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Maria de Molina (d. 1321)

Maria de Molina (d. 1321)

Queen-regent of Castile and Leon . Name variations: Maria of Molina; Mary of Molina. Born between 1260 and 1270 in Spain; died on July 1, 1321, in Castile; daughter of Alphonse de Castilla de Molina and Mayor Alfonsa de Meneses; married cousin Sancho IV the Fierce (1258–1295), king of Castile and Leon (r. 1284–1296), in July 1281 or 1282; children: Isabel de Limoges (1283–1328); Ferdinand IV, king of Castile and Leon (r. 1296–1312, who married Constance of Portugal ); Alfonso (1286–1291); Enrique (1288–1299); Pedro (1290–1319), regent of Castile; Felipe or Philip (1292–1327); Beatrice of Castile and Leon (1293–1359, who married Alphonso IV of Portugal).

Beatrice of Castile and Leon (1293–1359)

Queen of Portugal . Name variations: Beatriz. Born in Toro, Spain, in 1293; died on October 25, 1359, in Lisbon, Portugal; daughter of Maria de Molina (d. 1321) and Sancho IV, king of Castile (r. 1284–1296); married Alphonso IV, king of Portugal (r. 1325–1357), on September 12, 1309; children: Maria of Portugal (1313–1357, who married Alphonso XI of Castile); Alfonso or Alphonso (1315–1315); Diniz or Denis (1317–1318); Pedro also known as Peter I (1320–1367), king of Portugal (r. 1357–1367); Isabel (1324–1326); Joao (1326–1327); Eleanor of Portugal (1328–1348, who married Peter or Pedro IV of Aragon).

Maria de Molina, queen and regent of Castile, was born between 1260 and 1270, the daughter of Alphonse de Castilla de Molina and Mayor Alfonsa de Meneses . Of noble birth, Maria married Sancho of Castile (later Sancho IV) and was the mother of Ferdinand IV. When Sancho died, Maria retained her authority as regent of the kingdom in her young son's name. She proved to be a successful regent, a difficult accomplishment given the great number of would-be usurpers of the Castilian throne that she was forced to war against. Maria de Molina's strong central government and her own strength and determination kept Castile intact until Ferdinand came of age. Maria was both an effective, astute ruler and a popular one. Her son Ferdinand did not share her talent for rule, and quickly lost control of his court, nobility, and subjects. When the situation became desperate upon Ferdinand's death in 1312, Maria was called upon by the people of Castile to restore order and to act again as regent, this time for her infant grandson Alphonso XI.


Echols, Anne, and Marty Williams. An Annotated Index of Medieval Women. NY: Markus Wiener, 1992.

Salmonson, Jessica. The Encyclopedia of Amazons. NY: Doubleday, 1991.

Laura York , Riverside, California

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