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The Compromise of Caspe made in 1412 was an act and resolution of parliamentary representatives on behalf of the Kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia and the County of Barcelona, to resolve the interregnum commenced by the death of King Martin I of Aragon in 1410 without a legitimate heir, in Caspe.

The succession laws of the Aragonese Empire at that time were rather hazy, based more on custom than any specific legislation, and even case law did not exist. All successions in time of united Barcelona-Aragon had been to the eldest son, to the next younger brother, or to the only daughter. However, earlier successions indicated that agnates (males in male line) of Aragonese royal family had precedence over daughters and descendants of daughters—for example, Martin himself had succeeded over daughters of his late elder brother, King John I. However, very distant agnates had lost out to the daughter of the late king in 11th century, when Petronila of Aragon succeeded over claims of the then agnates (second cousins or the like), the Kings of Navarre and Castile.

J.N Hillgarth writes: "Among the descendants by the male line, the closest relation to Martín was James II of Urgell."[1]

T.N.Bisson writes: "… the issue was (or became) political rather than simply legal, a utilitarian question of which candidate with some dynastic claim would make the best king".[2]

The important candidates for succession were:

  • Fadrique de Aragón y Luna (Frederick), Count of Luna, grandson of Martin I of Aragón and Queen María de Luna, bastard of their predeceased son Martin the Younger King of Sicily, though legitimized by Pope Benedict XIII.
  • Jaume (James), Count of Urgel, great-grandson of Alfonso IV of Aragon in the male line and appointed as Lieutenant of the Kingdom by Martin. Closest agnate, son of Martin's first cousin.
  • Alfonso, Duke of Gandia, an octogenarian, grandson of Jaime II of Aragon in the male line, died in 1412 leaving his son as the next duke of Gandia. First cousin of Martin's father. The most senior (laterally as well as in age) and high in proximity to late reigning kings of Aragon (the stem of this succession).
  • Fernando de Trastámara, el de Antequera (Ferdinand), Infante of Castile, grandson of Peter IV of Aragon through his mother Eleanor of Aragon, queen of Castile. Cognatic nephew of Martin.

Deliberations between the Parliaments or Diets of Aragón, Valencia and Barcelona were difficult, due to diverging interests, factions of nobility, impatience of the partisans of the Count of Urgel and the intervention of Castilian troops of Ferdinand of Trastamare.

The Parliamentarians agreed on 15 February 1412 (Concordia de Alcañiz) to appoint negotiators (neuve compromisarios) who then met in Caspe near Zaragoza, to examine the rights of the pretenders. The compromisarios were:

  • Domènec Ram, bishop of Huesca.
  • Francesc de Aranda, ancient royal councillor as well as envoy of Antipope Benedict XIII of Avignon.
  • Berenguer de Bardaixí, jurist and official general of the Cortes of Aragón.
  • Pere de Sagarriga i de Pau, archbishop of Tarragona.
  • Bernat de Gualbes, syndicus and councillor of Barcelona.
  • Guillem de Vallseca, officer general of the Corts Reials Catalanes.
  • Bonifaci Ferrer, prior of the monastery of Portaceli.
  • Vicent Ferrer, Dominican monk, later canonized.
  • Pere Bertran (substitute for Gener Rabassa), citizen of Valencia and legal expert.

They proclaimed the Castilian Infante as King Ferdinand I of Aragon on 28 June 1412 by votes of three Aragonese, two Valencian and one Catalan compromisarios.

See also La fi del comte d'Urgell, a tractate in support of the dynastic line through James count of Urgell.

Sources

  1. ^ The Spanish Kingdoms 1250-1516 part 2 p.229, ISBN 0 19 822531 8
  2. ^ The Medieval Crown of Aragon, pp 135-6, ISBN 0-19-820236-9
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