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The Crown of Aragon is a medieval kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula. Besides the Kingdom of Aragón it includes the County of Barcelona and other Catalan Counties. It borders to the west the Kingdom of Navarre and Kingdom of Castile, southwest Almohad Empire and to the northwest France.
The Crown of Aragon is the dynastic union of the lands of the Kingdom of Aragón, Principality of Catalonia and County of Toulouse. The component realms of the Crown are not united politically except at the level of the king, who rules over each autonomous polity according to its own laws, raising funds under each tax structure, dealing separately with each Cortes or Estat.
Pedro II participated in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 that resulted in a devastating defeat of the Spanish Kingdoms. Gathering what was left of his forces, and according to some sources thanks to payments made to the Almohads his retreat, he made it to the the safety of Aragon. However Pedro II's territorial and political ambitions were chiefly on Occitania and was trying to create a Pyrenean kingdom that encompasses the lands between Ebro and Garonne rivers.
Victory of Muret and Cathar Crusade
Returning to Aragon in 1212 he finds that Simon IV of Montfort had conquered Toulouse, exiling Count Raymond VI of Toulouse, who was Peter's brother-in-law and vassal. He decided to cross the Pyrenees and deal with Montfort at Muret. Arriving at Muret in September 1213 to confront Montfort's army. The siege of Muret was won when a the small contingent commanded by Montfort attacked the Aragonese forces the 13th in order to lift and escape the siege. In combat Montford is killed causing his forces to dispel and surrender Muret. Pedro II's victory leaves him has overlord of great part of the Languedoc. He negotiated with the papal delegate to continue and command the Albigensian Crusade in exchange of the repealment of the papal excommunication and recognition of his suzerainty of Toulouse, Montpellier, Foix and Provence.
Pedro II committed himself in carrying out the crusade on an oath to the Pope. Cathars were persecuted, their property confiscated, expelled or burned at the stake. Perhaps less zealously than the Church wanted but he carried out its will in extirpating heresy. The Cathars real or supposed presence became an excuse to raze castles and sack the lands of rival lords and make clear his authority to uncooperative nobles forcing their homage to him or destruction. Peters II interest was to lengthen the crusade's time and consolidate his rule in Occitania. King Philip II Augustus of France was not satisfied with the Papal outcome but he did not dare to alienate the Church, but he allowed his vassals and knights to help in the Crusade. However he dexterously accepted homage and donations from Occitania and pushed to keep Peter II's domain territorially unconsolidated and limited to Occitania.
Pedro's gains culminated in 1220 (616–617 AH) when the Estats de Toulouse were summoned to assembled for the first time. Its first business of the day was to recognize the suzerainty of the Crown of Aragón in Occitania.
The Valencian Levant
The nobles and burghers of Aragon were unhappy with their King's attention over the Pyrenees and cost of the Crusade. Several nobles also saw with greedy eyes the lands of Valencia in hands of the Muslims. Pedro II reluctantly called the Corts of Aragon in 1219 to deal with taxes, the limits of Catalonia and Aragon and demands for a campaign against the Almohad.
From the footholds of Castellon and Teruel several raids were made against the Almohad, however Pedro waited until better times and meanwhile built forts and organized his armies for a major campaign that included the capture of the Balearic Islands.
Having organized his domains and vessels in Occitania and under pressure from the nobles and prelates of Aragón, Pedro II resumed his oath to Crusade against the Muslims. From the footholds of Castellon and Teruel several raids were made against the Almohad, However Pedro II waited until better times and meanwhile built forts and organized his armies for a major campaign that would included the capture of the Balearic Islands.
His patience yielded fruits when the Berber rebellion broke up in Algeria, Maghreb and parts of Al-Andalus and Ifriqiya. So taking advantage of these rebellions, in 1242 Pedro II marched from Castellon to Valencia. Although the rebellions in the Almohad Empire impaired a swift response to the threat of Aragonese armies Pedro II did not count was in the obstinate resistance of Valencia and two accomplished Almohad commanders, emir Abdul ibn Maarufi and his son Yussuf.
The short and lighting Argonese campaign to gain Valencia became a disaster. Stopped at the walls of Valencia Pedro II for the first time openly vexed. Abdul ibn Maarufi seeing his advantage and instead of directly attacking blockade all exit routes. By the end of two weeks with his troops exhausted, thirsty and hungry Pedro II negotiated a retreat leaving behind horses, armors and weapons.
The Emir's son, Yussuf, would led in 1243 the capture of Kunka (Cuenca) and Teruel. At the Battle of Almazora (July 1244) Pedro II would try again to have a decisive victory by routing the Almohad army led by emir Abdul ibn Maarufi and his son Yussuf in its way to Castellon. However things turn around and the Aragonese army had to retrieve with its King mortally injured and Castellon opening its gate to the Moors. Days later Pedro II would die being suceded by his son, Jaime I.
A Truce was signed by both parties. However like his father Jaime I had troubles with part of the nobles and burghers. Has it was the custom and necessities he called for a joint meeting of the Cortes of Aragón and Catalonia to confirm his royal rights and petition more resources to continue the war in Levant.
Kings of Aragón
Titles: King of Aragon, Count of Barcelona, and Lord of Montpellier.
- Pedro II The Catholic (1178-1244) Reign 1196-1244.
- Jaime I (1213-...) Reign 1244-...