Alfonso III

Alfonso III

Alfonso III, 1265-91, king of Aragón and count of Barcelona (1285-91), son and successor of Peter III. He was forced to grant wide privileges to the cortes of the Aragonese nobles. At first he supported the claim to Sicily of his brother James (later James II of Aragón) against Charles II of Naples. Later, however, he recognized papal suzerainty over Sicily and pressed James to abandon his claim. He also made war on Castile and on his uncle, James I of Majorca. James II succeeded him.
Alfonso III, 1210-79, king of Portugal (1248-79), son of Alfonso II, brother and successor of Sancho II. By his marriage with Matilda, countess of Boulogne, he became count of Boulogne and thus was known as Alfonso o Bolonhez [Alfonso of Boulogne]. He seized power after the deposition (1245) of his brother by the pope, becoming king on Sancho's death. Alfonso completed the reconquest of Portugal from the Moors by taking (1249) the rest of the Algarve. This involved him in a long quarrel with Alfonso X of Castile, who had been receiving revenues from Algarve, but the two kings reached an agreement by which Alfonso III married the illegitimate daughter of Alfonso X, and Alfonso X was to relinquish all rights to the Algarve when the heir born of this union (the later King Diniz) should reach the age of seven. Alfonso's second marriage brought the Portuguese king into disfavor with the church because Matilda was still living, but her death ended the conflict. Despite promises he had made at the time of Sancho's deposition, Alfonso seized lands and revenues from the church. This caused another break with the church, which healed shortly before his death. Alfonso called the Cortes of Leiria (1254), the first Portuguese Cortes to include commoners. He also instituted administrative and financial reforms, encouraged commerce and the development of the towns, and commuted many feudal dues into money payments. French and Provençal culture was imported to the court, and the period was one of great intellectual activity. Alfonso was succeeded by Diniz.
Alfonso III (Alfonso the Great), 838?-911?, Spanish king of Asturias (866-911?). He recovered the territory of León from the Moors. The kingdom was consolidated in his reign, but after his forced abdication, it was divided among his sons.

Alfonso III (1265 – 18 June 1291), called the Liberal (el Liberal) or the Free (also "the Frank," from el Franc), was the King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona (as Alfons II) from 1285. He conquered the Kingdom of Majorca between his succession and 1287.

He was a son of Peter III of Aragon and his Queen consort Constantia of Sicily, daughter and heiress of Manfred of Sicily. His maternal grandmother Beatrice of Savoy was a daughter of Amadeus IV of Savoy and Anne of Burgundy.

Soon after assuming the throne, he conducted a campaign to reincorporate the Balearic Islands into the Kingdom of Aragon - which had been lost due to the division of the kingdom by his grandfather, James I of Aragon. Thus in 1285 he declared war on his uncle, James II of Majorca, and conquered both Majorca (1285) and Ibiza (1286), effectively reassuming suzerainty over the Kingdom of Majorca. He followed this with the conquest of Minorca - until then, an autonomous Muslim state (Manûrqa) under the Kingdom of Majorca - on 17 January 1287, the anniversary of which now serves as Minorca's national holiday.

He initially sought to maintain the Aragonese control over Sicily early in his reign by supporting the claims to island of his brother, James II of Aragon. However, he later pressed his brother to retract the claims and instead supported claim from the Papal States.

His reign was marred by a constitutional struggle with the Aragonese nobles, which eventually culminated in the articles of the Union of Aragon - the so called "Magna Carta of Aragon", which devolved several key royal powers into the hands of lesser nobles. His inability to resist the demands of his nobles was to leave a heritage of disunity in Aragon and further dissent amongst the nobility, who increasingly saw little reason to respect the throne, and brought the Kingdom of Aragon close to anarchy.

He died at the age of 27 in 1291, and buried in Barcelona. He bore no children, despite being married on August 15, 1290 to Princess Eleanor of England, daughter of Edward I of England and Princess Eleanor of Castile.

Dante Alighieri, in the Divine Comedy, recounts that he saw Alfonso's spirit seated outside the gates of Purgatory with the other monarchs whom Dante blamed for the chaotic political state of Europe during the 13th century.


  • Alighieri, Dante, Purgatorio, Canto VII, l. 115ff.
  • Nelson, Lynn. The Chronicle of San Juan De LA Pena: A Fourteenth-Century Official History of the Crown of Aragon (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991) ISBN 0-8122-1352-1
  • O'Callaghan, Joseph. A History of Medieval Spain (Cornell University Press, 1983) ISBN 0-8014-9264-5


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