Afonso XI
Trovador tardio

Nationality: Castelhana

Biographical Note:

Son of Fernando IV of Castile and Constance of Portugal (the daughter of King Denis), Dom Alfonso was born in Salamanca on the 3rd of August 1311, starting his reign a mere year later, due to his father’s early death. His infancy, during which his grandmother, the widow-queen Maria de Molina, played a central political role, was marked by ongoing noble and succession conflics, that dragged on in Castile since the later years of his grandfather Alfonso X’s reign (d. 1284). Once he reached adulthood, in 1325, Alfonso XI started a successful process of control of the kingdom, not hesitating in executing his adversaries (Dom Juan de Haro, el Tuerto, and Álvar Nuñéz Osorio), or intervening militarily against others, such as Dom Juan Manuel or Dom Juan Nuñez de Lara. He therefore succeeded in pacifying the kingdom, also ending the long dispute with Dom Alfonso de La Cerda ( the grandson of king Alfonso X that believed he had a right to the throne), that pays homage to him in 1331. Just before those events (1328) he had married Maria of Portugal, the daughter of king Afonso IV. This marriage, alongside with his sister Leonor’s with Afonso IV of Aragon, laid the basis for an iberian peace, although, in what concerns Portugal, the relations were sometimes tense, mostly due to the public and very manifest relationship between Alfonso IX and Leonor de Guzmán (with whom he had ten children). This tension between the two kingdoms didn’t prevent, however, the decisive participation of Afonso IV of Portugal, his father-in-law, in one of the most important battles of his reign, the battle of Salado (1340), in which Castilian and Portuguese troops defeated the menacing hordes of north-africans that in the previous year had advanced through Andalucia, a victory that meant the end of the muslim menace in the peninsula. Following this victory, he still conquests several other plazas in the region, namely Algeciras (1344). Afonso XI died during the Great Plague of 1350, at the siege of Gibraltar. A protector of the arts and also a poet, it should also be noted that it is to Alfonso XI that Count Pedro of Barcelos, his uncle, leaves (in a will dated 1350) his Livro de cantigas (songbook), most probably the archetype of the Italian apographs that transmitted to us the most substancial part of the profane Galician-Portuguese poetry.

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(En un tiempo cogi flores)