During the reign of Tacred there were many racial issues going on in Sicily around 1189 amongst the Muslims and the Christians. Some of the Sicilians were bitter towards the Arabs for their territorial possessions and the positions they held in the state bureaucracy. Civil war broke out, which caused the city to lose many of its artists and farmers. About a year later King Richard of England comes to Sicily. The citizens complained that they were confronting the women residents. King Richard's soldiers complained that the merchants of the town were cheating them. In retaliation they sacked the city of Messina. Eventually Tacred is forced to buy peace with them because he needs their help with the Germans. In 1194 Tancred dies and Henry is crowned King of Sicily. He is a harsh, ambitious ruler who has his sights set on conquering both Germany and Italy. The Sicilians resisted this because he was paying less and less attention to the islands and the people who occupied them. His wife Constance gave birth to a son, Frederick. After Henry's death Constance fell ill and made Pope Innocent III guardian of the young heir. Between the time of Henry's death, and when Frederick took the throne at age 14 many Muslim uprisings had occurred. The country is in a diminishing state. Frederick creates a new governing system that concentrates more on the power of the monarch, and was equal, as opposed to the old system, which had different law codes for different ethnic groups. It was a potpourri of many systems that had been used the region at other times. The new laws put emphasis on personal liberties, as well as harsh punishments for blasphemers and adulterers. Another goal was to enrich trade, agriculture and industry. .
Silk production was an important part of the economy and Frederick encouraged this. He also tried to repopulate areas that had been abandoned during the civil war. For example, large populations of Arabs were ordered by Frederick to be settled on the mainland.