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Henry The Impotent

HENRY THE IMPOTENT. (1453-1474), king of Castile, surnamed the Impotent, or the Spendthrift, was the son of John II. of Castile and Leon, and of his wife, Mary, daughter of Ferdinand I. of Aragon and Sicily. He was born at Valladolid on the 6th of January 1425. The surnames given to this king by his subjects are of much more than usual accuracy. His personal character was one of mere weakness, bodily and mental. Henry was an undutiful son, and his reign was one long period of confusion, marked by incidents of the most ignominious kind. He divorced his first wife Blanche of Navarre in 1453 on the ground of " mutual impotence." Yet in 1468 he married Joan of Portugal, and when she bore a daughter, first repudiated her as adulterine, and then claimed her for his own. In 1468 he was solemnly deposed in favour of his brother Alphonso, on whose death in the same year his authority was again recognized. The last years of his life were spent in vain endeavours, first to force his half-sister Isabella, afterwards queen, to marry his favourite, the Master of Santiago, and then to exclude her from the throne. Henry died at Madrid on the 12th of December 1474.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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