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King James II of Majorca
Coat of Arms of the Kings of Majorca used only abroad

James II (Catalan: Jaume) (died 1311) was King of Majorca and Lord of Montpellier from 1243 until his death. He was the second son of James I of Aragon and his wife Violant, daughter of Andrew II of Hungary. In 1279, by the Treaty of Perpignan, he became a vassal of the Kingdom of Aragon.

James inherited from his father a vast realm including three of the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Ibiza and Formentera), the counties of Roussillon and Cerdanya, the dominion of Montpellier, the barony of Aumelàs, and the viscounty of Carladès. He also gained tribute from the fourth Balearic island, Minorca, which remained under Muslim control throughout his life. His status as a vassal to the Kingdom of Aragon, which was, at the time, the other component kingdom of the Crown of Aragon and under the rule of his brother, Peter III, conflicted with his management of the Kingdom of Majorca, which spread over a greater amount of land than did Aragon.

In the Aragonese Crusade, James allied with Pope Martin IV and king Philip III of France (the widower of his sister, Isabella) against his brother, but was defeated in the Battle of Les Formigues in 1285. His nephew Alfonso III of Aragon annexed the Balearic Islands to Aragon in the conquest, but they were returned by the Treaty of Anagni in 1295.

Following this reversion, James made an effort to improve the viability of the kingdom on the domestic front. He devoted himself to running his kingdom by reforming urbanism, establishing agricultural policy, emphasising defense, and reforming the economy. He implemented a vast policy of agricultural colonisation with the creation of rural centres; increase royal rents; favoured the creation of consulates in North Africa and the Kingdom of Granada; created a new monetary system for the kingdom; fomented the creation of textile industries; proceeded to increase the power of the crown over that of the nobility and the Church; and ordered the construction of several palaces and castles, including the palace at Perpignan, the Palace of Almudaina, the Cathedral of Santa María at Palma de Mallorca, known today as La Seu, and, finally, Bellver Castle. The opening of criminal proceedings against the Knights Templar and their later suppression would allow the seizure of the tithes of the Templars on the islands.

James wed Esclaramunda of Foix in 1275 through a marriage arranged by his own initiative and not that of his father's. Esclaramunda was a daughter of Roger IV of Foix. They had six children including:

Preceded by
James I of Aragon
King of Majorca
1276-1311
Succeeded by
Sancho
Lord of Montpellier
1276-1311

Ancestry

References

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