Online Encyclopedia

HENRY M

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 290 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HENRY M. (1390-1406) king of Castile, called El Doliente, the Sufferer, was the son of John I. of Castile and Leon, and of his wife Beatrice, daughter of Ferdinand of Portugal. He was born in 1379. The period of minority was exceptionally anarchical, even for Castile, but as the cities, always the best supporters of the royal authority, were growing in strength, Henry was able to reduce his kingdom to obedience, and, when he took the government into his own hands after 1393, to compel his nobles with comparative ease to surrender the crown lands they had seized. The meeting of the Cortes summoned by him at Madrid in 1394 marked a great epoch in the establishment of a practically despotic royal authority, based on the consent of the commons, who looked to the crown to protect them against the excesses of the nobles. Henry strengthened his position still further by his marriage with Catherine, daughter of John of Gaunt and of Constance, elder daughter of Peter the Cruel and Maria de Padilla. This union combined the rival claims of the descendants of Peter and of Henry of Trastamara. The king's bodily weakness limited his real capacity, and his early death on the 25th of December 1406 cut short the promise of his reign.
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