John II of Castile
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Tomb of John II in the Miraflores Charterhouse
|King of Castile and León|
|Reign||25 December 1406 – 20 July 1454|
6 March 1405|
|Died||20 July 1454
|Consort||Maria of Aragon
Isabella of Portugal
|Catherine, Princess of Asturias
Eleanor, Princess of Asturias
Henry IV of Castile
Isabella I of Castile
Alfonso, Prince of Asturias
|Father||Henry III of Castile|
|Mother||Catherine of Lancaster|
John was the son of King Henry III and his wife, Catherine of Lancaster. His mother was the granddaughter of King Peter, who was ousted by Henry III's grandfather, King Henry II. John succeeded his father on 25 December 1406, and united in his person the claims of both Peter and Henry II. His mother and his uncle, King Ferdinand I of Aragon, were co-regents during his minority. When Ferdinand died in 1416, his mother governed alone until her death in 1418.
John II's reign, lasting 49 years, was one of the longest in Castilian history, but John himself was not a particularly capable monarch. He spent his time verse-making, hunting, and holding tournaments. His favourite, Álvaro de Luna, heavily influenced him until his second wife, Isabella of Portugal, obtained control of his feeble will. At her instigation, he dismissed his faithful and able servant, an act which is said to have caused him much remorse.
John II's Regents declared the Valladolid laws in 1411, which restricted the social activity of Jews. Among the most notable of the provisions were outlining that Jews must wear distinctive clothes and banned them from holding administrative positions. However, once John took control of the throne for himself in 1418, he (though likely influenced politically by de Luna) reversed such ordinances, favoring instead a more tolerant attitude toward the already battered Jewish population of Castile following the mass wave of conversions between 1391-1415.
In 1431 John placed Yusuf IV on the throne as the Sultan of Granada in the Moorish Emirate of Granada, in exchange for tribute and vassal status to Castile. This exchange is depicted in the short ballad the Romance of Abenamar.
He was "[T]all and handsome, fair-skinned and slightly ruddy... his hair was the color of a very mature hazelnut, the nose a little snub, the eyes between green and blue... he had very graceful legs and feet and hands."
John II died on 20 July 1454, at Valladolid.
Family and children
In 1418, John married Maria of Aragon, the oldest daughter of his paternal uncle, Ferdinand I of Aragon. The marriage produced four children:
- Catherine, Princess of Asturias (1422–1424), his heiress presumptive from her birth until her death
- Eleanor, Princess of Asturias (1423–1425), his heiress presumptive from the death of Catherine until the birth of Henry
- King Henry IV of Castile (1425–1474)
- Infanta Maria (1428–1429)
Of all their children, only the future Henry IV of Castile survived infancy. John was widowed in 1445 and remarried to Isabella of Portugal, daughter of Infante John of Portugal, with whom he had two children:
|Ancestors of John II of Castile|
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- From 'Crónica de Juan II' by Lorenza Galindez de Carvajal (1517)
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- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "John II. of Castile". Encyclopædia Britannica 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 441.
John II of CastileBorn: 6 March 1405 Died: 20 July 1454
|King of Castile and León
|Prince of Asturias