The World of Grandpa Don

The Royal Line
Spanish Royalty

This page looks at our royal ancestors extending from García Jiménez of Pamplona who was born in late 9th century to Blanche of Castile (1188-1253) and married King Louis VIII of France.

This line of ancestors was confirmed in May of 2011. It consists of ancestors of my 9th Great Grandfather Gen James Cudworth

The relationships of the ancestors and the description of their lives were verified and taken from Wikipedia.

This is their story, as I know it.

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Pedigree Chart Blanche of Castile


The Iberian Peninsula and the Reconquista.

Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian peninsula around 35,000 years ago. It came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania. In the Middle Ages it was conquered by Germanic tribes and later by the Moors to the south. Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century, following the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs and the completion of the centuries-long reconquest, or Reconquista, of the peninsula from the Moors in 1492.

We trace our earliest Spanish ancestors to García Jiménez of Pamplona who lived during the Reconquista. The Reconquista ("Reconquest") was the centuries-long period in which Christian rule was re-established over the Iberian Peninsula. The Reconquista is viewed as beginning with the Battle of Covadonga in 722, and was concurrent with the period of Muslim rule on the Iberian peninsula. The Christian army's victory over Muslim forces led to the creation of the Christian Kingdom of Asturias along the northwestern coastal mountains. Shortly after, in 739, Muslim forces were driven from Galicia, which was to eventually host one of medieval Europe's holiest sites, Santiago de Compostela and was incorporated into the new Christian kingdom. Muslim armies had also moved north of the Pyrenees, but they were defeated by Frankish forces at the Battle of Poitiers, Frankia. Later, Frankish forces established Christian counties on the southern side of the Pyrenees. These areas were to grow into the kingdoms of Navarre, Aragon and Catalonia. For several centuries, the fluctuating frontier between the Muslim and Christian controlled areas of Iberia was along the Ebro and Duero valleys.

The Kingdom of Navarre, originally the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a European kingdom which occupied lands on either side of the Pyrenees, alongside the Atlantic Ocean between present-day Spain and France.

The kingdom of Navarre was formed when local Basque leader Íñigo Arista was elected or declared King in Pamplona (traditionally in 824) and led a revolt against the regional Frankish authority.

The southern part of the kingdom was conquered by the Crown of Castile in 1512 (permanently in 1521), becoming part of the unified Kingdom of Spain. The northern part of the kingdom remained independent, but it joined with France by personal union in 1589 when King Henry III of Navarre inherited the French throne as Henry IV of France, and in 1620 it was merged into the Kingdom of France.

The parentage and ancestors of García Jiménez of Pamplona are in dispute and so our story begins with him. The Iberian peninsula was divided into a number of states with a number of Moors and Christian kings holding power.

I wish I could say that our ancestors who participated in the Reconquista  had altruistic motives in restoring Christianity to the lands but much of the history seems to indicate that their motivation was that of greed and the want of power. Be that as it may, this is their amazing story.


Our Ancestors


García Jiménez of Pamplona

 García Jiménez was (sub- or co-) king of a part of Pamplona in the late 9th century.

The Jiménez dynasty that would later rule the kingdom of Navarre originally held a territory within that realm distinct from that held by the descendants of Iñigo Arista. García is presumed to have succeeded his father in this role, either during the lifetime of King García Íñiguez or of his son King Fortún Garcés, and is called "king" by the Códice de Roda, being of "another part of the kingdom" of Pamplona.

There is no documentary evidence of García Jiménez playing any role in the government of the greater kingdom. However, such a role has been assigned to him. In 860, Fortún Garcés son and heir of king García Íñiguez, was imprisoned in Córdoba, and was kept there for 20 years. The traditional death date of García Íñiguez in 870 would have meant there was a de facto 10-year interregnum before the return of Fortún to the kingdom. It has been suggested that García Jiménez was called 'king' due to his service as regent during this period, lasting until he was killed at Aybar (882) in a battle against the Emir of Córdoba. On this basis, he is sometimes called García II. However, an alternative reconstruction would make the 882 casualty identical to García Íñiguez himself, thus allowing him to survive past his son's return, in which case no interregnum existed. There are likewise several references to a Sancho (presumably the son of García Íñiguez and younger brother of captive Fortún) being lord of Pamplona or 'king' in the 860s and 870s.

The Roda Codex shows García Jiménez to have married twice, firstly to Oneca, "Rebel of Sangüesa" with whom he had two children:

  • Íñigo, called 'king' in the Roda Codex when reporting his marriage to a granddaughter of Fortún Garcés of Pamplona, but not in his own entry as son of García Jiménez. He perhaps succeeded to his father's sub-kingdom (else the term is being used as an honorific rather than a title).

  • Sancha, married as her first husband Íñigo Fortúnez, son of king Fortún Garcés of Pamplona, and subsequently remarried to Galindo Aznárez II, Count of Aragon.

García Jiménez married secondly Dadildis de Pallars, sister of count Raymond I of Pallars and Ribagorza, having by her two sons:

  • Sancho, later sole king of Pamplona.

  • Jimeno, king in succession to Sancho.

Garcia and Dadildis were my 36th great grandparents.


Sancho I of Pamplona

Sancho I Garcés (c. 860 – December 11, 925) was king of Pamplona from 905 to 925. He was a son of García Jiménez, who was king of "another part of the kingdom" of Pamplona and Dadildis de Pallars, his second wife.

In 905, a coalition of enemies of the king, Fortún Garcés, consisting of Lubb ibn Muhammed of the Banu Qasi, King Alfonso III of Asturias, Galindo Aznar II of Aragon and Sancho's uncle, Raymond I of Pallars and Ribagorza, deposed Fortún, and put Sancho on the throne in his place. Throughout his reign, he involved himself in the squabbles among the Muslim lords to the south with repeated success. In 907, he turned on his former ally Lubb ibn Muhammad, killing him in battle. Four years later, another former ally, Galindo Aznar, joined with his brother-in-law Muhammad al-Tawil and Abd Allah ibn Lubb ibn Qasi to attack Sancho, but they were defeated and neutralized as a threat. Al-Tawil fled and was killed shortly afterward, and the power of the Banu Qasi was severely crippled, while Galindo was forced into vassalage to Sancho, leading to the incorporation of the County of Aragon into the Pamplona kingdom. In 920, he teamed with Bernard I of Ribagorza and Amrus ibn Muhammed, son of Muhammad al-Tawil, to attack Banu Qasi-held Monzón. His successes allowed him to join Ultra-Puertos, or Basse-Navarre (Baja Navarra), to his own dominions, and extend his territory as far as Nájera. As a thanksgiving offering for his victories, he founded, in 924, the convent of Albelda.

Perhaps to legitimize the succession, Sancho married Toda Aznárez, daughter of Onneca Fortúnez. Thus, Sancho and Toda's children were also descendants of the Arista dynasty of Navarrese monarchs, but likewise akin to Abd-ar-Rahman III of Córdoba, a grandson of Onneca by a former husband. When Sancho died in 925, his only son was still quite young. Thus Sancho was succeeded by his brother, Jimeno Garcés, upon whose death Sancho's son García would succeed under that regency of Toda. In his memory, the family would be called the Banu Sanyo (Arabic: بنو شانجه, 'descendants of Sancho') by Al-Andalus chroniclers.

The Codex of Roda gives Sancho and Toda six children:

  1. Oneca, wife of Alfonso IV of León

  2. Sancha, married firstly Ordoño II of León, secondly Alvaro Herraméliz of Álava, and thirdly Fernán González, Count of Castile

  3. Urraca, wife of Ramiro II of León

  4. Velasquita (or Belasquita), married firstly Munio, count of Vizcaya, secondly Galindo, son of Bernard count of Ribagorza, and third, nobleman Fortún Galíndez.

  5. Orbita

  6. García , king of Pamplona, married firstly Andregota Galíndez and secondly TeresaPerhaps to legitimize the succession, Sancho married Toda Aznárez, daughter of Onneca Fortúnez. Thus, Sancho and Toda's children were also descendants of the Arista dynasty of Navarrese monarchs, but likewise akin to Abd-ar-Rahman III of Córdoba, a grandson of Onneca by a former husband. When Sancho died in 925, his only son was still quite young. Thus Sancho was succeeded by his brother, Jimeno Garcés, upon whose death Sancho's son García would succeed under that regency of Toda. In his memory, the family would be called the Banu Sanyo (Arabic: بنو شانجه, 'descendants of Sancho') by Al-Andalus chroniclers.

    The Codex of Roda gives Sancho and Toda six children:

  1. Oneca, wife of Alfonso IV of León

  2. Sancha, married firstly Ordoño II of León, secondly Alvaro Herraméliz of Álava, and thirdly Fernán González, Count of Castile

  3. Urraca, wife of Ramiro II of León

  4. Velasquita (or Belasquita), married firstly Munio, count of Vizcaya, secondly Galindo, son of Bernard count of Ribagorza, and third, nobleman Fortún Galíndez.

  5. Orbita

  6. García, king of Pamplona, married firstly Andregota Galíndez and secondly Teresa

Sancho also had an illegitimate daughter:

  • Lupa, mother of Raymond I, Count of Bigorre

Sancho and Toda were my 35th great grandparents. 


García Sánchez I of Pamplona

García Sánchez I, sometimes García I, II, III or IV (c. 919 – 970) was the king of Pamplona from 931 until his death, 22 February 970.

He was the son of King Sancho I and Toda Aznárez and had a sister, Urraca Sánchez of Pamplona. Being just six years old at the time of his father's death, his uncle Jimeno Gárces succeeded, and it was just in the last year of the latter's reign, in 930, that Garcia appears with the royal title, but this was probably just a courtesy. On Jimeno's death, it was his mother Toda who reigned on behalf of the 12-year-old García. This regency ended in 934, when his first cousin Caliph Abd-ar-Rahman III intervened on his behalf, and García began to rule as king.

With the support of his energetic and diplomatic mother, García, like his father, engaged in a number of conflicts with the Moors. In particular, in 937, he allied himself with Ramiro II of León and Muhammad ibn Hashim, governor of Zaragoza, resulting in a military campaign by Abd-ar-Rahman III via Calatayud and Zaragoza into García'a lands.

García married his first cousin, Andregota Galíndez, daughter and coheiress of Galindo Aznárez II, Count of Aragon, having one son and heir, Sancho. He had divorced her by 940, when he reached and agreement to marry the daughter of Sunyer, Count of Barcelona, but the forced submission of Sunyer to Abd-ar-Rahman included the abandonment of this plan. García then married Teresa, daughter of his ally Ramiro II.

Following the death of Ramiro II and his successor Ordoño III of León, the Pamplona kingdom threw support behind the deceased king's younger brother, Sancho I of León, who was García's nephew. When García's brother-in-law and ally Fernán González of Castile switched his support and installed his own son-in-law Ordoño IV of León in place of Sancho, Fernán's relationship with García became strained and the death of Fernán's wife, García's sister Sancha the next year led to a break. García directly intervened in León, capturing Fernán and restoring Sancho. Fernán was forced to make territorial concessions to García to gain his release, and their alliance wasn't fully restored until 954, when Fernán remarried, this time to García's daughter Urraca.

García was succeeded by his son Sancho II Garcés, nicknamed Abarca. His younger son Ramiro Garcés, the eldest by Teresa, was called "king" of lands centered at Viguera. By Teresa he also had son Jimeno (also called "king" in documents), who was a hostage in Córdoba. García had two daughters, Toda, who appears in a 991 document with brother Sancho, and Urraca who married successively Fernán González of Castile and William II Sánchez of Gascony.

Garcia and Andregoto Galíndez were my 34th great grandparents. 


Sancho II of Pamplona

Sancho II Garcés Abarca (after 935 – December 994) was King of Pamplona from 970 until his death. He was the son of García Sánchez I and Andregota, daughter of Galindo Aznárez II, Count of Aragon. After his succession, he recognised his younger brother Ramiro as King of Viguera.

The Historia General de Navarra by Jaime del Burgo says that on the occasion of the donation of the villa of Alastue by Sancho to the monastery of San Juan de la Peña in 987, he titled himself "King of Navarre," the first time that title had been used. This title, however, did not come into common usage until the late eleventh century. The epithet "Abarca," meaning "sandal," is not contemporary, but is medieval.

Under Sancho, the kingdom solidified some of the gains of his predecessor, but also suffered several significant military setbacks at the hands of Umayyad troops. Navarre was linked with the Kingdom of León and the County of Castile by familial bonds, and the realms frequently worked in concert, with the Navarrese monarchy supporting the young Ramiro III of León.

In 972, he founded the monastery of San Andrés de Cirueña. In 976, at the monastery of Albelda, the cultural and intellectual centre of his kingdom, the Codex Vigilanus was completed. It is one of the most important illuminated manuscripts of medieval Spain, containing the canons of the Councils of Toledo, a copy of the Liber Iudiciorum, and the first Western representation of the Arabic numerals, among many other texts.

Upon the death of the Caliph of Cordoba, Al-Hakam II, in 976, and the succession of his son Hisham II, who had been taught by Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir, the prospects of the Christian kingdoms seemed dim. The troops of Al-Mansur defeated the Christians at Torrevicente, south of Soria. Afterwards, the Muslims returned to triumph at Taracueña, near Osma. In 975, Sancho was defeated by the Moors at San Esteban de Gormaz and it has been suggested that he was captured at the Battle of Estercuel that year

In 981 at the Battle of Rueda, a dozen kilometers from Tordesillas, the Christians suffered another humiliating defeat.

Because he could not defeat Al-Mansur by arms, Sancho went to Córdoba as an ambassador for his own kingdom, bringing many gifts for the victorious Al-Mansur, making a pact with him and agreeing to give the Muslim his daughter Urraca in marriage. From this union was born Abd al-Rahman Sanchuelo, the second successor of Al-Mansur who tried to usurp the Caliphate of Córdoba from the Umayyad heir.

He faced further incursions from Almanzor in 989, 991 and 992, the last of which resulted in a second submission at Córdoba, and the next year he sent his son Gonzalo on an embassy to the Caliphate. In 994, the year of his death, the kingdom saw yet another incursion by a caliphate army.

Sancho married Urraca, the daughter of the Castilian count Fernán González and Sancha of Navarre, Sancho's aunt. The marriage occurred after 962 and before 970. Before 950, Urraca had been married twice previously, to Ordoño III and Ordoño IV of León, from both of whom she separated. Sancho was her third and last husband. Their children were:

  • García Sánchez II

  • Ramiro (died 992)

  • Gonzalo, was given the county of Aragon under the regency of his mother

  • Urraca (Abda) the Basque, given to Almanzor, and by him mother of Abd al-Rahman Sanchuelo, before entering a convent.

Sancho and Urraca were my 33rd great grandparents.


García Sánchez II of Pamplona

García Sánchez II, sometimes García II, III, IV or V (c. 964 – c. 1000–1004), called the Trembling, the Tremulous, or the Trembler (in Spanish, el Temblón) by his contemporaries, was the king of Pamplona and count of Aragón from 994 until his death. He was the son of King Sancho II and Urraca Fernández.

Throughout his reign, his foreign policy seems to have been closely linked to that of Castile. His mother was an aunt of count Sancho García of Castile, and also of the powerful count of Saldaña, García Gómez of Carrión, and she appears to have played a role in forming a bridge between the kingdom and county.

He joined his cousin Sancho in attempting to break from the submission his father had offered to Córdoba, as a result of which he had to face Almanzor. In 996 he was forced to seek peace in Córdoba. In 997 during an expedition into the land of Calatayud, García killed the governor's brother. Almanzor took revenge by beheading 50 Christians. At the Battle of Cervera in July 1000, he joined, along with count García Gómez of Saldaña, in a coalition headed by count Sancho García of Castile that was defeated by Almanzor (that count Sancho led the group is thought to reflect García's decline). Tradition names him one of the Christian leaders at the 1002 Battle of Calatañazor, which resulted in the death of Almanzor and the consequent crisis in the Caliphate of Córdoba, but there is no contemporary record of him after 1000, while his cousin Sancho Ramírez of Viguera may have been ruling in Pamplona in 1002. García was certainly dead by 1004, when his son Sancho Garcés III first appears as king.

Domestically, he granted the rule in Aragon to his brother Gonzalo, under the tutelage of his mother Urraca. A tradition reports that he freed all of the Muslim captives being held in the kingdom. He had married by August 981, Jimena, daughter of Ferdinand Vermúdez, count of Cea by Elvira Díaz (an aunt of count García Gómez of Saldaña). Among their children were the future king Sancho and Urraca, later the second wife of Alfonso V of León.

Garcia and Jimena were my 32nd great grandparents.


Sancho III of Navarre

Sancho III Garcés (c. 992 – 18 October 1035), called the Great (Spanish: el Mayor, Basque: Nagusia), succeeded as a minor to the Kingdom of Navarre in 1004, and through conquest and political maneuvering increased his power, until at the time of his death in 1035 he controlled the majority of Christian Iberia, bearing the title of rex Hispaniarum. Having gone further than any of his predecessors in uniting the divided kingdoms of Iberia, his life's work was undone when he divided his domains shortly before his death to provide for each of his sons. The Kingdom of Navarre existed for almost six centuries after his death, but was never as powerful again.

Sancho was born around 992 to García Sánchez II the Tremulous and Jimena Fernández, daughter of the count of Cea on the Galician frontier. He was raised in Leyre. His father last appears in 1000, while Sancho is first found as king in 1004, inheriting the kingdom of Pamplona (later known as Navarre). This gap has led to speculation as to whether there was an interregnum, while one document shows Sancho Ramírez of Viguera reigning in Pamplona in 1002, perhaps ruling as had Jimeno Garcés during the youth of García Sánchez I three generations earlier. On his succession, Sancho initially ruled under a council of regency led by the bishops, his mother Jimena, and grandmother Urraca Fernández.

Sancho aspired to unify the Christian principalities in the face of the fragmentation of Muslim Spain into the taifa kingdoms following the Battle of Calatañazor. In about 1010 he married Muniadona Mayor, daughter of Sancho García of Castile, and in 1015 he began a policy of expansion. He displaced Muslim control in the depopulated former county of Sobrarbe. In Ribagorza, another opportunity arose. The 1010 partition of the county left it divided between William Isarn, illegitimate son of count Isarn, and Raymond III of Pallars Jussà and his wife, Mayor of Castile, who was both niece of Isarn and aunt of Sancho's wife. In 1018, William Isarn tried to solidify his control over the Arán valley, but was killed, and Sancho jumped on the opportunity to take his portion, presumably based on some loose claim derived from his wife. Raymond and Mayor annulled their marriage, creating a further division finally resolved in 1025 when Mayor retired to a Castilian convent and Sancho received the submission of Raymond as vassal.[3] He also forced Berengar Raymond I of Barcelona to become his vassal, though he was already a vassal of the French king. Berengar met Sancho in Zaragoza and in Navarre many times to confer on a mutual policy against the counts of Toulouse.

For more of his acquisitions see

Taking residence in Nájera instead of the traditional capital of Pamplona, as his realm grew larger, he considered himself a European monarch, establishing relations on the other side of the Pyrenees.

He introduced French feudal theories and ecclesiastic and intellectual currents into Iberia. Through his close ties with the count of Barcelona and the duke of Gascony and his friendship with the monastic reformer Abbot Oliva, Sancho established relations with several of the leading figures north of the Pyrenees, most notably Robert II of France, William V of Aquitaine, William II and Alduin II of Angoulême, and Odo II of Blois and Champagne. It was through this circle that the Cluniac reforms first probably influenced his thinking. In 1024 a Navarrese monk, Paterno from Cluny, returned to Navarre and was made abbot of San Juan de la Peña, where he instituted the Cluniac custom and founded thus the first Cluniac house in Iberia west of Catalonia, under the patronage of Sancho. The Mozarabic rite continued to be practiced at San Juan, and the view that Sancho spread the Cluniac usage to other houses in his kingdom has been discredited by Justo Pérez de Urbel. Sancho sowed the seeds of the Cluniac reform and of the adoption of the Roman rite, but he did not widely enact them.

Sancho also began the Navarrese series of currency by minting what the Encyclopædia Britannica calls "deniers of Carolingian influence." The division of his realm upon his death, the concepts of vassalage and suzerainty, and the use of the phrase "by the grace of God" (Dei gratia) after his title were imported from France, with which he tried to maintain relations. For this he has been called the "first Europeaniser of Iberia."

His most obvious legacy, however, was the temporary union of all Christian Iberia. At least nominally, he ruled over León, the ancient capital of the kingdom won from the Moors in the eighth century, and Barcelona, the greatest of the Catalan cities. Though he divided the realm at his death, thus creating the enduring legacy of Castilian and Aragonese kingdoms, he left all his lands in the hands of one dynasty, the Jiménez, which kept the kingdoms allied by blood until the twelfth century. He made the Navarrese pocket kingdom strong, politically stable, and independent, preserving it for the remainder of the Middle Ages. It is for this that his seal has been appropriated by Basque nationalism. Though, by dividing the realm, he isolated the kingdom and inhibited its ability to gain land at the expense of the Moslems. Summed up, his reign defined the political geography of Iberia until its union under the Catholic Monarchs.

Before his death in 1035, Sancho divided his possessions among his sons. Of the three surviving sons by Mayor, the eldest, García, had already appeared as regulus in Navarre, inheriting the kingdom including the Basque country as well as exercising suzerainty over the kingdom's lands given his brothers. Gonzalo had been placed in control of the counties of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza, which he would hold as regulus. Ferdinand had been given Castile on the death of count García Sánchez in 1127, holding it first under his father and later of Vermudo III of León, before killing that king to take León and the royal title. Ramiro, the eldest but illegitimate son of Sancho by mistress Sancha of Aybar, was given property in the former county of Aragón with the provision that he should ask for no more lands of García, under whom he first acted as baiulus but from whom he later achieved de facto independence. Documents report two further sons, a second Ramiro and Bernard, but scholarship is divided on whether they were legitimate sons who died in youth, or if their appearance instead results from either scribal error or forgery. Sancho left two daughters, Mayor and Jimena, the former perhaps the wife of Pons, Count of Toulouse, the latter wife of Vermudo III.

Sancho III of Navarre and Mayor of Castile were my 31st great grandparents.


Ferdinand I of León and Castile

Ferdinand I (c. 1015 – 24 December 1065), called the Great (el Magno), was the Count of Castile from his uncle's death in 1029 and the King of León after defeating his brother-in-law in 1037. According to tradition, he was the first to have himself crowned Emperor of Spain (1056), and his heirs carried on the tradition. He was a younger son of Sancho III of Navarre and Mayor of Castile, and by his father's will recognised the supremacy of his eldest brother, García Sánchez III of Navarre. While Ferdinand inaugurated the rule of the Navarrese Jiménez dynasty over western Spain, his rise to preeminence among the Christian rulers of the peninsula shifted the locus of power and culture westward after more than a century of Leonese decline. Nevertheless, "[t]he internal consolidation of the realm of León–Castilla under Fernando el Magno and [his queen] Sancha (1037–1065) is a history that remains to be researched and written.

For many details of his life see

Ferdinand was first titled "emperor" not by himself or his own scribes, but by the notaries of his half-brother, the petty king Ramiro I of Aragon, whose notaries were also calling Ferdinand's predecessor as king of León by the same title. In a royal Aragonese charter of 1036, before the Battle of Tamarón, Ramiro refers to his brother as "emperor in Castile and in León and in Astorga". A similarly-worded charter was issued in 1041 and again in 1061, where the order of kingdoms is reversed and Astorga ignored: "emperor in León and in Castile". The first use of the imperial style in a charter of his own, preserved in the cartulary of Arlanza, dates to the year 1056: "under the rule of the emperor King Ferdinand and the empress Queen Sancha ruling the kingdom in León and in Galicia as well as in Castile". On this basis, Ferdinand is sometimes said to have had himself crowned emperor in 1056.

The imperial title was only used on one other occasion during his reign. A document of 1058 dates itself "in the time of the most serene prince Lord Ferdinand and his consort Queen Sancha" and later qualifies him as "this emperor, the aforesaid Ferdinand".

After becoming ill during the Siege of Valencia and the Battle of Paterna, Ferdinand died on 24 December 1065, in León, with many manifestations of ardent piety, having laid aside his crown and royal mantle, dressed in the robe of a monk and lying on a bier covered with ashes, which was placed before the altar of the Basilica of San Isidoro. By his will, Ferdinand divided his kingdom among his three sons: the eldest, Sancho, received Castile; the second, Alfonso, León; and from the latter the region of Galicia was carved off to create a separate state for García. Ferdinand's two daughters each received cities: Elvira that of Toro and Urraca that of Zamora. In giving them these territories, he expressed his desire that they respect his wishes and abide by the split. However, soon after Fernando's death, Sancho and Alfonso turned on García and defeated him. They then fought each other, the victorious Sancho reuniting their father's possessions under his control in 1072. However, Sancho was killed that same year and the territories passed to Alfonso.

Ferdinand and Sancha of León were my 30th great grandparents.


Alfonso VI of León and Castile

Alfonso VI (before June, 1040 – June 29/July 1, 1109), nicknamed the Brave (El Bravo) or the Valiant, was King of León from 1065, King of Castile and de facto King of Galicia from 1072. After the conquest of Toledo in 1085 he was also the self-proclaimed victoriosissimo rege in Toleto, et in Hispania et Gallecia (most victorious king of Toledo, and of Spain and Galicia). Much romance has gathered around his name.

Alfonso was the second son of Ferdinand the Great and Sancha of León, the daughter of Alfonso the Noble and sister to Bermudo III of León. Following his defeat and killing of Bermudo in battle, Ferdinand was crowned King of León and Castile and called himself Emperor of Spain.

As the middle of three sons of King Ferdinand I of León and Sancha of León, Alfonso was allotted León when the kingdom was divided following his father's death, while Castile was given to his elder brother Sancho, Galicia to younger brother García, and sisters Urraca and Elvira given the cities of Zamora and Toro respectively. Each of the brothers was also assigned a sphere of influence among the Taifa states. Alfonso appears to have taken the first step in violating this division, in 1068 invading the Galician client Taifa of Badajoz and extorting tribute. In response, Sancho attacked and defeated Alfonso at Llantada but three years later in 1071 they joined forces against García. Sancho over-marched Alfonso's León to conquer García's northern lands, while Alfonso himself is found issuing charters in the southern part of the Galician realm. García fled to taifa Seville, and the remaining brothers then turned on each other. This conflict culminated in the Battle of Golpejera in early January, 1072. Sancho proved victorious and Alfonso himself was forced to flee to his client Taifa of Toledo. Later that year as Sancho was mopping up the last of the resistance, besieging his sister Urraca at Zamora in October, he was assassinated, opening the way for Alfonso to return to claim Sancho's crown. García, induced to return from exile, was imprisoned by Alfonso for life, leaving Alfonso in uncontested control of the reunited territories of their father. In recognition of this and his role as the preeminent Christian monarch on the peninsula, in 1077 Alfonso proclaimed himself "Emperor of all Spain".

When every allowance is made, Alfonso VI stands out as a strong man fighting as a king whose interest was law and order, and who was the leader of the nation in the Reconquista. He impressed himself towards the Arabs as a very fierce and astute enemy, but as a keeper of his word. A story of Muslim origin tells of how he allowed himself to be tricked by Ibn Ammar, the favourite of Al Mutamid, the King of Seville. They played chess with an extremely beautiful table and set of men, belonging to Ibn Ammar. The table and men were to go to Alfonso if he won. If Ibn Ammar won, then he was to name the stake. The latter did win and demanded that the Christians should spare Seville. Alfonso kept his word.

Whatever truth may lie behind the romantic tales of Christians and Muslims, Alfonso represented the two great influences then shaping the character and civilization of the Iberian peninsula.

Alfonso showed a greater degree of continental integration than his predecessors. The marital practices of the Iberian royalty had been largely endogamous, previously limiting choice of partners to the peninsula and Gascony, but Alfonso married French and Italian wives, while marrying daughters to French princes and an Italian king. His second marriage was arranged, in part, through the influence of the French Cluniac Order, and Alfonso is said to have introduced them into Iberia, established them in Sahagun and choosing a French Cluniac, Bernard, as the first Archbishop of Toledo after its 1085 conquest. He also drew his kingdom nearer to the Papacy, a move which brought French crusaders to aid him in the reconquest, and it was Alfonso's decision which established the Roman ritual in place of the old missal of Saint Isidore — the Mozarabic rite.

On the other hand he was very open to Arab influence. He protected the Muslims among his subjects and struck coins with inscriptions in Arabic letters. He also admitted to his court and to his bed the refugee Muslim princess Zaida of Seville.

Alfonso was defeated on 23 October 1086, at the battle of Sagrajas, at the hands of Yusuf ibn Tashfin, and Abbad III al-Mu'tamid, and was severely wounded in the leg.

Alfonso married at least five times and had two mistresses. He is also thought to have been betrothed to a daughter of King William I of England, but her name is uncertain.

In 1069, Alfonso married Agnes of Aquitaine, daughter of William VIII of Aquitaine and his second wife Mateoda. They last appear together in May 1077, and then Alfonso appears alone. This suggests that she had died, although Orderic Vitalis reports that in 1109 Alfonso's 'relict' Agnes remarried to Elias I of Maine, leading some to speculate that Alfonso and Agnes had divorced due to consanguinity. It seems more likely that Orderic gave the wrong name to Alfonso's widow, Beatrice. Agnes and Alfonso had no children.

Apparently between his first and second marriages he formed a liaison with Jimena Muñoz, a "most noble" (nobilissima) concubine "derived from royalty" (real generacion). She appears to have been put aside, given land in Ulver, at the time of Alfonso's remarriage. By her Alfonso had two illegitimate daughters, Elvira and Teresa.

His second wife, who he married by May 1080, was Constance of Burgundy, daughter of Robert I, Duke of Burgundy. This marriage initially faced papal opposition, apparently due to her kinship with Agnes. Her tenure as queen consort brought significant Cluniac influences into the kingdom. She died in September or October, 1093, the mother of Alfonso's eldest legitimate daughter Urraca, and of five other children who died in infancy.

Either before or shortly after Constance's death, Alfonso formed a liaison with a second mistress, Zaida of Seville, said by Iberian Muslim sources to be daughter-in-law of Al Mutamid, the Muslim King of Seville. She fled the fall of Seville for Alfonso's kingdom in 1091, and soon became his lover, having by him Alfonso's only son, Sancho, who, though illegitimate, was apparently not born of an adulterous relationship, and hence born after the death of Constance. He would be named his father's heir. Several modern sources have suggested that Zaida, baptised under the name of Isabel, is identical with Alfonso's later wife, Queen Isabel (or that she was a second queen named Isabel whom he married in succession to the first). Zaida/Isabel died in childbirth, but the date is unknown, and it is unclear whether the child being delivered was Sancho, an additional illegitimate child, otherwise unknown, or legitimate daughter Elvira (if Zaida was identical to Queen Isabel).
By April 1095, Alfonso married Bertha. Chroniclers report her as being from Tuscany, Lombardy, or alternatively, say she was French. Several theories have been put forward regarding her origin. Based on political considerations, proposals make her daughter of William I, Count of Burgundy or of Amadeus II of Savoy. She had no children and died in late 1099 (Alfonso first appears without her in mid-January 1100).
Within months, by May 1100, Alfonso again remarried, to Isabel, having by her two daughters, Sancha, (wife of Rodrigo González de Lara), and Elvira, (who married Roger II of Sicily). A non-contemporary tomb inscription says she was daughter of a "king Louis of France", but this is chronologically impossible. It has been speculated that she was of Burgundian origin, but others conclude that Alfonso married his former mistress, Zaida, who had been baptized as Isabel. (In a novel twist, Reilly suggested that there were two successive queens named Isabel: first the French (Burgundian) Isabel, mother of Sancha and Elvira, with Alfonso only later marrying his mistress Zaida (Isabel), after the death of or divorce from the first Isabel.) Alfonso was again widowed in mid-1107.

By May 1108, Alfonso married his last wife, Beatrice. She, as widow of Alfonso, is said to have returned home to France, but nothing else is known of her origin unless she is the woman Orderic named as "Agnes, daughter of William, Duke of Poitou", who as relict of Alfonso, remarried to Elias of Maine. If this is the case, she is likely daughter of William IX of Aquitaine and niece of Alfonso's first wife. Beatrice had no children by Alfonso.

One other woman was reported by later sources to have been Alfonso's lover. The historian Abu Bakr Ibn al Sayraff, writing before 1161, stated that Alfonso abandoned Christianity for Zoroastrianism and had carnal relations with his sister Urraca, but then repented and was absolved, making pilgrimages to holy sites as penance. This has been followed by some later historians but others dismiss it as propaganda or misunderstanding.

Alfonso's designated successor, his son Sancho, was slain after being routed at the Battle of Uclés in 1108, making Alfonso's eldest legitimate daughter, the widowed Urraca as his heir. In order to strengthen her position as his successor, Alfonso began negotiations for her to marry her second cousin, Alfonso I of Aragon and Navarre, but died before the marriage could take place, Urraca succeeding.

Constance of Burgundy (8 May 1046 – 1093) was the daughter of Duke Robert I of Burgundy and Helie de Semur-en-Brionnais. She was Queen consort of Castile and León by her marriage to Alfonso VI of León and Castile. She was the granddaughter of King Robert II of France, the second monarch of the French Capetian dynasty. She was the mother of Urraca of León, who succeeded her father in both Castile and León.

Alfonso and Constance were my 29th great grandparemts.


Urraca of León and Castile

Urraca (April 1079 – 8 March 1126) was Queen regnant of León, Castile, and Galicia, and claimed the imperial title as suo jure Empress of All the Spains from 1109 until her death in childbirth, as well as Empress of All Galicia.

Urraca was the eldest surviving child of Alfonso VI of León with his second wife Constance of Burgundy, and as eldest legitimate child of her father was heiress presumptive from her birth until 1107, when Alfonso recognized his illegitimate son Sancho as his heir. Urraca became heiress presumptive again after Sancho’s death the following year, when he was killed after the Battle of Uclés.

Urraca’s place in the line of succession made her the focus of dynastic politics, and she became a child bride at age eight to Raymond of Burgundy, a mercenary adventurer. Author Bernard F. Reilly suggests that, rather than a betrothal, the eight-year-old Urraca was fully wedded to Raymond of Burgundy, as he almost immediately appears in protocol documents as Alfonso VI's son-in-law, a distinction that would not have been made without the marriage. Reilly doubts that the marriage was consummated until Urraca was 13, as she was placed under the protective guardianship of a trusted magnate. Her pregnancy and stillbirth at age 14 suggest that the marriage was indeed consummated when she was 13 or 14 years old.

Urraca's marriage to Raymond was part of Alfonso VI's diplomatic strategy to attract cross-Pyrenees alliances, and in 1105 she gave birth to a son, who would become Alfonso VII. However, after Raymond died in 1107, Urraca’s father contracted with Alfonso I of Aragon, known as the Battler, for a dynastic marriage with Urraca, opening the opportunity for uniting León-Castile with Aragón.

Marriage negotiations were still underway when Alfonso VI died and Urraca became queen. Many of Alfonso VI’s advisers and leading magnates in the kingdom formed a “quiet opposition” to the marriage of the Queen to the King of Aragon. According to Bernard F. Reilly, these magnates feared the influence the King of Aragon might attempt to wield over Urraca and over Leonese politics.

Urraca protested against the marriage but honoured her late father’s wishes (and the Royal Council's advice) and continued with the marriage negotiations, though she and her father’s closest advisers were growing weary of Alfonso I's demands. Despite the advisers' initial opposition, the prospect of Count Henry of Portugal filling any power vacuum led them to go ahead with the marriage. As events would unfold, these advisers underestimated Urraca's political prowess, and later advised her to end the marriage.

The marriage of Urraca and Alfonso I almost immediately sparked rebellions in Galicia and scheming by her illegitimate half-sister Theresa and brother-in-law Henry, the Countess and Count of Portugal.

As their relationship soured, Urraca accused Alfonso of physical abuse, and by May 1110 Urraca separated from Alfonso. In addition to her objections to Alfonso's handling of rebels, the couple had a falling-out over his execution of one of the rebels who had surrendered to the queen, to whom the queen was inclined to be merciful. Additionally, as Urraca was married to someone many in the kingdom objected to, the queen's son and heir became a rallying point for opponents to the marriage.

Estrangement between husband and wife escalated from discrete and simmering hostilities into open armed warfare between the Leonese-Castilians and the Aragonese. An alliance between Alfonso of Aragon and Henry of Portugal culminated in the 1111 Battle of Candespina in which Urraca's lover and chief supporter Gómez González was killed. He was soon replaced in both roles by another count, Pedro González de Lara, who took up the fight and would father two of Urraca's children. By the fall of 1112 a truce was brokered between Urraca and Alfonso with their marriage annulled. Though Urraca recovered Asturias, Leon, and Galicia, Alfonso occupied a significant portion of Castile (where Urraca enjoyed large support), while her half-sister Theresa and her husband Count Henry of Portugal occupied Zamora and Extremadura. Recovering these regions and expanding into Muslim lands would occupy much of Urraca's foreign policy.

According to author Bernard F. Reilly, the measure of success for Urraca’s rule was her ability to restore and protect the integrity of her inheritance – that is, the kingdom of her father – and transmit that inheritance in full to her own heir. Policies and events pursued by Alfonso VI – namely legitimizing her brother and thereby providing an opportunity for her illegitimate half-sister to claim a portion of the patrimony, as well as the forced marriage with Alfonso I of Aragon – contributed in large part to the challenges Urraca faced upon her succession. Additionally, the circumstance of Urraca’s gender added a distinctive role-reversal dimension to diplomacy and politics, which Urraca used to her advantage.

As queen, Urraca rose to the challenges presented to her and her solutions were pragmatic ones, according to Reilly, and laid the foundation for the reign of her son Alfonso VII, who in spite of the opposition of Urraca's lover Pedro González de Lara succeeded to the throne of a kingdom whole and at peace at Urraca’s death in 1126.

Urraca and Raymond De Burgandy were my 28th great grandparents.


Alfonso VII of León and Castile

Alfonso VII (1 March 1105 – 21 August 1157), born Alfonso Raimúndez, called the Emperor (el Emperador), became the King of Galicia in 1111 and King of León and Castile in 1126. Alfonso first used the title Emperor of All Spain, alongside his mother Urraca, once his mother 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 Burgundy to rule in the Iberian peninsula.

Alfonso was a dignified and somewhat enigmatic figure. His rule was characterized by the renewed supremacy of the western kingdoms of Christian Iberia over the eastern (Navarre and Aragón) after the reign of Alfonso the Battler. He also sought to make the imperial title meaningful in practice, though his attempts to rule over both Christian and Muslim populations was even less successful. His hegemonic intentions never saw fruition, however. 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.

For additional aquisitions see

In 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 I of Portugal recognised him as liege in 1137, Alfonso VII lost the tournament at Arcos de Valdevez in 1141 thereby affirming Portugal's independence. 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 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:

  1. Sancho III of Castile (1134–1158)

  2. Ramon, living 1136, died in infancy

  3. Ferdinand II of León (1137–1188)

  4. Constance (c.1138–1160), married Louis VII of France

  5. Sancha (c.1139–1179), married Sancho VI of Navarre

  6. García (c.1142-1145/6)

  7. Alfonso (c.1144-by 1149)

In 1152, Alfonso married Richeza of Poland, the daughter of Ladislaus II the Exile. They had:

  1. Ferdinand, (1153–1157)

  2. Sancha  (1155–1208), the wife of Alfonso II of Aragón.

 Alfonso also had two mistresses, having children by both. By an Asturian noblewoman named Guntroda 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 Garcés de Hita, an apparent grandson of García Sánchez III of Navarre, having a daughter Stephanie the Unfortunate (1148–1180), who was killed by her jealous husband, Fernán Ruiz de Castro.

Alfonso and Berenguela, were my 27th great grandparents.


Sancho III of Castile

Sancho III (1134 – 31 August 1158) was King of Castile and Toledo for one year, from 1157 to 1158. During the Reconquista, in which he took an active part, he founded the Order of Calatrava. He was called el Deseado (the Desired) due to his position as the first child of his parents, born after eight years of childless marriage.

He was the eldest son of King Alfonso VII of León and Castile and Berengaria of Barcelona. During his father's reign, he appears as "king of Nájera" as early as 1149. His father's will partitioned the kingdom between his two sons: Sancho inherited the kingdoms of Castile and Toledo, and Ferdinand inherited León. The two brothers had just signed a treaty when Sancho suddenly died in the summer of 1158, being buried at Toledo.

He had married, in 1151, Blanche of Navarre, daughter of García Ramírez of Navarre, and had two sons:

  • Alfonso VIII of Castile, his successor

  • infante García, who died at birth in 1156, apparently also resulting in the death of Queen Blanche.

There may also have been an older son who died in infancy.

Snchoa and Blanche were my 26th great grandparents.


Alfonso VIII of Castile

Alfonso VIII (11 November 1155 – 5 October 1214), called the Noble or el de las Navas, was the King of Castile from 1158 to his death and King of Toledo.[1][2] He is most remembered for his part in the Reconquista and the downfall of the Almohad Caliphate. After having suffered a great defeat with his own army at Alarcos against the Almohads, he led the coalition of Christian princes and foreign crusaders who broke the power of the Almohads in the Battle of the Navas de Tolosa in 1212, an event which marked the arrival of a tide of Christian supremacy on the Iberian peninsula.

His reign saw the domination of Castile over León and, by his alliance with Aragon, he drew those two spheres of Christian Iberia into close connection.

Alfonso was born to Sancho III of Castile and Blanche, daughter of García Ramírez of Navarre, in Soria on 11 November 1155. He was named after his grandfather Alfonso VII of Castile. His early life resembled that of other medieval kings. His father died in 1158 when his mother was also dead. Though proclaimed king when only three years of age, he was regarded as merely nominal by the unruly nobles to whom a minority was convenient. Immediately, Castile was plunged into conflicts between the various noble houses vying for ascendancy in the inevitable regency. The devotion of a squire of his household, who carried him on the pommel of his saddle to the stronghold of San Esteban de Gormaz, saved him from falling into the hands of the contending factions. The noble houses of Lara and Castro both claimed the regency, as did the boy's uncle, Ferdinand II of León. In 1159 the young Alfonso was put briefly in the custody of García Garcés de Aza, who was not wealthy enough to support him. In March 1160 the Castro and Lara met at the Battle of Lobregal and the Castro were victorious, but the guardianship of Alfonso and the regency fell to Manrique Pérez de Lara.

Alfonso was put in the custody of the loyal village Ávila. At barely fifteen, he came forth to do a man's work by restoring his kingdom to order. It was only by a surprise that he recovered his capital Toledo from the hands of the Laras.

In 1174, he ceded Uclés to the Order of Santiago and afterwards this became the order's principal seat. From Uclés, he began a campaign which culminated in the reconquest of Cuenca in 1177. The city surrendered on 21 September, the feast of Saint Matthew, ever afterwards celebrated by the citizens of the town.

Alfonso took the initiative to ally all the major Christian kingdoms of the peninsula — Navarre, León, Portugal, and Aragon — against the Almohads. By the Treaty of Cazola of 1179, the zones of expansion of each kingdom were defined.

After founding Plasencia (Cáceres) in 1186, he embarked on a major initiative to unite the Castilian nobility around the Reconquista. In that year, he recuperated part of La Rioja from the Kingdom of Navarre.

In 1195, after the treaty with the Almohads was broken, he came to the defence of Alarcos on the river Guadiana, then the principal Castilian town in the region. At the subsequent Battle of Alarcos, he was roundly defeated by the caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf al-Mansur. The reoccupation of the surrounding territory by the Almohads was quickly commenced with Calatrava falling first. For the next seventeen years, the frontier between Moor and Castilian was fixed in the hill country just outside Toledo.

Finally, in 1212, through the mediation of Pope Innocent III, a crusade was called against the Almohads. Castilians under Alfonso, Aragonese and Catalans under Peter II, Navarrese under Sancho VII, and Franks under the archbishop of Narbonne, Arnaud Amalric, all flocked to the effort. The military orders also lent their support. Calatrava first, then Alarcos, and finally Benavente were captured before a final battle was fought at Las Navas de Tolosa near Santa Elena on 16 July. The caliph Muhammad an-Nasir was routed and Almohad power broken.

Alfonso was the founder of the first Spanish university, a studium generale at Palencia, which, however, did not survive him. His court also served as an important instrument for Spanish cultural achievement. His marriage (Burgos, before 17 September 1177) with Eleanor (Leonora), daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, brought him under the influence of the greatest governing intellect of his time. Troubadours and sages were always present, largely due to the influence of Eleanor.

Alfonso died at Gutierre-Muñoz and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Henry I, named after his maternal grandfather.

Alfonso was the subject for Lion Feuchtwanger's novel Die Jüdin von Toledo (The Jewess of Toledo), in which is narrated an affair with a Jewish subject in medieval Toledo in a time when Spain was known to be the land of tolerance and learning for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The titular Jewish woman of the novel is based on Alfonso's historical paramour, Rahel la Fermosa.

Alfonso is portrayed in the 1919 film The Jewess of Toledo by Franz Höbling.

With Eleanor of England he had 11 children:

Name Birth Death Notes


1 January/
June 1180

Las Huelgas near Burgos,
8 November 1246

Married firstly in Seligenstadt on 23 April 1188 with Duke Conrad II of Swabia, but the union (only by contract and never solemnized) was later annulled. Married in Valladolid between 1/16 December 1197 with King Alfonso IX of León as her second wife.[7] After their marriage was dissolved on grounds of consanguinity in 1204, she returned to her homeland and became regent of her minor brother King Henry I. Queen of Castile in her own right after the death of Henry I in 1217, immediately abdicated in favor of her son.

Sancho Burgos,
5 April 1181
26 July 1181 Heir of the throne since his birth, died aged three months.
Sancha 20/28 March 1182 3 February 1184/
16 October 1185
Died in infancy.
Henry 1184 1184? Heir of the throne since his birth, died either shortly after being born or in infancy. His existence is disputed among sources.
Urraca 1186/
28 May 1187
3 November 1220
Married in 1206 to Alfonso, who succeeded his father in 1212 as King Alfonso II of Portugal.
Blanche Palencia,
4 March 1188
27 November 1252
Married in the Abbaye de Port-Mort near Pont-Audemer, Normandy on 23 May 1200 with Prince Louis, who succeeded his father in 1223 as King Louis VIII of France. Regent of the Kingdom of France during her son's minority (1226–1234) and during his absence on the Seventh Crusade.
Ferdinand Cuenca,
29 September 1189
14 October 1211
Heir of the throne since his birth. On whose behalf Diego of Acebo and the future Saint Dominic travelled to Denmark in 1203 to secure a bride.[8] He died soon after returning from campaigning against the Moors.
Mafalda Plasencia,
Betrothed in 1204 to Infante Ferdinand of Leon, eldest son of King Alfonso IX and stepson of her oldest sister.
Constance 1195 Las Huelgas,
A nun at the Cistercian monastery of Santa María la Real at Las Huelgas in 1217, she later became Abbess of her community.
Eleanor 1202 Las Huelgas,
Married in Ágreda on 6 February 1221 with King James I of Aragon. After her marriage was dissolved on grounds of consanguinity in April 1229, she became a nun at the Cistercian monastery of Santa María la Real at Las Huelgas.
Henry Valladolid,
14 April 1204
6 June 1217
Only surviving son, he succeeded his father in 1214 aged ten under the regency firstly of his mother and later his oldest sister Berengaria. Married in Burgos before 29 August 1215 with Infanta Mafalda of Portugal, the union was unconsummated and dissolved in 1216 on grounds of consanguinity. Soon after his divorce, he was betrothed to his step-niece, Infanta Sancha of León, eldest daughter of King Alfonso IX, but, before the marriage could be solemnized, he was killed when he was struck by a tile falling from a roof.

Alphonso and Elenore were my 25th great grandparents.


Blanche of Castile

Blanche of Castile (Blanca de Castilla in Spanish; 4 March 1188 – 27 November 1252), was a Queen consort of France as the wife of Louis VIII. She acted as regent twice during the reign of her son, Louis IX.

She was born in Palencia, Spain, 1188, the third daughter of Alfonso VIII, king of Castile, and Eleanor of England. Eleanor was a daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. (Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine were my 24great grandparents in the Plantagenet Royal house of England.)

In her youth, she visited the Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas, founded by her father, several times. Later in life, she would establish Cisterian abbeys and would eventually be buried in one.

In consequence of the Treaty of Le Goulet between Philip Augustus and John of England, Blanche's sister Urraca was betrothed to Philip's son, Louis. Their grandmother Eleanor of Aquitaine, upon getting acquainted with the two sisters, judged that Blanche's personality was more fit for a queen consort of France. In the spring of 1200 Eleanor crossed the Pyrenees with her and brought her to France.

On 22 May 1200 the treaty was signed, John ceding with his niece the fiefs of Issoudun and Graçay, together with those that André de Chauvigny, lord of Châteauroux, held in Berry, of the English crown. The marriage to Louis VIII was celebrated the next day, at Port-Mort on the right bank of the Seine, in John's domains, as those of Philip lay under an interdict.

The marriage was only consummated after a few years, and Blanche bore her first child in 1205.

Blanch and Louis VIII were my 24th great grandparents. For the continuation of this line see French Royalty.


© Grandpa Don Plefka
aka Harry Ronald Cecora
 Oct 16, 2013


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