attwiw is on hiatus until next week
They say the three rules of real estate are “location, location, location,” and I suppose that’s as true when you’re looking for a city to conquer as it is when you’re looking to buy a house. Algeciras was in an incredibly important location that made it a hub both for commerce and for the transit of human beings (often heavily armed human beings) from North Africa into what in 1344 was al-Andalus (Andalusia, Iberia, Spain, call it whatever you like). So for the various European principalities that were participating in the so-called Reconquista, capturing Algeciras was a major goal. That helps to explain why this 1342-1344 episode was the third of four sieges of the city undertaken in the 13th and 14th centuries, though it was the final Christian siege. The first, in 1278, ended when a relief army from Morocco broke through a Castilian naval blockade and then drove off the Christian besiegers, and the second, in 1309-1310, ended when disease ravaged the Castilian camp and forced then-King Ferdinand IV (d. 1312) to withdraw.