Biography of Ramiro III. King of Asturias y de León (ca. 961-985)

Ninth King of León from December of the year 966 until March of the 984. Born about the year 961 and died probably in Astorga on 26 June of the year 985. During his reign as well as resisting the attacks of Almanzor, it had to fight against the partisans of Bermudo II, which after proclaiming himself King in Santiago de Compostela in the year 982, managed to dethrone him.

Only son of Lion King Sancho I the Crassus and of the wife, Teresa Ansúrez, do not know the exact date that occurred in its birth, although some researchers are of the opinion that this should occur in the final months of the year 961. Baptized with the name of Ramiro in memory to his paternal grandfather, the Leonese King Ramiro II the great, just also met his father, since this died when he/she was about 5 years old. Although according to dejan betray some Christian Chronicles, it seems that this formed part of the retinue of Sancho I since birth, reason by which everything points to who was present when his death took place. Thus the poisoning of Sancho I marked by full relations Ramiro held with the noble Galician and Portuguese, since it has always considered that all of them had conspired to cause the premature death of his father.

All historians agree that the arrival of Ramiro III to the throne was a major milestone, in understanding the evolution of the Leonese monarchy, since up to that time had not appeared the figure of the Regent. So a child was named King, reinforced largely mediated the hereditary character of the monarchy. In this sense in the opinion of some researchers, it is necessary to highlight the intervention of Elvira Ramírez and the aforementioned Teresa Ansúrez, since both were able to get a few days of the death of Sancho I, his only son make is with power, without that apparently appeared no sign of displeasure to the new situation. In this way, it is possible that the nobility was soon aware of the enormous benefits that could be obtained, given the age of the monarch.

Soon they were disputes to settle who would assume the mentoring of Ramiro III, since both the supporters of Teresa Ansúrez and Elvira nun, were interested in taking control of the child King. But finally the post of Regent was occupied by Elvira, which took control of the administration of the Kingdom, and carefully monitored the progress of his nephew, that only in very specific occasions, usually of secondary type, had opportunity to go it alone, as evidenced by documentation that remains of these early years of his reign. However, while Teresa left the Court, it seems that he/she maintained contact with his son, waiting to be able to assume control over it.

According to documentation, we can infer that it is conserved, it perishes Ramiro III was oblivious to the problems of his Kingdom during his childhood and much of his adolescence. Circumstance that explains the lack of touch that it behaved before notables of Galicia and Portugal, which contributed significantly to these to advantage their posturing to justify their actions, which brought them to distance themselves more and more from the central power. Thus while the Kingdom of León had been obliged to maintain peace at all it consists with al - Andalus, sending successive embassies to negotiate with Al - Hakam II between 970 and 974; and that he/she had suffered successive attacks of the Normans between the years 966 and 968 pirates, the perception of the monarch should be totally different, since it has been registered that presided over an Assembly of notables, in which be gave thanks to God for the benefits accumulated during his reign. The Assembly was convened by the monarch's aunt, and that it had fixed in his memory glorious campaigns carried out by his father, dreams of the past, which no doubt forged the warlike character of Ramiro III.

Thus in the year 975 the presence of Ramiro III and Elvira Ramírez has been registered in the siege of San Esteban de Gormaz, initiated by the Castilian count García Fernández, who decided to take advantage of the absence of Galib, the head of the garrison of Medinaceli, to attack some squares border. But after Galib return to the border of the Duero, the siege had to be lifted and the army formed by Leonese, Castilian troops and navarras had to fight a withdrawal. The consequences of this defeat did not let themselves to wait, as Elvira left his post and was replaced immediately by the mother of the monarch, who shared power with Ramiro until the year 980, date in which this was declared a major. The new Regent while he/she was with the collaboration of his family, among them his brother was the count of Monzón, could do nothing to prevent the thrust of the cordoban armies, since in those years became the power of Almanzor. Thus in the year 977 amiri warlord attacked the fortress of baths and two years later laid siege to Zamora, who was nearly devastated, while Ramiro III that was in the city, could do nothing to defend it.

The situation of the monarch was not exactly comfortable in these years, since a new Christian army organized by Ramiro and the aforementioned García Fernández, in which we also find the troops of the King of Navarre, fail so badly once again faced Almanzor in the summer of the year 981, since anticipation of the Muslim movements of their enemiesHe managed to stop his attack in the vicinity of Rueda and Simancas shortly after, in the year 983, seized. But it did not there problems to Ramiro, since unhappy with their Government, the noble Galician and Portuguese began to openly conspiring against her, and in the year 982 decided to support the candidature of Bermudo II the Gouty, the son of Ordoño IIIfuture. He/She did not hesitate to start a civil war between the supporters of one and another side, although from the outset the results were more favorable to Bermudo. Thus internal war and the attacks of Almanzor, gradually consumed the resources of Ramiro III, which was losing ground to his cousin, which could enter the city of Leon in the month of March of the year 984. Defeated Ramiro III took refuge in the city of Astorga, with the intention of again reorganizing their forces, although he/she had to desist, since his main collaborators, the Beni-Gomez and the count García Fernández, abandoned their cause.

Ramiro III probably died in the city of Astorga, according to indicate us the Anales Castellanos on 26 June of the year 985, at the age of 23 years, accompanied by a small retinue, which was his wife Sancha, which apparently did not have offspring. His mortal remains were deposited in the monastery of San Miguel de Destriana (León).


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. Sancho I and Ordoño IV. Kings of Leon. (Center for studies and research, San Isidoro, 1987).