Biography of Fernando III. King of Castilla y de León (1201-1252)

Fernando III, the Holy, King of Castile. Real Palacio. Madrid.

King of Castile (1217-1252) and Castilla y León (1230-1252), nicknamed the Saint, born in the village of Valparaiso, province of Zamora, on 19 August of the year 1201, and died in Seville, on May 30, the ano1252. Son of Alfonso IX of Leonand the Spanish infanta Doña Berenguela, sister of the King of Castile Henry. Under his reign was accomplished the reunification into a single Crown of Castile and Leon, separated nearly a century earlier after the death of Alfonso VII.

In the year 1204, the marriage between Alfonso IX of León and Doña Berenguela was declared null by the Pope Innocent III, because of the degree of kinship of the spouses. Innocent III threatened to Lion King ecclesiastical proscription if not breaking their union, to which both had to give up. Such circumstances caused that the infante Fernando, who had been raised to date with her mother, had to leave the Leonese Court with his father.

On 6 June the year 1217 died Enrique of Castile without leaving any offspring, so his sister Doña Berenguela was declared his successor in the Castilian throne. The infanta Doña Berenguela, Act followed, commanded to call his son, he/she crossed the Crown of Castile, in a ceremony carried out in the city of Valladolid, leaning on a document taken from the archive of the Cathedral of Burgos that seemed to be the will of Alfonso VIII.

Recognition as King of Castilla of Fernando III soon found great opposition defined in the figure of the Ensign of the Kingdom, don Alvar Núñez de Lara, who turned that support you in your claim, knowing the firm anticastellana policy of the Leonese King Alfonso IX. Its Ensign mounted a powerful army that invaded the Kingdom of Castile, arising quickly up to the gates of the city of Valladolid. Fernando III and his mother, not being able to resist the invasion, retreated to Burgos, from where launched several peace proposals to the rebel party.

Alfonso IX of Leon met with his son in Burgos, after which they signed a truce, on 11 November of that same year, by Fernando III recognized his father the possession of several towns and villages Castilian of importance (Villagarcía, Ureña, Villalar, etc), at the same time that took over the debt of 11,000 Maravedis which the deceased King Enrique I was the King of León, his father. Fernando III also had to ensure goods and manors to the House of Lara, the real benefit in the elemental.

Doña Berenguela, in order to ensure the best possible position of Fernando III, arranged the marriage of his son with the German Princess Beatrice of Swabia, which bonded the dynasty of the Kings Castilians with the German imperial dynasty and leader of the Ghibelline faction. Wedding was held in the Cathedral of Burgos, San Andrés, 30 November of the year 1219, and this link would be born ten children, seven males and three females.

In the year 1218, don Álvar Núñez de Lara returned to stand up against the King, convincing the King of León, Alfonso IX, in its efforts to topple the throne to Fernando III again. After a series of battles and meetings, all of them favorable to the rebel nobleman, died suddenly when he/she was about to storm the castle of Castrejón, place in which they had taken refuge don Gonzalo Ruiz Girón, don Lope Díaz de Haro and don Alfonso Téllez de Meneses, Knights at the orders of Fernando III of Castile. You could ultimately through Doña Berenguela, sign the Pact of Toro, on 26 August of the year 1218, Fernando III of Castile and his father Alfonso IX of León, which was ended definitively wars between the two kingdoms.

Pacified the Kingdom of Castile, Fernando III decided to take what would be the great politico-military work of his reign: the reconquest. The rapid disintegration of the Almohad Empire, after the disaster suffered by them in the famous battle of the Navas de Tolosa, which occurred in August of the year 1212, greatly favoured the plans of the Spanish monarch.

Another favorable to the Castilian interests event precipitated the decision of Fernando III directly intervene in Muslim Affairs. The death of the emir Abu Yusuf, in the year 1224, and the subsequent disagreements that succession gave rise to the Almohad Emirate put on silver platter the chance that both the Castilian King was waiting. Fernando III allied himself with al - Bayasi, Governor of Jaen, who has had proclaimed Caliph against his brother al - Adil, who had been elected in Marrakesh.

Fernando III seized the town of Quesada, in the year 1224, after which commanded his troops, formed by Christian Knights and a high number of Muslim mercenaries, against the people of Priego, Jaén and Granada, Loja. Before such conqueror impulse, al - Adil withdrew to Africa. Once in power, al - Bayasi handed to Fernando III of the towns of Salvatierra and bathrooms. The new King of the taifa of Seville, al - Mamum, also agreed to sign a truce with the Spanish monarch, paying for such peace-keeping the considerable sum of 300,000 maravedíes. At the end of July of the year 1230, Fernando III laid siege to Jaén, siege which lasted until September of that year, which was forced to lift the siege, desperate to not be able to take it.

That same year, 1230, died the Leonese King and father of Fernando III, Alfonso IX of León, in whose will was reflected this sustained animosity toward Castile, since it let as heir to the throne to the two daughters gotten from his first marriage, Fernando III relegating to the background. This one, which was in the middle of the Andalusian campaign against the Muslim forces, was warned by his mother from the circumstance, by quickly going Leon where, just get, claimed their rights to the Leonese throne with energy, Doña Berenguela paved the way to his son until it reached the city, signing with the mother of heiresses, Doña Teresa of Portugala peaceful settlement which resulted in the Treaty of do Minho Valencia, by which Fernando III was recognized King of León in return grant stepsisters a generous dowry, whose payment had scrupulously complied with after. Soon after, Fernando III and Sancho II of Portugal were interviewed in the Portuguese of Sabugal, April 2 town of the year 1231, in order to confirm the border agreements and renew the friendship between the two kingdoms. The Treaty signed between the two also served to agree between the two kingdoms against Islam peninsular joint coordination in the coming years.

Once Fernando III pacified the Kingdom of León, after an opposition noble attempt, he/she was able, finally, devote all their forces and energies to reconquistador advance, which could count on the invaluable help of the Kings of Portugal and Aragon, Sancho II and Jaime II respectively. In December of the year 1232, Fernando III concentrated an impressive army, he/she joined troops periculis and military orders, which took the important town of Baeza, which opened the entrance to the Valley of the Guadalquivir, while, simultaneously, Portuguese and Aragonese troops launched serious attacks in those who conquered a large strip of land to the detriment of several wrens of taifas in Toledo. On 29 June the year 1236, Fernando III made his triumphal entry that was still regarded as the symbolic capital of Islam on the peninsula, Cordoba. The Castilian King returned to Castile, entrusting the defence of the border to don Álvar Pérez de Castro. The following year, Fernando III remarried with Jeanne of Ponthieu, great-granddaughter of Luis VII of France, with whom he/she had three more children.

Thanks to the Castilian conquest of Cordoba, Fernando III could calmly prepare an ambitious military project, whose aim was the conquest of Seville. So he/she returned to require the intervention of the Cavalry of the military orders, which were conquering, slowly, but relentlessly, the most important towns of the Valley of the Guadalquivir, Santiella, Hornachuelos, watchable, harvest, etc. At the same time, troops, commanded by Fernando III himself, were made with the villas of Aguilar, goat, Osuna and Moron. In the year 1243, Fernando III sent his firstborn son and heir to the throne, Prince Alfonso, to the conquest of Murcia, region who surrendered without difficulties, except of Cartagena, Lorca, cities that were subjected to the following year by the master of Santiago, don Paio Pérez Correira, and by don Rodríguez González Girón and Mula. The murcian occupation by the Castilians brought with it serious clashes and border with the Crown of Aragon rods, so it was necessary to the signing of a treaty, signed in the town of Almizra, on 25 May of the year 1244, whereby both Crowns set a border line. Fernando III then headed its military action to the conquest of Jaén, plaza of exceptional economic and strategic importance, whose conquest was painstaking and extensive, since August of the year 1245 until April of the following year.

With the Kingdom of Murcia in the hands of the Spaniards and the Portuguese forward by the Guadiana to Ayamonte, Fernando III left it with only a single goal to conquer: Seville. For such an enterprise, Fernando III had the collaboration of his vassal Muhammad I, former Lord of Arjona, and put on the throne of the newly established Kingdom of Granada, which owed it to Fernando III as a reward to their collaboration in the Andalusian campaigns. The Sevillian siege was long and laborious, begun in the middle of the year 1246, and where needed the competition of a naval squadron, commanded by Ramón Bonifaz, who sailed up the Guadalquivir River to ensure the total isolation of the city. On 23 November the year 1248, the Sevillian city surrendered to Fernando III, hoisting the Royal standard in the Palace as a symbol of the fall of the Muslim power. Fernando III made his triumphal entrance ten days later, on December 22.

Fernando III continued the repopulation tradition started by his father, but by adopting a formula very different, known as distribution, why were the territories recently conquered among all those who were directly involved in the process of reconquest, taking into account, at the time of the deal, the social status of the recipient (person or institution). The major concessions that Fernando III took place in favour of nobles, clergy and military orders, gave rise to the estates, many of which still remain and which have conditioned the socio-economic structure of the Andalusian agro. The partition and subsequent delivery of the lots of land were approved by the King, to proposals of a Commission of splitters, dividers, and cuadrelleros, whose final rulings were released called Repartimientos books.

With the fall of Seville ended, temporarily, to the reconquistador process of wingspan on the peninsula. Only Castilla y León had borders with Islam, so the possession of these last remnants of Muslim became its exclusivity. Another significant change was the birth of a new political reality in Europe. The annexation by Castile and León of Murcia, Sevilla, Cordoba, Jaen and built-in titles to the already itself very long that the Castilian monarchs used, together with the allegiance of Granada and fog, made of Castilla y Leon one of the first powers of Europe and a Kingdom of wingspan, which had to be taken into account in the balance of forces in Europe.

Fernando III protected the interests of the Church in his Kingdom, as well as the cultural field. In the year 1242, granted privilege and exemptions to the General study of Salamanca, which previously had been founded by his father, Alfonso IX of León. Thanks to your patronage and thrust structures of the cathedrals of Burgos and Toledo, began in the year 1217 and 1217 respectively. It replaced the use of latin by vernacular language in the documents of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His project of recasting the old law (Fuero Juzgo) with a new one was carried out during the reign of his son Alfonso X el Sabio (the games, for Real), but was Fernando III who sent to translate into Spanish the Fuero Juzgo, law that dated back to the reign of the Visigoth King Recceswinth, in the year 654.

The State of health of the monarch suffers alarmingly because of the enormous wear and effort made in its military business. However, it still had enough forces to prepare a new expedition, this time in the African territory. But death surprised him in full preparation for the campaign, the 30 of may of the year 1252. He/She was succeeded by his son Alfonso X el Sabio.

He was canonized in 1671, and his feast is celebrated on May 30.


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