Parents: Pedro III, king of Aragón, and Constanza of Sicily
Date of Birth: 1265
Predecessor: Pedro III
Reign: 1285 – 1291
Summary: A member of the infamous Barcelona family of Aragón, Alfonso III was the designated heir of his father, Pedro, from birth. He became king upon the death of his father at the age of twenty and almost immediately went on campaign against his uncle, King Jaime II of Majorca. Majorca had been separated from Aragón under the reign of King Jaime I of Aragón, but later Aragonese kings fought to return it to the main line. Alfonso conquered Majorca in 1285 and Ibiza, an appendage in the Balearic Islands, the next year. He then conquered Minorca in 1287 and claimed the title King of Majorca from his uncle immediately after.
Being the son of Constance, heiress of Sicily, Alfonso and his brother, Jaime, had an inheritance right to the kingdom. The two brothers at first attempted to rest control of the small island state from the Papacy but decided that it would be better for the pope to decide the future of the island. Alfonso's reign was constantly at odds with the more important nobles of the realm. In 1288, Alfonso was forced to agree to the Union of Aragon, a charter that united the crowns of Aragón and Valencia and granted privileges to some nobles and to the commoners. This charter eventually caused division and anarchy within Aragonese lands that lasted intermittently until the union of the Aragonese and Castilian crowns over two centuries later. For his inability to control his nobility, Dante Alighieri placed Alfonso III in Purgatory in his Divine Comedy. Alfonso died prior to his marriage to Eleanor, daughter of King Edward I of England. He was buried at Barcelona Cathedral and succeeded by his brother, Jaime II.
Date of Death: 18 June 1291
Successor: Jaime II
Other Monarch Deaths:
Leo III, emperor of Constantinople (741)
Chukyo, emperor of Japan (1234)