Biography of Ordoño III. King of León y Asturias (951-956)

Sixth King of León from 5 January of the year 951 until the date of his death. Probably born in 925 and died in Zamora in July of the year 956. During his brief tenure, he had to face the opposition of his brother Sancho.

Son of the Lion King Ramiro II and first wife, Adosinda Gutiérrez, think showed that Ordoño was the second of the children of the marriage, since appearing in the documentation your name behind his brother Vermudo. In this respect it should be noted that the identity of the mother of Ordoño remained in the shadows for many years, since Sapiro did not mention it in his Chronicle, but thanks to the Navarras genealogies of the Codex de Meià we know that this was a member of a prominent family of Galician. However ignore the reasons which induced Ramiro to repudiate Adosinda and impact that it did to Ordoño his mother to leave the Court, yet not found indications that allow you to demonstrate that this felt some kind of resquemor toward his father, although everything points that it could maintain some contact with the aforementioned Adosinda when he reached adulthood.

Ordoño spent the first years of his life at the Court of her father, installed since the beginning of the year 926 in the territories of Galicia placed in charge, already known at the time with the name of Portugal. But he soon abandoned this land, since when he was about 5 years old moved with his family to the lion cut, place where Ramiro was proclaimed King in the year 931. This mode is documented the presence of Ordoño in the Entourage of the new monarch from very early dates, as evidenced by the fact that we find his signature in a document of April 22, the year 932. Thus it seems that Ramiro II was very interested in their children from childhood is involved in the Affairs of the Government and therefore it is likely that Ordoño began his education under the close supervision of the monarch, which had paid great attention to his military training was as complete as possible.

In the year 941 Ordoño life had to change radically, since after the death of his older brother, Vermudo, became one of the most outstanding characters in the Court of Ramiro II, as the firstborn son. During the following years there are evidence that allow affirming that Ordoño stayed together to his father at all public events presided over by the monarch, which can be an unambiguous signal that participated actively in some of the military campaigns directed by this, especially in those that confronted the count of Castile, Fernán González, and the count of Saldañadiego Muñoz, from approximately the year 943. So if we consider the story of Sapiro, it is possible to warn that long before thinking about his resignation, Ramiro II took into consideration the future position of his son, since to end definitively settle conflicts with the aforementioned Fernán González, concluded his marriage to Urraca Fernández, daughter of this. The marriage which in the opinion of the same chronicler took place before the year 946, in the opinion of Justiniano Fernández not had carry out until the year 950, since the conde Castilla-Ramiro II relations were not normalized until approximately the year 947. On the other hand whilst magpie does not appear in the court documentation until the proclamation of Ordoño, its presence remains solidly demonstrated next to the from the year 951, reason by which seems unfounded to assume that this was disowned before the monarch's death, and that the future Vermudo II, only descendant of marriage, was the product of this loving relationships with some Lady of the Court.

Ordoño III received power on 5 January the year 951, after witnessing the formal abdication of his father before the most important characters of the Kingdom. Described by Sapiro as: "satisfactory prudence male and very capable to stop organizing armies" seems certain this statement, since the new King repeatedly demonstrated his great skill in the handling of the weapons. But we must add that Yes for something he noted mainly Ordoño III was for his wide knowledge of institutions and especially of the administration. Despite which very soon the monarch would have to face a dangerous situation, since it had to face in the year 955 an important contingent of Navarrese and Castilian troops, conspired to establish on the throne to his brother Sancho, who had harboured hopes to succeed his father, not to mention, as witnessed by the Muslim sourcesthat he felt from his youth a deep antipathy by Ordoño.

Thus it seems proved that the aforementioned Expeditionary Corps planned to gather in Sahagun, for from there begin the conquest of the Kingdom, so Ordoño decided to organize their defenses on the River line of Cea, place where he counted with the invaluable support of the count of Monzón, Fernando Ansúrez. Thus the navarro-castellano army encountered a powerful defensive, virtually impregnable bulwark that completely undid their hopes of victory, so it fell quickly. But peace did not come to Ordoño III after this first victory, since shortly after it had to start to call Earth level of Lugo, where it seems that had initiated a major opposition movement, put into relationship by some authors with the former Spanish rebellion. It wasn't Ordoño in asserting his authority in Galician lands, after personally leading his army, and in order to prevent new conflicts, handed over to a family member the effective Government of the area.

Encouraged by their recent successes and considering that had a powerful army, decided to undertake a campaign in Portuguese lands. So he left the banks of the Miño and after strengthening their defenses in Coimbra, went to Lisbon where he earned a major booty and a large number of prisoners. Back in his Kingdom, received the news that a Muslim army was in the vicinity of the Duero, specifically in San Esteban de Gormaz, causing significant distress to Fernán González, overwhelmed by the large number of enemies, decided to submit to the authority of the monarch and ask for their help. Ordoño III collaborated effectively with the count and shortly after the Muslims had to withdraw from these lands, although in the opinion of the Arab chroniclers was a partial victory, since Leon and castellanos quickly initiated the negotiations of peace with Abd al-Rahman III. But according to Christian sources, the King at any time attempted to sign peace with Córdoba, who spent the following winter by preparing an expedition against his enemies from the outside.

The projected expedition, not conducted since the monarch died in the summer of the year 956, after putting in front of his troops in the city of Zamora, of natural causes. His mortal remains were transferred immediately to the city of León, where they were deposited in the Church of el Salvador.


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).