Martin the Humane, also called the Elder and the Ecclesiastic, was King of Aragon, Valencia, Sardinia and Corsica and Count of Barcelona from 1396 and King of Sicily from 1409 (as Martin II). He failed to secure the accession of his illegitimate grandson, Frederic, Count of Luna, and with him the rule of the House of Barcelona came to an end.
He was the second son of King Peter IV of Aragon and Eleanor of Sicily (Leonora), princess of the Sicilian branch of the House of Aragon. In 1380 his father appointed him lord and regent of the island of Sicily, then known also as Trinacria, since its queen Maria of Sicily, who was also Martin's cousin, was underage (Maria's father, Frederick III the Simple, died in 1377). As a son of Eleanor of Sicily, Martin was himself an heir to the island, should Maria's family die out.
In 1396, Martin succeeded his elder brother John I, who had died sonless, on the throne of Aragon. However, Sicilian nobles were causing unrest and so Martin was kept in Sicily. Meanwhile, Martin's wife, María López de Luna, claimed the throne on his behalf of and acted as his representative until he arrived in 1397. Still, the delay opened the way for more problems and quarrels to surface in Aragon. His right to the throne was contested, first by Count Matthew of Foix on behalf of his wife Joanna, elder daughter of John I. However, Martin succeeded in quashing an invasion by troops of the count. After the death of the childless Joanna, John I's younger daughter Yolande of Aragon, who had married the Angevin King Louis II of Naples, continued the claim, as did her sons.
Martin died, in the monastery of Valldonzella, extramuros of Barcelona the 31st May 1410. All of Martin's legitimate descendants, born of his marriage with Queen Maria, were already dead, and his second marriage did not produce any children. Only an illegitimate grandson, Frederick, Count of Luna, a natural son of Martin the Younger, and an illegitimate daughter - ineligible for succession due to the rules established during the times of James I the Conqueror - continued the direct line of inheritance. The king, despite his desire and some effort, was unable to obtain sufficient confirmation of Frederick as his successor prior to his death. As a result, Martin's death led to a two-year interregnum, during which at least five contenders for the throne came forward, including Frederick of Luna and James II of Urgell. Succession of the Crown of Aragon was determined by the Compromise of Caspe on 28 June 1412, in which Martin's nephew Ferdinand, infante of Castile was chosen as the next king, establishing the House of Trastámara.
|Reigned as||In Country||From||To||Coins Issued|
|King Martin I||Aragon||19 May 1396||31 May 1410|
|King Martin I, King of Aragon||Majorca||19 May 1396||31 May 1410|
|King Martin I, King of Aragon||Sardinia||19 May 1396||31 May 1410|
|King Martin I, King of Aragon||Valencia||19 May 1396||31 May 1410|
|King Martin II, King of Aragon as Martin I||Sicily||25 July 1409||31 May 1410|