Biography of Enrique IV. King of Castilla y León (1425-1474)

King of Castile and Leon, nicknamed the impotent, son of Juan II and María de Aragón, daughter of the King Juan II of Aragon, born in Valladolid, on 25 January of the year 1425 and died in villa de Madrid, on December 11, the year 1474. His long reign (since the year 1454 to the 1474) was marked by its lack of qualities as monarch and great opposition which found within the ranks of the most powerful nobility of his Kingdom, which provoked an open period of civil wars, which contrast clearly with the order established by its successors, the Catholic monarchs, circumstance that it has contributed mightily to just how far your figure has been desprestigiada by later historiography.

Being still Prince of Asturias, heir to the throne, and the infante Enrique, began to act actively in the turbulent and complicated politics of the Castilian Kingdom, always supported by his friend and favorite don Juan Pacheco, Marquis of Villena, favoring with its multiple intrigues the fatal outcome of the Almighty earned from his father, don Álvaro de Luna. On 23 July the year 1454, two days after the death of his father Juan II, Henry was proclaimed King of Castile and Leon in the Valladolid monastery of San Pablo. Because of his advanced age (twenty-nine) and by the extensive experience treasured in issues of governance, the beginning of his reign was welcomed by all sectors of the Kingdom with very good eyes, which did fall on his shoulders the hopes of the people that will put an end to the period of wars and clashes occurred during much of the reign of his fatherthat they had exhausted almost in its entirety to the Kingdom of Castile and Leon.

The first years of the reign of Enrique IV, recognized by all, on the throne was based on five basic points of government compliance: the consolidation of the economic platform of the Kingdom, in the direction of reform and fully control the collection of income, both for the benefit of the own Kingdom the monarch private finance; crucial if he/she wanted to reign in harmony with the other estates of the realm, so Enrique IV urgently needed plug gap reconciliation with the nobility, that his father had opened between the throne and the aristocratic class; ensure and increase control of the monarchy on the courts, and by extension, on cities and municipalities included within the Royal Manor; peace with the neighboring Christian kingdoms, and especially with Portugal and France, primordial friendships to counter excessive Aragonese influence in Castile; and, finally, restart the war against the Nasrid Granada, project more ambitious and enthusiastic of the new monarch, but that at the same time was the one who first raised serious protests and more widespread opposition.

In March of the year 1455, Enrique IV summoned one of the few calls for courts, held in Cuéllar, in order to convey to the estates of the realm, the new political program of the Crown, in addition to to collect the resulting taxes. At this first meeting he/she began to stand out as a leading figure person of the Marquis of Villena, don Juan Pacheco, who aspired to play the role of don Álvaro de Luna had played in the previous reign in the Court of the new sovereign. Increasingly predominant ancestry of the Marquis did arouse serious misgivings among members of the high nobility and the great prelates of the Spanish Church, fearful of producing a new attempt by the monarchy to erode their perks and privileges. Henry IV, although it was mindful of the need that had the support of the nobility and their consensus for its policy, always sought to surround himself with simple hidalgos, noble title media and legalistic, conforming to its around one Court completely biased and faithful to his person and his Government's action. For all these characters, highlighted by its relevance Miguel Lucas de Iranzo, Constable of the realm, the convert don Diego Arias, as most of the United counter, and don Beltrán de la Cueva, his other valid, once consummated the fall into misfortune and subsequent betrayal of the Marquis of Villena.

As stated before, the projected war of Granada became the first and most suitable breeding ground for the development of the new, complex opponent germ to the monarch. The same year of the celebration of the courts of Cuellar, Enrique IV carried out two military actions against Granada, which was awarded the victory of brilliantly, was at the expense of an enormous economic and human effort due to the tactic of "war of attrition" imposed by the monarch.

Both the nobility and the high Castilian-Leonese clergy, headed by the Primate of Toledo, Archbishop Alfonso Carrillo, accused the King of embezzlement and misuse of subsidies received in the courts of Cuéllar, to which was added the very serious charges of immoral and irreligious. Nobility, clergy, and cities (economically depleted by the King) began to show credible signs of discontent with the person and attitude of Enrique IV, who had previously troubled the Royal Council of powerful nobles to his supporters and faithful collaborators, always led by the ambitious Marquis of Villena, the only member of the high nobility truly protected by the King. Against the Marquis of Villena and his group later noble opposition attacks went straight until it leaves the direct power in the year 1463.

In the year 1457, the Marquis of Villena took directly with the direct Affairs of the Kingdom, giving start open warfare with the faction noble led by Archbishop Carrillo and the count of Haro, among others. The Marquis of Villena, in its ongoing effort to hold onto the top of power, sought during the time he/she was in the Government dismantle the powerful faction created against Enrique IV and, therefore, against his own person.

The mechanisms used by the Marquis of Villena to neutralize the opposition were multiple. One of them was Enrique IV force to search an Aragonese Alliance, specifically with Juan of Navarre, son of the Aragonese monarch Alfonso V the magnanimous, and future King of Aragon. Both monarchs were interviewed between the towns of Alfaro and Corella in the year 1457, which signed a Pact of collaboration whereby Enrique IV left to support the son this, Carlos of Viana, in their claims to the throne of Navarre, while Juan II pledged to not support or give coverage in his Kingdom to any possible League or Confederation noble against him.

Other defensive mechanism practiced by the Marquis of Villena was the search and subsequent obtaining papal support. Both Callixtus III as his successor, the cult Pope Pius II, legalized the action of Government of Enrique IV, and above all, by means of two bulls, authorized you to distribute crusade tax funds as he/she wanted, eliminating in this way possible complaints of the party nobility in terms of distribution and tax expenses.

The third way that the Marquis of Villena practiced was done with a team of people addicted to his person, as did the King, who support him in his decisions. The key person in his Government was his brother Pedro Girón, maestre de Calatrava, together with the counts of Plasencia and Alba, always loyal to the Crown. Finally, another argument for the action of the Marquis of Villena to consolidate himself in power, and Enrique IV was the increase of their own heritage, practicing the direct appropriation of the fortunes of the noble rebels, well thanks to the practice of a well planned marriage policy.

The reaction of the aristocratic League against Enrique IV and their valid, more rich, arrogant and powerful, was swift. Adherence to this League of Juan II of Navarre and Aragon gave more strength to the determined opposition of regia, completely changing meaning the evolution of the reign of Enrique IV. Juan II of Aragon was proclaimed King of Aragon since the mid of the year 1458, for which broke the Friendship Pact signed with the Spanish monarch, once already he/she didn't need his support once it was secure in the Aragonese throne to confront the pretensions of his son Carlos of Viana.

Henry IV, after his initial start of prominence, had left along the policy imposed by his followers, the Marquis de Villana. But after the spectacular prominence that was bringing together the League noble, decided to attack head-on the opposition movement, which stopped the Marquis de Villena, who, unbeknown to the King, was ambiguous and secret negotiations with the main ringleaders of the League noble. Thus, in August of the year 1461, the Marquis of Villena convinced Enrique IV to sign onerous with the noble faction peace, while he/she was forced to allow access to the Royal Council relevant personalities of this rebel party. The following year, 1462, meant a major turning point in the reign of Enrique IV. The deterioration of public order and the slowing down of the justice were one fact more obvious, with the consequent and irreversible decline of the monarchy represented by Enrique IV, coerced by the omnipresence of the Royal Council, dominated after the degrading Pact the year 1461.

Henry IV married second, in the year 1455, Doña Juana de Portugal, after declaring void your previous link with Doña Blanca of Navarre. The new link a daughter, was born in the year 1462, Princess and heiress Doña Juana (nicknamed as the Beltraneja) and that in the future would be the cause of the civil war over the question of succession to the throne. Henry IV, more sure of his own forces, began to distance himself from his more direct collaborators, in particular of the Marquis of Villena, so sought the support of other nobles, such as Mendoza and don Beltrán de la Cueva, who occupied the vacant seat left by the Marquis of Villena, following the loss of confidence of the King as a result of the Catalan issue. Beltrán de la Cueva and Pedro González de Mendoza entered a part of the Royal Council, neutralizing the influence of the proaragonesa faction.

With the downfall of the Marquis of Villena, occurred in the year 1464, and the delivery of power to the Mendoza, Enrique IV unleashed again civil war in Castilla y León. It is important to highlight the fact that the new supporters of the monarch in that year were the same that ten years earlier formed the first noble core of opposition to the King.

On May 6 of the same year, the defenestrated Marqués de Villena, along with Alfonso Carrillo and his brother Pedro Girón, was invited to the rest of nobles to form a new coalition against the King to avoid, according to his own words, that the half-brother of the King, the infante don Alfonso, was killed by the King himself.

The success of the call to rebellion was considerable, so Enrique IV was forced to negotiate with the rebels, headlines this time by your previous server, the Marquis of Villena, circumstance did not but crack even more the Royal authority. Support, again, of Juan II of Aragón, the League met in Assembly, on 28 September of that year, in the city of Burgos, where the infante Alfonso was appointed as Crown Prince and refused recognition of the daughter of the King as a legitimate heir to the throne, who blamed his paternity to the new valid of the King, don Beltrán de la Cueva, in a clear attempt to discredit Enrique IV and his descendants.

The Castilian King tried to settle the issue by arranging the marriage of his daughter with his half-brother, but the League noble did not accept the solution given by the monarch castellano, revealing the projection of a vast political programme, based mainly on three points: policy of force against the rise in the Court of the converts and Conversos who filled all the positions that correspond to them by their lineage and lineage according to noblesi.e., to undertake urgently all a religious cleansing plan; respect for and defence of the status of the nobles; and, finally, full liberty for the cities when it comes to the choice of its own attorneys in courts. The different demands of the League were taken to the papal and signed by all its relevant components in mid May in 1964, in the Spanish town of Alcalá de Henares. Henry IV, extremely weakened position politics, eventually give in to the demands of the nobility, recognizing his half-brother Alfonso as Prince heir to the Crown and allowing the celebration of a Commission composed of people of both parties, in charge of pacifying the Kingdom. The celebration left the judgment of Medina del Campo, signed January 16, 1465, clearly unfavorable to Enrique IV.

Henry IV, taken refuge in Zamora, decided to fight the rebels, so he/she asked the Portuguese help, accelerating the marriage negotiations between Alfonso V of Portugal and his half-sister, Princess Isabel, which so far had not counted no member of the nobility. Subsequent annulment of the judgment of the Medina del Campo by Enrique IV began a new chapter in the civil war. Slowly, more relevant nobles of the realm, attached at first to the Royal side, were going to the noble side. The rebels, in a shameful ceremony which took place on the outskirts of Ávila, on 5 June the year 1465, Enrique IV, represented by a doll, deposed and appointed as new monarch to the infante don Alfonso. Virtually all major lineages of the Kingdom, were among the noble leaders, apart from the intriguing and ambitious Marquis of Villena, don Álvaro de Zúñiga, count of Plasencia; Don Alfonso Carrillo Albornoz, Archbishop of Toledo; Don Rodrigo Pimentel, count of Benavente; Don Diego López de Zúñiga, and many others. The show became known as the so-called "farce of Avila".

Nevertheless, Enrique IV could react with the support of the General brotherhood and some powerful noble addicted to his person, as the lineage of the Mendoza and the Alba, which allowed Enrique IV raise a reliable army that defeated the rebel army of nobles, very dispersed and uncoordinated by different interests of its members on several occasions. The bloody civil war between two brothers and their respective supporters don Alfonso, lasted three years, until the providential death of the pretender in July of the year 1468.

However, the last years of the reign of Enrique IV were dominated by the problem of succession, previously alluded. In the year 1468, by the Covenant of the bulls of Guisando, Enrique IV officially recognized his sister Isabel as heiress to the throne, in clear prejudice to the legitimate rights of his daughter Doña Juana. But the marriage of Isabel with the Aragonese Crown Prince, Fernando, held in Valladolid, in October of the year 1469, greatly angered Enrique IV, who decided to cancel what has been agreed in Guisando, immediately after proclaiming as heir his daughter Doña Juana. The Act of inheritance rights from his daughter Doña Juana tightening involved, turn, the logical cancellation of all rights of her sister Elizabeth, as well as the public oath of Enrique IV and Joanna of Portugal about the legitimacy of his daughter. The faction noble, very reinforced after multiple clashes with the monarchy in which was involved throughout the century, desinhibió by the time of the dynastic issue, without entering in direct competition in defense of one side or the other. But the truth is that, between the years 1471 and 1473, both enriquenos and isabelists prepared thoroughly for the irreversible war that was going to produce without remission once Enrique IV died, circumstance that you occurred on December 11, the year 1474. After the death of King Enrique IV, the Kingdom as a whole was involved again in a tremendous war estate, between Isabel and Fernando on one side, and supporters of Doña Juana "la Beltraneja" on the other.


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