Alfonso VI of León and Castile, King of León, Castille and Galicia

Male 1047 - 1109  (~ 62 years)

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  • Name Alfonso VI of León and Castile 
    Suffix King of León, Castille and Galicia 
    Born ca 1047  Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died Jul 1109  Toledo, Castilla, Spain Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Sahagun Monastery, Sahagun, Provincia de León Castilla y León, Spain Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Wikipedia

      He was the son of Ferdinand I of León and Queen Sancha, daughter of Alfonso V and sister of Bermudo III. As the second Alfonso was not meant to inherit the crown. Nevertheless, in 1063, his father convened the royal court to announce his decision to divide the kingdom among his sons: Alfonso was allotted León; Castile was given to his older brother Sancho; and Galicia to his younger brother García. His 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.

      After his father's death in 1065, Alfonso was crowned king of León in January 1066. He had to face the expansionist desires of his brother Sancho who, as the firstborn son, considered himself the legitimate heir of all of his father's kingdoms. The conflict began in 1067 upon the death of Queen Sancha, an event that would lead to a seven-year period of war among the three siblings.

      Despite this, however, both brothers maintained friendly relations as evidenced by the fact that on 26 May 1069, Alfonso was present at the wedding of his brother Sancho where both agreed to join forces to divide among themselves the Kingdom of Galicia which had been allotted to their brother Garcia, the youngest son of King Fernando. Sancho marched across Alfonso's León to conquer García's northern lands at the time that Alfonso was in the southern part of the Galicia. García fled to Seville. 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 was forced to flee to 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. This opened 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."

      Alfonso VI stands out as a strong king whose interest was in law and order. He was a leader of his state during the Reconquista who was regarded by the Arabs as a very fierce and astute enemy. He showed a greater degree of interest than his predecessors in increasing the links between Iberia and the rest of Christian Europe. The past marital practices of the Iberian royalty had been to limit the choice of partners to the peninsula and Gascony, but Alfonso had French and Italian wives, and arranged to marry his daughters to French princes and an Italian king. He was tolerant towards the Arabs living in Iberia. 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 married at least five times and had one or two mistresses. In 1069, Alfonso married Agnes of Aquitaine, daughter of William VIII of Aquitaine and his second wife Mateoda. They had no children.

      Apparently between his first and second marriages he formed a liaison with Jimena Muñoz, a "most noble"concubine "derived from royalty." 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, whom 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).

      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 again remarried, to Isabel, having by her two daughters, Sancha, (wife of Rodrigo González de Lara), and Elvira, (who married Roger II of Sicily). 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. 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.

      Alfonso was defeated on 23 October 1086, at the battle of Sagrajas, and was severely wounded in the leg. However, he recovered to continue as king of Leon and Castile.

      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.

    Person ID I36114  Master File
    Last Modified 16 Sep 2016 

    Family Constance of Burgundy, Queen of Castile and Léon,   b. 08 May 1046, County of Burgundy, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1093, Castilla y León, Spain Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 46 years) 
     1. Urraca of León, Queen of León, Castile, and Galicia,   b. Apr 1079, Burgos, Provincia de Burgos, Castilla y León, Spain Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 08 Mar 1126, Saldaña, Provincia de Burgos, Castilla y León, Spain Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 46 years)
    Last Modified 16 Sep 2016 
    Family ID F14892  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart