Biography of Fernando I. King of Castilla y de León (1029-1065)

Fernando I, King of Castile. Plaza de Oriente. Madrid.

King of Castile and Leon born on date unknown and died in León the 27 December 1065. He/She was the second son of the King of Navarra Sancho Garcés III the greater and Doña Greater Munia, sister of the count of Castile, García Sánchez , daughter of Sancho García. He/She was count of Castile between 1029 and 1037 and King from the 1035 or 1037 to the 1065. His real name was that of Fernando Sánchez, although he/she was proclaimed King came to be known as Fernando I the great.

To the death of Sancho García and due to the age of the heir of García Sánchez, Doña Mayor was responsible for the Regency of the County. When 13 may 1029 conde de Castilla García Sánchez was killed by members of the family of Lions of the candle on the porch of the Leonese Church of San Juan Bautista, where he/she was to celebrate its bridal link to Sancha, sister of King Bermudo III of León; the County of Castile fell again on his sister, Doña Mayor. Sancho Garces III of Navarre took possession of the county on behalf of his wife. The exact date in which Sancho Garces gave the County to his second son, Fernando, is unknown but it is likely to be in that same year of 1029 the oldest document in which Fernando appears as count of Castile is dated that year, although it is unknown if he/she ruled independently or associated with his father. Shortly afterwards, perhaps in 1032, or perhaps before, Sancho Garcés concluded the marriage between Fernando and Sancha, which was going to be a woman of the deceased count García Sánchez.

An old complaint there was between the Kingdom of León and the County of Castile, the border between the Pisuerga and the Cea region dispute, this dispute remained suspended between 1029 and 1035 the Navarrese King Sancho Garcés III was the owner and Lord of the territories of the Christians from the North of the peninsula and the young Bermudo III did not have the power necessary to oppose him, but the eldest died in 1035 Sancho III and Bermudo III took the opportunity to embark on the disputed territories. Fernando I to the death of his father, the first thing he/she did was to proclaim itself as King of Castile, which could not but scandalized the Leonese King and cause even more anger. Fernando I ended up in this way with the County of Castile and instituted the Kingdom, whose main nucleus so the lands of the province of Burgos were always.

The Leonese King organized a campaign against Castile; first he/she married the last daughter of the deceased Castilian count Sancho García, called Jimena. The reason for this link was in making sure supporters within Castilla and prepare a good inheritance rights where Fernando died. Fernando for his part was aware of Castile was not rival for a hypothetical coalition between Leon and Navarre, on the other hand, I knew that if Castilla had to be strong this not would but to basis increase their territories. With all this in mind, Fernando I requested the help of his brother García Sánchez III, King of Navarre, who gave it in Exchange for territorial concessions. The navarra border then moved to the West and the South. The Leonese King advanced at the head of his army to the vicinity of Burgos, where he/she met the Spanish troops led by Fernando. 1 September 1037 occurred the battle of Tamara's fields in which Bermudo III was injured by a spear and died on the battlefield.

The death of Bermudo III without descent left the Kingdom of Leon in the hands of Doña Sancha, wife of Fernando I, which took the Government under its women's rights. 22 June 1038 Bishop Servando crowned Fernando, in the Church of Santa María de León, as King of Castile and Leon, with the name of Fernando I. This was the first unification between both territories. Although initially a large sector of the Leonese nobility refused to accept the unification of the two kingdoms, Fernando finally could impose its criteria and its strength and be recognized by all, Castilian and Leonese, as the rightful King.Shortly after the coronation of Fernando, relations between it and his brother García Sánchez III is marred. The reasons for these differences are not clear. According to some authors the motive was jealousy which García Sánchez III felt towards Fernando I because of the spectacular aggrandizement of the territories of this from the County of Castile until the latest Kingdom; other authors make reference to that the reason was that the territory of Castile was diminished by the concessions that Sancho III the Mayor had made to Navarre and that they understood all the part East, along a line that was going from Santander to Montes de Oca and passed a few kilometers to the East of Burgos. A third theory places the beginning of the confrontation in the visit Fernando to his brother García when he/she was ill in Najera; the chronicler Pelayo of Oviedo, supporter of the Leonese King, does not specify that it happened in such a visit but mentioned the intention of García's murder of his brother during the visit and if you did not do so was because of lack of value. Another version speaks of claims of Fernando I of La Rioja and La Bureba and refusal of his brother to cede those territories. Either way the truth is that the relations between both sovereign worsened dramatically towards half of the century, to the point that Fernando I took a visit from his brother to imprison him in Cea.

The Navarrese King managed to escape from her abduction in Cea. He/She sought and achieved the Alliance with gascons and Muslims for together, launch an expedition of punishment on Burgos. Fernando I went out to meet his brother, both armies were found in Atapuerca the 1 September 1054. He/She died in the battle of Atapuerca García Sánchez III and Castilla took the opportunity to regain the territories up to the ría de Bilbao and Pancorvo gorges. The rest of the diminished Kingdom of Navarre was in power of Sancho Garcés IV the Despenado, son of the deceased King and nephew of Victor, that it had appointed King of Navarre on the same battlefield and which had been forced to acknowledge his superiority. In 1076, after the murder of Sancho IV by his brothers, Castilla took over another series of territories that dwarfed even more the Kingdom of Navarre and la Rioja.

Once firmly seated in the North of the Iberian peninsula and converted into the main sovereign among Christians, as well as having achieved a relative tranquility inside their realms, Fernando I fixed his attention on Muslims in the South and East. He/She took advantage of the disintegration of the Caliphate of Cordoba to extend the borders of his Kingdom to the South. Towards the 1055 undertook a campaign against the King of the taifa of Badajoz Muhammad al-Muzaffar. During the campaign, which lasted three years, Fernando I took Portuguese squares Viseo Lamego, as well as numerous castles such as the of Gormaz, Berlanga, San Justo, Güermes and Santa Mera, and imposed pariahs in those areas could not repopulate for lack of people. His attacks on the weakened taifa kingdoms reported him, in addition to large economic benefits through the collection of outcasts, a notable authoritarian position on the most important Muslim kingdoms.

July 24, 1064 Fernando I starred in one of the most prominent landmarks of his attacks on the Muslims to conquer the important town of Coimbra. Historians disagree over the duration of the site of the plaza, since for some it was six months and for other seven-year-old (some Lusitano); It is likely that the site should be extended so interrupted for years, after an initial period of high thrust, which could be six months. The truth is that after the taking of Coimbra the border between the two kingdoms was fixed at the rio Mondego.

While Fernando I was attacking the King of Badajoz, he/she declared war the taifas Kings of Zaragoza, Toledo, Seville and Valencia. Fernando I succeeded Ahmed I al-Muqtadir, King of the taifa of Zaragoza, to begin to pay parias from 1061, at the time that snatched her squares of Ford del Rey, Berlanga, Aguilera, San Esteban de Gormaz and the castles of San justo and Santa Mera among others. After Zaragoza, Fernando I attacked Abul Hassan Yahya Ibn Ismail of Toledo, known as al - Ma'mum, in 1062, which snatched Uceda, Salamanca, Guadalajara, Alcalá de Henares and Madrid, achieving also a plentiful bounty and pay parias gold. In 1063, Al-Mu'tadid, King of the taifa of Seville, to the huge deployment by Fernando I decided to avoid confrontation and requested an interview with the Christian King. Al - Mu'tadid promised to pay tribute to Fernando I and give a significant amount of money. Fernando I demanded, moreover, an annual tribute and the delivery of the relics of santa Justa. The Chronicles that to not be the remains of santa Justa, the Muslim leader compensated Fernando I giving the corpse of St. Isidore, which was accepted and buried in the Leonese Church of san Juan Bautista (see: Church of San Isidoro de León).

The last campaign of Fernando I against Muslims turned against the Kingdom of Valencia, the only one of the great peninsular kingdoms that had not yet recognized the sovereignty of Fernando. At the end of 1064 Fernando I led his men on Abd al-Malik Al - Muzaffar, King of the taifa of Valencia. The Castilian-Leonese King achieved without effort the city of Valencia, which laid siege in the early days of 1065. It was the first time that the Castilians directed their weapons against the Valencian Kingdom and Fernando met the Muslim army was undisciplined and was poorly organized. Only the strength of the impressive walls of Valencia explain the resistance of Valencians. Unable to pay the city, Fernando I set a trap to the Regulus velenciano, which made believe that it withdrew from the field of battle and when Abd al - Malik in his pursuit presented you battle with the entirety of the Christian forces. The meeting of both armies took place in Paterna and victory corresponded to the hosts of Fernando I. After the defeat, al - Muzaffar received support from his father-in-law, al - Ma'mum of Toledo, who later betrayed him and imprisoned him for his incompetence. Arabic chronicles speak of Fernando I received help from Alí Iqbal Ad-Dawla, King of the taifa of Denia, in the siege of Valencia. In the Christian Chronicles, however, has not been recorded that the King of Denia help Fernando I.

After the site of Valencia Fernando I is sick he/she felt, by which undertook the return to León, where he/she died shortly afterwards, the 27 December 1065.

In his will divided the Kingdom between his sons: Sancho II the strong, his eldest son, he/she left the Kingdom of Castile; to Alfonso VI the brave the Kingdom of Leon and Asturias; García , the Kingdom of Galicia and the territories conquered in Portugal; to Urraca of Zamora and Elvira of Toro city.

The children of Fernando I, mainly Sancho II, were devoted to war among them. Sancho II, did not respect the will of his father and snatch his brother García Galicia in 1071, he/she took him prisoner, in 1072, Alfonso VI. Later Sancho II attacked his another brother, Alfonso, to which beat near the river Pisuerga and imprisoned in Burgos. Through the intercession of his sister Urraca, Sancho freed the prisoner under conditions, among them that withdrew from public life and not played him the throne. Alfonso, however, fled to the Court of the King of the taifa of Toledo Abul Hassan Yahya ibn Ismail. Then Sancho took Bull and laid siege to Zamora, the city that resisted the siege for seven months until Bellido Dolfos murdered the Castilian King.