John I of Castile

John I of Castile

John I (August 24, 1358 – October 9, 1390) (in Spanish: Juan I) was the king of Castile, was the son of Henry II and of his wife Juana Manuel of Castile, daughter of Juan Manuel, Duke of Penafiel, head of a younger branch of the royal house of Castile.

His first marriage, with Eleanor of Aragon on June 18th, 1375, produced most of his issue, including the future Kings Henry III of Castile and Ferdinand I of Aragon.

He ransomed Leon VI of Armenia from the Mamluks and out of pity granted him the lifetime lordship of Madrid, Villa Real and Andújar in 1383 ["Un Madrid insólito: Guía para dejarse sorprender", pg. 39-40. Jesús Callejo. Editorial Complutense, 2001. ISBN 84-7491-630-5. The book however talks about Leon V of Armenia.] .

He had engaged in hostilities with Portugal. His first quarrel with Portugal was settled by his marriage, in 1382, with Beatrice of Portugal, daughter of King Ferdinand I of Portugal. On the death of his father-in-law in 1383, John endeavoured to enforce the claims of his wife, Ferdinand's only child, to the crown of Portugal. The 1383-1385 Crisis, a period of civil unrest and anarchy in Portugal, followed. He was resisted by the national sentiment of the Portuguese people, and was utterly defeated at the battle of Aljubarrota, on August 14, 1385.

He also had to contend with the hostility of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, who claimed the crown by right of his wife Constance, the eldest daughter of Pedro of Castile. The king of Castile finally bought off the claim of his English competitor by arranging a marriage between his son Henry and Catherine, daughter of Constance and John of Gaunt in 1387.

King John was killed at Alcalá on October 9, 1390 by the fall of his horse, while he was riding in a fantasia with some of the light horsemen known as the "farfanes", who were mounted and equipped in the Arab style.



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