Spain History – The First Christian States Part 7

According to, Alfonso IX of León reconquered Cáceres (1227) and took possession of Mérida and Badajoz; and at the same time Ferdinand III of Castile occupied Andújar and other places near Cordoba. And when this latter sovereign also had the crown of León, with united forces, in agreement with James I of Aragon and with the help of the religious orders of Calatrava and Alcántara, he conquered Truijllo, Montiel, Medellín, Alhange, Magacela (1232-35), in July 1233 he took Ubeda, on June 29 1236 he capitulated Cordova, in 1241 he made the king of Murcia his vassal and occupied almost the whole state; in 1244-45 he went as far as Granada and the following year he obtained from his king Jaén, a tribute and promises, kept, aid in its further ventures; in 1247 he conquered Carmona; on 23 November 1248 he forced Seville to open its doors to him, and spent the last years of his life in Andalusia, where he took Jerex, Medina Sidonia, Lebrija, Arcos, Rota, Santa María del Puerto, Sanlúcar, going as far as Cadiz. At the same time, James I of Aragon in September 1229 landed on the island of Majorca and on the last day of the year he entered Palma; in 1232 he made the Muslims of Menorca tributary; in 1235 he obtained Iviza, while other successes brought him back to the kingdom of Valenza, where he and his followers occupied Ares, Morella (1232), Burriana, Peñiscola (1233), Alzamora (1234) and reached the Júcar; then, giving himself all to the conquest of this kingdom, he forced his capital to surrender on 28 September 1238 and completed its occupation in 1245, when seized Játiva, Alcira, Biar; finally, he granted his help to Alfonso X, son of Ferdinand III, when the kingdom of Murcia rose up against Castile, of which he was a tributary, and for his ally he conquered Elche, Alicante, Murcia (1266).

Finally, in the same epoch the various Christian states decided or saw their future decided, perfecting in this respect the work of reorganization already begun in previous years. And, moreover, the particular development that each of the states gave to the reconquest and that we have indicated, must be considered precisely as one of the expressions and consequences of the direction gradually assumed by their life; the others were the division among the various monarchies of the territories previously restored to Christianity, the definitive territorial delimitation of Spain, which had its border in the Pyrenees, and, for some states, the determination of the direction that their expansion beyond of the seas. In the complex process of clarification, with respect to the previous arrangement, negative elements were the separation of Navarre from Aragon, the confirmed independence of Portugal and, temporarily, the division between the kingdom of León and the kingdom of Castile; on the other hand, a positive element was the union between Aragon and the Catalan states, which put an end to their peninsular disputes, allowed them to gather all their energies in an attempt to strengthen their expansion in southern France, to which previously they had targeted each one on its own; with Aragon it gave security, strength, markets for its trade to Catalonia all reaching out towards the Mediterranean, and with Catalonia it ensured an outlet on the Mediterranean to Aragon, removed from the ocean due to its separation from Navarre: so that when the French monarchy pushed back the Catalans and the Aragonese beyond the Pyrenees, they were able to give another direction to their activity and regain with usury what they had lost. During the government of Alfonso VII of León and Castile the direction of the peninsular political life of the Spanish Catholic states was centered in the hands of that king, to the benefit of his monarchy. Renewing the policy of his grandfather Alfonso VI with more success, on the death of Alfonso I of Aragon he occupied Tarazona, Daroca, Calatayud, Zaragoza (1134); and if he then returned this city to Ramiro II (1136) for the intervention of the counts of Urgel and Barcelona interested in preventing Zaragoza from becoming Castilian to free himself the way to Lérida and the Ebro, nevertheless he obtained that Ramón Berenguer IV pay homage; moreover, together with the king of France, the attempts made by the new prince of Aragon to force the monarch of Navarre to return some frontier territories that had been attributed to himself in the separation were in vain; forced Affonso Henriques of Portugal to come to terms, and he saw recognized by all the princes his superiority as emperor of Spain “. But at his death the dispute resumed with great fury and with a rich variety of alliances and wars between the various states, made even more intricate by the continuous conflict between Castile and León. Through long struggles with León, Portugal came to fix its northern border; and, if on the eastern border it could not secure the dominion of Badajoz, more south in 1263 confirmed the possession of the Algarve.

Spain History - The First Christian States Part 7