Biography of García I. King of Asturias y de León (ca. 870-914)

First King of León from 20 December of the year 910 until the date of his death. Born approximately between 870 and 871 and died in Zamora in the year 914. Son of Alfonso III, held power in his father's life after leading a revolt against her, although his reign did not start officially until the latter's death.

Son of the Asturian King Alfonso III the great and wife, Jimena, was baptized with the name of García in honor to his maternal grandfather, the King of Navarre- García I Iniguez. But despite its status as heir, just we have biographical data about the early years of his life. Thus its name registered first appears in court documents on 24 June the year 886, when García should have approximately a 16 or 17 years. From this time its signature appears alongside his father in numerous documents, but the various chroniclers, possibly by the strange circumstances that led him to occupy the throne of León, not made reference in their works to the aspects that surrounded his life until it hardly came to the throne, so the information we have about him is highly fragmented.

Some scholars have claimed, after consideration of the Chronicles, which García must have felt during all his youth and much of his maturity, jealousy of his brother, the future Ordoño II, since this since its inception was the favorite son of Alfonso III and he/she was also appointed Governor of Galicia approximately in the year 897, with which was clear the intention of the monarch of attaching him to the throne. But the leading role that his brother, did not imply that García would not undertake important services for his father, since the monarch tasked with directing the repopulation of the city of Zamora. It was in this place where it seems that García came into contact with important members of the Castilian nobility, which was always closely linked since he/she got married approximately in the year 896, with a natural Lady of this territory called Munia or Nuna, which was the daughter of the count of Amaya, Nuño Fernández.

Regarding the marriage of García, it should be noted the signing of Munia appears rarely next to her husband in the documents which were produced in these years, and even when it occupied the Leonese throne. Thus in the opinion of some authors, this fact can be a proof that the couple had not a very close relationship over the years that lasted her marriage, which was aggravated by the lack of heirs. But despite the apparent distance that existed between them, it is clear that García had a solid relationship with his father-in-law, the aforementioned count Nuno, since this was one of his main supporters in the uprising that led against his father.

It is impossible to specify what were the motives which prompted García to confront directly to Alfonso III in the year 909, due to the scrupulous silence that kept most of the chroniclers about these events, although traditionally has been considered that this feeling displaced by his brother Ordoño, who continued to occupy the post of Governor of Galicia, decided to rebel in order to get what rightfully you belonged as firstborn. Whatever their motives, it seems clear that their stay in Zamora was crucial to understand their behavior, since it is possible that some of the nobles who collaborated with him in the repopulation, you encourage to directly confront his father.

He did not hesitate to react Alfonso III, since after receiving the news, he/she went with a powerful army to set site to the city, which capitulated shortly afterwards. After these events García was taken to the castle of Gozón, where he/she was imprisoned for his betrayal. But the imposed punishment was considered excessive by most of their relatives, mostly by his mother, and did not take long to appear the protests, which quickly became clear manifestations of rebellion. We do not know what was the reaction of the sons of Alfonso III, but the movement of rebellion that arose in support of García forced the monarch to give up the throne and to distribute among their children their possessions in order to avoid a civil war.

It must not be easy for García to adapt to the new situation, since from the beginning could be observed there is always a barrier between him and his subjects by the methods they had used to be with the power. So probably in order to earn the trust of these was crowned King until the death of his father and gave his consent to Alfonso directed a military expedition by lands of al - Andalus in the year 910.

During his first year of reign, according to us the Chronicle of Sapiro, García I concentrated a large crowd of soldiers and went in pursuit of the Arabs, to whom won a remarkable victory, which provided him with important benefits. Although us is unknown the exact place where the confrontation took place some historians believe that he/she meant his steps for Talavera. The following years the King of León developed on the left bank of the Duero repopulation intensive, with the intention of completing the work begun by Alfonso III. Thus reinforced the existing line of fortresses between Zamora and Simancas, devoting special attention to the defenses of Peñafiel, Roa, Osma in the area this; to the Clunia inside and the more remote Coca and Aza. In addition the King was interested in expanding their territories, reason by which also conducted some military campaigns in the alto Douro.

With regard to the interior of the Kingdom of León, it should be noted that we have little data to evaluate its policy, since the chroniclers were not considered worthy of any mention of the actions that took place during his brief reign. Documents emanating from the Royal Chancery are not conclusive in this regard, since most of them are grants and contracts of purchase and sale.

The brief reign of García I ended in the year 914 when he/she was approximately 44 years of age, although the Christian Chronicles are running different dates, reason why it is impossible to specify the exact time of his death. Yes are unanimous in pointing out that it died of natural causes in the city of Zamora. At this point it is interesting to mention that the Arab chronicler Ibn Idhârî said that the Leonese King died on March 19, the 914 in Arnedo, city where he/she had gone after signing an alliance with the King of Navarre, Sancho Garcés, to fight against the Muslims. Those events that were silenced by the aforementioned Christian Chronicles, might be true, since although it seems unlikely that García I died in Arnedo it is possible that the cause of his death were the wounds he/she received.

The remains of the monarch were deposited in the Cathedral of Oviedo along with those of their ancestors, after which the nobles of the realm called the future Ordoño II to take care of the Kingdom.


CASARIEGO, J. E. Crónicas of the kingdoms of Asturias and León. (Leon, Everest, 1985).

FERNÁNDEZ CATÓN, J. M. The Kingdom of León in the high middle ages. Alfons monarchy. Pelayo's Alfonso VI (718-1109). (Leon, Taravilla, printer, 1995)

Rodríguez FERNÁNDEZ, j. Kings of Leon: García I (910-914), Ordoño II (914-924), Fruela II (924-925), Alfonso IV (925-931). (Burgos, La Olmeda, 1997).