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[Home]Alphonso XI of Spain

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ALPHONSO XI. (1312-1350) is variously known among Spanish kings as the Avenger or the Implacable, and as "he of the Rio Salado." The first two names he earned by the ferocity with which he repressed the disorder of the nobles after a long minority; the third by his victory over the last formidable African invasion of Spain in 1340. The chronicler who records his death prays that "God may be merciful to him, for he was a very great king." The mercy was needed. Alphonso XI. never went to the insane lengths of his son Peter the Cruel, but he could be abundantly sultanesque in his methods. He killed for reasons of state without form of trial, while his open neglect of his wife, Maria of Portugal, and his ostentatious passion for Leonora de Guzman, who bore him a large family of sons, set Peter an example which he did not fail to better. It may be that his early death, during the great plague of 1350, at the siege of Gibraltar, only averted a desperate struggle with his legitimate son, though it was a misfortune in that it removed a ruler of eminent capacity, who understood his subjects well enough not to go too far.

Initial text from 1911 encyclopedia -- Please update as needed

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Last edited August 25, 2001 11:02 am by 216.99.203.xxx (diff)