John I of Aragon

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John I (27 December 1350 – 19 May 1396), called by posterity the Hunter (Juan el Cazador in Castilian, Chuan lo Cazataire in Aragonese and Joan el Caçador in Catalan) or the Lover of Elegance (el Amador de la Gentileza in Castilian and l'Amador de la Gentilesa in Catalan), but the Abandoned (el Descurat) in his lifetime, was the King of Aragon from 1387 until his death.



John was the eldest son of Peter IV and his third wife, Eleanor, who was the daughter of Peter II of Sicily. He was born in Perpignan, in the province of Roussillon, which at that time belonged to Aragon, and died during a hunt in forests near Foixà by a fall from his horse, like his namesake, cousin, and contemporary, John I of Castile. He was a man of character, with a taste for verse.

Once on the throne, John abandoned his father's relatively Anglophile policy and made an alliance with France. He continued Aragon's support for the Pope of the Avignon line, Clement VII, in the Western Schism. John also made an alliance with Castile, and confirmed in 1388 a treaty with Navarre fixing borders between these kingdoms.

In 1389-90, the Aragonese battled the troops of the Count of Armagnac, John III, who was attempting to conquer the lands of the vassal taifa of Majorca. The attack went from Empordà to Gerona. The invaders were defeated in 1390 by Aragonese troops commanded by the Infante Martin, the king's brother (and successor).

During 1388-90, John gradually lost all lands of the Duchies of Athens and Neopatras in Greece. In 1391, John promulgated legislation on Jews in different cities of Aragon. Also in 1391, his administration faced a revolt in the vassal kingdom of Sicily, where the population had proclaimed Louis of Durazzo as king.

John was a protector of culture of Barcelona. He established in 1393 the Consistory of Barcelona (jocs florals), imitating the same office in Toulouse.

Aragon had been attempting to subjugate Sardinia since the reign of James II, and gradually the Aragonese had conquered most of the island. However, in the 1380s, the remaining independent principality Arborea became a fortress of rebellion and the Aragonese were rapidly driven back by Eleanor de Bas-Serra. The Aragonese continued in John's reign to attempt to suppress rebels in Sardinia and regain lost territories. However, during John's reign, practically the whole of Sardinia was lost.

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