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Martin of Aragon

Martin of Aragon (1356 – 31 May 1410), called the Elder, the Humane, the Ecclesiastic, was the King of Aragon, Valencia, Sardinia, and Corsica and Count of Barcelona from 1396 and King of Sicily from 1409 (as Martin II). He was the last direct descendant in legitimate male line of Wilfred the Hairy and with him the rule of the House of Barcelona came to an end.



Martin was born in 1356, either in Girona or in Perpignan. He was the second son of King Peter IV of Aragon and Eleanor of Sicily (Leonora of Trinacria), princess of the Sicilian branch of the House of Aragon.

Aragonese and Valencian Royalty
House of Barcelona
Aragon Arms.svg

Alfonso II
Children include
   Peter (future Peter II of Aragon)
   Alfonso II, Count of Provence
Peter II
Children include
   James (future James I of Aragon, Valencia and Majorca)
James I
   Peter (future Peter III of Aragon and I of Valencia and Sicily)
   James II of Majorca
   Violant, Queen of Castile
   Constance, Infanta of Castile
   Isabella, Queen of France
Peter III (I of Valencia and Sicily)
Children include
   Alfonso (future Alfonso III of Aragon and I of Valencia)
   James (future James I of Sicily and II of Aragon and Valencia)
   Frederick II of Sicily
   Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal
   Yolanda, Duchess of Calabria
Alfonso III (I of Valencia)
James II (I of Sicily)
Children include
   Alfonso (future Alfonso IV of Aragon and II of Valencia)
Alfonso IV (II of Valencia)
Children include
   Peter (future Peter IV of Aragon and II of Valencia)
Peter IV (II of Valencia)
Children include
   Constance, Queen of Sicily
   John (future John I of Aragon and Valencia)
   Martin (future Martin II of Sicily and I of Aragon and Valencia)
   Eleanor, Queen of Castile
   Isabella, Countess of Urgel
Grandchildren include
   Ferdinand (future Ferdinand I of Aragon, Valencia and Sicily)
   Isabella, Countess of Urgel and Coimbra
John I
   Yolande, Queen of France
Martin I (II of Sicily)

As a cadet prince of the Aragonese royal family, Martin was given the Duchy of Monblanch (modern Montblanc).[1] In 1380 his father appointed him lord and regent of the island of Sicily, then known also as Trinacria, since its queen Mary of Sicily, who was Martin's cousin, was underage (Mary's father, Frederick III of Trinacria, died in 1377). As a son of Eleanor of Sicily Martin was himself an heir to the island, should Mary's family die out.

In Barcelona on 13 June 1373 Martin married María López de Luna (d. Villarreal, 20 December 1406), daughter and heiress of Lope,[2] Lord and 1st Count of Luna and Lord of Segorbe and wife Brianda de Got/de Agasunt, born in Provence, related to Pope Clement V.


In 1396, Martin succeeded his elder brother John I, who had died sonless, on the throne of Aragon. However, Sicilian nobles were causing unrest and Martin was kept in Sicily. In the meanwhile, Martin's wife María López de Luna claimed the throne on behalf of Martin and acted as his representative until he arrived in 1397. Still, the delay opened the way for more problems and quarrels to surface in Aragon. His right to the throne was contested, first by Count Matthew of Foix on behalf of his wife Joanna, elder daughter of John I. However, Martin succeeded in quashing the invasion by the troops of the count.

After the death of the childless Joanna, John's second daughter, Yolande of Aragon, married the Angevin King Louis II of Naples and continued the claim, as did her sons.

Martin launched crusades against the Moors in North Africa in 1398 and 1399.

Aragon had been trying to subjugate Sardinia since the reign of James II, and gradually the Aragonese had conquered most of the island. However, in the 1380s, in the reign of Martin's father Peter IV, the remaining independent principality of Arborea became a fortress of rebellion and the Aragonese were rapidly driven back by Eleanor of Arborea, so that practically the whole of Sardinia was lost. King Martin sent his son Martin the Younger, King of Sicily, to reconquer Sardinia. Just before his own death, the son won the Battle of Sanluri (San Luis, San Luigi) in 1409, drove away the Genoese allies of the Sardinians, and subjugated a vast number of Sardinian nobles. This soon caused Arborea's total loss of independence.

Martin succeeded his son as King of Sicily, as Martin II. Overall, the Kingdom of Aragon enjoyed external peace during Martin's reign and he worked to quell internal strife caused by nobles, factions and bandits. He supported the Avignon line of Popes and an Aragonese, Pope Benedict XIII, held the seat throughout Martin's reign. Martin's military intervention rescued the imprisoned Benedict in 1403 from the clutches of his rivals and the Pope settled in Valencia's countryside.

After the death of his legitimate children Jaime (b. 1378), Juan (b. 1380) and Margarita (b. 1384/1388), all of whom died young,[2] King Martin appointed his cousin Jaume II of Urgell, the closest legitimate agnate of the Royal House of Aragon, as Governor-General of all the kingdoms of Aragon, which position belonged traditionally to the heir presumptive. He still married secondly at Bellesguart or Bellresguard on 17 September 1409 to his cousin Margarita de Prades (1385 – Monastery of Monrepes, 1422/1429, later remarried in 1414 to Juan de Vilaragut (d. 1422)), daughter of Pedro de Aragon, Conde de Prades and Barón de Entenza (1352 – Sicily, 1395 and wife (m. 1385) Juana de Cabrera (d. 1419), but the short marriage was childless.


When Martin died, in Valdonzella or in Barcelona in 1410 (apparently from a lethal combination of indigestion and uncontrollable laughter[3]), his legitimate descendants, born of marriage with queen Maria, were already dead. Martin's second marriage, with Margaret of Prades, did not produce any children. Only a bastard grandson, Fadrique, Count of Luna, continued the line of Martin. Fadrique was the bastard son of Martin the Younger. The king, despite his desire and some efforts, was not able to obtain sufficient confirmation of Fadrique as his successor.

Thus, Martin's death led to a two-year interregnum, which was ended by the Compromise of Caspe, in which Martin's nephew Ferdinand, infante of Castile's House of Trastámara was chosen as the next king from among at least five contenders.


  1. ^ His contemporary title was duch de Montblanch.
  2. ^ a b "Barcelona 2". Retrieved 2008-05-13.  
  3. ^ Morris.pdf
Preceded by
John I
King of Aragon
1396 – 1410
Succeeded by
Ferdinand I
Preceded by
Martin I
King of Sicily
1409 – 1410


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