7. A potted history of Castile 1230-1479
The Crown of Castile was formed in 1230 as a result of the union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and Leon. The 14th century saw a major dynastic struggle between the sons of Alfonso XI which was eventually won by Henry, Count of Trastamara after major battles at Najera and Montiel beween 1367-9.
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?tit ... svg&page=1
Under Henry III (1390-1406) the power of the Castilian monarchy recovered as measures were taken to curb the rights of the nobility. The economy began to prosper and lawlessness decreased. The position of Jews in Castile also improved. Henry fought a short war with Portugal between 1396 and 1402; his navy regularly confronted the English; and he renewed the struggle with the kingdom of Granada, winning an important victory at the Battle of Collejares. However his untimely death in the same year prevented him from completing this campaign.
He was succeeded by John II who ruled until 1454. This is what Chris looks like . . .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:John_ ... astile.jpg
John seemed to have been a rather weak king and he was very much dominated by Alvaro de Luna, who maintained his influential position until the last year of John's reign. He was eventually executed in 1453 as John succumbed to the wishes of his second wife, Isabella of Portugal who resented the dominant position of de Luna.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:20070 ... e_Luna.jpg
The main features of his reign included the introduction of the Valladolid laws, which placed many restrictions on Jews, requiring them to wear distinctive clothes and banning them from holding administrative positions; a war with Aragon which resulted in the expulsion of John's ambitious cousins, the Aragonese Infanta (Henry of Villena and John II of Aragon) from Castile; a second war against the Moors of Granada In 1431 and victory at the Battle of La Higueruela which enabled John to place Yusuf IV on the throne in exchange for tribute and vassal status to Castile; and a second conflict with the Infantes in 1445 which saw John II and Alvaro de Luna victorious once more, this time at the battle of Olmedo where Infante Henry, Duke of Villena, was killed.
John was succeeded by Henry IV ("the Impotent") who ruled rather ineptly between 1454 and 1474, but under the rule of the "Catholic Monarchs" (los Reyes Católicos) Isabella and Ferdinand, the Crowns of Castile and Aragon were united in 1479.