John II of Castile
John II was King of Castile from 1406 to 1454.

He was the son of Henry III of Castile
Henry III of Castile
Henry III KG , sometimes known as Henry the Sufferer or Henry the Infirm , was the son of John I and Eleanor of Aragon, and succeeded him as King of the Castilian Crown in 1390....

 and his wife Catherine of Lancaster
Catherine of Lancaster
-Coat of arms:The following are Armorials of the House of Lancaster under her father, John of Gaunt.-References:* Anthony Goodman: "Katherine of Lancaster" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 30 , p. 890-891....

, daughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster , KG was a member of the House of Plantagenet, the third surviving son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault...

 by Constance of Castile
Constance of Castile (1354-1394)
Constance of Castile was claimant of the Castilian throne after the death of her father Peter the Cruel, her mother being María de Padilla, whom Peter had secretly married but was then forced to repudiate, only to keep her as a mistress...

, daughter of King Peter of Castile.


He succeeded his father on 25 December 1406, at the age of a year and ten months, and united in his person the claims of Peter the Cruel and of Henry II. His mother Catherine and his uncle, Ferdinand, were co-regents during his minority. When Ferdinand died in 1416, his mother was sole regent until she died as well, in 1418.

Personal rule

It was one of the many misfortunes of Castile
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

 that the long reign of John II—forty-nine years—should have been granted to one of the least capable of its kings. John was amiable, weak, and dependent on those about him. He had no taste except for ornament and no serious interest except in amusements such as verse-making, hunting, and tournaments.

He was entirely under the influence of his favourite
A favourite , or favorite , was the intimate companion of a ruler or other important person. In medieval and Early Modern Europe, among other times and places, the term is used of individuals delegated significant political power by a ruler...

, Álvaro de Luna
Álvaro de Luna
Álvaro de Luna y Jarana , Duke of Trujillo, 1st Count of San Esteban de Gormaz, was a Spanish politician...

, until his second wife, Isabella of Portugal, obtained control of his feeble will. At her instigation, he dismissed his faithful and able favorite, an act which is said to have caused him much remorse. He died on 20 July 1454, at Valladolid
Valladolid is a historic city and municipality in north-central Spain, situated at the confluence of the Pisuerga and Esgueva rivers, and located within three wine-making regions: Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Cigales...


John II of Castile declared the Valladolid laws, which restricted the social activity of Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

. Among the most notable of the provisions were; outlining that Jews must wear distinctive clothes and banned them from holding administrative positions.

In 1431 John placed Yusuf IV
Yusuf IV, Sultan of Granada
Yusuf IV was the sixteenth Nasrid ruler of Granada in Al-Andalus on the Iberian Peninsula in 1432. He was known as Yusuf Ibn al-Mawl, or in Spanish, Abenalmao. A maternal grandson of Muhammed VI, Yusuf IV was placed on the throne of Granada on 1 January 1432 with the support of the Catholic King...

 on the throne of the Moorish kingdom of Granada
Emirate of Granada
The Emirate of Granada , also known as the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada , was an emirate established in 1238 following the defeat of Muhammad an-Nasir of the Almohad dynasty by an alliance of Christian kingdoms at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212...

, in exchange for tribute and vassal status to Castile. This exchange is depicted in the short ballad the Romance of Abenamar
Romance of Abenamar
The Romance of Abenámar is a medieval Spanish romance, written as a dialog between the Moor Abenámar and the Catholic King John II of Castile. The poem is a short "frontier romance" in Castilian Spanish with assonant rhyme...



John was of a very fair complexion, had blue eyes, and had a hair color that was between reddish-blond and auburn; these were typical in members of the Trastámara family who were descendants of Peter I of Castile.

Family and children

In 1418, John married his cousin Maria of Aragon
Maria of Aragon, Queen of Castile
Maria of Aragon was the first wife and Queen consort of John II of Castile. The daughter of Ferdinand I of Aragon and Eleanor of Alburquerque, she married her cousin John in 1420.- Biography :...

, the oldest daughter of the king Ferdinand I of Aragon
Ferdinand I of Aragon
Ferdinand I called of Antequera and also the Just or the Honest) was king of Aragon, Valencia, Majorca, Sardinia and Corsica and king of Sicily, duke of Athens and Neopatria, and count of Barcelona, Roussillon and Cerdanya...

 and his wife Eleanor of Alburquerque
Eleanor of Alburquerque
Eleanor, 2nd Countess of Alburquerque became Queen consort of Aragon by her marriage to Ferdinand I of Aragon. In Spanish, she is known as Leonor Urraca de Castilla, condesa de Alburquerque.- Family :...

. The marriage produced four children:
  • Catherine, Princess of Asturias
    Catherine, Princess of Asturias
    Catherine of Castile was suo jure Princess of Asturias and heiress presumptive to the Castilian throne all her life....

     (1422–1424), his heiress presumptive until her death
  • Eleanor, Princess of Asturias
    Eleanor, Princess of Asturias
    Eleanor of Castile was heiress presumptive to the throne of the Crown of Castile and Princess of Asturias during her short life....

     (1423–1425), his heiress presumptive until the birth of Henry
  • King Henry IV of Castile
    Henry IV of Castile
    Henry IV , King of the Crown of Castile, nicknamed the Impotent , was the last of the weak late medieval kings of Castile...

  • Infanta Maria (1428–1429)

Of all their children, only the future Henry IV of Castile
Henry IV of Castile
Henry IV , King of the Crown of Castile, nicknamed the Impotent , was the last of the weak late medieval kings of Castile...

 survived infancy. John was widowed in 1445 and remarried to Isabella of Portugal, daughter of Infante John of Portugal
Infante João of Portugal
The Infante João, 1st Lord of Reguengos de Monsaraz, Colares and Belas was a Portuguese infante of the House of Aviz, Constable of Portugal and master of the Portuguese Order of St. James .- Life :Infante John was the son of King John I of Portugal and his wife Philippa of Lancaster...

, with whom he had two children:
  • Queen Isabella I of Castile
    Isabella I of Castile
    Isabella I was Queen of Castile and León. She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to both kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain. Later the two laid the foundations for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor...

  • Alfonso, Prince of Asturias (1453–1468)


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