James II of Majorca

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King James II of Majorca
Coat of Arms of the Kings of Majorca used only abroad

James II (Catalan: Jaume) (31 May 1243 – 29 May 1311) was King of Majorca and Lord of Montpellier from 1276 until his death. He was the second son of James I of Aragon and his wife Violant, daughter of Andrew II of Hungary. In 1279, by the Treaty of Perpignan, he became a vassal of the Crown of Aragon.

Biography[edit]

James inherited from his father a realm including three of the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Ibiza and Formentera), the counties of Roussillon and Cerdanya, the dominion of Montpellier, the barony of Aumelàs, and the viscounty of Carladès. He also gained tribute from the fourth Balearic island, Minorca, which remained under Muslim control throughout his life. He ruled as a vassal of his brother Peter III of Aragon, a subordinate status which he sought to escape.

In the Aragonese Crusade, James allied with Pope Martin IV and king Philip III of France (the widower of his sister, Isabella) against his brother, but was defeated in the Battle of Les Formigues in 1285. His nephew Alfonso III of Aragon annexed the Balearic Islands to Aragon in the conquest, but they were returned by the Treaty of Anagni in 1295.

Following this reversion, James made an effort to improve the viability of the kingdom on the domestic front. He devoted himself to running his kingdom by reforming urbanism, establishing agricultural policy, emphasising defense, and reforming the economy. He implemented a vast policy of agricultural colonisation with the creation of rural centres; increase royal rents; favoured the creation of consulates in North Africa and the Kingdom of Granada; created a new monetary system for the kingdom; fomented the creation of textile industries; proceeded to increase the power of the crown over that of the nobility and the Church; and ordered the construction of several palaces and castles, including the palace at Perpignan, the Palace of Almudaina, the Cathedral of Santa María at Palma de Mallorca, known today as La Seu, and, finally, Bellver Castle. The opening of criminal proceedings against the Knights Templar and their later suppression would allow the seizure of the tithes of the Templars on the islands.

Family[edit]

James wed Esclaramunda of Foix in 1275 through a marriage arranged by his own initiative and not that of his father's. Esclaramunda was a daughter of Roger IV of Foix. They had six children including:

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

James II of Majorca
Cadet branch of the House of Barcelona
Born: 31 May 1243 Died: 29 May 1311
Regnal titles
Preceded by
James I
King of Majorca
1276–1286
1295–1311
Succeeded by
Afonso I
Preceded by
James (III)
Succeeded by
Sancho I
Preceded by
James I
Count of Roussillon
1276–1311
Count of Cerdanya
1276–1311
Lord of Montpellier
1276–1311