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Feb 22, 2004
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Strange Shores: An Aragonese AAR


Alonso of Aragon was wont to say in commendation of age, that age appears to be best in four things,—old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.
~ Francis Bacon

This AAR will focus on Aragon, beginning in 1453. I’m using the 1.1 patch. Now EU III is very new to me so this is a bit of a trial and error AAR. I’m just hoping it will work!

Goalwise I will try and achieve dominance of the Med, through trade, conquest and conversion. Anything else happens as it may.

Well I hope you enjoy it. :)

~ Ross


1) Alfons V (1416-1457)

2) Sanç II (1457-1481)

3) Interregnum (Regency Council) (1481-1485)

4) Enric I (1485-1486) and Sanç III (1486-1500)

5) Enric II (1500-1510)

6) Ferran II (1510-1517)

7) Alfons VI (1518-1541)

8) Joan II (1541-1564)

9) Ferran III (1564-1575) & Joan III (1575-1578)

10) Alfons VII (1578-1605)

11) Ferran IV (1605-1631)

12) Octavius I (1631-1647)

13) Ferran V (1647-1662)

14) Regency Council (1662-1663) and Sanç IV (1663-1684)

15) Joan IV (1684-1690)

16) Regency Council (1690-1692) and Enric III (1692-1710)

17) Alfons VIII (1710-1732)

18) Ferran VI (1732-1758)

19) Joan V (1758-1768)

20) Carles I (1768-1809) - Final Chapter

Epilogue: Part I (1792-1850)

Epilogue: Part II (1850-the present)
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My personal advice to you would be to pick Shrewd Commercial Practices as your first national ideal and achieve global trade domination…but that’s just my style of play. The more interesting path would be to unite Iberia by force of arms then move in on Italy…and France…and the new world… ;)
Good luck, I suggest you focus on the new world. You can't afford not to :D.
A good tip would be to try and vasselize castille and portugal and try to diploannexing them. (with their colonies off course) That worked for me but the other way round with Castille in 1469 (but the other way round aragon became diplo-annexed and portugal vassal.) :)
But in overall good luck ;)

Alfons V, King of Aragon & Sicily

1) Alfons V (1416-1457)

Aragon in 1453 was a kingdom at a crossroads. She had no clear enemies and with Italy quiet no foreign entanglements. Alfons V began to turn his gaze elsewhere. In that year two new men achieved positions of power in his court who alongside the established favourite Joanot Martorell would shape Aragonese policy for the remainder of Alfons reign. These courtiers come advisors would become known by several names as their influence became known: "the Three" as they termed themselves; "the Triumvirate" as their opponents sometimes called them and most lastingly "the Three Wise Men" as coined by one court wag.


"The Three Wise Men"

"The Three Wise Men"

Ildefons Martorell (no relation) was a wily Valencian merchant prince who had risen to great wealth and prominence. His opponents claimed that he had bought his way into the court. This was almost certainly true but it was his genuine talents that kept him there.

Sanç de Montcada on the other hand came from the highest strata of Aragonese nobility though his own family had declined in wealth over the years; Sanç himself was a clever and skilled politician who might hope to reverse this. He was of course a schemer, but then that was true of practically everyone at court. So long as those schemes did run against the interests of the king it was all to the good.

Sanç and Ildefons did not get along well but Joanot Martorell managed to keep them from each other throats. Mostly anyway. Thus functioned the inner circle of Aragonese government.

Foreign & Domestic Relations

Sanç de Montcada, though from a traditional landholding family was a strong believer in centralisation; in his opinion power of the Aragonese Crown (and by extension the position of courtiers such as himself) was insufficient. With the agreement of his fellows he persuaded King Alfons to enact centralising legislation - to much alarm from many quarters.

The court also engaged in a wide ranging foreign policy; the Aragon of Alfons V positively abounded with princesses of various ranks and ages. In 1453 most of the more eligible ones were married off: to Navarra, Milan, Modena and Athens. Portugal inverted this trend by instead choosing to marry one of her own princesses into the Aragonese line. This helped create closer bonds with many of the important Catholic states in the Mediterranean - fertile ground for future alliances.

Also during this period a second fleet was constructed: five new cogs. Though Aragon already had a strong war fleet of galleys Ildefons Martorell argued persuasively that the ability to transport troops was necessary: Sicily or Sardina might come under attack for instance. Sanç de Montcada backed the new fleet, albeit for somewhat different reasons...

"Deus Vult!"

The Fall of Constantinople (1453) had been a profound shock to Christendom. It was partly in answer to this shock that Sanç de Montcada developed and began advocating towards the end of 1455 the idea best known as "Deus Vult" (Latin, 'God wills it'). Greatly simplified this idea essentially advocated that Christians not only had a right but a solemn duty to go and convert the heathen, by force if necessary. De Montcada personally advocated expansion into North Africa and his influential views soon became quite popular.

In fact there where quite sound reasons for a North African adventure - though critics of de Montcada may have been somewhat unfair in accusing him of simply being after personal land (which said Sanç de Montcada did end up becoming very wealthy). Ildefons Martorell was eventually brought around by pointing out how much more the Sicily and Malta would be if their African coast was secured.

Thus on 8 January 1456 the First War of Aragonese Aggression began against Tripoli.


The First Battle of Sirt

The War of Aragonese Aggression

Alfons V, despite being 59 years old was determined to take the field himself, leading five regiments to Tripoli. The 5,000 Aragonese soldiers rapidly conquered Sirt. Yahya II of Tripoli sought battle at Sirt but the outnumbered Tripolitanians were defeated on 2 March 1456. After that Tripolitanian resistance largely collapsed in the field; in April Tripolitania itself fell to Alfons. The Second Battle of Sirt in July saw 12 Aragonese soldiers killed against 280 Tripolitanians. The next week Cyrenaica fell and Yahya II agreed to Aragonese demands.

The war officially ended on 2 August 1456. Aragon gained Sirt and Cyrenaica. Alfons decided to remain with the army for the remainder of the year to sort out the new provinces, leaving his advisors to deal with eradicating corruption back home. On 3 January 1457 the king approved the arrival of missionaries in Sirt.

It was his last official act. Over the winter the exertion of the years campaign had combined with a minor illness to take its toll and on 9 January 1457 King Alfons V of Aragon and Sicily passed away in Benghazi


Aragon in 1457
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Fulcrumvale: Interesting strategy... but I am a bit more interested in the Med for the moment. :)

Dysken: Ahh, don't say that! ;)

Patrick O'Harte: A man after my own heart! ;)

J. Passepartout: Thank you, always a pleasure. :)

valzoz_p94: Interesting... I'll look into that alright.
I guess this means no united Spain... I like the quest into N. Africa.
North Africa does not have many trees but it, being a warm and dry place, would be an excellent place to burn them. The other merits of burning trees there is that we can give an example to the Muhammadans of why they should convert.
So a Crusading Aragon. This looks very interesting.
Though I like the idea of a crusade, I can’t help but wonder if the poor, wrong religion and wrong culture provinces are worth the effort.


Sanç II, King of Aragon and Sicily

2) Sanç II (1457-1481)

Sanç II (no relation) was the sole legitimate son of Alfons V to survive to adulthood - though the circumstances of his birth are obscure, even apocryphal. In any event he was born in or around 1424 or 1425 and had spent most of his life prior to his reign abroad. A skilled diplomat and able administrator Sanç II unfortunately lacked his father's military touch and throughout his reign would generally leave his armies to the generals rather than personally take the field. In person he was unusually sombre and austere, even melancholy - the legacy it was whispered of an ill fated affair with a Portuguese noble woman in his youth.


"The Three Wise Men" after the death of Joanot Martorell.

A New Face

Initially at least court life continued to be dominated by the trio of Joanot Martorell, Sanç de Montcada and Ildefons Martorell but this arrangement did not last long. In 1457 Joanot Martorell fell into a long illness. Despite the efforts of the famous Franciscan healer Lluis Almenara (later Saint Lluis of Alcora known for his miracles) the courtier passed away on 7 August of that year, outliving his friend and monarch Alfons V by a shade less than seven months.

Grasping that a third figure was needed to balance out Sanç de Montcada and Ildefons Martorell Sanç II chose the priest Hernando de Velasco. De Velasco, a pious if somewhat unworldly figure nicely filled the vacant space at court being disliked by both de Montcada and Martorell somewhat less than either disliked the other.


The fruits of Aragonese religious policy.

Foreign & Domestic Relations

The slow process of converting the newly acquired North African provinces (to both Catholicism and culturally "western" territories) began seriously in the year Sanç II came to throne. Twenty-four years later at his death progress had been mixed. The inhabitants of Sirt eventually converted to the faith (after several failed attempts) in 1468. Those of Cyrenacia accepted the faith in 1473.

Centralisation continued, though laws introduced in 1469 caused considerable public anger and possibly caused the Aragonese Peasants Revolt of that year that would last on into 1471.

Sanç II had been on the throne briefly when he was dragged into a war between his ally Sicily (the kingdom, not the geographical territory) and Urbino. Aragon played no actual part in the fighting but it would not be the last war he would himself dragged into.

The 2nd War of Aragonese Aggression

General Bernat Bielsa, the commander of the Army of Africa was a strong believer in preventative defence – which in his view meant an increasingly strong position in North Africa. In 1464 he began advocating a second war with Tripoli. Not so much for Tripoli itself which had by dynastic chance inherited Aden (making it unconquerable essentially) but as a way of making war on Tunisia without also having to fight Algiers. De Montcada agreed and thus began the 2nd War of Aragonese Aggression.

Aragon fought Tunisia and Tripoli from 23 September 1464 to 17 August 1465 (with Tunisia) and 13 December 1466 (with Tripoli). General Bielsa used his greater numbers to great advantage and Aragon came away from the peace talks with the new provinces of Gafsa and Gabes.

The 2nd War of Sicilian Aggression

The Sicilians went to war again in October 1471 against Montenegro and her ally Morea. Fortunately Sanç II managed to portray this as a war against heathens (i.e. Orthodox Christians). General Bielsa was dispatched with the army to Morea where the decadent relic of Constantine’s empire was soon conquered and annexed (14 December 1471). Despite the completeness of the victory celebration was muted in Barcelona. Apparently even Sanç de Montcada felt that the conquest of Greek Christians was at least bending the spirit of “Deus Vult”.

General Bielsa did not enjoy the fruits of his success for long. Within eight moths of his conquest he was dead - assassinated in a quarrel over a woman.

The Sicilian-Milanese War

Aragon once again found herself involved in Sicilies woes when the Sicilians went to war against Milan in December 1479. This time despite considerable investment of men and ships a land victory eluded Aragon (though they swept the Milanese navy from the seas). The war dragged on indecisively.

Against this unhappy background Sanç II died on 1 April 1481. Despite the undoubted successes of his reign - the conversion of Cyrenacia and Sirt, the addition of Morea, Gabes and Gafas to the Crown of Aragon - he had not had such success personally or domestically. Notably his legitimate children and wife had predeceased him leaving the Aragonese succession uncertain.

"The Three Wise Men" called a Regency Council to rule the country until an heir could be sorted out. It was not entirely clear they had the legal authority to do this but sheer longevity and the political skills of Sanç de Montcada proved decisive...


Aragon in 1481
Patrick O'Harte: Yep. :)

GeneralHannibal & Dr. Scarabus: Thank you, glad you like it.

J. Passepartout: Heh, well said!

stnylan: Thank you. :)

Fulcrumvale:[/B} In game terms possibly not... but I am usually more interested in story and interesting ideas than more in game rewards. :)
Seems like you like going off on north African adventures. Hopefully the regency council will sort things out.
Very good, RossN. Your usual attention to detail and well presented work is already engaging. You've done well so far in the Med. Hopefully you'll get through this regency quickly and get back on the path of dominance.

One question - what will be your policy on Castile? And do you have any desire to form Spain?