Martin I of Aragon

Martin I of Aragon

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Martin of Aragon called the Elder, the Humane, the Ecclesiastic, was the King of Aragon, Valencia, Sardinia, and Corsica
Medieval Corsica
The history of Corsica in the medieval period begins with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and the invasions of various Germanic peoples in the fifth century and ends with the complete subjection of the island to the authority of the Bank of San Giorgio in 1511.-Eastern Imperial...

 and Count of Barcelona from 1396 and King of Sicily from 1409 (as Martin II). He was the last descendant in legitimate male line of Wilfred the Hairy
Wilfred the Hairy
Wilfred or Wifred, called the Hairy, was Count of Urgell , Cerdanya , Barcelona , Girona , Besalú , and Ausona ....

 and with him the rule of the House of Barcelona
House of Barcelona
The House of Barcelona was a medieval dynasty that ruled the County of Barcelona continuously from 878 and the Crown of Aragon from 1137 . From the male part they descend from the Bellonids, the descendants of Wifred the Hairy...

 came to an end.


Martin was born in 1356, either in Girona
Girona is a city in the northeast of Catalonia, Spain at the confluence of the rivers Ter, Onyar, Galligants and Güell, with an official population of 96,236 in January 2009. It is the capital of the province of the same name and of the comarca of the Gironès...

 or in Perpignan
-Sport:Perpignan is a rugby stronghold: their rugby union side, USA Perpignan, is a regular competitor in the Heineken Cup and seven times champion of the Top 14 , while their rugby league side plays in the engage Super League under the name Catalans Dragons.-Culture:Since 2004, every year in the...

. He was the second son of King Peter IV of Aragon
Peter IV of Aragon
Peter IV, , called el Cerimoniós or el del punyalet , was the King of Aragon, King of Sardinia and Corsica , King of Valencia , and Count of Barcelona Peter IV, (Balaguer, September 5, 1319 – Barcelona, January 6, 1387), called el Cerimoniós ("the Ceremonious") or el del punyalet ("the one...

 and Eleanor of Sicily
Eleanor of Sicily
Eleanor of Sicily was Queen Consort of Aragon . She was the daughter of Peter II of Sicily and Elisabeth of Carinthia. She was the third wife of Peter IV of Aragon.- Early life and family :...

 (Leonora of Trinacria), princess of the Sicilian branch
Cadet branch
Cadet branch is a term in genealogy to describe the lineage of the descendants of the younger sons of a monarch or patriarch. In the ruling dynasties and noble families of much of Europe and Asia, the family's major assets – titles, realms, fiefs, property and income – have...

 of the House of Aragon
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...


As a cadet prince of the Aragonese royal family, Martin was given the Duchy of Monblanch (modern Montblanc
Montblanc, Tarragona
Montblanc s the capital of the Catalan comarca Conca de Barberà, in the Spanish province of Tarragona.The Prades Mountains are located in the vicinity of this municipality.-History:The area around Montblanc has been inhabited for thousands of years...

). In 1380 his father appointed him lord
Lord is a title with various meanings. It can denote a prince or a feudal superior . The title today is mostly used in connection with the peerage of the United Kingdom or its predecessor countries, although some users of the title do not themselves hold peerages, and use it 'by courtesy'...

 and regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 of the island of Sicily, then known also as Trinacria, since its queen Maria of Sicily, who was Martin's cousin, was underage (Maria's father, Frederick III of Trinacria, died in 1377). As a son of Eleanor of Sicily Martin was himself an heir to the island, should Maria's family die out.

In Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

 on 13 June 1373 Martin married María López de Luna
Maria de Luna
Maria de Luna , was a queen consort of Aragon, as the spouse of King Martin I of Aragon. She was known as "La Grande" , and is regarded as one of the most notable queens in Aragon...

 (d. Villarreal, 20 December 1406), daughter and heiress of Lope, Lord and 1st Count of Luna
Luna, Zaragoza
Luna is a municipality located in the province of Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain. It is in the judicial district of Ejea de los Caballeros in the northeast of the province. It is 65 km from Zaragoza...

 and Lord of Segorbe
Segorbe is a municipality in the mountainous coastal province of Castelló, autonomous community of Valencia, Spain. The former Palace of the Dukes of Medinaceli now houses the city's mayor...

 and wife Brianda de Got/de Agasunt, born in Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

, related to Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V, born Raymond Bertrand de Got was Pope from 1305 to his death...



In 1396, Martin succeeded his elder brother John I
John I of Aragon
John I , called by posterity the Hunter or the Lover of Elegance , but the Abandoned in his lifetime, was the King of...

, who had died sonless, on the throne of Aragon. However, Sicilian nobles were causing unrest and Martin was kept in Sicily. In the meanwhile, Martin's wife, María López de Luna, claimed the throne on behalf of Martin and acted as his representative until he arrived in 1397. Still, the delay opened the way for more problems and quarrels to surface in Aragon. His right to the throne was contested, first by Count Matthew of Foix on behalf of his wife Joanna
Joanna of Aragon, Countess of Foix
Infanta Joanna of Aragon was the only surviving child of John I of Aragon and his first wife Martha of Armagnac. She was a member of the House of Aragon and was Countess consort of Foix by her marriage to Matthew of Foix....

, elder daughter of John I. However, Martin succeeded in quashing the invasion by the troops of the count.

After the death of the childless Joanna, John's second daughter, Yolande of Aragon
Yolande of Aragon
Yolande of Aragon, , was a throne claimant and titular queen regnant of Aragon, titular queen consort of Naples, Duchess of Anjou, Countess of Provence, and regent of Provence during the minority of her son...

, married the Angevin
House of Valois-Anjou
The Valois House of Anjou, or the Younger House of Anjou, was a noble French family, deriving from the royal family, the House of Valois. They were monarchs of Naples, as well as various other territories....

 King Louis II of Naples
Louis II of Naples
Louis II of Anjou was the rival of Ladislaus as King of Naples. He was a member of the House of Valois-Anjou.-Biography:...

 and continued the claim, as did her sons.

Martin launched crusades against the Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 in 1398 and 1399.

Aragon had been trying to subjugate Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

 since the reign of James II
James II of Aragon
James II , called the Just was the King of Sicily from 1285 to 1296 and King of Aragon and Valencia and Count of Barcelona from 1291 to 1327. In 1297 he was granted the Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica...

, and gradually the Aragonese had conquered most of the island. However, in the 1380s, in the reign of Martin's father Peter IV, the remaining independent principality of Arborea
Arborea is a town and comune in the province of Oristano, Sardinia, Italy, whose economy is largely based on agriculture, with production of vegetables and fruit.- History :...

 became a fortress of rebellion and the Aragonese were rapidly driven back by Eleanor of Arborea
Eleanor of Arborea
Eleanor ; 1347 – 1404) was the giudicessa of Arborea from 1383 to her death. She was one of the last — and most powerful and significant — Sardinian judges; as well as the island's most renowned heroine....

, so that practically the whole of Sardinia was lost. King Martin sent his son Martin the Younger
Martin I of Sicily
Martin I of Sicily , called "The Younger", was King of Sicily from 1390 to 1409.Martin's father was the future King Martin I of Aragon, and his grandparents were King Peter IV of Aragon and Eleanor of Sicily. In 1389/1390/February, 1392 he married Maria of Sicily, born in 1362/1363...

, King of Sicily, to reconquer Sardinia. Just before his own death, the son won the Battle of Sanluri
Battle of Sanluri
The Battle of Sanluri was fought on June 30, 1409 between the armies of the Giudicato of Arborea and the Catalan-Sicilian army of King Martin I of Sicily....

 (San Luis, San Luigi) in 1409, drove away the Genoese
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 allies of the Sardinians, and subjugated a vast number of Sardinian nobles. This soon caused Arborea's total loss of independence.

Martin succeeded his son as King of Sicily, as Martin II. Overall, the Kingdom of Aragon enjoyed external peace during Martin's reign and he worked to quell internal strife caused by nobles, factions and bandits. He supported the Avignon line of Popes
Western Schism
The Western Schism or Papal Schism was a split within the Catholic Church from 1378 to 1417. Two men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope. Driven by politics rather than any theological disagreement, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance . The simultaneous claims to the papal chair...

 and an Aragonese, Pope Benedict XIII, held the seat throughout Martin's reign. Martin's military intervention rescued the imprisoned Benedict in 1403 from the clutches of his rivals and the Pope settled in Valencia
Valencia (city in Spain)
Valencia or València is the capital and most populous city of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain, with a population of 809,267 in 2010. It is the 15th-most populous municipality in the European Union...

's countryside.

After the death of his legitimate children James (b. 1378), John (b. 1380) and Margaret (b. 1384/1388), all of whom died young, King Martin appointed his cousin James II of Urgell
James II of Urgell
James II was the Count of Urgell , Viscount of Àger, and lord of Antillón, Alcolea de Cinca, and Fraga...

, the closest legitimate agnate of the Royal House of Aragon, as Governor-General
A Governor-General, is a vice-regal person of a monarch in an independent realm or a major colonial circonscription. Depending on the political arrangement of the territory, a Governor General can be a governor of high rank, or a principal governor ranking above "ordinary" governors.- Current uses...

 of all the kingdoms of Aragon, which position belonged traditionally to the heir presumptive. He still married secondly at Bellesguart or Bellresguard on 17 September 1409 to his cousin Margaret of Prades (1385 – Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 of Monrepes, 1422/1429, later remarried in 1414 to Juan de Vilaragut (d. 1422)), daughter of Peter of Aragon, Count of Prades and Baron of Entenza
*Matt Entenza, Minnesota lawyer and politician who served six terms in the State House of Representatives .*John Entenza , pivotal figure in the growth of modernism in California*Alonso Fajardo de Entenza *Matt Entenza, Minnesota lawyer and politician who served six terms in the State House of...

 (1352 – Sicily, 1395 and wife (m. 1385) Juana de Cabrera (d. 1419), but the short marriage was childless.


When Martin died, in Valdonzella or in Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

 in 1410 (reportedly due to indigestion and uncontrollable laughter), his legitimate descendants, born of marriage with queen Maria, were already dead. Martin's second marriage, with Margaret of Prades, did not produce any children. Only an illegitimate grandson, Frederick, Count of Luna, continued the line of Martin. Frederick was the illegitimate son of Martin the Younger. The king, despite his desire and some efforts, was not able to obtain sufficient confirmation of Frederick as his successor.

Thus, Martin's death led to a two-year interregnum
An interregnum is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order...

, which was ended by the Compromise of Caspe
Compromise of Caspe
The Compromise of Caspe made in 1412 was an act and resolution of parliamentary representatives on behalf of the Kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia and the County of Barcelona, to resolve the interregnum commenced by the death of King Martin I of Aragon in 1410 without a legitimate heir, in Caspe.The...

, in which Martin's nephew Ferdinand
Ferdinand I of Aragon
Ferdinand I called of Antequera and also the Just or the Honest) was king of Aragon, Valencia, Majorca, Sardinia and Corsica and king of Sicily, duke of Athens and Neopatria, and count of Barcelona, Roussillon and Cerdanya...

, infante of Castile
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

's House of Trastámara
The House of Trastámara was a dynasty of kings in the Iberian Peninsula, which first governed in Castile beginning in 1369 before expanding its rule into Aragón, Navarre and Naples.They were a cadet illegitimate line of the House of Burgundy....

 was chosen as the next king from among at least five contenders.