Today in the Middle Ages: June 9, 1365

King Pedro of Castile, called "the Cruel," was excommunicated by the Pope on June 9, 1365 for his treatment of the clergy.

Pedro was hated for his violence. He committed or ordered a number of murders including that of his wife. In 1366, his bastard brother Henry at the head of a group of Free Companies — professional soldiers — displaced him. Henry won popular support partly because of the widespread hatred of Pedro, hut also because he inflamed Spanish anti-Semitism, publicly referring to Pedro as "king of the Jews."

Pedro took refuge for a time with the Black Prince, who restored him briefly to his throne. However, he offended the Prince by dishonorable behavior and broken promises, and lost his support.