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The Crown of Majorca lay off the eastern coast of modern Spain and on the southern coast of modern France.

The Kingdom of Majorca was founded by James I of Aragon, also known as James The Conqueror. After the death of his first-born son Alfonso, a will was written in 1262 which created the kingdom in order to cede it to his son James. This disposition was maintained during successive versions of his will such that when James I died in 1276, the Crown of Aragon passed to his eldest son Peter, known as Peter III of Aragon or Peter the Great. The Kingdom of Majorca passed to James, who reigned under the name of James II of Majorca. The same testament also established that the king of Majorca was a vassal to the king of Aragon.

Conquest of Majorca by James I of Aragon (1229).

The kingdom included the Balearic Islands: Majorca, Minorca (which was still under the rule of Muslims until 1231, when its sovereignty was surrendered to James I), Ibiza and Formentera. The king was also lord of the counties of Roussillon and Cerdanya and the territories James I kept in Occitania - the signory of Montpellier, the viscountcy of Carlat, in Auvergne, and the barony of Aumelas, contiguous to Montpellier.

Despite his lack of historic significance, the legacy of James I was significant. This legacy included the creation of a strategic Mediterranean enclave, including territories between two large kingdoms, the Capetians of France and the Crown of Aragon - which were in constant conflict, at the time. Conscious of the fragility of the Kingdom of Majorca, James I undertook the conquest of Cerdanya to unify the new kingdom. He also entered into negotiations to arrange the marriage of his son James to Beatrice of Savoy, daughter to Count Amadeus of Savoy. Neither plan was successful.

On the death of James I, the new king of Majorca, James II, decided not to pay tribute to Peter III. Preoccupied with diverse problems within the realm, it was not until 1279 when the Majorcan monarch reconciled to have his states recognized as subordinate to the king of Aragon. As a consequence the Kingdom of Majorca could not hold court, and the king of Majorca was forced to go to Catalonia to present tribute to the king of Aragon. By means of the Treaty of Perpignan in 1279 an imbalance of power between the Kingdom of Aragon and the Kingdom of Majorca was created. The Aragonian king maintained the political and economic control of Aragon over the Kingdom of Majorca, reestablishing the unified jurisdiction of the Crown of Aragon which was broken by the will of James I. This treaty would condition relations between the Kingdom of Majorca and the Crown of Aragon throughout the former's existence. The lack of courts later aggravated the destabilization of a kingdom already on the brink of fracture, which, besides this, lacked any common institution beyond the monarchy.

James III of Majorca took the throne at the age of nine, necessitating a regency council to govern the realm during his childhood. The situation was difficult, since James II of Aragon didn't renounce his claim of reclamation of the Majorcan throne. In 1325, the regency council secured the renunciation by the Aragonian king of any claim on the rights of succession of the Majorcan throne after the repayment of a great debt incurred by Sancho I during an invasion by Sardinia. While this act solved the problem of succession, it also plunged the kingdom into a serious financial crisis.

James was forced to develop policies similar to that of Aragon's. To that end, he was forced to participate in the war against Genoa (1329-1336), which resulted in the loss of various economic markets for the kingdom. Again it was necessary to impose new taxes and fines on the Jewish community, though this was insufficient to resolve the financial crisis. The problems of the kingdom did not appear to have an end, since in 1341, Peter IV of Aragon closed relations with the Kingdom of Majorca as a prelude to invasion. In May 1343, Peter IV invaded the Balearic Islands, and followed that in 1344 with the invasions of the counties of Roussillon and Cerdanya. James III was only able to keep his French possessions. After the sale of these possessions to the king of France in 1349, James III left for Majorca. He was defeated and killed at the Battle of Llucmajor on 25 October 1349. With this, the Kingdom of Majorca was definitively incorporated into the Crown of Aragon.

The extinction of the Kingdom of Majorca was inevitable in the international context of the age characterized by different conflicts: the Hundred Years War, between France and England, the war of the benimerines, which involved Castilla and the Crown of Aragon, and the attempts to make the Balearics a satellite state by the Genoese. In this context, it was not possible to remain neutral due to the lack of stability and strength. In the case of the kingdom of Majorca, which, to its great misfortune, had bonds of vassalage with the crowns of France (through Montpellier) and Aragon, it could not afford neutrality. In addition, increased taxes to fund the kingdom's economy during neutrality only managed to unsettle the people of the kingdom.

See also

References

  • A Mediterranean emporium - The Catalan kingdom of Majorca, by David Abulafia, ISBN 0-521-89405-0

External links








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