Post-classical history

Henry I of Cyprus (1217-1253)

King of Cyprus (1218-1253), the son of King Hugh I (d. 1218) and Alice of Champagne (d. 1246).

Hugh I died at a relatively young age when Henry was only eight months old. Henry’s mother then formally acted as regent, but in reality Cyprus was controlled by the powerful Ibelin family. However, in 1228-1229 Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, visited the island. Frederick was suzerain of Cyprus because his father, Henry VI, had crowned the first Cypriot king, Aimery (1197), and he now claimed the regency for himself. From 1228 onward this state of affairs sparked a civil war between Frederick’s supporters, who initially controlled Henry, and the Ibelins, who gained possession of the king in 1230 and emerged victorious in 1233. Thereafter, Henry, who had come of age in 1232, consistently showed great favor toward the Ibelins.

From 1246 onward Henry acted as regent in the kingdom of Jerusalem on behalf of King Conrad, a son of Frederick II, but he rarely visited the mainland and left its administration to his Ibelin supporters. During the winter of 1248-1249 Henry played host to the first crusade of King Louis IX of France, and the following spring he briefly accompanied Louis to Egypt, where 120 Cypriot knights subsequently participated in Louis’s failed campaign. Henry died in Nicosia (mod. Lefkosia, Cyprus) on 18 January 1253 and was succeeded by his son Hugh II.

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