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James IV of Majorca

James IV of Majorca Pretender to Majorca and Neapolitan consort

Pretender to Majorca and Neapolitan consort
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Pretender to Majorca and Neapolitan consort
Gender male
Birth Montpellier
Death 20 January 1375 (Soria)
Mother: Constance of AragonQueen of Majorca
Father: James III of Majorca
Spouse: Joanna I of Naples
The details

James of Majorca (c. 1336 – 20 January 1375) unsuccessfully claimed the thrones of the Kingdom of Majorca and the Principality of Achaea from 1349 until his death. He served as king consort of Naples, as such being excluded from government.

Imprisonment and marriage

James was the son of James III of Majorca and Constance of Aragon. His father was killed at the Battle of Llucmajor in 1349 while attempting to recapture his kingdom, and James IV was taken prisoner by his uncle, Peter IV of Aragon. Now pretender to the Kingdom of Majorca and the Principality of Achaea, James was kept in an iron cage in Barcelona until 1362. He then contrived to escape and take refuge with Joanna I of Naples, who had aided his father's last attempt on Majorca.

Joanna was then childless, and in need of an heir: she married James on September 26, 1363, at Castel Nuovo. Perhaps to avoid the civil strife of Joanna's first two marriages, James was carefully excluded from government of his wife's realm by the marriage contract. However, the marriage proved unsuccessful. The couple had no children, and rarely saw each other.

Struggle for Majorca

James was determined to recapture his kingdom, and soon departed to make war on the Kingdom of Aragon. He was defeated and forced to flee to Bordeaux. There he gained the support of Edward the Black Prince, who he hoped would restore him to Majorca after restoring Peter the Cruel in Castile. He joined the invasion of Castile, taking part in the battle of Nájera. He was stricken with a long and severe illness in Valladolid. Unable to ride, he could not leave the city and was captured by Henry II of Castile. Ransomed by Joanna, he returned to Naples only briefly before setting off again.

Henry had launched a war against Peter IV of Aragon, and James hoped to take advantage of this to capture Roussillon and Cerdanya, the mainland portions of his father's realm. However, John of Gaunt procured a truce between Castile and Aragon, and the full weight of the Aragonese forces fell upon James. Defeated again, he fled into Castile, where he died of illness or poison at Soria on 20 January 1375, the 32nd anniversary of his wife's accession.

His pretensions to Majorca passed to his sister Isabella, wife of John II of Montferrat. He willed his rights to Achaea to Joanna, who had ruled the remains of the Principality since 1373 by cession of her brother-in-law, Philip II of Taranto.

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