Biography of Alfonso III. King of Asturias (848-910)

Twelfth King of Asturias from 866 year up to the year 909. Probably born in Lugo in the year 848 and died 20 December 910 in Zamora.

Biographical synthesis

Son and successor of Ordoño I spent most of his childhood in Oviedo, where he/she received a careful education. Appointed Governor of Galicia at the age of 14, after the premature death of his father in 866, was proclaimed monarch, but not before confronting Fruela Vermúdez, which taking advantage of his absence took over the throne. During the forty years of his reign he/she faced successfully the Muslim armies on several occasions and carried out an intense work of repopulation, which helped to consolidate the achievements made during his reign. About a year before his death in 909, was forced to abandon power, after confronting his son García, who had the support of most of his brothers. He/She died in Zamora, after completion of an expedition by lands of al - Andalus.

Alfonso III, King of Asturias. Plaza de Oriente. Madrid.

Life of Alfonso III

Son of the Asturian King Ordoño I and Mumadona or Muna. Most of the chroniclers agree that he/she was born in the year 848, although there are several hypotheses on the place in which the birth occurred. So while some historians have claimed that Alfonso was born in Santiago, Armando Cotarelo said that it is likely that this was born in Lugo, since it was the Galician city of greater significance at the time.

Very soon left Alfonso Galicia, since after the death of his grandfather Ramiro I, January 1, 850, Ordoño I decided to leave the capital of the Astur Kingdom, to be proclaimed King. The education of the young Prince, soon began since her father was interested in that was formed to be a good King since his childhood. His first tutors were probably clerics, which had instilled in him a deep religious feeling, since in the opinion of the author from the Cronica Silense Alfonso was very sensitive to the needs of the most disadvantaged groups. Also from his childhood the heir should start their military training, since it was very important that he/she acquired experience in the handling of the weapons.

In the year 862 Ordoño I considered that the education that their son had received had been enough, so he/she decided to send him to Galicia as a Governor. With a dual purpose, since on the one hand Alfonso should represent in these lands to the monarch and other should complete their training. Thus in the year 866, entered for the first time in combat in two successive campaigns, where he/she defeated the Normans and Arabs, which tried to carry out a punitive expedition by sea.

Ordoño I died 27 May 866 leaving as heir to all his possessions to Alfonso. The new monarch hoped that their rights would be respected by the astures nobles, so not went to Asturias in order until all matters of Galicia. But it is soon convince otherwise, since after you start your trip, he/she received the news that Fruela Vermúdez has had proclaimed King taking advantage of his absence. Accompanied by a small Entourage, Alfonso feared the usurper would deal with him in the open field, so he/she decided to take refuge in Castile, where he/she was received by the second count of this territory, Rodrigo, which helped him to organize an army with which marched towards Oviedo. It was not necessary for it to deal with the aforementioned Fruela Vermúdez, since once known the news that Alfonso intended to knock him down with a powerful army, this was betrayed and was murdered. Thus at the end of the year 866 Alfonso was crowned without problems in the Church of el Salvador.

After his arrival in power Alfonso III tried to organize the administration of the Kingdom again and repair all the imbalances that had caused Vermudez. But despite the quiet of early reign, Alfonso III soon was forced to abandon its activities, since at the beginning of the 867 an uprising of the Basques, which were led by a noble of the territory called Eylon took place. Alfonso quickly organized an army and in a few days became the territories seeking to free themselves of their authority, which surprised his enemies who were practically forced to surrender and hand over their leader. Placated the uprising, Alfonso was satisfied by his achievement, though soon after he/she had returned to finish with the small pockets of rebellion, that they had not been pacified.

With regard to al - Andalus, it should be noted that Alfonso III was confronted for the first time as monarch Muslim armies in the year 868. On this occasion the Christian King fought against the son and heir of Muhammad I, Al-Mundhir, which led an expedition against the Christian kingdoms, after meeting a major contingent in Toledo. Divided Muslims into two groups in the city of Astorga, Alfonso went to meet of the mentioned Muslim chieftain in the vicinity of Leon, achieving a major victory, after which went to Bierzo where also managed to defeat his enemies.

At the age of 21 the monarch decided that it was time get married, to an heir to the Crown. So after considering his options, he/she decided to marry Jimena, daughter of the King of Navarre- García I Iniguez. The marriage had as a result the birth, among other descendants, of the future Kings, García I, Ordoño II and Fruela II.

It seems that Alfonso III was soon aware of the delicate situation that existed in al - Andalus, so in the summer of the 870, taking advantage of the revolt of Mérida, decided to assemble a mighty army to come to the rescue of the city. So after joining the army in Leon, set up his camp in Astorga, from where took the via Lusitana, which gave him control of Briguencia, Vico and Aquarium, after which his men crossed the Duero and turned to Cáceres. Shortly after after a brilliant campaign in the Sierra de Montánchez could grab antenna square, but shortly afterwards was forced to abandon it, since the armies of the emir had managed to pacify Mérida. Completed successfully the Alfonso III campaign turned to Galicia, where thanks to the hefty spoils that had obtained he/she could undertake the restoration of some buildings, revived the works of the Cathedral of Santiago, and funded the construction of the monastery of Sahagún.

Back in Oviedo in the year 873, it undertook a major upgrade of the city walls, after which focused its efforts on carrying out the repopulation of Chaves, Braga and Porto and in the conquest of Lamego, Viseo, Eminio and Coimbra. So in the view of most researchers this not continued to expand its territory, by not having enough troops to repopulate the new conquered areas. The following year (874) had to deal with the revolt of Lugo, after declaring in default the count Flacidio, but apparently very soon could control the situation, sending some of his generals. Christian later according to some sources, Alfonso III ended with a plot of their brethren, but this fact has not been able to be tested and registered in the Muslim Chronicles, which had no interest in hiding an event of this magnitude is not listed.

Eager to make an important religious centre of Santiago de Compostela, Alfonso took no new campaigns on the outside of their kingdoms until the year 876, moment in which it was decided to support the Governor of Badajoz in clashes which it maintained with the cordoban emir. Although the monarch does not personally attended the campaign, he/she obtained important benefits of the expedition, which was captured one of the generals of Muhammad I, called Hasim ibn Abd al - Aziz, which called for a hefty ransom.

Disgruntled Córdoba with the Christian advances in the year 878 decided to undertake a new expedition, which was directed by the mentioned Hasim ibn Abd al - Aziz, who had been released shortly before, and by al - Mundhir. But despite the large number of men who were able to gather, the troops led by Hasim were defeated after falling into an ambush at the battle of gunpowder. Alfonso emboldened with his victory, decided to prosecute Muslims who has retreated, defeating them once again in the vicinity of Valdemora. Meanwhile al - Mundhir after the defeat of his fellow, decided to return to their territories but not before signing a truce with Alfonso III for three years, which was approved by Muhammad I.

Clashes with Muslims were reactivated in the year 881, after breaking relations with the Governor of Badajoz, who was preparing to conquer Coimbra Alfonso III. So he/she quickly organized an army that was able to liberate the city, after which went on the offensive, attacked Merida and defeated the Governor in Sierra Morena. Some years later, in the summer of the year 883, a Cordoba expedition travelled through their territories, again since the emir did not see with good eyes relationships that maintained the Christian King with the Banu Qasi, but Alfonso III did not engage in combat, since these yourselves to attack certain areas of Castile and La Rioja.

Finally in September of 883 Alfonso III eager to deal with the repopulation of their territories, decided that it was time sign peace with Córdoba, so sent a mozarab cleric, called Dulcidio to negotiate with the emir. Alfonso III pleased by the efforts of his Envoy continued repopulating the territory known as land of fields, which contributed significantly to the aggrandizement of the future County independent of Castile, and also in these same dates carried out the repopulation of Castrojeriz and founded the city of Burgos. But while it had managed to maintain peace with its foreign enemies, was the monarch who take up arms again to end some internal uprisings, as it starred in a Leonese nobleman named Hanno who was harshly punished at the 885; or that of the Galician noble Hermeregildo Pérez, who led a conspiracy to end the life of the monarch, discovered in the year 886.

The death of Muhammad I in the year 886 intranquilizó Alfonso III, who on several occasions had faced the Warrior heir al - Mundhir. But neither this nor his successor, Abd Allah (844-912), could do nothing against him, due to the turbulent political situation that had to live. Thus Alfonso only had to deal with some incursions of small entity. In the year 892 could found the monastery of San Salvador de Valdediós calmly, undertake the restocking of Zamora and Toro in the year 893 and perform in addition important donations to the Cathedral of Oviedo and Lugo in the year 897.

As all the chroniclers are running not worried too much to Alfonso that his son Ordoño, after being appointed Governor of Galicia, is proclaimed King of the territory in the year 897, since this fully trusting the work there exercised by its favorite son. Thus in the year 899 he/she went to Santiago to preside over the consecration of the primitive Cathedral, normally.

In the last stage of the reign were evident progress that had been made in the repopulation of Lusitania, Galicia, land of fields and Castile, which led to Alfonso III to secure the border of his Kingdom on the banks of the Duero. But it was precisely these developments which determined that he/she had to start new campaigns to protect their territory against the Muslims, since from the year 901, they were threatened by the troops recruited by Ahmed ibn Moawia and a rebel called Abu al - Asserraj, that began his preaching in the lands dominated by the Berbers. In this way both warlords after recruiting a powerful army with the intention of ending the Christian kingdoms of the North of the Peninsula, laid siege to the city of Zamora, who was overwhelmed by the arrival of this important contingent. Alfonso III met the news when he/she was in the city of León and immediately went to his aid. Very soon the defections were abundant in the ranks of Muslims, since some Berber leaders refused to obey the orders of their leaders, which facilitated the work of Alfonso, who after capture to Ahmed ibn Moawia, ordered that he/she was slain. Completed operations Alfonso III he/she went to Toledo, intending to assert its authority against the rebels, where he/she obtained according to the monk Sapiro important tributes. Shortly afterwards some Christian sources claim that the monarch participated in an expedition against the Muslims of Aragonese, although it seems unlikely that Alfonso participate personally in this small bell.

Between 905 and 909 the Asturian monarch remained long seasons along with his family in the city of Oviedo, where he/she chaired the January 20, 905 the inauguration of the Cathedral. Also continued to fund the construction and rehabilitation of religious buildings, such as the defunct monastery of San Cosme and San Damián or the Church of San Miguel de Escalada, but your peace of mind again would be disturbed, since in the year 909 his eldest son García revolted, possibly jealous by the leading role that his brother Ordoño had reached. Thus, Alfonso III decided to curb the ambitions of this and following site to the city of Zamora, where this had taken refuge, managed to make him prisoner. This punishment was considered excessive by most of their relatives, who soon turned against the monarch, he/she was forced to deliver his territories between his sons and leave power at the end of that same year.

While the Kingdom was divided any of their children was proclaimed monarch until the death of his father, which taking advantage of its new status decided to make a pilgrimage to Santiago, which concluded at the beginning of the year 910. Proof that their relationships but friendly, were cordial with García I, is that Alfonso III obtained this permission for a last campaign by lands of al - Andlus, which we just have data even though we know that it got a big booty.

Alfonso III died 20 December 910 possibly of pneumonia at the age of 62 years, in the city of Zamora. After his death his remains were deposited in an urn in the Cathedral of Astorga, where they remained until they were transferred to the Church of Santa María de Oviedo, to ultimately finish since the 17TH century, installed in the Royal pantheon of the mentioned city's Cathedral.


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