Peter III of Aragon

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Peter the Great (Catalan: Pere el Gran, Aragonese: Pero lo Gran, Spanish: Pedro el Grande; 1239, Valencia – 2 November 1285) was the King of Aragon (as Peter III) of Valencia and of Majorca (as Peter I), and Count of Barcelona (as Peter II) from 1276 to his death. He conquered Sicily and became its king in 1282. He was one of the greatest of medieval Aragonese monarchs.

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Youth and succession

Peter was the eldest son of James I of Aragon and his second wife Yolanda of Hungary. On 13 June 1262, he married Constance, daughter and heiress of Manfred of Sicily. During his youth and early adulthood, Peter gained a great deal of military experience in his father's wars of the Reconquista against the Moors.[1]

On James' death, the lands of the Crown of Aragon were divided, with Aragon and Valencia, along with the Catalan counties, going to the eldest son, Peter, while the Balearic Islands (constituted as the Kingdom of Majorca), alongside the territories in the Languedoc (Montpellier and Roussillon), went to the second son, James. Peter and Constance were crowned in Zaragoza (the capital of Aragon) in November by the archbishop of Tarragona. At this ceremony, Peter renounced all feudal obligations to the papacy which his grandfather Peter II had incurred.

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