Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (Admiral of Castile)

Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (Admiral of Castile)

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Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (1367 – June 1404) was the Admiral of Castile
Admiral of Castile
Admiral of Castile was a post with a long and important history in Spain. One famous holder was Fadrique Enríquez.Another was Admiral Don Bernardo de Sarrià, Baron of Polop and nobleman in the service of King James II of Aragon....

 and tenth head of the House of Mendoza
House of Mendoza
The Mendoza family was a powerful line of Spanish nobles. Members of the family wielded considerable power, especially from the 14th to the 17th centuries in Castile. The family originated from the town of Mendoza in the province of Álava in the Basque countries...

. He was the son of Pedro González de Mendoza and Aldonza López de Ayala.


Diego was born in the city of Guadalajara
Guadalajara, Spain
Guadalajara is a city and municipality in the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha, Spain, and in the natural region of La Alcarria. It is the capital of the province of Guadalajara. It is located roughly 60 km northeast of Madrid on the Henares River, and has a population of 83,789...

. In the spring of 1379, while only a child, his father successfully convinced King Henry II of Castile shortly before Henry's death that Diego was to be married with Henry's illegitimate daughter María. A lavish wedding was soon held.

His father died in the Battle of Aljubarrota
Battle of Aljubarrota
The Battle of Aljubarrota was a battle fought between the Kingdom of Portugal and the Crown of Castile on 14 August 1385. Forces commanded by King John I of Portugal and his general Nuno Álvares Pereira, with the support of English allies, opposed the army of King John I of Castile with its...

 (August 14 1385), though he saved the life of King John I of Castile
John I of Castile
John I was the king of Crown of Castile, was the son of Henry II and of his wife Juana Manuel of Castile, daughter of Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena, head of a younger branch of the royal house of Castile...

 which substantially aided the family's standing. Diego's ascendancy was quick. King John granted him the title of Admiral of Castile. Shortly afterward, in the reign of King Henry III
Henry III of Castile
Henry III KG , sometimes known as Henry the Sufferer or Henry the Infirm , was the son of John I and Eleanor of Aragon, and succeeded him as King of the Castilian Crown in 1390....

, Diego fought against the Portuguese fleet for possession of the Strait of Gibraltar as part of his duties as admiral. In reward for this and other expressions of loyalty, King Henry made multiple donations and grants to him, and gave Diego rule over the town of Tendilla
Tendilla is a municipality located in the province of Guadalajara, Castile-La Mancha, Spain. According to the 2004 census , the municipality has a population of 330 inhabitants....

 in 1395.

His first wife María died in childbirth, though their daughter Aldonza de Mendoza, the future Countess of Arjona, lived. Diego married again in 1394 and chose Leonor de la Vega, a descendant of the rich and powerful counts of La Vega
La Vega
La Vega is a province of the Dominican Republic. Until 1992 it included what is now Monseñor Nouel province.-Municipalities and municipal districts:...

. In August 1398, their son Íñigo López de Mendoza was born. Iñigo would become the first Marquis of Santillana.

The Admiral made a will in El Espinar (Segovia) in April 1400, before a new campaign against the Portuguese began. After returning safely, he added a codicil
Codicil (will)
A codicil is a document that amends, rather than replaces, a previously executed will. Amendments made by a codicil may add or revoke small provisions , or may completely change the majority, or all, of the gifts under the will...

 dated May 5 of 1404 in Guadalajara. He died shortly afterward in Guadalajara, the city of his birth. His widow had to plead for her son's rights to her stepdaughter doña Aldonza, and before that to Alfonso Enriquez, to whom Henry III had given the title of Admiral of Castile.