Biography of Ordoño I. King of Asturias (821-866)

Ordoño I, King of Asturias. Plaza de Oriente. Madrid.

Eleventh King of Asturias from the year 850 until the date of his death. Probably born in Oviedo in the year 821 and died in this city may 27, 866.

Biographical synthesis

Son of Ramiro I occupied the Asturian throne on the death of his father in the year 850, after having held the position of Governor of Galicia. In the 16 years that remained in power, Ordoño, taking advantage of the crisis that existed in al - Andalus greatly expanded the borders of his Kingdom, since he/she carried out the repopulation of the cities of Astorga and Amaya, Tuy, León, though he/she had faced repeatedly with the cordoban armies, getting mixed results. In addition to clashes with the Muslims of Cordoba, on several occasions he/she faced the troops of the Governor of Zaragoza, Musa ibn Musa, whom he/she defeated in the famous campaign of Albelda. Married to Muniadora to his death the throne was occupied was his eldest son Alfonso III the great.

Reign of Ordoño I

Son of the Asturian King Ramiro I and his first wife, spent the first years of his life in what probably was his hometown Oviedo, in the Court of the protector of his father, the monarch also Alfonso II el Casto. Ordoño as a firstborn son should occupy a leading position since its birth, since the mentioned Ramiro probably from his youth was associated with the throne and the chaste King expressed on several occasions his desire that upon his death, this occupied his throne, since he/she had no descendants, while so far the Crown had retained its elective character. In the year 830, following the appointment of Ramiro as Governor of Galicia, Ordoño, who was at that time 9 years old, he/she accompanied his family to Galician lands. Installed the Court of the Governor of Lugo, it was in this city where Ordoño completed her education, which should be careful, and started his military training, where he/she soon stood by their great skills in weapons handling.

The following years the life of Ordoño must have been comfortable in Galicia, since his father away to find opposition to his Government, formed a solid group of collaborators, which gave him his allegiance test later. In this way, it should be noted that Ordoño since her teens had accompanied his father, probably in order to familiarize yourself with the functions of the various institutions and especially in complicated gears that made up the life of the Court. So thanks to your great preparation, his father entrusted to take care of the duties of Governor while he/she went to the Vardulias in the year 842, to marry his second wife, Paterna. Much then changed the life of the young, since who shortly thereafter met the news that Alfonso II died in Oviedo, so everything seemed to indicate that the proclamation of Ramiro would be imminent. Unfortunately Ramiro to be away from the Court at the time of the death of the monarch, was on the verge to truncate their aspirations, since a nobleman called Neopocioano, with the support of a group of notables, was proclaimed King of Asturias. Ordoño should participate in tasks to organize the army that his father intended to use against Neopociano, although not marched alongside him, but it remained in Galicia, occupying the mentioned position of Governor, in that same year, which was confirmed after the advent to the throne of Ramiro I.

Firmly settled in as Governor, at the age of 26 years, in 847, Ordoño married a noblewoman of the region, possibly a sister of the count of Bierzo, Gaton, called Mayor or Muna. The marriage was a bulky offspring, as it has been recorded in various Chronicles, Ordoño was father on at least six occasions and among their descendants, stands out for its importance his firstborn son, the future Alfonso III the great.

January 1 850 died Ramiro I in Oviedo, after eight years of reign, being succeeded by his son Ordoño, which was the first Asturian monarch in inherit the charge without prior election. Shortly after his proclamation had to deal with an uprising of the Basques, which counted with the support of the Banu Qasi, apparently at that time Governors of Zaragoza. Despite which Ordoño I was able to submit to the rebels, although when he/she was back to Oviedo he/she received the news that a Muslim army intended to attack the region of the Vardulias. The army did not accomplish his purpose and was forced to return to al - Andalus, after being slowed by Ordoño on the banks of the Ebro.

Despite his victories did not improve the situation of Asturian monarch, since these campaigns the Governor of Zaragoza, Musa ibn Musa (800-862) decided to build a fortress in the city of Albaida, current Albelda, which meant a huge danger to the interests of Ordoño, since the always levantiscos Basques could use the circumstances to join the Banu Qasi against. Thus the monarch quickly reorganized his army and went to the fortress, with the intention of destroying it, thus after wake up his camp in the vicinity of the mentioned city began its siege. Musa ibn Musa went quickly to the rescue of his men, but after a hard battle this was badly wounded, and the city was razed to the ground.

There is no doubt that the complex political situation, who lived in al - Andalus in those years was skillfully exploited by Ordoño I, which launched major campaigns to increase their domains. Thus in the year 854, following the revolt of Toledo, he/she quickly sent an army to their support, which the mentioned count of Bierzo, Gaton, was directed by his brother-in-law while the campaign did not obtain the success that this was expected, since the own cordoban emir, Muhammad I (823-886) came to quell the rebellion, defeating the armies from Toledo and Asturias at the battle of Guadalete. It should take into account that despite what they say Muslim chronicles the loss of Christians should not be so high, since the count of Bierzo participated in major campaigns shortly afterwards and Toledo retained its independence. But not all were defeats for the armies of Ordoño, already that shortly after this altercation, it organized several expeditions, which had a remarkable success. Thus began a foray by lands of al - Andalus to occupy cities such as Salamanca and Coria, where he/she took prisoner its Governor and ordered some of his men to take measures to carry out the reconstruction of the walls of major cities, which although they had been reconquered in times of Alfonso I the Catholic had not been populated, as it is the case of TUI, Astorga, León and Amaya, which were stocked approximately in the year 863.

In this respect it should be noted that Muhammad I attempted to punish the boldness of the Christian King and sent two successive expeditions against in the year 862 and the 863. Only know the ins and outs of the second, in which it seems that Muslim armies penetrated the area of Alava and the primitive Castilla and attacked the region of Miranda, after which were surprised by the armies of Ordoño, who cut her removed to the South. Thus probably in Pancorvo a bloody battle, which must have had disastrous consequences for Córdoba, held since they did not start any expedition the following year (864). Although the emir managed to send years later an army, composed of soldiers of Al - Andalus, which destroyed the Christian fortress of Frias.

Ordoño of Norman pirate attacks, was not free nor that between the years 858 and 861 these carried out numerous sorties in the Iberian Peninsula, tried to attack the Galician coast, but these were rejected by the Pedro conde. Thus we can say that the 16 years that Ordoño remained in power were years of profound instability, although in the opinion of the Christian chroniclers thanks to showed great tenacity of the monarch, the Kingdom of Asturias was able to significantly expand its borders.

The last years of his life Ordoño could not participate actively in the defensive campaigns carried out against Muslims, although his circle of collaborators has always had in mind the views of the monarch. Ill drop so his health was weakening gradually, until the disease killed him may 27, 866, at the age of 45. Described in the Chronicle by his son, Alfonso III, in the version dedicated to Sebastián (Ad Sebastiarum) as a man of great patience and moderation, to his death the Asturian throne was occupied by the aforementioned Alfonso III, the great.


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