1311 - 1350 (38 years)
||Alfonso XI |
||King of Castile, Leâon and Galicia |
||13 Aug 1311
||27 Mar 1350
||Collegiate Church of San Hipolito, Cordova, Spain 
||The Hennessee Family
||8 Dec 2016 |
||Maria of Portugal, b. 0___ 1313, Lisbon, Portugal , d. 18 Jan 1357, (Lisbon, Portugal) (Age ~ 44 years) |
||(Lisbon, Portugal) [1, 2]
||23 Mar 2017 |
- Alfonso XI (13 August 1311 - 26/27 March 1350) was the king of Castile, Leâon and Galicia.
He was the son of Ferdinand IV of Castile and his wife Constance of Portugal. Upon his father's death in 1312, several disputes ensued over who would hold regency, which were resolved in 1313.
Once Alfonso was declared adult in 1325, he began a reign that would serve to strengthen royal power. His achievements include solving the problems of the Gibraltar Strait and the conquest of Algeciras.
Alfonso XI of Castile attacks the Muslim Moors led by Muhammed IV, Sultan of the emirate of Granada
Alfonso XI was the son of King Ferdinand IV of Castile and Constance of Portugal. His father died when Alfonso was one year old. His grandmother, Marâia de Molina, his mother Constance, his granduncle John and uncle Peter, assumed regency. Queen Constance died first on 18 November 1313, followed by Infante John and Infante Peter during a military campaign against Granada in 1319, which left Dowager Queen Marâia as the only regent until her death on 1 July 1321.
Since Infante John's and Infante Peter's deaths in 1339, Infante Philip (son of Sancho IV and Marâia de Molina, thus brother of Infante Peter), Juan Manuel (the king's second-degree uncle by virtue of being Ferdinand III's grandson) and Juan el Tuerto (the late Juan's son and the king's second-degree uncle) split the kingdom among themselves according to their aspirations for regency, even as it was being looted by moors and Levantine nobility.
As soon as he took the throne, he began working hard to strengthen royal power by dividing his enemies. His early display of rulership skills included the unhesitant execution of possible opponents (Don Juan el Tuerto in 1326, among others).
He managed to extend the limits of his kingdom to the Strait of Gibraltar after the important victory at the Battle of Râio Salado against the Marinid Dynasty in 1340 and the conquest of the Kingdom of Algeciras in 1344. Once that conflict was resolved, he redirected all his Reconquista efforts to fighting the Moorish king of Granada.
He is variously known among Castilian kings as the Avenger or the Implacable, and as "He of Râio Salado." The first two names he earned by the ferocity with which he repressed the disorders caused by the nobles during his long minority; the third by his victory in the Battle of Râio Salado over the last formidable Marinid invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in 1340.
Alfonso XI never went to the insane lengths of his son Peter of Castile, but he could be bloody in his methods. He killed for reasons of state without any form of trial. He openly neglected his wife, Maria of Portugal, and indulged a scandalous passion for Eleanor of Guzman, who bore him ten children. This set Peter an example which he failed to better. It may be that his early death, during the Great Plague of 1350, at the Fifth Siege of Gibraltar, only averted a desperate struggle with Peter, though it was a misfortune in that it removed a ruler of eminent capacity, who understood his subjects well enough not to go too far.
Marriage and issue
Alfonso XI first married Constanza Manuel in 1325, but had the union annulled two years later. His second marriage, in 1328, was to Maria of Portugal, daughter of Alfonso IV of Portugal. They had:
Ferdinand (Valladolid, (1332–1333);
Peter of Castile.
By his mistress, Eleanor of Guzman, he had ten children:
Pedro Alfonso (1330–1338), Lord of Aguilar de Campoo
Sancho Alfonso (1331–1343), 1st Lord of Ledesma
Henry II of Castile (1333–1379) king of Castile;
Fadrique Alfonso (1333–1358), Henry's twin brother, he was Master of the Order of Santiago and Lord of Haro;
Fernando Alfonso (1336–c. 1350), 2nd Lord of Ledesma;
Tello Alfonso (1337–1370), Lord of Aguilar de Campoo
Juan Alfonso (1341–1359), Lord of Badajoz and Jerez de la Frontera;
Juana Alfonso, (born 1342), Lady of Trastâamara due to her marriage in 1354 to Fernando Ruiz de Castro. The marriage was annulled and in 1366 she married Felipe de Castro;
Sancho Alfonso (1343–1375), 1st Count of Alburquerque
Pedro Alfonso (1345–1359)
After Alfonso's death, his widow Maria had Eleanor arrested and later killed.
"...King Alfonso was not very tall but well proportioned, and he was rather strong and had fair skin and hair." 
- [S9114] "Alfonso XI of Castile" biography, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfonso_XI_of_Castile, retrieved March 4, 2016 by David.
- [S9112] "Afonso IV of Portugal" biography, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afonso_IV_of_Portugal, retrieved March 4, 2016 by David.