Enric II, King of Aragon & Sicily
5) Enric II (1500-1510)
Enric, the only son of Sanç III was 15 years in 1500. Named after his late uncle King Enric I the youth declined to change his name upon ascending the throne, despite the worries of some that it was a poor omen!
Enric II was a quiet, thoughtful youth who if he lacked the flair and cunning of his father and uncle was in some ways their better. Certainly his administrative talents were superior. Ultimately however he was faced with a more challenging situation in many ways: with de Montcada and Martorell dead only Hernando de Velasco served as a voice of past experience and then he was little interested in secular matters.
So the Crown of Aragon passed into uncharted waters…
The 3rd War of Savoyard Aggression
In February 1501 Savoy, once again taking advantage of Genoese weakness went to war against her neighbour and once again Aragon marched to her aid. Marched faster indeed: the Aragonese army entered Liguria first (and routed the much smaller Genoese forces). Genoa itself came under siege, eventually falling to Aragonese arms on 30 July. Two days later the Doge reluctantly signed the surrender terms to Enric's representatives and the second largest seaport in Italy passed into Aragonese hands.
Notably (unlike his father Sanç III) Enric did not personally lead his armies during this or subsequent wars, leaving this job to General Enric Gil de Biedma.
The 2nd Savoyard-Lorrainian War
Aragon was not at peace for very long. The following year on 21 August 1502 Aragon returned to the aid of her ally - this time against Lorraine. General de Biedma swiftly reduced Nice then advanced into Lorraine proper, taking Savoie on the way. Lorraine hurriedly accepted a peace offer and on 5 June 1603 Nice became a province of the Crown of Aragon.
Some of the cultural shifts of expansion.
Politics: abroad and at home
A brief political problem arose in 1503 over Modena's status in the [Holy Roman] Empire when several of the cities nobles advocating leaving the Empire altogether (in a de jure sense Modena was still in the Empire, in a de facto sense of course it was a province of the Aragonese Crown). Enric's II delicate handling of the situation impressed many at home and abroad.
With the capture of Nice and Liguria (and Parma and Modena before them) Lombards had become the second largest ethno-cultural group in the Crown of Aragon: Genoa became the largest city (in fact Valencia, the largest 'Aragonese' proper - i.e. Iberian - city in the Crown of Aragon was only 4th largest overall). Previously only represented by poor and rustic Sardina sophisticated and wealthy Parmense and Genoese merchants, artists, politicians, nobles and clergy began to win a new share of power and influence in Barcelona. The losers in all this were the Sicilians who saw their own stake in Aragonese society fall accordingly.
Something of a new wave of advisors crept in over the decade replacing the Old Guard, even if their skills often lay in different areas.
A family trait
Enric II was always somewhat frail and his condition took a turn for the worse in 1510. A bad winter chill took hold of him and, gently asking his grief struck courtiers to forgive his poor manners at leaving so soon he passed away in his bed on 18 December 1510. He was 25 years old.
Aragon in 1510