Giovanni (Juan) Borgia

Giovanni Borgia, known as Juan was born around 1474 – 1476, one of four children born to Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (later Pope Alexander VI) and his mistress Vannozza dei Cattanei. It is disputed whether he was the eldest or second son, but his siblings were Cesare Borgia, Lucrezia Borgia and Gioffre Borgia.

Although born illegitimate, all the children were openly acknowledged by their father.

Juan was given the title 2nd Duke of Gandia and made general of the papal army, although he was not a good military man, and is better known for his incompetence.

Juan married around 1493 to Maria Enriquez de Luna, first cousin of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile.

Maria is believed to have been devoted to Juan even though he was known to be a philanderer and a habitual drunkard.

They were to have three children, twins Juan de Borja y Enriquez and Francisca de Jesus Borja, and Isabel de Borja y Enriquez who was born after Juan’s death.

On the evening of 14 June 1497, Juan attended a feast along with his siblings at his mother’s house. This is the last time he was seen alive. The following morning his horse returned without him, and he was reported missing, his body later found in the Tiber river, murdered. He had not been robbed, so it was believed to be a personal crime.

Alexander started an investigation into his murder and many were suspected, including Juan’s brothers Cesare and Gioffre. The Orsini family and Giovanni Sforza were also suspected as were many betrayed husband’s due to Juan’s womanising, however nobody was ever charged with his murder and the investigation was abruptly stopped a week later.

Juan Borgia was murdered in Rome and was buried in Rome.

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