Biography of Juana Manuel. Queen of Castilla (ca.1333-1384)

Queen of Castile and Leon, born in Seville to 1333 and died in Salamanca in 1384. It occupied the Spanish throne as consort of Henry II between 1369 and 1379 and was mother of infante don Juan, future Juan I of Castile.

He belonged to the lineage of the Manuel, one of the most powerful aristocratic clans of Castile in the 14th century, closely related to the reigning dynasty. She was the daughter of the infante don Juan Manuel, the famous courtier and master of prose in Castilian language, and his second wife, the Lady Blanca de Lara. Among his paternal ancestors was his great-grandfather, King Fernando III the Saint of Castile.

The involvement of his father in the power struggles had Juana develop since his early youth in a valuable object of political exchange. His lineage, it was an appealing party for members of the high nobility who wished to strengthen their positions regarding the monarchy and the rest of the noble estate. In 1350, his brother mayor, Fernando Manuel, married the Count Henry of Trastámara (1333-1379), a natural son to King Alfonso XI had with his mistress, Doña Leonor de Guzmán. Just died Alfonso XI, bastards children began to conspire against the new King, Pedro I, legitimate son of him. Juana Manuel took an active part in the struggles for power, in which it was involved also the lineage of the Lara, to which it belonged by maternal.

His brother Fernando, head of the Manuel, died in 1351 and Juana inherited huge domains of his family heritage, located in the eastern part of Castilla la Nueva Almazan and Villena as centers. This substantially reinforced the position of her husband, who was soon to become head of the noble party opposed to Pedro I. In 1356, Henry encouraged an uprising armed against the legitimate monarch, who was easily crushed by the petristas. The count of Trastamara managed to take refuge in France, but Juana Manuel was seized by the King and imprisoned. However, he managed to escape shortly afterwards and he could meet with her husband on the other side of the Pyrenees, where it tried to organize a new offensive. After his return to Castile, Juana Manuel gave birth at Epila (Alcalá de Henares) in 1358 to his son Juan, future King of Castile as Juan I. From his marriage to Enrique de Trastámara was born also, towards 1350, a daughter, Eleanor, that in 1375 would marry the Infante don Carlos de Navarra (Carlos III).

Since 1363, Enrique de Trastámara became head of the noble side opposite to the personalist politics of Pedro I. In October of 1363, the Trastámara signed an alliance with Carlos II of Navarre and Pedro IV the ceremonious of Aragon by these that knew him secretly as King of Castile. Henry of Trastamara handed hostage agreement Juana Manuel and his son Juan, who went to live in the Aragonese Court. Juan was educated at the Court along with his future wife, Princess Eleanor of Aragon, as his mother followed closely the events of Castilla.

In 1366, Enrique Trastámara began a major offensive and Pedro IV the ceremonious Juana Manuel allowed to meet with her husband. Before leaving the March, Juana had to solemnly swear on behalf of Henry that would meet the agreements made in 1363, and that included the transfer to Aragon of the Kingdom of Murcia and the towns of Utiel, Moya, Cañete, Cuenca, Molina, Medinaceli, Almazan, Soria and Ágreda. The campaign concluded with a defeat without palliatives of the trastamaristas in the battle of Nájera (1367) against the army anglocastellano of Pedro I and the Prince Eduardo de Gales. Juana Manuel then fled with Henry to Avignon. Soon after, the Trastámara launched the final offensive that cry you to the throne of Castile. Between 1368 and 1369, Juana remained with her husband in some of the most important campaigns of the war, as Zamora taking or the site of Toledo.

After the victory of the trastamaristas in Montiel (1369), Juana Manuel and Enrique de Trastámara were proclaimed Kings of Castile. The following year, Enrique II gave owned the lordship of Vizcaya, which she relented, in turn, his son Juan. In this way, the last great feudal Lordship was integrated in the Castilian Royal heritage, just like that, on the death of the Queen, the manors of the Manuel and the Lara. Therefore the Spanish Crown was enriched considerably, although much of these manors was handed over to the nobility through "mercedes enriquenas" calls.

While he had played an important role in the process that led her husband to the throne, after 1369 political figure of Juana Manuel eclipsed it. As Queen, according to the contemporary Chronicles, was devoted to health care, and pious works for which he received the nickname "mother of the poor". He died in 1384, shortly after exceeding the fifty, five years after the death of her husband. After the ascent to the throne of his son, Juan I, Juana Manuel lived withdrawn from the Court until his death. She was buried in the chapel of the new Kings of Toledo.


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MOYA GARCIA, C.: La reina Juana Manuel in the Cancionero de Baena, in songbooks in Baena. Proceedings of the II Congress International Songbook of Baena, In Memoriam Manuel Alvar, ed. J. L. Serrano Reyes, Baena, M.I. Ayuntamiento de Baena, 2003, I, pp. 283-392.

SUÁREZ FERNÁNDEZ, l.: The Trastámara and the Catholic monarchs. Madrid: Gredos, 1985.

VALDEÓN BARUQUE, j.: Enrique II of Castile: the civil war and the consolidation of the regime (1366-1371). Valladolid, 1966.