Alfonso V of Aragon

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Alfonso the Magnanimous (also Alphonso; Catalan: Alfons; 1396 – 27 June 1458) was the King of Aragon (as Alfonso V), Valencia (as Alfonso III), Majorca, Sardinia and Corsica (as Alfonso II), and Sicily and Count of Barcelona (as Alfonso IV) from 1416 and King of Naples (as Alfonso I) from 1442 until his death. He was one of the most prominent figures of the early Renaissance and a knight of the Order of the Dragon.

Contents

Biography

Born at Medina del Campo, he was the son of Ferdinand I of Aragon (known as Ferdinand of Antequera) and Eleanor of Alburquerque. He represented the old line of the counts of Barcelona only through women, and was on his father's side descended from the House of Trastamara, a noble family of Castile. By hereditary right he was king of Sicily and disputed the island of Sardinia with Genoa. Alfonso was also in possession of much of Corsica by the 1420s.

In 1421 Queen Joan II of Naples, who had no children, adopted and named him as heir to the Kingdom of Naples, and Alfonso went to Naples. Here he hired the famous condottiero Braccio da Montone with the task of reducing the resistance of the other pretender, Louis III of Anjou, and his forces led by Muzio Attendolo Sforza. As Pope Martin V supported Sforza, Alfonso switched religious allegiance to the Aragonese antipope Benedict XIII. When Sforza also abandoned Louis, Alfonso seemed to have all his problems solved; however, his relationship with Joanna suddenly worsened, and in May 1423 he had her lover, and a powerful figure in the Neapolitan court, Gianni Caracciolo, arrested.

After an attempt to arrest the queen herself failed, Joanna called Sforza who defeated the Aragonese milices near Castel Capuano in Naples. Alfonso fled to Castel Nuovo, but the help of a fleet of 22 galleys led by Giovanni da Cardona improved his situation. Sforza and Joanna ransomed Caracciolo and retreated to the fortress of Aversa. Here she repudiated her earlier adoption of Alfonso and, with support from Martin V, named Louis III as her heir instead.

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