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13th-century miniature of Alfonso VII of León from the codex Tumbo A. Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
|King of León, Castile and Galicia,|
|Coronation||1135 in the Cathedral of León|
|Successor|| Sancho III (Castile) |
Ferdinand II (León)
|Born||1 March 1105|
Caldas de Reis
|Died||21 August 1157 52) (aged|
|Spouse|| Berenguela of Barcelona |
Richeza of Poland
| Sancho III, King of Castile |
Ferdinand II, King of Léon
Constance, Queen of France
Sancha, Queen of Navarre
Sancha, Queen of Aragon
(illeg.) Urraca, Queen of Navarre
(illeg.) Stephanie Alfonso
|House||Castilian House of Ivrea|
|Father||Raymond, Count of Galicia|
|Mother||Urraca, Queen of León and Castile|
Alfonso VII (1 March 1105 –21 August 1157), called the Emperor (el Emperador), became the King of Galicia in 1111 and King of León and Castile in 1126. Alfonso, born Alfonso Raimúndez, first used the title Emperor of All Spain, alongside his mother Urraca, once she vested him with the direct rule of Toledo in 1116. Alfonso later held another investiture in 1135 in a grand ceremony reasserting his claims to the imperial title. He was the son of Urraca of León and Raymond of Burgundy, the first of the House of Ivrea to rule in the Iberian peninsula.
Alfonso was a dignified and somewhat enigmatic figure. His rule was characterised by the renewed supremacy of the western kingdoms of Christian Iberia over the eastern (Navarre and Aragón) after the reign of Alfonso the Battler. Though he sought to make the imperial title meaningful in practice to both Christian and Muslim populations, his hegemonic intentions never saw fruition. During his tenure, Portugal became de facto independent, in 1128, and was recognized as de jure independent, in 1143. He was a patron of poets, including, probably, the troubadour Marcabru.
In 1111, Diego Gelmírez, Bishop of Compostela and the count of Traba, crowned and anointedAlfonso King of Galicia in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. He was a child, but his mother had (1109) succeeded to the united throne of León-Castile-Galicia and desired to assure her son's prospects and groom him for his eventual succession. By 1125 he had inherited the formerly Muslim Kingdom of Toledo. On 10 March 1126, after the death of his mother, he was crowned in León and immediately began the recovery of the Kingdom of Castile, which was then under the domination of Alfonso the Battler. By the Peace of Támara of 1127, the Battler recognised Alfonso VII of Castile. The territory in the far east of his dominion, however, had gained much independence during the rule of his mother and experienced many rebellions. After his recognition in Castile, Alfonso fought to curb the autonomy of the local barons.
When Alfonso the Battler, King of Navarre and Aragón, died without descendants in 1134, he willed his kingdom to the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller.The aristocracy of both kingdoms rejected this. García Ramírez, Count of Monzón was elected in Navarre while Alfonso pretended to the throne of Aragón. The nobles chose another candidate in the dead king's brother, Ramiro II. Alfonso responded by reclaiming La Rioja and "attempted to annex the district around Zaragoza and Tarazona".
In several skirmishes, he defeated the joint Navarro-Aragonese army and put the kingdoms to vassalage. He had the strong support of the lords north of the Pyrenees, who held lands as far as the River Rhône. In the end, however, the combined forces of the Navarre and Aragón were too much for his control. At this time, he helped Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona, in his wars with the other Catalan counties to unite the old Marca Hispanica .
A vague tradition had always assigned the title of emperor to the sovereign who held León. Sancho the Great considered the city the imperiale culmen and minted coins with the inscription Imperator totius Hispaniae after being crowned in it. Such a sovereign was considered the most direct representative of the Visigothic kings, who had been themselves the representatives of the Roman Empire. But though appearing in charters, and claimed by Alfonso VI of León and Alfonso the Battler, the title had been little more than a flourish of rhetoric.
On 26 May 1135, Alfonso was crowned "Emperor of Spain" in the Cathedral of León.By this, he probably wished to assert his authority over the entire peninsula and his absolute leadership of the Reconquista. He appears to have striven for the formation of a national unity which Spain had never possessed since the fall of the Visigothic kingdom. The elements he had to deal with could not be welded together. The weakness of Aragon enabled him to make his superiority effective. After Afonso Henriques recognised him as liege in 1137, Alfonso VII lost the Battle of Valdevez in 1141 thereby affirming Portugal's independence in the Treaty of Zamora (1143). In 1143, he himself recognised this status quo and consented to the marriage of Petronila of Aragon with Ramon Berenguer IV, a union which combined Aragon and Catalonia into the Crown of Aragon.
Alfonso was a pious prince. He introduced the Cistercians to Iberia by founding a monastery at Fitero. He adopted a militant attitude towards the Moors of Al-Andalus, especially the Almoravids. From 1138, when he besieged Coria, Alfonso led a series of crusades subjugating the Almoravids. After a seven-month siege, he took the fortress of Oreja near Toledo and, as the Chronica Adefonsi Imperatoris tells it:
. . . early in the morning the castle was surrendered and the towers were filled with Christian knights, and the royal standards were raised above a high tower. Those who held the standards shouted out loud and proclaimed "Long live Alfonso, emperor of León and Toledo!"
In 1142, Alfonso besieged Coria a second time and took it.In 1144, he advanced as far as Córdoba. Two years later, the Almohads invaded and he was forced to refortify his southern frontier and come to an agreement with the Almoravid Ibn Ganiya for their mutual defence. When Pope Eugene III preached the Second Crusade, Alfonso VII, with García Ramírez of Navarre and Ramon Berenguer IV, led a mixed army of Catalans and Franks, with a Genoese–Pisan navy, in a crusade against the rich port city of Almería, which was occupied in October 1147. A third of the city was granted to Genoa and subsequently leased out to Otto de Bonvillano, a Genoese citizen. It was Castile's first Mediterranean seaport. In 1151, Alfonso signed the Treaty of Tudilén with Ramon Berenguer. The treaty defined the zones of conquest in Andalusia in order to prevent the two rulers from coming into conflict. Six years later, Almería entered into Almohad possession. Alfonso was returning from an expedition against them when he died on 21 August 1157 in Las Fresnedas, north of the Sierra Morena.
Alfonso was at once a patron of the church and a protector, though not a supporter of, the Muslims, who were a minority of his subjects. His reign ended in an unsuccessful campaign against the rising power of the Almohads. Though he was not actually defeated, his death in the pass, while on his way back to Toledo, occurred in circumstances which showed that no man could be what he claimed to be — "king of the men of the two religions." Furthermore, by dividing his realm between his sons, he ensured that Christendom would not present the new Almohad threat with a united front.
In November 1128, he married Berenguela,daughter of Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona. She died in 1149. Their children were:
In 1152, Alfonso married Richeza of Poland, the daughter of Ladislaus II the Exile.They had:
Alfonso also had two mistresses, having children by both. By an Asturian noblewoman named Gontrodo Pérez, he had an illegitimate daughter, Urraca (1132 –1164), who married García Ramírez of Navarre, the mother retiring to a convent in 1133. Later in his reign, he formed a liaison with Urraca Fernández, widow of count Rodrigo Martínez and daughter of Fernando García de Hita, having a daughter Stephanie the Unfortunate (1148 –1180), who was killed by her jealous husband, Fernán Ruiz de Castro.
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|Ancestors of Alfonso VII of León and Castile|
Alfonso I, called the Battler or the Warrior, was the king of Aragon and Navarre from 1104 until his death in 1134. He was the second son of King Sancho Ramírez and successor of his brother Peter I. With his marriage to Urraca, queen regnant of Castile, León and Galicia, in 1109, he began to use, with some justification, the grandiose title Emperor of Spain, formerly employed by his father-in-law, Alfonso VI. Alfonso the Battler earned his sobriquet in the Reconquista. He won his greatest military successes in the middle Ebro, where he conquered Zaragoza in 1118 and took Ejea, Tudela, Calatayud, Borja, Tarazona, Daroca, and Monreal del Campo. He died in September 1134 after an unsuccessful battle with the Muslims at the Battle of Fraga.
Ferdinand II was King of León and Galicia from 1157 to his death.
Alfonso VI, nicknamed the Brave or the Valiant, was king of León (1065–1072) and of Galicia (1071–1109), and then king of the reunited Castile and León (1072–1109).
Ramon Berenguer IV, sometimes called the Saint, was the Count of Barcelona who brought about the union of his County of Barcelona with the Kingdom of Aragon to form the Crown of Aragon.
The Kingdom of Castile was a large and powerful state located on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region. It began in the 9th century as the County of Castile, an eastern frontier lordship of the Kingdom of León. During the 10th century its counts increased their autonomy, but it was not until 1065 that it was separated from León and became a kingdom in its own right. Between 1072 and 1157 it was again united with León, and after 1230 this union became permanent. Throughout this period the Castilian kings made extensive conquests in southern Iberia at the expense of the Islamic principalities. The Kingdoms of Castile and of León, with their southern acquisitions, came to be known collectively as the Crown of Castile, a term that also came to encompass overseas expansion.
Richeza of Poland was a Polish princess of the House of Piast in the Silesian branch. By her marriages she was Queen consort of León and Castile, Countess of Provence, and Countess of Eberstein.
García Ramírez, sometimes García IV, V, VI or VII, called the Restorer, was the King of Navarre (Pamplona) from 1134. The election of García Ramírez restored the independence of the Navarrese kingdom after 58 years of political union with the Kingdom of Aragon. After some initial conflict he would align himself with king Alfonso VII of León and Castile, and as his ally take part in the Reconquista.
This is a timeline of notable events during the period of Muslim presence in Iberia, starting with the Umayyad conquest in the 8th century.
This is a historical timeline of Portugal.
Sancho Garcés IV, nicknamed Sancho of Peñalén was King of Pamplona from 1054 until his death. He was the eldest son of García Sánchez III and his wife, Stephanie, and was crowned king of Pamplona after his father was killed during the Battle of Atapuerca.
Sancho II, called the Strong, was King of Castile (1065–72), Galicia (1071–72) and León (1072).
Imperator totius Hispaniae is a Latin title meaning "Emperor of All Spain". In Spain in the Middle Ages, the title "emperor" was used under a variety of circumstances from the ninth century onwards, but its usage peaked, as a formal and practical title, between 1086 and 1157. It was primarily used by the kings of León and Castile, but it also found currency in the Kingdom of Navarre and was employed by the counts of Castile and at least one duke of Galicia. It signalled at various points the king's equality with the rulers of the Byzantine Empire and Holy Roman Empire, his rule by conquest or military superiority, his rule over several ethnic or religious groups, and his claim to suzerainty over the other kings of the peninsula, both Christian and Muslim. The use of the imperial title received scant recognition outside of Spain and it had become largely forgotten by the thirteenth century.
Berengaria of Barcelona, called in Spanish Berenguela de Barcelona, was Queen consort of Castile, León and Galicia. She was the daughter of Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona, and Douce I, Countess of Provence.
Rodrigo González de Lara was a Castilian nobleman of the House of Lara. Early in his career he ruled that half of Asturias allocated to Castile. He was faithful to the crown throughout the reign of Queen Urraca (1109–26), during which time he was married to the queen's half-sister and ruled a large part of the old County of Castile. He and his elder brother, Pedro González, led the opposition to Alfonso VII early in his reign (1126–57). He led a revolt in 1130 and was exiled in 1137. He was a leader in the Reconquista—about which the contemporary Chronica Adefonsi imperatoris has much to say—and also took part in the military activities of the Crusader states on two occasions. He travelled widely throughout Spain, but ended his days in Palestine.
Rodrigo Gómez was a Castilian nobleman and military leader under Alfonso VII. He governed large parts of Asturias and northern Castile, was involved in the politics with neighbouring Navarre, to whose royal family he was related by marriage, and took part in the Reconquista. Although he was rewarded for loyalty by his sovereign on more than one occasion, he did take part in one brief rebellion, led by a relative. His was a branch of the Lara family.
Pedro López de Monforte was an Iberian nobleman and castellan, probably originally from the Rioja. He was most active in the Kingdom of León, where he was appointed a count, the highest rank in the kingdom, by Alfonso VII sometime before 1 July 1131.
Rodrigo Vélaz was the "count of Galicia, who held Sarria" according to the near-contemporary Chronica Adefonsi imperatoris. During his long public career he was the dominant figure in mountainous eastern Galicia while the House of Traba dominated its western seaboard. He served under three monarchs—Alfonso VI, Urraca, and Alfonso VII—and was loyal to all of them, never figuring in any rebellion. The contemporary Historia compostellana is a valuable source for his life, since there are no aristocratic archives surviving in Spain from this period. Rodrigo's career must be pieced together from the few references in the chronicles and the charters preserved in various ecclesiastical archives.
Gutierre Fernández de Castro was a nobleman and military commander from the Kingdom of Castile. His career in royal service corresponds exactly with the reigns of Alfonso VII (1126–57) and his son Sancho III (1157–58). He served Alfonso as a courtier after 1134 and as majordomo (1135–38). He was the guardian and tutor the young Sancho III from 1145. Before his death he was also briefly the guardian of Sancho's infant son, Alfonso VIII.
Fernando Pérez de Lara, also called Fernando Furtado or Hurtado, was the illegitimate son of Urraca, queen regnant of León and Castile, and her lover, Count Pedro González de Lara.
The Siege of Almería by the Kingdom of León and Castile and its allies lasted from July until October 1147. The siege was successful and the Almoravid garrison surrendered. The besieging force was under the overall command of King Alfonso VII. He was supported by forces from Navarre under their king, Catalonia under the count of Barcelona and Genoa, which provided most of the naval force.
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Alfonso VII of León and CastileBorn: 1 March 1105 Died: 21 August 1157
| King of Galicia |
with Urraca (1111-1126)
| King of León |
| King of Castile |