Peter the Cruel, also known as Peter I of Castile, and several derivatives, was a medieval king who ruled the Kingdom of Castile from 1350 to 1369. His reign was marked by controversy, political instability, and brutal actions, earning him the epithet “the Cruel.” While his legacy remains debated, Peter’s rule had a significant impact on the politics and society of medieval Spain.
Peter ascended to the throne at a young age following the death of his father, Alfonso XI. Peter’s reign was immediately challenged by his half-brother, Henry of Trastámara, who claimed the throne for himself. This conflict sparked a civil war known as the Castilian Civil War, which dominated much of Peter’s reign.
One of the defining characteristics of Peter’s rule was his ruthless, uncompromising and violent nature. He was willing to use extreme measures to maintain power, even against his own family members and nobles who opposed him. His actions included executing or imprisoning political rivals, torturing prisoners, and resorting to brutal reprisals against his enemies.
Peter’s most infamous act was the murder of his wife, Blanche of Bourbon. Suspecting her of infidelity, he had her imprisoned and subsequently executed in 1361. This act shocked many people at the time and contributed to his tarnished reputation as a cruel, unjust and tyrannical ruler.
Despite his brutal methods, Peter was not without supporters. He managed to maintain a loyal following among some nobles and commoners who appreciated his efforts to centralise power and weaken the influence of the nobility. His policies aimed to strengthen the monarchy and assert royal authority over regional factions. Peter’s reign was characterised by political instability and conflicts. He faced numerous rebellions, including those led by his half-brother Henry, who eventually succeeded in overthrowing him. In 1366, Peter sought assistance from Edward, the Black Prince of England, and formed an alliance known as the Treaty of Libourne. With English military support, Peter briefly regained control of the kingdom. However, internal divisions and shifting alliances continued to plague his reign.
Caption: The Battle of Nájera in a 15th-century manuscript (Peter and the English are on the left).
Attribution: Bibliothèque nationale de France, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Battle_najera_froissart.jpg
Peter’s controversial legacy is still a subject of debate among historians. Some view him as a despot who ruled with cruelty and brutality, causing immense suffering to his subjects. Others argue that his actions, although harsh, were a necessary response to the turbulent political environment of the time.
From a historical perspective, Peter’s reign had lasting consequences. The conflicts and divisions that characterised his reign set the stage for further instability and strife in the Kingdom of Castile. His actions also weakened the monarchy and contributed to the decline of royal authority in the following years.
Caption: War of Peter The Cruel in Castile.The illustrated history of the world for the English people. Painting of 1884.
Attribution: New York Ward, Lock, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:War_of_Peter_The_Cruel_in_Castle.jpg
Effect on Britons
Peter the Cruel’s conduct and actions impacted Britons, particularly through his interactions with the English monarchy during his reign. Peter’s most significant involvement was his alliance with Edward, the Black Prince of England, during the Castilian Civil War.
In 1366, Peter sought assistance from the English, and the Treaty of Libourne was formed between Peter and Edward. Under this alliance, the English provided military support to Peter, enabling him to regain control of the Kingdom of Castile temporarily. This military aid was a strategic move by the English to expand their influence in the Iberian Peninsula and challenge the power of France.
The English involvement in the Castilian Civil War had several effects on Britons. First, it resulted in a significant military campaign led by the Black Prince and his forces, which included English soldiers. This campaign exposed English troops to the tactics and realities of warfare in the Iberian Peninsula and contributed to their military experiences.
Secondly, the military alliance created political and economic ties between England and Castile. English nobles and soldiers who fought alongside Peter were rewarded with lands and titles in Castile, strengthening the connections between the two kingdoms.
Furthermore, the Treaty of Libourne and the subsequent English involvement in Castile sparked a political debate in England. There were differing opinions on the merits of supporting Peter, with some seeing him as a rightful monarch defending his throne against rebels, while others viewed him as a cruel tyrant unworthy of English aid. This debate reflected broader discussions on foreign policy and the role of England in European affairs.
The English involvement in the Castilian Civil War also had economic consequences. The English army required money to sustain their campaign, leading to increased taxes and demands on the English population. The war effort was partly funded through the imposition of a poll tax, which sparked discontent and contributed to the social unrest that culminated in the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381.
So, it’s easy to see that Peter the Cruel’s alliance with the English monarchy during the Castilian Civil War had notable effects on Britons. It led to English military involvement in Castile, exposed English soldiers to new military experiences, created political debates and alliances, and had financial consequences through taxation and social unrest. The impact of Peter’s actions and the English engagement in the conflict highlighted the interconnectedness of medieval European politics and the repercussions felt beyond national borders.
The conflict was a struggle between two claimants to the throne of Castile, Peter of Castile and Peter IV of Aragon. The former Peter was supported by England and several English nobles led by Edward III and his son, while the latter Peter was supported by France.
The conflict also brought in the involvement of the kingdoms of Navarre and Portugal. The war resulted in Aragon gaining the upper hand, but it also devastated its economy, which was already reeling from the effects of the Black Death.
Picture Credit: Peter IV, King of Aragon by Gonçal Peris Sarrià & Jaume Mateu (1427).
Attribution: Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jaume_Mateu_-_Peter_IV_the_Ceremonious_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
The Castilian Civil War
The Castilian Civil War (also known as the War of Castilian Succession) lasted from 1351 to 1369 and was a war of succession over the Crown of Castile. The conflict started after the death of King Alfonso XI of Castile in March 1350. The war primarily revolved around the disputed succession to the Castilian throne and involved various factions vying for control of the kingdom.
It became part of the larger conflict then raging between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France: the Hundred Years’ War. It was fought primarily in Castile and its coastal waters between the local and allied forces of the reigning king, Peter, and his illegitimate brother Henry of Trastámara, over the right to the crown.
The main contenders in the conflict were Peter of Castile (also known as Peter the Cruel or Peter the Just) and his half-brother Henry of Trastámara. Peter had ascended to the throne in 1350 after the death of his father, King Alfonso XI. However, his reign was marked by controversy and political instability, leading to opposition from noble factions within Castile.
Picture Credit: [Henry of Trastámara] Retrato de Enrique II de Castilla (1334-1379) en el cuadro La Virgen de Tobed, de Jaume Serra.
Attribution: Jaime Serra, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Enrique_II_de_Castilla.jpg
Henry of Trastámara, supported by a coalition of nobles and foreign powers, challenged Peter’s legitimacy as king. Henry’s claim to the throne stemmed from his mother’s marriage to Alfonso XI, which occurred after the birth of Peter. This marriage was considered illegitimate, making Henry an illegitimate half-brother of Peter. However, Henry garnered support by portraying Peter as a cruel and tyrannical ruler, hence his epithet “Peter the Cruel.”
The Castilian Civil War was fought across various regions of the Kingdom of Castile, primarily in the Iberian Peninsula. Battles and sieges took place in cities such as Toledo, Seville, Burgos, and Córdoba. The conflict was characterised by shifting alliances, betrayals, and military campaigns as Peter and Henry separately sought to consolidate their power and gain control over the kingdom.
The military campaign led by Edward, the Black Prince and his English forces in support of Peter had a considerable impact on the course of the war. However, it is important to note that Britain’s involvement was primarily motivated by strategic and geopolitical interests rather than a direct stake or interest in the dispute over the Castilian throne. In the end, the Castilian Civil War concluded with the victory of Henry of Trastámara. Peter the Cruel was overthrown and killed in 1369, solidifying Henry’s claim to the throne. The war left a lasting impact on the political and social landscape of Castile, setting the stage for Henry’s reign and shaping the kingdom’s future alliances and conflicts.
Peter was called by his supporters “The Just”, and by his detractors “The Cruel”. To the higher ranks of the nobility, he was a tyrant, forcing the royal will on hitherto free men. He had greatly extended the royal authority and had entered into a war with the Crown of Aragon (called “The War of the Two Peters“). Peter’s illegitimate brother Henry quickly obtained the support of not only the upper noblesse, but France, Aragon, and the Papacy. In 1366, he officially deposed his brother as king of Castile, León, Toledo, and Seville and had himself proclaimed king in the monastery of Las Huelgas.
In 1366, Henry, then living in France, assembled a large army, with both French and Aragonese components, at Montpellier and invaded Castile with the support of the kings of France and Aragon (Charles V and Peter IV respectively). He successfully forced Peter the Cruel to flee to Bayonne, a city in English-held Gascony. There, he petitioned Edward, the Black Prince, for aid and, in exchange for lands in Castile, received it.
With English troops led by the prince, Peter returned to Castile and reasserted his royal power in 1367, forcing Henry to return to France after the successful Battle of Nájera (Navarette). He refused, however, to make good on his dealings with the English and his allies (including Edward, the Black Prince) soon left. In 1368, Henry and Charles of France signed the Treaty of Toledo, whereby the Castilians lent a fleet in the Bay of Biscay to the French in return for military aid on land.
Henry of Trastámara made significant military advancements during the Castilian Civil War. He captured several towns in Galicia and eventually took the city of León in April. This success led to widespread support for Henry in the province of Galicia. In 1369, he re-entered Castile and, following the Battle of Campo de Montiel, he killed Peter, solidifying his position as the new ruler. Upon his acclamation as Henry II, certain administrative changes occurred, including a reorganisation of high-ranking officials. Castile formed a close alliance with France during this period, aligning themselves with the French in their ongoing conflicts.
Castile’s Location and Importance
Castile was a historical kingdom located on the Iberian Peninsula in what is now modern-day Spain. It emerged as a distinct political entity in the 9th century and eventually became one of the most powerful and influential kingdoms in the medieval and early modern periods.
Geographically, Castile was situated in the central part of the Iberian Peninsula, with its core territory encompassing the central highlands of present-day Spain. It bordered other Christian kingdoms such as León, Aragón, and Portugal, as well as Muslim-ruled territories in the south.
Castile’s importance stemmed from several factors:
- Reconquista: Castile played a pivotal role in the long process known as the Reconquista, which aimed to recapture the Iberian Peninsula from Muslim rule. As one of the Christian kingdoms in the north, Castile engaged in numerous campaigns against the Muslim states of Al-Andalus, gradually expanding its territory southward.
- Unity and centralisation: Castile became known for its efforts to centralise power and establish a strong monarchy. Through the marriage of Ferdinand of Castile and Isabella of Aragón in the late 15th century, the Kingdom of Spain was formed, marking a significant step towards the unification of the Iberian Peninsula.
- Colonial expansion: Castile’s maritime explorations and colonisation efforts were instrumental in the Age of Discovery. It sponsored the voyages of Christopher Columbus (an Italian) and other explorers, leading to the establishment of Spanish colonies and the expansion of the Spanish Empire.
- Cultural and intellectual contributions: Castile was a centre of cultural and intellectual activity during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It was home to renowned scholars, writers, and artists (see below), contributing to the development of literature, art, and architecture.
- Spanish language: The Castilian dialect, which originated in the region, eventually became the basis for the Spanish language. Castilian Spanish, also known as “Castellano,” became the primary language of Spain and spread to other parts of the world through Spanish colonisation.
Picture Credit: Castilian territory at the end of the 14th century.
Attribution: Corona_de_Castilla_1400.svg: Té y kriptonita. Based on Image: Conquista Hispania.svg de HansenBCNderivative work: Gabagool, CC BY-SA 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5>, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Corona_de_Castilla_1400_en.svg
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Castile’s strategic location, military strength, political centralisation, and cultural contributions positioned it as a major power in medieval and early modern Europe. Its historical significance extends beyond its borders, influencing the course of Spanish history, European politics, and global exploration and colonisation.
Renowned Scholars, Writers and Artists
As a centre of cultural and intellectual activity, Castile fostered the growth of numerous scholars, writers, and artists who made significant contributions to their respective fields. Here are some notable figures associated with Castile:
- Alfonso X of Castile (Alfonso the Wise): King Alfonso X was a patron of the arts and sciences and played a crucial role in the intellectual development of Castile. He sponsored the translation of numerous scientific and philosophical works into Castilian and encouraged the study of various disciplines, including astronomy, mathematics, and law.
- Antonio de Nebrija (Antonio de Lebrija): An influential Renaissance humanist, Antonio de Nebrija was a scholar and linguist known for his work in grammar and language. He wrote the first grammar of the Spanish language, titled “Gramática de la lengua castellana” (Grammar of the Castilian Language), which played a significant role in standardising and codifying the Spanish language.
- Juan de Mariana: A Jesuit priest, historian, and political theorist, Juan de Mariana was an influential figure in the 16th century. He is known for his historical works, including “Historiae de rebus Hispaniae” (History of Spain), which chronicled the history of Spain and its kingdoms.
- Alfonso de Cartagena: A bishop, diplomat, and humanist, Alfonso de Cartagena was a prominent figure in the 15th century. He was known for his translations of classical works, including works by Plato and Cicero, and his contributions to Spanish humanism.
- Francisco Sánchez de las Brozas (El Brocense): A Renaissance scholar, Francisco Sánchez de las Brozas was a professor of rhetoric and a prominent humanist. He contributed significantly to literary criticism and rhetoric and wrote several influential works, including “Minerva, sierva de las musas” (Minerva, the Servant of the Muses).
- Gonzalo de Berceo: A 13th century poet and hagiographer, Gonzalo de Berceo is considered the first significant Spanish-language poet. He composed religious poems and hagiographies, including the “Vida de Santo Domingo de Silos” and “Milagros de Nuestra Señora.”
- Juan Ruiz, Archpriest of Hita: Known for his work “Libro de buen amor” (“Book of Good Love”), Juan Ruiz was a medieval poet who wrote in the 14th century. His work is a mixture of religious, satirical, and bawdy themes.
- Jorge Manrique: A 15th-century poet, Jorge Manrique is best known for his poem “Coplas a la muerte de su padre” (“Stanzas on the Death of His Father”). The poem reflects on the transitory nature of life and the inevitability of death.
- El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos): Although born in Crete, El Greco settled in Toledo, Castile, where he produced most of his significant works. He was a renowned painter of the Spanish Renaissance, known for his expressive style and religious subject matter.
- Alonso Berruguete: A sculptor and painter, Alonso Berruguete is considered one of the most important Spanish artists of the 16th century. He played a significant role in the transition from the late Gothic style to the emerging Renaissance style in Spain.
- Diego Velázquez: While born in Seville, Velázquez worked primarily in the court of King Philip IV of Spain in Madrid, the capital of Castile. He is regarded as one of the most influential painters of the Spanish Baroque period, known for his masterful use of light and his realistic portrayals.
These are just a few examples of the scholars, writers, and artists associated with Castile. The region’s cultural and intellectual vibrancy attracted many creative individuals, enriching the literary, artistic, and intellectual landscape of Castile and leaving a lasting impact on Spanish and European cultural heritage.
Why did Henry of Trastámara claim the Castile Throne for himself?
Henry of Trastámara, also known as Henry II of Castile, had several reasons to claim the throne of Castile for himself. Here are some of the factors that contributed to his claim:
- Legitimacy Dispute: Henry’s claim to the throne was based on his belief that he was the rightful heir to the Castilian crown. He argued that his half-brother, King Peter the Cruel (Peter of Castile), was an illegitimate ruler. Henry’s mother, Maria de Padilla, was the mistress of King Alfonso XI of Castile, and Henry believed that he was the legitimate son of Alfonso, making him the rightful heir to the throne.
- Rivalry and Opposition: Henry and his supporters, including nobles and factions within Castile, were opposed to Peter the Cruel’s reign. They saw Peter as a cruel and oppressive ruler and believed that Henry would be a better and more just king. Over time, this opposition grew stronger, leading to a rebellion against Peter and support for Henry’s claim.
- Alliances and Political Backing: Henry of Trastámara secured alliances and gained political support from various factions within Castile. He formed alliances with the powerful Trastámara family, as well as with other nobles and influential figures who were discontented with Peter’s rule. These alliances provided him with the necessary military and political backing to challenge Peter’s authority.
- Military Successes: Henry’s military campaigns and victories also played a significant role in bolstering his claim to the throne. He successfully rallied support from various regions in Castile, leading to the gradual weakening of Peter’s hold on power. Henry’s military successes helped solidify his position as a contender for the throne and increased his legitimacy in the eyes of many.
It is important to note that the claim to the throne of Castile was a complex and multifaceted issue involving political manoeuvring, rivalries, alliances, and perceptions of legitimacy. Henry of Trastámara’s claim was based on a combination of factors, including his lineage, opposition to Peter the Cruel, alliances, and military successes.
The Dispute between Peter the Cruel and Henry of Trastámara in Castile
The dispute between Peter the Cruel and Henry of Trastámara in Castile had political, dynastic, and power-related factors at its core, rather than being primarily driven by deep-rooted religious beliefs. While religious affiliations played a role in shaping alliances and garnering support during the conflict, they were not the sole or defining cause of the dispute.
At the time, Castile was predominantly Catholic, and both Peter and Henry claimed to be legitimate Catholic rulers. Peter the Cruel, despite his controversial reputation, was officially recognised as the king of Castile by the Catholic Church. However, Henry of Trastámara’s claim to the throne was supported by various factions, including influential nobles and regional powers, who opposed Peter’s reign for political and personal reasons.
Religion did become a factor in rallying support for both sides during the conflict. Henry of Trastámara received backing from factions associated with the Catholic Church, which saw Peter as an unfit ruler due to his alleged tyrannical behaviour and perceived favouritism towards non-Catholic groups. Some religious figures and organisations in Castile supported Henry’s claim, framing it as a righteous cause to depose an oppressive and morally questionable ruler.
However, it is important to note that the dispute was not solely based on religious differences or a clash of religious ideologies. It was a complex power struggle intertwined with dynastic rivalries, political alliances, and personal ambitions. While religious sentiments were present and exploited to garner support, they were not the primary cause of the conflict between Peter the Cruel and Henry of Trastámara.
Peter the Cruel – How will he be remembered?
Peter the Cruel, also known as Pedro I of Castile, is often singled out for his reputation as a cruel king due to the particularly brutal nature of his actions and the extent of his cruelty. While it is true that many Spanish kings engaged in acts of cruelty, Peter’s reign stood out for its extreme violence and the intensity of his persecution of both Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
There are several key reasons why Peter the Cruel is specifically remembered for his cruelty:
- Treatment of Nobles and Political Rivals: Peter’s reign was marked by his ruthless treatment of nobles and political rivals. He resorted to violence and brutal methods to eliminate those who opposed him, even within his family. He executed numerous nobles and political opponents, often in gruesome ways, earning him the nickname “Cruel.”
- Suppression of Rebellion: Peter faced several rebellions and uprisings during his reign. His response to these challenges was characterised by extreme brutality. He showed no mercy to those who rebelled against his rule and dealt with them harshly, often torturing and executing them publicly to instil fear and deter dissent.
- Conflicts with his Family: Peter’s relationships with his family members were marked by violence and treachery. He had his half-brother, Fadrique, brutally murdered in a fit of jealousy and suspicion. Similarly, he turned against his mother, Queen Maria, imprisoning her and forcing her to live in harsh conditions until her death.
- Treatment of Women: Peter’s treatment of women was particularly notorious. He was known for his mistreatment and abuse of his wives and lovers. His most infamous act was the murder of his wife, Queen Blanche of Bourbon, whom he personally killed with a dagger in front of her courtiers.
- Reputation among Contemporary Chroniclers: Peter’s actions were extensively documented by contemporary chroniclers, and their accounts have contributed to his reputation as a cruel king. Chroniclers such as Pero López de Ayala and Fernán Pérez de Guzmán portrayed him as a tyrant, emphasising his acts of cruelty and brutality.
Remember that historical accounts can sometimes be biased, and interpretations of a ruler’s actions can vary. While Peter the Cruel’s reign is often associated with cruelty, it is crucial to consider the historical context and review the perspectives of different sources to form a comprehensive understanding of his reign and the reasons behind his infamous reputation.
Concluding Words and Review
Picture Credit: [Statue of Peter the Cruel] Estatua de Pedro I el Cruel (M.A.N.) 01
Attribution: Luis García, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
Peter the Cruel’s reign ended in 1369 when he was defeated and killed by his half-brother Henry of Trastámara in the Battle of Montiel. Henry went on to become the next king of Castile as Henry II. Peter’s legacy is controversial, with different historical accounts painting contrasting pictures of his character and the nature of his rule.
Despite his reputation for cruelty, Peter had some accomplishments during his reign. He implemented administrative reforms, developed the military strength of Castile, and promoted economic growth. He also had a keen interest in arts and culture and was known as a patron of literature and architecture.
In popular culture, Peter the Cruel is often portrayed as a ruthless and morally ambiguous character. His reputation as a cruel and unpredictable ruler has made him a subject of fascination in literature, plays, and other forms of media. His reign as the King of Castile was marked by controversy, political turmoil, and a reputation for cruelty. While some appreciate his attempts to centralise power and strengthen the monarchy, his ruthless actions and brutal methods have overshadowed his accomplishments.
Sources and Further Reading
- Peter the Cruel: The Life of the Notorious Don Pedro of Castile Together With an Account of His Relations With the Famous Maria De Padilla (Classic Reprint) Paperback, by Edward Storer (Author) 22 April 2018, published by Forgotten Books, available from: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Peter-Cruel-Notorious-Together-Relations/dp/1332620663
- The History of Peter the Cruel, King of Castile and Leon, Volume I, Paperback, by Prosper Mérimée (Author) 27 Jan. 2009, published by BiblioBazaar, available from: https://www.amazon.co.uk/History-Peter-Cruel-King-Castile/dp/0559985576/
- The History of the Reign of Peter the Cruel, King of Castile and Leon, by John Talbot Dillon, … In two volumes … Volume 2 of 2 Paperback 10 Jun. 2010, published by Gale ECCO, Print Editions, available from: https://www.amazon.co.uk/history-Castile-Talbot-Dillon-volumes/dp/1170842682/
- The Purgatory of Peter the Cruel (Classic Reprint), Paperback, by James Greenwood (Author) 22 April 2018, published by Forgotten Books, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Purgatory-Peter-Cruel-Classic-Reprint/dp/0259420417/
- Peter the Cruel: The Life of the Notorious Don Pedro of Castile, Together With an Account of His Relations With the Famous Maria De Padilla, by Edward Storer 27 Oct 2022, published by Legare Street Press, available from: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Peter-Cruel-Notorious-Together-Relations/dp/1015663109/
- Peter of Castile – Pedro the Cruel, at: https://youtu.be/pOUGIsFidbI
- Reconquista – The Last Kingdom of Islam – Part 5 The House of Trastámara, at: https://youtu.be/GIpaTHnMSWc
- Kings of Spain (in Spanish) at: https://youtu.be/_7zk8dXv9_g
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End Notes and Explanations
- Source: Compiled from research using information at the sources stated throughout the text, together with information provided by machine-generated artificial intelligence at: bing.com [chat] and https://chat.openai.com ↑
- Explanation: The Castilian Civil War was a war of succession over the Crown of Castile that lasted from 1351 to 1369. The conflict started after the death of King Alfonso XI of Castile in March 1350. It became part of the larger conflict then raging between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France: the Hundred Years’ War. It was fought primarily in Castile and its coastal waters between the local and allied forces of the reigning king, Peter, and his illegitimate brother Henry of Trastámara over the right to the crown. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castilian_Civil_War ↑
- Explanation: The Treaty of Libourne was signed at Libourne on 23 September 1366 between King Peter I of Castile, Edward the Black Prince, heir to the English crown, and King Charles II of Navarre. It led to the English involvement against France in the Castilian Civil War as part of the Hundred Years War. Libourne is a commune located in the Gironde department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France. It is situated on the right bank of the Dordogne River, northeast of Bordeaux. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Libourne ↑
- Explanation The Kingdom of Castile was a large and powerful state on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. Its name is popularly thought to come from the castles built in the region. It began in the 9th century as the County of Castile, an eastern frontier lordship of the Kingdom of León. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Castile ↑
- Explanation: The Peasants’ Revolt, also named Wat Tyler’s Rebellion or the Great Rising, was a major uprising across large parts of England in 1381. The revolt had various causes, including the socio-economic and political tensions generated by the Black Death in the 1340s, the high taxes resulting from the conflict with France during the Hundred Years’ War, and instability within the local leadership of London. The final trigger for the revolt was the intervention of a royal official, John Bampton, in Essex on 30 May 1381. His attempts to collect unpaid poll taxes in Brentwood ended in a violent confrontation, which rapidly spread across the southeast of the country. A wide spectrum of rural society, including many local artisans and village officials, rose up in protest, burning court records and opening the local prisons. The rebels sought a reduction in taxation, an end to serfdom, and the removal of King Richard II‘s senior officials and law courts. Inspired by the sermons of the radical cleric John Ball and led by Wat Tyler, a contingent of Kentish rebels advanced on London. They were met at Blackheath by representatives of the royal government, who unsuccessfully attempted to persuade them to return home. King Richard, then aged 14, retreated to the safety of the Tower of London, but most of the royal forces were abroad or in northern England. On 13 June, the rebels entered London and, joined by many local townsfolk, attacked the prisons, destroyed the Savoy Palace, set fire to law books and buildings in the Temple, and killed anyone associated with the royal government. The following day, Richard met the rebels at Mile End and agreed to most of their demands, including the abolition of serfdom. Meanwhile, rebels entered the Tower of London, killing Simon Sudbury, Lord Chancellor, and Robert Hales, Lord High Treasurer, whom they found inside. On 15 June, Richard left the city to meet Tyler and the rebels at Smithfield. Violence broke out, and Richard’s party killed Tyler. Richard defused the tense situation long enough for London’s mayor, William Walworth, to gather a militia from the city and disperse the rebel forces. Richard immediately began to re-establish order in London and rescinded his previous grants to the rebels. The revolt had also spread into East Anglia, where the University of Cambridge was attacked and many royal officials were killed. Unrest continued until the intervention of Henry Despenser, who defeated a rebel army at the Battle of North Walsham on 25 or 26 June. Troubles extended north to York, Beverley and Scarborough, and as far west as Bridgwater in Somerset. Richard mobilised 4,000 soldiers to restore order. Most of the rebel leaders were tracked down and executed; by November, at least 1,500 rebels had been killed. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peasants%27_Revolt ↑
- Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_the_Two_Peters ↑
- Explanation: The Battle of Montiel was a battle fought on 14 March 1369 between the Franco-Castilian forces supporting Henry of Trastámara and the Granadian-Castilian forces supporting the reigning Peter of Castile. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Montiel ↑
- Explanation: The Reconquista (Spanish, Portuguese, and Galician for “reconquest”) is the historical term used to describe the military campaigns that Christian kingdoms waged against the Moors from the 8th century until 1492, in order to retake—or reconquer—the Iberian territories which were lost due to the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. The beginning of the Reconquista is traditionally dated to the Battle of Covadonga (718 or 722), in which an Asturian army achieved the first Christian victory over the forces of the Umayyad Caliphate since the beginning of the military invasion. Its culmination came in 1492 with the fall of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada to the united Spanish Crown of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile Cited at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconquista ↑
- Explanation: The Age of Discovery or the Age of Exploration, part of the early modern period and largely overlapping with the Age of Sail, was a period from approximately the 15th century to the 17th century, during which seafarers from a number of European countries explored, colonised, and conquered regions across the globe. Cited at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Discovery ↑