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Stories for CEOs series: Leaders should learn from Navarre-Castile war & put out small fires early

"Put out small fires early: a lesson from the Navarre-Castile war of 1335"

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In June 1335, a group of Castilian knights led by Juan Núñez de Lara violated the Navarrese border and attacked a Navarrese convoy, without authorization from the king, Alfonso XI (pictured below).

The incident escalated into a series of raids and skirmishes that led to a full-scale war between the kingdoms of Navarre and Castile by October of that year.

You see, in the early 1330s, Alfonso XI of Castile had signed a treaty with Navarre, in which he recognized the sovereignty of the Navarrese king over certain territories and trade routes. However some Castilian nobles and officials, including the powerful Juan Núñez de Lara, felt that the treaty was not beneficial to Castile and sought to undermine it.

(Both were neighboring kingdoms in the Iberian peninsula and present-day Spain)

Philip III of Navarre didn’t want a war, and Alfonso XI also didn’t want one either. However, they were forced to fight one since things had escalated and gotten out of hand.

Luckily, they both came to their senses soon enough and signed a peace treaty in less than a year.

As a leader, you should try to address issues promptly and decisively, before they fester and turn into open wounds.

Had either of the kings intervened at the beginning, the incident would not have escalated into a war.  Read more.

King Alfonso XI of Castile
King Alfonso XI of Castile


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