Aragonese Civil War (1347–1348)PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Pedro IV vs. rebel Aragonese barons
PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Aragon, Spain
MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: The barons fought to
preserve rights granted them under charter by previous
Aragonese rulers and to keep one of Pedro’s daughters
from assuming the throne after his death.
OUTCOME: Pedro quelled the rebellion and revoked the
APPROXIMATE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MEN UNDER ARMS:
During the 13th century expansionist Christian powers
attacked the Iberian lands held by the Moors, ultimately
confining them to a small enclave in southeastern Spain
called Granada. Chief among these Christian kingdoms
was Castile, which after a half century of glory began to
decline under mediocre rule. In the wake of that decline,
the smaller Aragon grew steadily in influence on its way to
becoming the most powerful state in the Mediterranean.
Toward the close of the century, Pedro III (1239–85) of
Aragon formed an alliance with the Byzantine Empire and
fought the War of the SICILIAN VESPERS, during which he
was excommunicated by the pope and successfully
defended his throne against Rome-backed French pretenders
(see ARAGONESE-FRENCH WAR [1284–1285]), consolidating
his hold over Aragon and its prominent position
on the peninsula.
In the course of his expansions, Pedro and his son
Alfonso III (1265–91) granted Aragon’s barons charter
rights and privileges that would become the source of prolonged
difficulties under their successors. After King
Pedro IV (1319–87) proclaimed his daughter heir to the
throne, his barons rebelled, triggering civil war in December
1347. At first the barons prevailed, and nominated an
acceptable male successor. While Pedro was held hostage
in Valencia, his supporters rallied. After he was released,
Pedro led an army to victory at the Battle of Eppila on July
21, 1348. This enabled him to rescind the barons’ charters
and to assert absolute rule once again. His victory in the
ARAGONESE-GENOESEWAR (1352–54), by which he retook
Sardinia, cemented his authority.
See also ARAGONESE CONQUEST OF SARDINIA.
Further reading: Raymond Carr, Spain: A History
(New York: Oxford University Press, 2000); Bernard F.
Reilly, The Medieval Spains (New York: Cambridge University