effectually suppressed some factions which had disturbed the public tranquillity of Murcia. A.D.
In consequence of the surprisal of Ba1403.
dajos, and a hostile attempt upon Albu.
querque, Don Henry resolved to make war upon Portugal, and made some great pre. parations, for that purpose, both by land and sea: in the course of a few months, however, he was prevailed on to conclude a truce for ten years, and turned his arms against the corsairs of Barbary, who had long given great annoy. ance to the Castilians. In the summer of 1401 the king received an embassy from Tamerlane the Great; and in the following year, his brother, Don Ferdinand, instituted a new order of knighthood, which he called de la Jarra, because the device was a jar, or flower-pot, filled with lilies.
In the spring of 1404, the king convened an assembly of the states at Madrid, and caused some new laws to be enacted for moderating the exorbitant usury which had been hitherto taken by the Jews; and for obliging the concubines of priests to wear a mark of distinction upon their head dress. In the course of this year he built the royal palace of Madrid, which was afterwards destroyed by fire; the alcazal of Murcia; and the pleasant country villa called Pardo.
Whilst Henry was employed in adorning and providing for the security of his dominions, the Moors seemed disposed to renew hostilities, and, after some time, the king of Granada laid siege to Guezada with an army of four thousand horse, and twenty-five thousand foot. The invader, however, was repulsed with considerable loss, and Don Henry began to entertain a hope of subverting the Moorish kingdom; but whilst he was projecting a scheme for the extirpation of the infidels, he died of a slow poison which had been either ignorantly or maliciously adminis*tered by a Jewish physician. His funeral obsequies were performed with the utmost solemnity, and the generality of his subjects deplored him, with tears of real distress, as one of the best and most indulgent princes that had ever swayed the Castilian sceptre.
Don Juan II. was but fourteen months old at the time of his father's death, but he found a sincere friend in the person of his uncle l'erdinand, who indignantly rejected some base insinuations of the nobles, and avowed his intention of supporting the interests of the young sovereign to the utmost of his ability. VOL. XV.
The Moors hoped to have taken advantage of the king's minority, and exerted themselves so vigorously that they brought an army of eighty thousand combatants into the field: but Ferdinand repulsed them with great success, and the come bined squadrons of Tunis and Tremecen were utterly defeated by the Castilians. The king of Granada, however, continued to levy freska forces, and resolved to attempt the reduction of Alcaudeta; but his army was soon compelled to raise the siege, and he solicited a truce for eight months, which was readily granted, and afterwards extended at the request of his such cessor.
Toward the close of the year 1412, Don Ferdinand was elected to fill the throne of Arragon, and immediately repaired to Saragossa, where the ceremony of his coronation was performed with due solemnity. He met, indeed, with a formidable opposition from the count de Urgel: but, by the assistance of some Castilian forces, he humbled his competitor's ambition, and established himself firmly in his new dominions However, he did not long enjoy his new dignity; for he died on the second of April, 1416, leaving the crown to his son Alphonso. By the demise of this amiable prince the regency of Castile des volved solely upon the queen dowager, who made choice of a council to assist her in the ad. ministration, and continued to instruct her son in the best manner that was possible amidst the cabals by which he was surrounded This princess died on the first of June 1418, and her son, though only in his twelfth year, was proclaimed of full age, and married to Donna Maria, daughter of the king of Arragon.
Shortly after he had assumed the
A.D. vernment, the king fell into the hands
1419, of his cousin, Henry of Arragon, who, on pretence of providing for his safety, detained him prisoner at Tordesillas, till he was liberated by Don Alvarez de Luna, constable of Castile, who, afterwards, became his particular favourite and adviser. * The behaviour of Don Henry on this occasion inspired the king with the utmost rage, and induced him to throw the offender into confinement; the infant Don Juan was also compelled to disband his troops; and the misunderstanding rose so high between the crowns of Castile and Arragon, that military preparations were made on both sides. The commencement of hostilities, however, was delayed; and a treaty was at length concluded, by which Don Henry was to be set ac liberty, and restored to his possessions, and the circumstance of his imprisonment was to be forgiven by the king of Arragon.
Scarcely had the two monarchs executed this treaty, before the Castilian nobles began to cla. mour against Alvaro de Luna; and carried their accusations to such a pitch, that the king was obliged to banish his favorite from court: yet the turbulent lords were dissatisfied, and, after several violent disputes, the constable was recalled by a majority of voices. This occurrence was followed by a sanguinary war between the crowns of Castile and Arragon, and some formidable exertions of the Castilian malecontents : but the king, Don Juan, was generally victori. ous, and eventually obtained a peace upon honourable terms.