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Juana Manuel of Castile

Juana Manuel
Queen consort of Castile and León
Tenure 1369–1379
Spouse Henry II of Castile
John I of Castile
Eleanor, Queen of Navarre
Infanta Joanna
House House of Burgundy
House of Trastámara
Father Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena
Mother Blanca Núñez de Lara
Born 1339
Died 27 March 1381 (aged 41–42)
Burial Cathedral of Toledo
Religion Roman Catholicism

Juana Manuel (1339 – 27 March 1381) was from 1369 the Queen consort of Castile. She also was the heiress of Escalona, Villena, Peñafiel and Lara as well as the sovereign lady ("señora soberana") of Biscay (part of the Basque country).


She was the daughter of the Infante Juan Manuel of Castile (1282–1349) and his second wife Blanca Núñez de Lara de La Cerda. Her mother Blanca (d. 1347) was a descendant of the sovereign Lords of Biscay and of Lara and of Alfonso X's eldest son (Fernando de la Cerda). She was the last legitimate member of the Castilian House of Burgundy.

Her elder half-sister Constance of Peñafiel (who died in 1345 when Juana was just about five years old) was crown princess of Portugal.


Her father had been for five years a serious enemy of King Alfonso XI, his former protégé, and the king wished to neutralize or absorb the might of the Peñafiel family. Although Juana was not the heiress (yet), already in her youth she had to go along with royal wishes. The king's very influential concubine, Leonor de Guzmán, wanted to obtain some high prestige and property to her eldest son and had her eyes on the young Juana. On 27 July 1350 her brother and guardian, Fernando Manuel of Peñafiel, had to marry his young sister to Henry (1333–79), eldest of the illegitimate sons of Alfonso XI of Castile. This brought Henry certain lands.

However it was later that Juana's relatives' heirless deaths made Juana the great heiress she turned out to be: so important an heiress that actually her husband gained the opportunity to be a threat to the royal power. She had more rights to the throne of Castile than her husband because she was a legitimate descendant of Ferdinand III of Castile. In 1369, Henry became King Henry II of Castile, after he deposed (and murdered) his half-brother to take the throne.

They had the following children:


In 1361 (at the death of her teenage niece Blanca,[2] daughter of her half-brother Fernando Manuel who himself had died in c 1350 without other children) she inherited Villena, Escalona and Peñafiel.[3] Because Juana was a maternal granddaughter of La Palomilla, from her another cousin, Isabel de Lara who was murdered in 1361 [4] and her young daughter Florentina [5] (d after 1365), she also inherited Lara and Biscay. In 1369, she became queen of Castile and León.

When in 1381 she died and left her inheritance to her son, Biscay finally was united with Castile, and ultimately Spain. The Basque people remember her for that.



Juana Manuel
Born: circa 1339 Died: 27 March 1381
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Blanche of Bourbon
Queen consort of Castile and León
Succeeded by
Eleanor of Aragon
Spanish nobility
Preceded by
Blanca Manuel
Lady of Villena,
Escalona and Peñafiel

Incorporated into the
Crown of Castile
Preceded by
Tello Alfonso
Lord of Biscay and Lara
Succeeded by
John II of Castile
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