|The destiny of Norman Italy|
From the Angevins to the Aragonese
Angevin domination over the former Norman kingdom (1266) lasted until the Aragonese finally conquered it in 1442. There was an uprising by the Sicilians on Easter Monday 1282, known as the ‘Sicilian Vespers’; who rebelled against the humiliation and oppressive fiscal policies of the Angevins, killing thousands of the French.
The island was entrusted to Manfred of Tarente’s brother-in-law, Peter III of Aragon (1276-1285), one of the instigators of the revolt, with the complicity of the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaeologue. The Angevins lost Sicily but the reunification of the kingdom of Naples and Sicily, under the Aragonese crown would come a lot later.
The fate of Naples and Sicily was a series of complicated successions, between the designated heirs and not the natural heirs. In 1423, Alphonse V, king of Aragon and Sicily (1416-1458) unsuccessfully attempted to seize Naples. The Pope and the city of Milan allied with the Angevins. Following the death of Queen Joan II of Naples, Alphonse was defeated off the island of Ponza, in 1435, but he returned and managed to convince the duke of Milan that it was in his interests not to prevent his victory in 1442, and expelled René of Anjou from Naples.
A great Mediterranean kingdom, lasting approximately fifty years, was created extending from Catalonia to Sicily and Naples and Sardinia. Unifying Palermo and Naples, Alphonse took the title of king of the Two Sicilies.