, Alfonso Of León, Lord Of Molina

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Alfonso of León, Lord of Molina
b: 1202
d: 6 JAN 1272
Alfonso of León, Lord of Molina (1202 – 6 January 1272) was an infante(prince) of León and Castile, the son of King Alfonso IX of León and hissecond wife Queen Berengaria of Castile. He was the brother of KingFerdinand III of Castile and León, and father of Queen Maria of Molina,wife of King Sancho IV. He became Lord of Molina and Mesa after his firstmarriage to Mafalda González de Lara, the heiress of those lands.

Alfonso was the son of King Alfonso IX of León and his second wife, QueenBerengaria of Castile. On his father''s side he was the grandson of KingFerdinand II of León and his first wife, Urraca of Portugal. On hismother''s side his grandparents were King Alfonso VIII of Castile and hiswife, Eleanor of England. His siblings included King Ferdinand III ofCastile and León, Berengaria, Constance, and Eleanor.

Alfonso was born near the city of León in 1202. As the son of Alfonso IXof León and Berengaria of Castile, he witnessed the bad relations betweenthe two kingdoms during his childhood, after the annulment of hisparents'' marriage. At the Battle of Navas de Tolosa, which took place in1212, his father and the King of Portugal were the only kings from theIberian Peninsula who did not take part, in contrast to those of Castile,Aragon, and Navarre. In fact, Alfonso IX took advantage of the absence ofhis cousin Alfonso VIII to invade Castile.

In 1222 Ferdinand III found himself at odds with Gonzalo Pérez de Lara,Lord of Molina, due to the latter''s support of Alfonso IX. But the twokings managed to come to terms, ratifying the Treaty of Zafra in 1223.Berengaria played an active role in the negotiations. The aim ofGonzalo''s martial actions, including the devastation of some villagesnear Medinaceli, was to foment an uprising of Castilian nobles againstFerdinand in support of his father.

Ferdinand was now bitterly opposed to the autonomy enjoyed by the Gonzaloand his family, the House of Lara, one of the most powerful in the realmalongside that of Haro. He laid siege to the fortress of Zafra, whereGonzalo lay besieged along with his retainers and family.[1] Gonzaloultimately surrendered and accepted the conditions imposed on him. Thefirst of these was that the Lordship of Molina would not, upon his death,pass to his son Gonzalo Pérez "the Disinherited" de Lara, but rather tohis daughter Mafalda González de Lara, who would meanwhile marry PrinceAlfonso. Thus the Crown would establish control over the Lordship ofMolina. The marriage occurred in 1240, and on Gonzalo''s death, PrinceAlfonso was granted the title Lord of Molina and governed the Lordshipfor the rest of his life, at first in collaboration with his wife, andthen, after her death, alone, just as stipulated in the marriagecontract. In 1240 he expanded the privileges of Molina, and in 1272, onhis death, his daughter Blanca did so again.

Alfonso of Molina was a man possessed of considerable virtues as well asa calm temperament, according to the chroniclers of the era. In 1230, onthe death of his father Alfonso IX, he could have sought the throne ofLeón, since Alfonso IX did not wish to bequeath it to his other sonFerdinand III, who was already King of Castile. In fact Alfonso IX namedas his heirs his two daughters, Princesses Sancha and Dulce. However,thanks to a substantial financial compensation, they renounced the throneof León in the Treaty of Benavente, ratified with Ferdinand in thepresence of the many magnates and prelates of the realm. Alfonso ofMolina, who had previously refused the throne, was rewarded by the kingwith his favor, with distinctions, and with many gifts, lands, andprivileges. He accompanied his brother on most of his military campaignsand was closely identified with the cause of the Reconquista as well aswhatever enterprises the king might undertake.

In 1231, while he visited the main cities of León after having takenpossession of it, Ferdinand reportedly sent his son Prince Alfonso, thennine years of age and living in Salamanca, to lay waste to the AlmohadCaliphate territories around Córdoba and Seville, accompanied by ÁlvaroPérez "the Castilian" de Castro and the magnate Gil Manrique.Nevertheless, various historians have indicated that the Prince Alfonsoto which contemporary chronicles refer was not the king''s son, but ratherhis brother, Alfonso of Molina.[2] But according to the version whichholds that the Prince Alfonso present at the Battle of Jerez was actuallyKing Fernando III''s son, "he sent Don Alvar de Castro, the Castilian, togo with him, to watch over the prince and as commander of the army, forthe prince was very young and not yet so energetic, and Don Alvar Pérezwas a respected and very energetic man."[3]

From Salamanca, and passing through Toledo where they were joined by 40knights, they made their way toward Andújar. From there, they began todevastate the countryside around Cordoba, and later the provincial townof Palma del Río. They exterminated all the inhabitants and seized thetown, then proceeded toward Seville and Jerez de la Frontera, and campedthere near the Guadalete River.[4] Emir Ibn Hud, who had gathered a largearmy of seven divisions, positioned himself between the Castilians andJerez, forcing them to give battle. During the subsequent engagement,known as the Battle of Jerez, the Castilians defeated Ibn Hud in spite ofhis numerical superiority. Later, King Alfonso X referred to the 1231battle as follows: "It is fitting that you who are hearing this storyknow that the thing in the world that most broke the Moors, why they hadto lose Andalusia and the Christians gain it from them, was this battleof Jerez. That is how the Moors were shattered. They could never againmuster the daring nor the effort which they had previously against theChristians, such was the level of the shock and fear they experienced onthat occasion."[4]

After his victory in the Battle of Jerez, Álvaro Pérez de Castro theCastilian returned to Castile and handed Prince Alfonso over to hisfather the king, who was in Palencia.

In 1236 Alfonso of Molina distinguished himself in the conquest ofCordoba, the old capital of the Caliphate of Cordoba.[5] Twelve yearslater, in 1248, he took part in the siege of Seville and captured theTorre de Oro. He also occupied a part of the Álcazar of Seville, whichwas known as the "Walls of the Prince of Molina".[5]

In the division of the territory of Seville proclaimed on 1 May 1253,almost a year after the death of his brother Ferdinand III and during thereign of his nephew Alfonso X, Prince Alfonso of Molina received largegrants and was one of the greatest beneficiaries of the land distributiondue to his status as younger brother of Ferdinand. The late king hadasked his son Alfonso X in his will to hold him in high regard.[6]

In 1254 he entered the Order of Calatrava, obliged to wear their habitand assured that on his death his body would be buried in the order''smain monastery.[7] He attended the Valladolid Cortes of 1258,[8] whosemain purpose was to obtain money to fund Alfonso X''s designs on thethrone of the Holy Roman Empire. He also attended the Toledo Cortes of1259,[9] whose purpose was the same, and the Jerez Council of 1268.[10]He attended the wedding of Prince Fernando de la Cerda, first-born sonand heir of Alfonso X, to Blanche of France, held in Burgos on 30November 1269.[11]

In his 1254 will, made at the time he entered the Order of Calatrava,Alfonso of Molina stipulated that he be buried in the church of thecastle of Calatrava la Nueva, headquarters of the order, located in whatis today Ciudad Real province.[12]

Alfonso of Molina died in Salamanca on 6 January 1272 at the age of70.[13] Alfonso''s body was provisionally buried in the monastery of SanFrancisco in Salamanca, which is no longer extant. Later, his remainswere transferred to Calatrava la Nueva as specified in his will, andplaced in a sumptuous sepulchre which lay under an arch in the mainchapel of the monastery''s church. This sepulchre and his remains have notsurvived to the present day.

Alfonso of Molina married, in 1240, Mafalda González de Lara, Lady ofMolina, daughter of Gonzalo Pérez de Lara, 3rd Lord of Molina and Mesa,and his wife, Sancha Gómez de Trastámara. They had two children:
Fernando Alfonso of Molina (1242–1250).
Blanca Alfonso of Molina (1243–1292), married, in 1269, Alfonso Fernándezde Castilla, illegitimate son of Alfonso X.

In 1244, widowed of his first wife, he married his second, TeresaGonzález de Lara, daughter of Count Gonzalo Núñez de Lara, Lord ofBelorado, and his wife María Díaz I de Haro. They had a daughter:
Juana Alfonso of Molina (1245/1246- after 1307), married Lope Díaz III deHaro, Lord of Biscay, who was killed by Sancho IV of Castile in Alfaro in1288. She was the mother of Diego López IV de Haro (died 1289) and MaríaII Díaz de Haro, Lady of Biscay, who married infante John of Castile "elde Tarifa".

He married, in 1260 as this third wife, Mayor Alfonso de Meneses, Lady ofMeneses and Villanueva, widow of Gonzalo Gil of Villalobos and daughterof Alfonso Téllez de Meneses "el Mozo", 4th Lord of Meneses, San Románand Villanueva, and his first wife María Yáñez de Lima. They had twochildren:
Alfonso Téllez of Molina (1262–1314), 7th Lord of Meneses and Lord ofTiedra, Montealegre, Grajal, Alba de Liste, San Román and San Felices. Hewas also the proprietor of half of the lordship of Alburquerque. He wascommander-in-chief for Sancho IV of Castile from 10 December 1288 to 25April 1295. He married Teresa Pérez of Asturias, daughter of PedroÁlvarez of Asturias, Lord of Noreña, and his wife Sancha Rodríguez ofLara.
Maria of Molina (1260?-1321), Queen Consort of Castile by her marriage toher cousin Sancho IV of Castile, son of Alfonso X and Queen Violant ofAragon. They were the parents of King Ferdinand IV of Castile. She wasburied in the Abbey of Santa María la Real de las Huelgas in Valladolid.

Alfonso of Molina also had several illegitimate children from variousextramarital relationships:
Juan Alfonso of Molina (1225–1293) was declared legitimate by PopeInnocent IV in a bull published 14 October 1243. He was dean of BurgosCathedral, and later Bishop of Palencia from 1278 to 1293. In order to benamed Bishop of Palencia he had to receive a dispensation, which waspublished by Pope Alexander IV on 24 January 1259.
Teresa Alfonso of Molina (1225-?), married, according to some authors,Nuño González de Lara "el Bueno", Lord of the House of Lara.[14]Nonetheless, there is controversy among genealogists on the identity ofNuño the Good''s wife, as while Luis de Salazar y Castro indicated that hemarried Teresa Alfonso, daughter of Pedro Alfonso of León, Grand Masterof the Order of Santiago and supposed illegitimate son of King Alfonso IXof León, Count Pedro de Barcelos claims that he married Teresa Alfonso ofLeón, illegitimate daughter of Alfonso IX of León and Aldonza Martínez deSilva.[15] Julio González González indicates that Teresa Alfonso couldhave been the daughter of Urraca Alfonso of León, illegitimate daughterof Alfonso IX of León, and Lope Díaz II de Haro, Lord of Biscay. Herhusband died in 1275 in combat against the Muslims, and both were buriedin the Monastery of Saint Paul in Palencia.
Urraca Alfonso (1225/1230? - ?) married García Gómez Carrillo "el de losGarfios", mayor of Jerez de la Frontera.
Berengaria Alfonso of Molina (1230/1235? - 1272), Lady of Melgoso andCaldelas. She married, in 1251, Gonzalo Ramírez, son of Ramiro Froilazand his wife Aldonza González. They had no children, and Berengariabecame the mistress of James I the Conqueror, King of Aragon. They werethe parents of Pedro Fernández de Híjar, Baron of Híjar. She was buriedin the Monastery of Saint Francis in Narbonne.
Leonor Alfonso (1230/1235 - ?) married Alfonso García de Villamayor, Lordof Villamayor, Celada, and Sisamón, and son of García Fernández deVillamayor and his wife Mayor Arias. Her husband was adelantado mayor ofAndalusia and mayordomo mayor (royal high steward) for Alfonso X.
Juana Alfonso (1266 - ?). In 1283 she received a gift from Alfonso X.
  • 1202 - Birth - ; León
  • 6 JAN 1272 - Death - ; Salamanca
Family Group Sheet - Child
MAlfonso of León, Lord of Molina
Death6 JAN 1272Salamanca