John II of Castile

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John II
Tomb of John II in the Miraflores Charterhouse
King of Castile and León
Reign 25 December 1406 – 20 July 1454
Predecessor Henry III
Successor Henry IV
Born (1405-03-06)6 March 1405
Toro, Zamora
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Burial Miraflores Charterhouse
Consort Maria of Aragon
Isabella of Portugal
among others...
Catherine, Princess of Asturias
Eleanor, Princess of Asturias
Henry IV of Castile
Isabella I of Castile
Alfonso, Prince of Asturias
House Trastámara
Father Henry III of Castile
Mother Catherine of Lancaster
Religion Roman Catholic

John II (Spanish: Juan; 6 March 1405 – 20 July 1454) was King of Castile and León from 1406 to 1454.


John was the son of King Henry III and his wife, Catherine of Lancaster. His mother was the granddaughter of King Peter, who was ousted by Henry III's grandfather, King Henry II. John succeeded his father on 25 December 1406, and united in his person the claims of both Peter and Henry II. His mother and his uncle, King Ferdinand I of Aragon, were co-regents during his minority. When Ferdinand died in 1416, his mother governed alone until her death in 1418.

Personal rule

John II's reign, lasting 49 years, was one of the longest in Castilian history, but John himself was not a particularly capable monarch. He spent his time verse-making, hunting, and holding tournaments. His favourite, Álvaro de Luna, heavily influenced him until his second wife, Isabella of Portugal, obtained control of his feeble will. At her instigation, he dismissed his faithful and able servant, an act which is said to have caused him much remorse.

John II's Reagents declared the Valladolid laws in 1411, which restricted the social activity of Jews. Among the most notable of the provisions were outlining that Jews must wear distinctive clothes and banned them from holding administrative positions. However, once John took control of the throne for himself in 1418, he (though likely influenced politically by de Luna) reversed such ordinances, favoring instead a more tolerant attitude toward the already battered Jewish population of Castile following the mass wave of conversions between 1391-1415.

In 1431 John placed Yusuf IV on the throne as the Sultan of Granada in the Moorish Emirate of Granada, in exchange for tribute and vassal status to Castile. This exchange is depicted in the short ballad the Romance of Abenamar.

He was "[T]all and handsome, fair-skinned and slightly ruddy... his hair was the color of a very mature hazelnut, the nose a little snub, the eyes between green and blue... he had very graceful legs and feet and hands."[1]

John II died on 20 July 1454, at Valladolid.

Family and children

In 1418, John married Maria of Aragon, the oldest daughter of his paternal uncle, Ferdinand I of Aragon. The marriage produced four children:

Of all their children, only the future Henry IV of Castile survived infancy. John was widowed in 1445 and remarried to Isabella of Portugal, daughter of Infante John of Portugal, with whom he had two children:


Family of John II of Castile
16. Alfonso XI, King of Castile
8. Henry II, King of Castile
17. Eleanor of Guzmán
4. John I, King of Castile
18. John, Prince of Villena
9. Joan of Castile
19. Blanca de La Cerda y Lara
2. Henry III, King of Castile
20. Alfonso IV, King of Aragon
10. Peter IV, King of Aragon
21. Teresa d'Entença
5. Eleanor of Aragon
22. Peter II of Sicily
11. Eleanor of Sicily
23. Elisabeth of Carinthia
1. John II of Castile
24. Edward II, King of England
12. Edward III, King of England
25. Isabella of France
6. John, 1st Duke of Lancaster
26. William I, Count of Hainault
13. Philippa of Hainault
27. Joan of Valois
3. Catherine of Lancaster
28. Alfonso XI, King of Castile (=16)
14. Peter, King of Castile
29. Maria of Portugal
7. Constance of Castile
30. Juan García de Padilla
15. María de Padilla
31. María González de Hinestrosa


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  1. From 'Crónica de Juan II' by Lorenza Galindez de Carvajal (1517)


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John II of Castile
Born: 6 March 1405 Died: 20 July 1454
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Castile and León
Succeeded by
Henry IV
Spanish royalty
Preceded by Prince of Asturias
Succeeded by
Infanta Catherine