New Monarchies: Glossary

Afonso de Albuquerque
(1453-1515), Portuguese navigator and statesman, also called Afonso the Great, he established Portuguese commercial enterprises in Asia. As viceroy of India, he expanded Portuguese control west into the Persian Gulf and east along the Indian Ocean.

Alfonso IV the Brave of Portugal
(1290-1357), king of Portugal (1325-1357), son of Diniz of Portugal, his notoriety is based on his murder of his son Dom Pedro's second wife, Inés de Castro. Alfonso IV feared that any children by Inés de Castro, a member of the Castilian royal family, would lead to dynastic wars and rival claims to Dom Pedro's son by his first wife.

Alfonso V the African of Portugal
(1432-1481), king of Portugal (1438-1481), grandson of John I of Portugal and son of Edward (Eduarto) of Portugal, he succeeded to the throne at six years of age under a regency until 1448. He suppressed an insurrection led by his uncle in 1449 and, 1458, launched a series of successful wars against the Moors in North Africa that continued until 1471. Alfonso V attacked Castile in 1476 but was defeated by Isabella I of Castile and her husband, Ferdinand V of Aragón. He continued the exploration of Africa's west coast.

Alfonso V the Magnanimous of Aragón, Sicily, and Naples
(1385-1458), king of Aragón and Sicily (1416-1458), as Alfonso I, king of Naples (1443-1458), son of Ferdinand I of Aragón, acquired nickname when he destroyed a list of nobles who had been hostile to him. Joanna II of Naples designated Alfonso V as her heir in 1420 but changed her mind in 1423. When she died in 1435, Alfonso V claimed the Neapolitan crown. After an initial loss to his rival, René of Anjou, Alfonso V formed an alliance with Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan, and captured the throne in 1443.

Alfonso XI of Castile and León
(1310?-1350), king of Castile and León (1312-1350).

Avignonese or Babylonian Capitivity
The period between 1305 and 1378 when the papal court resided in Avignon. The influence of the French monarchy on the papacy was resented by other nations and papal power declined throughout the rest of Europe during this time.

Battle of Agincourt
The battle fought between a small English force under Henry V and a much larger French army near the village of Agincourt in France on October 25, 1415. Despite outnumbering the English by more than 4 to 1, the French were hampered by heavy armour in muddy conditions and the English force scored a spectacular victory. The English had fewer than 200 casualties while the French lost more than 5,500 men, including about 500 members of the nobility. The Battle of Agincourt was immortalised by William Shakespeare in the play, Henry V.

Battle of Bosworth Field
The final decisive battle between the forces of the rival houses of Lancaster and York that ended the Wars of the Roses. Fought on August 22, 1485, the Yorkist dynasty ended when Richard III was killed in the battle and the Lancastrian house ascended to the throne under Henry Tudor as Henry VII, thus establishing the Tudor dynasty. The battle is described by William Shakespeare in the play, Richard III.

Battle of Crécy
A critical battle in the Hundred Years' War fought in northern France on August 26, 1346, Crécy demonstrated the superiority of the English longbow over the crossbow. English losses were negligible while the French lost more than 1500 knights, a serious blow to the French nobility.

Battle of Poitiers
A major battle of the Hundred Years' War, the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 saw an English force under Edward, the Black Prince, defeat a French army. The French king, John II, was captured at Poitiers, delivering another blow to the French feudal nobility.

Benedict XII
(c. 1280-1285), born Jacques Fournier. A Cistercian who was elevated to the papal throne in 1334, Benedict XII was the third pope to reign from Avignon. A vigorous opponent of heresy, Benedict XII condemned groups like the Waldenses and the Cathars. He instituted rigorous monastic reforms that were quickly undone by his successors. Benedict XII moved the papal archives to Avignon and built a fortified palace there.

The North African tribes that, after their conquest and conversion by Arab Moslems, formed the major portion of the Moslem force that invaded the Iberian peninsula.

Black Death
The combination of bubonic and pneumonic plagues that entered Europe along Eastern trade routes, sweeping across Europe between 1347-1350. Spread by rats carrying infected fleas, the Plague eliminated between one-fourth and one-third of the population in its first wave. Subsequent outbreaks, which continued into the seventeenth century were far less severe. The Black Death had profound effects on all aspects of medieval life and deeply affected the psychological outlook of Europeans.

Cabral, Pedro Álvares
(1460?-1526?), Portuguese explorer who discovered Brazil in 1500 and claimed it for Portugal.

A major port on the French coast of the English Channel, the loss of Calais to English forces in 1347 forced Philip IV of France to agree to a truce with Edward III of England that lasted until Philip IV's death in 1350.

The French dynasty that ruled from 987 to 1328. The Capetians were succeeded in 1328 by the Valois, a cadet branch of the family.

Carolingian Empire
The Frankish dynasty founded by Charlemagne in the late eighth century, it was divided by his grandsons in 880 into three kingdoms: Lotharingia, the Kingdom of the West Franks (France), and the Kingdom of the East Franks (Germany).

Charles IV the Fair of France
(1294-1328), king of France (1322-1328). He conspired with his sister Isabella to depose her husband, Edward II of England. He was the last of the Capetians.

Charles IV (Carlos IV) of Navarre
(1421-1461), king of Navarre (1441-1461), also called Don Carlos or Prince of Viana, son of John II of Aragón, Charles IV claimed the throne of Navarre through his mother, Blanche of Navarre. He was exiled in 1441 but, after a series of civil wars with his father, during which he was captured and exiled on several occasions, his father recognised Charles IV as king of Navarre in 1461. He died within three months.

Charles V the Wise of France
(1337-1380), king of France (1364-1380), son of John II who acted as regent during his father's captivity from 1356 to 1364, assuming the crown when John II died. In 1358, during his regency, he suppressed the Jacquerie and an insurrection by the Estates General. He was a very capable monarch who was able to make significant advances against the English in the Hundred Years' War, forcing a temporary cessation of hostilities. He strengthened the position of the monarch in France and was a patron of literature and the arts, founding the first royal French library in 1367.

Charles VI the Mad of France
(1368-1422), king of France (1380-1422), he was under the guardianship of a ducal council for the first eight years of his reign. He rejected the regency in 1388 and ruled well until 1392, when he became insane. Without a strong monarch to maintain control, civil wars between the houses of Orléans and Burgundy erupted. The English took advantage of the internal dissension to invade France, forcing Charles VI to grant his daughter and the right of succession to the English king, Henry V.

Charles VII of France
(1403-1461), king of France (1422-1461), son of Charles VI the Mad of France. Under the terms of the Treaty of Troyes, the French crown passed to Charles VII's nephew, Henry VI of England, in 1422 and Charles VII, as the dauphin, governed southern France. Joan of Arc lifted the siege of Orléans in 1429 and French forces began to make gains against the English. Charles VII was crowned in July, 1429. In 1435, the duke of Burgundy abandoned his English allies and formed an alliance with Charles VII. The English were crushed at Castillon on July 17, 1453, having lost all their French lands except for Calais. Charles VII significant reforms to the military and his clever fiscal policies encouraged trade and invigorated the economy.

Charles VIII of France
(1470-1498), king of France (1483-1498), son of Louis XI, his older sister Anne acted as regent until 1491. Charles VIII married Anne of Brittany in 1491, adding that province to the French kingdom. He invaded Italy in 1494 and briefly occupied Naples in 1495. The Italian states united against him and he returned to France. His successors continued to regain control in Italy over the next half century.

The House of Commons or The Commons
The English parliamentary body comprised of elected representatives of the lesser nobility and townsmen. The name 'Commons' comes from their common roots.

The representational assemblies of Portugal and Spain composed of the aristocracy, the Church, and the common people. Similar to the English Parliament, the weakness of the Iberian monarchies allowed the Cortes to exercise a significant degree of power until the late Middle Ages.

The French term given to the heir apparent to the throne.

Diniz of Portugal
(1261-1325), king of Portugal (1279-1325), succeeded his father Alfonso III to the throne. Diniz ended the wars between Portugal and the kingdom of Castile and León by marriage alliances and actively encouraged the arts, agriculture, and commerce. He founded several schools, established a commercial treaty with England, and instituted a royal navy.

Edward, Prince of Wales, the Black Prince
(1330-1376), son of Edward III. A brilliant military leader who led English forces to victory during the Hundred Years' War with France, he captured the French king, John II the Good, at Poitiers in 1356. He married Joan (the Fair Maid) of Kent in 1361 and became prince of Aquitaine and Gascony in 1362, where he suppressed the Gascon nobility. He led an expedition to Spain in 1367, where he restored Pedro I the Cruel to the throne of Castile. While in Spain, Edward contracted an illness that would plague him for the rest of his life. His highhanded taxation of the Gascon nobles led to a renewal of the Hundred Years' War by French forces 1370. He resigned his principality in 1371. During his last years, he rebelled against the corrupt rule of his brother, John of Gaunt.

Edward III of England
(1312-1377),king of England (1327-1377), Edward III succeeded to the throne when his mother's intrigues forced his father, Edward II, to abdicate. His mother continued to rule as regent until 1330 when Edward III seized power for himself in a palace coup. Edward III invaded Scotland and, in 1337, the French came to the aid of their Scottish allies. Edward III's response was to claim the French throne through his French mother, initiating the Hundred Years' War.

Edward IV of England
(1442-1483), king of England (1461-1470 and 1471-1483), established the house of York on the English throne. The eldest son of Richard Plantagenet, he was exiled by Henry VI in 1459. He returned to England in 1460 and led the Yorkist forces against Henry VI's Lancastrians. Parliament declared Henry VI to be a usurper and crowned Edward IV in 1461. His marriage to a commoner ignited opposition and Henry VI was re-installed on the throne in 1470. With Burgundian support, Edward IV reclaimed the throne in 1471 and encountered no other rival claimants throughout the remainder of his reign.

Emanual I of Portugal
(1469-1521), king of Portugal (1495-1521), also called Emanuel the Great or Emanuel the Fortunate, cousin and brother-in-law of John II of Portugal, great grandson of John I, his reign is best known for the famous expeditions that established Portugal as a world power. A great patron of the arts and sciences, Emanuel revised the law codes of Portugal. While his religious zeal prompted him to sponsor overseas expeditions and missionary ventures, he also persecuted Jews, expelling them between 1497 and 1498.

Estates General or Estats-General
The national representative body in France, its members were from the three classes, or estates: the clergy, the nobility, and the so-called working class. First convened by Philip IV in 1302, its basic function was to confirm tax levies. At its most powerful in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, its authority declined as the crown developed independent sources of revenue. The Estates General never met on a regular basis and it did not meet at all between 1614 and 1789, when it reconvened on the eve of the French Revolution.

Ferdinand I the Handsome of Portugal
(1345-1383), king of Portugal (1367-1383), son of Pedro I, he made three unsuccessful attempts to take the throne of Castile and León between 1370 and 1382. Otherwise, Ferdinand I was a capable administrator who advanced agricultural activities, navigation and the military during his reign. His death without a male heir in 1383 led to civil war between rival claimants to the throne.

Ferdinand I the Just of Aragón and Sicily
(1379?-1416), king of Aragón and Sicily (1412-1416), younger son of John I of Castile and Eleanor of Aragón, he declined the Spanish throne in 1406 when his brother Henry III of Castile died in favour of his nephew, John II. He distinguished himself as a capable administrator during the young king's regency, which Ferdinand I shared with the boy's mother. When his uncle died without a male heir, Ferdinand was chosen to succeed him as king of Aragón and Sicily in 1412. He helped to end the Great Schism when he agreed to depose the antipope Benedict XIII in 1416.

Ferdinand IV of Castile and León
(1286?-1312), king of Castile and León (1295-1312), succeeded his father Sancho IV to the throne. Although his reign was marked by anarchy during his minority, Ferdinand IV continued the Reconquista and captured Gibraltar from the Moors in 1309.

Ferdinand V the Catholic of Aragón
(1452-1516), king of Castile (1474-1504), as Ferdinand II, king of Sicily (1468-1516) and of Aragón (1479-1516), as Ferdinand III, king of Naples (1504-1516), son of John II of Aragón, his thirst for power was insatiable and he was ruthless in its pursuit. His marriage to his cousin Isabella I of Castile and León in 1469 united the two greatest Spanish kingdoms but his goal of gaining the Castilian crown was thwarted by his wife's firm insistence on maintaining her own authority. In other respects, the royal couple held similar views and worked together to expand the Spanish kingdom and the power of the monarchy within that kingdom. The Spanish Inquisition began under their auspices in 1476, receiving papal endorsement in 1478. In 1492, the Moorish kingdom of Granada was conquered, more than 150,000 Jews were expelled from Spain, and Christopher Columbus set out on his famous voyage to the New World. Ferdinand V took over the regency of Castile in 1506, captured Oran and Tripoli in North Africa in 1509, and annexed the kingdom of Navarre in 1512, extending Spanish dominion.

The Great Ordinance
The decree imposed by the Estates General in 1357 on the dauphin Charles when his father, John II of France, was in captivity. The Great Ordinance granted major financial and judicial powers to the Estates General and instituted a constitutional government. It was revoked in 1358 when the dauphin Charles overthrew the leaders of the government and resumed the regency.

Great Schism
The period between 1378 and 1417 during which there were multiple claimants to the papal office.

Henry II of Castile and León
(1333?-1379), king of Castile and León (1369-1379), also known as Henry of Trastamera, the illegitimate son of Alfonso XI. With the help of the French king Charles V, Henry of Trastamera overthrew his half-brother, Pedro the Cruel, in 1366 and again in 1369, when he succeeded to the throne as Henry II. Henry II continued his alliance with Charles V, assisting the French during the Hundred Years' War. His navy destroyed the English fleet at La Rochelle in 1372.

Henry III of Castile and León
(1379-1406), king of Castile and León (1390-1406), disorder marked the beginning of his reign but Henry III was able to subdued the violence and reassert royal power. The Castilian navy won several battles against the English and he began the conquest of the Canary Islands in 1402.

Henry IV of England
(1367-1413), king of England (1399-1413), also known as Henry of Lancaster and Henry Bolingbroke. A son of John of Gaunt, Henry IV established the house of Lancaster on the English throne when he was elected king by the English Parliament in 1399 after Richard II was forced to abdicate. Henry IV had to deal with a revolt by the supporters of Richard II as well as rebellions by the Scots and the Welsh and his entire reign was marked by civil unrest. Henry IV also persecuted the Lollards as heretics until his death in 1413.

Henry V of England
(1387-1422), king of England (1413-1422), succeeded his father Henry IV to the throne. A brilliant soldier and popular commander, Henry V resumed hostilities in the Hundred Years' War, winning numerous victories, including the famous Battle of Agincourt in 1415. His alliance with the Holy Roman emperor Sigismund further pressured the French and English forces captured Paris in 1420. He forced the French king, Charles VI the Mad, to agree to a peace treaty, the terms of which married Charles VI's daughter, Catherine of Valois, to Henry V and guaranteed the succession to the English king when Charles VI died. Henry V returned to England but a French revolt forced him to return to France in 1422, where he became ill and died in August 1422, leaving his eight month old son as heir.

Henry VI of England
(1421-1471), king of England (1422-1461; 1470-1471), the last Lancastrian king, son of Henry V of England and Catherine of Valois, he was only eight months old when his father died. An extremely pious man, he was ineffectual both as a soldier and as an administrator. His marriage to the French princess, Margaret of Anjou, was unpopular and an insurrection by a group of nobles in 1450 ignited the Wars of the Roses. He was forced to accept the Richard, duke of York, as his heir. Richard was killed in 1460 and his son Edward claimed the throne as Edward IV in 1461. In 1465, Henry VI was imprisoned and became completely insane. His supporters temporarily restored him to the throne in 1470 but he was deposed in 1471. He died while imprisoned by Edward IV, probably murdered.

Henry VII of England
(1457-1509), king of England (1485-1509) and earl of Richmond (c.1430-1456), who established the Tudor dynasty on the English throne. His grandmother was Catherine of Valois, Henry V's widow, and his mother was Margaret of Beaufort, a descendant of John of Gaunt, first duke of Lancaster. He led the Lancastrian forces to victory over Richard III's Yorkist army at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. He was crowned Henry VII and his marriage to Elizabeth of York in 1486 united the houses of Lancaster and York, ending the Wars of the Roses.

Prince Henry the Navigator
(1394-1460), third son of John I of Portugal, noted for his interest in navigation, shipbuilding, and exploration. He established an observatory and a school for navigators at Sagres. The caravel, a kind of sailing ship, was designed at Sagres. Although Henry did not make any voyages himself, Portuguese sailors under his direction discovered Madeira in 1420, sailed around Cape Bojador in 1434, Cape Blanc in 1441, and Cape Verde in 1445, reaching the mouth of the Gambia River by 1446.

The House of Burgundy
One of the two French royal houses that struggled for control of the French throne during the reign of Charles VI of France, permitting an opportunity for the English to resume the Hundred Years' War. The other house was that of Orléans. The duke of Burgundy was Charles VI's uncle while the duke of Orléans was his brother. The dukes of Burgundy were extremely powerful throughout the Middle Ages, wielding a great influence in European politics until the last duke died in 1477 and the estates were divided between the French king and the Holy Roman emperor.

The House of Lancaster
The name of the English royal dynasty that ruled from 1399 to 1461 and from 1470 to 1471. The name originated in 1267 when Henry III granted the title of earl of Lancaster to his son, Edmund. Through his marriage to Blanche of Lancaster, John of Gaunt, the fourth son of Edward III, was granted the title in 1362 and Lancaster became a royal house.

The House of Lords
The English parliamentary body composed of the major nobles of the kingdom. During the Middle Ages, the House of Lords controlled Parliament.

The House of Orléans
One of the two French royal houses that struggled for control of the French throne during the reign of Charles VI of France, permitting an opportunity for the English to resume the Hundred Years' War. The other house was that of Burgundy. The duke of Orléans was Charles VI's brother while the duke of Burgundy was his uncle.

The House of York
The English royal house that was founded in 1385 when the title of duke of York was created and granted to Edmund of Langley, Edward III's fifth son. When the third duke of York, Richard Plantagenet, claimed the throne, he initiated the Wars of the Roses. Richard Plantagenet's son was proclaimed king as Edward IV in 1461, the first Yorkist king.

Hundred Years' War
A war fought on French soil between England and France. Initiated by the clash between the English claim to the French throne and the French monarchy's expansionist policy, the war was fought off and on between the years 1337-1453 and resulted in the loss of the majority of the English territory in France.

Iberian Peninsula
The European peninsula that comprises Portugal and Spain, named for the Latin name for the region, Iberia.

Isabella I the Catholic of Castile and León
(1451-1504), queen of Castile (1474-1504), daughter of John II of Castile and León by his second wife, Isabella of Portugal, Isabella I married Ferdinand of Aragón in 1469. When her brother Henry IV of Castile and León died without a male heir in 1474, Isabella succeeded to the Castilian throne. Her succession was contested by her niece, Henry IV's daughter, Juana la Beltraneja, but the Castilian army defeated her and her allies in 1476. When Ferdinand succeeded to the Aragónese throne in 1479, the two main Spanish kingdoms were united. Isabella and Ferdinand initiated the Inquisition in 1478 and completed the Reconquista by conquering the Moorish kingdom of Granada in 1492. They are best known for sponsoring Christopher Columbus' voyage to the New World in the same year.

Frustrated by plague, famine and mercenaries, the peasants of northern France rebelled in 1358. As violent as the Jacquerie was reported to be, the revolt was quashed by the aristocracy with greater savagery. One repercussion of the Jacquerie was the return of royalist ideals that were being threatened by constitutional movements in the Estates General.

Joan of Arc
(1412-1431), patron saint of France, also called Jeanne d'Arc and the Maid of Orléans. A peasant girl who rallied the French forces to victory in support of the dauphin Charles, later Charles VII of France, she was captured by Burgundian soldiers in 1430 and sold to the English who turned her over to an ecclesiastical court to be tried as a heretic. Charles VII of France failed to defend her and she was eventually burned at the stake in 1431. The church retried her case 25 years later and declared her innocent. She was canonised in 1920.

John of Gaunt
(1340-1399), English soldier and statesman, fourth son of Edward III of England and brother of Edward, the Black Prince, he married Blanche of Lancaster in 1359 and succeeded to the title, Duke of Lancaster, when her father died. In England, John of Gaunt joined with Edward III's mistress in an attempt to dominate the government that was defeated in 1376. The death of his brother, the Black Prince, in 1377 allowed John to regain power but he refrained from challenging either Parliament or the new king, Richard II. His son, Henry of Lancaster, would establish the Lancastrian line on England's throne as Henry IV. He was also influential in relations between England and France and between England and Spain. His second marriage to Constance, the daughter of Pedro the Cruel of Castile and León, gave him a claim to that throne but he was defeated by John I of Castile and León and he abandoned the claim when his daughter married the Spanish king's son in 1387.

John I (João I) of Portugal
(1357-1433), king of Portugal (1385-1433), illegitimate son of Pedro I of Portugal who became regent when his half-brother, Ferdinand I the Handsome, died without a male heir in 1383. The Cortes elected him king John I in 1385, ignoring the rival claim of John I of Castile and León. John I quickly dealt with the Castilian invasions and secured his relationship with England by marrying John of Gaunt's daughter, Philippa. John II encouraged Portuguese arts and placed a great deal of importance on chivalric ideals. He took Ceuta in North Africa from the Moors and the islands of Porto Santo and Madeira were discovered during his reign.

John I (Juan I) of Castile and León
(1358-1390), king of Castile and León (1379-1390), he attacked Portugal in an attempt to break the alliance between Portugal and John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, who was claiming the Castilian throne through marriage. Ferdinand I of Portugal submitted in 1382, marrying his daughter to John I. When Ferdinand I died, John I claimed the Portuguese throne but was defeated by Ferdinand I' son, John I of Portugal. From 1386 to 1387, John I was forced to defend against John of Gaunt's invasion. Peace was achieved when John I's son, Henry (later Henry III), was married to one of John of Gaunt's daughters.

John II (Jean II) the Good of France
(1319-1364), king of France (1350-1364), son of Philip VI. John II of France was captured by Edward, the Black Prince, at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. He was permitted to leave his English prison in an attempt to collect his own ransom for the English. When he was unable to do so, he honourably returned to his captivity in England where he died in 1364.

John II (João II) the Perfect of Portugal
(1455-1495), king of Portugal (1481-1495), son of Alfonso V, he was harsh in suppressing the powers of the nobility but he was generous in his support of Portuguese exploration. The mouth of the Congo River and the Cape of Good Hope were discovered during his reign. He signed the Treaty of Tordesillas with Spain in 1494, dividing the non-Christian world between the two countries.

John II (Juan II) of Aragón and Navarre
(1397-1479), king of Aragón (1458-1479) and Navarre (1425-1479), son of Ferdinand I of Aragón, inherited the Aragónese crown from his brother Alfonso V of Aragón, Naples, and Sicily in 1458. In 1420, he married Blanche of Navarre, who came into the throne of Navarre in 1425. John II lost Navarre to his son Charles IV of Navarre until Charles IV's death in 1461. John II suppressed a series of revolts in Catalonia, finally establishing control in 1472. At the end of his reign, John II began a war with Louis XI of France, losing two provinces to the French king.

John II (Juan II) of Castile and León
(1405-1454), king of Castile and León (1406-1454), succeeded to the throne when he was only a year old. His regency was well administered under his mother Catherine and his uncle Ferdinand I of Aragón until 1419. His chief counsellor was Don Alvaro de Luna, an accomplished administrator and diplomat who arranged an advantageous second marriage to a Portuguese princess in 1450 when John II's first wife died. John II's new wife resented de Luna's influence and had her husband execute de Luna in 1453. John II is reputed to have died of remorse for this treacherous act.

The Knights Templar
A religious and military order founded during the Crusades in the early twelfth century, they developed an efficient banking system that allowed them to amass great wealth. The great wealth and power of the Templars created envy and threatened royal authority. Philip IV of France attacked the order with charges of heresy in 1307 and Pope Clement V dissolved the order in 1312.

Louis XI of France
(1423-1483), king of France (1461-1483), son of Charles VII of France, he continued to unify and stabilise France after the Hundred Years' War. An early unsuccessful attempt to overthrow his father in 1440 was forgiven. He formed a strong bond with Philip the Good, the duke of Burgundy, living at the Burgundian court from 1456 until his father's death in 1461. Philip the Good's successor, Charles the Bold of Burgundy, would prove to be Louis XI's greatest enemy. A despotic ruler, Louis XI was adept at forming and manipulating alliances. He relied on the lower nobility and the middle class to subdue the great French nobles. He made great gains in consolidating royal authority although his methods did not always bear close scrutiny, using bribery, deceit, murder and treachery alongside diplomacy and negotiation.

Lay or secular lords.

Middle Ages
The intervening period between the Classical period of Rome and Greece and the European modern era.

The term used to identify the Moslems who invaded the Iberian peninsula beginning in the early eighth century and continued to occupy regions until the late fifteenth century.

New Monarchies
The three western European monarchies of Spain, England and France that moved towards centralised government and greater control by the king during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

The English legislative body of state composed of the monarch, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons.

Pedro I the Cruel of Castile and León
(1334-1369), king of Castile and León (1350-1369), son of Alfonso XI, called "the Cruel" for his willingness to use murder and execution to eliminate opponents and rivals. In 1365, Pedro the Cruel was overthrown by his brother, Henry of Trastamera, with French aid but Pedro was able to reclaim the throne in 1367 with English assistance under Edward, the Black Prince. Edward withdrew after a disagreement with Pedro and Henry returned, finally defeating and killing Pedro at Campo de Montiel in 1369.

Pedro I of Portugal (Dom Pedro)
(1320-1367), king of Portugal (1357-1367), also called Dom Pedro, son of Alfonso IV the Brave. After the death of his first wife, Dom Pedro secretly married her cousin, Inés de Castro, a member of the Castilian royal family. Alfonso IV feared that Dom Pedro's son by his first marriage would be challenged if Inés bore a son, leading to a dynastic rivalry. In 1355, Alfonso IV ordered Inés executed. Dom Pedro declared war on his father but they were soon reconciled. Legend holds that, when he became king, Pedro I had his marriage to Inés declared legal and had her exhumed body placed on the throne. The remainder of his reign was relatively uneventful and certainly less macabre.

Philip IV the Fair of France
(1268-1314), king of France (1285-1314). Philip IV's attempts to tax the clergy led to an open conflict with Pope Boniface VII. In 1301, Philip IV summoned the first Estates General, or Estats-General, which endorsed his actions. Boniface VII died in 1303 and, in 1305, Philip IV secured the papal election of his supporter, Clement V, who absolved Philip IV of any wrongdoing. Philip IV forced Clement V to move the papal court to Avignon in 1309 and to dissolve the Knights Templar in 1312, allowing the French king to seize their assets. Philip IV's daughter, Isabella, married the English king Edward II, opening the way for an English claim to the French throne.

Philip VI of France
(1293-1359), king of France (1328-1350), grandson of Philip III and nephew of Philip IV the Fair, Philip IV began the Valois dynasty. He was crowned king in 1328 when his cousin, Philip IV's third son, Charles IV, died without a male heir. Edward III of England, a grandson of Philip IV, also claimed the French throne and the Hundred Years' War resulted from the conflicting claims. Philip VI was forced to debase the coinage and impose heavy taxes to meet the costs of the war.

Pragmatic Sanction
A decree that is accepted as fundamental law. The Pragmatic Sanction of 1438 issued by Charles VII reaffirmed the authority of the French king over the income and personnel of the French church and limited papal influences in France.";

Ecclesiastical or Church lords, including archbishops and bishops.

The medieval Christian conquest of the Iberian peninsula from Moslem forces that began in the late eleventh century and was virtually complete by the late thirteenth century although the tiny Moorish kingdom of Granada continued to exist until 1492.

Richard II
(1367-1400), king of England (1377-1399), the younger son of Edward, Prince of Wales, the Black Prince, Richard II acquired the English crown when his grandfather Edward III died in 1377. Parliament had obtained significant powers under Edward III and Richard II took steps to curb the great nobles who restricted him, ridding himself of his opponents by exile, execution, and imprisonment, which led to civil unrest. In 1399, John of Gaunt's son, Henry Bolingbroke, led an insurrection that forced Richard II to abdicate. His abdication was ratified by Parliament on October 1, 1399 and Henry Bolingbroke was confirmed as King Henry IV on the same day. Richard was confined at Pontefract Castle where he died under mysterious circumstances in February 1400.

Richard III of England
(1452-1485), king of England (1483-1485), the youngest son of Richard Plantagenet, when his brother Edward IV died in 1483, Richard III took over the administration of the government for his young nephew, Edward V. Parliament declared that Edward IV's marriage was invalid and that his heir could not succeed. Richard III was confirmed as king by Parliament. The mysterious deaths of both of his brother's young sons turned public opinion against Richard III. He was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 and the crown passed to his opponent, Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond, of the rival house of Lancaster.

Sforza, Francesco
(1401-1466), duke of Milan (1450-1466). A talented condottiere, his marriage to Bianca, the daughter of Filippo Maria Visconti, the last Visconti duke of Milan, opened the way to his seizure of power in 1450 after Duke Filippo died. He signed an alliance with Naples and Florence and helped Ferdinand I of Naples in his struggle against a French claim.

(1368-1437), Holy Roman Emperor (1411-1437), king of Hungary (1387-1437), king of Bohemia (1419-1437), son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Acquired the throne of Hungary through his marriage to Mary, Queen of Hungary. Although Sigismund was elected to the imperial throne following the death of Rupert in 1411, the Great Schism delayed his formal cornation by the pope until 1433. Sigismund's power in Bohemia was seldom more than nominal and he was forced to deal with numerous rebellions by the Bohemians who accused him of complicity in the death of Jan Hus at the Council of Constance, over which Sigismund presided.

The Spanish Inquisition
Begun in 1478 to enforce religious conformity in Spain, the papacy soon relinquished control to the Spanish monarchs and the Inquisition became an instrument of state operated by the clergy, especially the Dominicans. The zealous persecution by the early inquisitors, notably Isabella's confessor, Tomas de Torquemada, led to the execution of thousands accused of heresy. The Inquisition had a major impact on the religious, political, and cultural development of Spain and her colonies, persisting until the nineteenth century. Other similar institutions occurred throughout Europe.

The Treaty of Tordesillas
Signed in 1494 by John II of Portugal and Isabella I and Ferdinand V of Spain, the treaty established a line about 1770 km west of the Cape Verde Islands - all new lands east of this line belonged to Portugal and all lands west of the line belonged to Spain. The treaty received papal sanction from Pope Julius II in 1506. The Treaty of Tordesillas was superseded by a series of new agreements beginning in 1750.

The Treaty of Troyes
Signed in 1420 between Henry V of England and Charles VI the Mad of France, the terms of the treaty granted Charles VI's daughter to Henry V in marriage and guaranteed the right of succession to the French throne to Henry V and his heirs.

Vasco da Gama
(1469?-1524), Portuguese explorer who reached India by sea. He rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1486, reaching Calicut in 1498, and returning to Portugal in 1499. He was instrumental in helping to establish Portuguese trading communities in India.

The Wars of the Roses
A series of civil wars in England fought between the rival houses of Lancaster and York from 1455 to 1485.

Return to New Monarchies

The End of Europe's Middle Ages / Applied History Research Group / University of Calgary
Copyright © 1998, The Applied History Research Group