The New Student's Reference Work/John of Gaunt
John of Gaunt (Ghent), was the fourth son of Edward III, who made him duke of Lancaster. He was born in March, 1340, at Ghent. In the French wars he served with great bravery under Edward the Black Prince. In 1370 he married Constance, daughter of Peter the Cruel, king of Castile. On Peter’s death John claimed the kingdom in the name of his wife, but the military expedition to obtain Castile proved unsuccessful. Toward the end of his father’s reign he became the chief man in the kingdom, and perhaps wished to succeed him; at any rate, the young king, Richard II, distrusted him and sent him on another wild expedition after his Castilian kingdom. This resulted in a treaty between John and Henry of Trastamara, who had possession of the throne, by which John’s daughter should succeed as queen of Castile. On the death of his second wife he married Catharine Swynford by whom he had three sons and a daughter. From the oldest child was descended Henry VII. John died at London on Feb. 3, 1399.