Counts and Kings of Castile



Lord of Castile. Son of Fruela, duke of Cantabria (?-765).

Diego Rodríguez

Lord of Castile.

Urraca Díaz.

Lady of Castile. Married with the king of Asturias Ramiro I.

Vassal (of Asturias-Leon) county

Note: At this time, the county was not hereditary, neither it was always an united county but remained a fragmented collection of small counties whose rulers were nominated by the kings of Asturias and Leon.

Rodrigo de Castilla. (?-873)

Count of Castile. In 866 he was defeated by the muslim Emir Al Mundir.

Diego Rodríguez Porcelos. (873-885)

Count of Castile. He extended Castile towards the Arlanza river, founded the city of Burgos and built many castles (like the castles of Palenzuela or Castrillo de la Peña), which gave its name to the county: "Castilla". He also rejected the Moors at Cellorigo and Pancorvo, helped by the count of Alava (Basque country, in the present days).

Gonzalo Fernández de Lara. (889?-932)

Count of Castile & Burgos. He extended the county towards the river Duero, repopulating the town of San Esteban de Gormaz.

Independent County

Fernán González (932-970)

Count of Castile, Alava, Lara, Burgos and León. He united all the Castilian Counties & Lordships, and fought against the Christian and Muslim kingdoms to gain a practical independence. He made the county hereditary in his family and thus secured it a measure of autonomy under the kings of Leon. In his time the capital of the county was established at Burgos and there was expansion southward into Moorish territory.

García Fernández "de las Manos Blancas" (970-995)

Count of Castile & Alava. He fought against the moorish troops of Almanzor, and also against his son. With him, Castilian territory reached to the Duero River. His nickname means "of the White Hands".

Sancho García "el de los buenos fueros" (995-1017)

Count of Castile & Alava. He fought against his father, helped by the Muslim Caliphat. His nickname means "of the Good Laws", because of the privileges he gave to people who repopulated the frontier cities.

García Sánchez (1017-1029)

Count of Castile & Alava. He heired the county when he was a child, while his brother-in-law, Sancho III of Navarre, regented the country. He was murdered at 1029.

Kingdom of Castile - Jiménez/Navarrian dinasty

Fernando (Ferdinand) I "el Grande" (1029-1065)

Nephew of García Sánchez. King of Castile & León after 1037, crowned himself as Imperator Hispaniae (emperor of Spain) in the city of León in 1039. His nickname means "the Great". He profited the fall of the Muslim caliphat to extend his domains towards the south: he conqueredthe Arab deffensive castles of the high Duero (Gormaz, Berlanga, San Justo, Güermes, Santa Mera ...)and the cities of Lamego, Viseu and Coimbra, in what is today central Portugal. He also defeated the king of Toledo, Al-Mamún, and forced him to pay tribute. He imposed vassalage too on Saragossa and Seville. At his death, his lands were divided among his sons: Castile to Sancho, León to Alfonso, Galicia to García, and the cities of Toro & Zamora to his daughters Elvira & Urraca.

Sancho II "el Fuerte" (1065-1072)

King of Castile, León and Galicia. His nickname means "the Strong". He didn't accept the divisionmade by his father, so he fought against his brothers to join all. He was murdered by Vellido Dolfos when he besieged the city of Zamora.

Alfonso (Alphonse) VI "el Valiente" or "el Bravo" (1072-1109)

King of Castile, León, Toledo & Galicia, emperor of Spain; he claimed fot the title of "Emperor of the two religions" (Muslim & Christian). His nicknames mean "the Valiant" and "the Brave". Son of Fernando I. He lost his lands when he was defeated by his brother Sancho, but recovered them after his death. He expanded the kingdom towards the south, conquering the kingdom of Toledo. The muslim kings of the South, alarmed for that conquest, and for the taxes they had to pay, clame for the help of the Almoravids (a North-African tribe) that entered Spain, commanded by Yusuf ben Tashfin. They defeated Alfonso at the battles of Zalaca/Sagrajas (23 October 1086) and Uclés (at this one, his son Sancho died). During his reign, the county of Portugal was born.

Urraca Alfónsez (1109-1126)

Queen of Castile, León, Toledo & Galicia. She was the widow of Count Raymond of Burgundy, by whom she had had one son, Alfonso Ramírez, the future Alfonso VII. She married again with the king of Aragón, Alfonso I "el Batallador" (the Battler), but this marriage, instead of producing political stability, led to years of anarchy. Civil war broke out between the supporter of both kings and continued for years, many supporting the claims of the child Alfonso Ramírez to the throne. They finally separated in 1114, though the Aragonese king continued for some years thereafter to keep his garrisons in Castile and to use the royal title.

Burgundy dinasty

Alfonso VII Ramírez (1126-1157).

King of Castile, León, Toledo & Galicia (king of Galicia after 1111). Emperor of Spain. Son of queen Urraca and Raimond of Burgundy, he is the first king of the dinasty of Burgundy. He was crowned in 1111, and his reign in Galicia began effectively in 1116, but he did not reign in all his kingdoms until the death of his mother, in 1126. He reconquered the lands lost by Alfonso VI at the end of his reign, and some of the lands that Navarre take at the death of García Sánchez (in the present Basque Country). Alfonso was accepted as Emperor by the kings of Aragon and Navarre, by the count of Barcelona, and by various Hispano-Moorish rulers. He divided his domains between his sons, Sancho III of Castile and Fernando II of León.

Sancho III Alfónsez "el Deseado" (1157-1158)

King of Castile & Toledo. His nickname means "the Desired", perhaps for the short time he reigned. He fought against Navarre, and he founded the Knighthood order of Calatrava, to defend the southern frontier against the Almohad invaders.

Alfonso VIII Sánchez "el de las Navas" or "el Noble" (1158-1214)

King of Castile & Toledo. He recovered all the lands lost at the death of García Sánchez (Basque lordships). He was defeated by the almohads at the battle of Alarcos (1195). In the same year the kings of Leon and Navarre invaded Castile, but Alfonso defeated them with the aid of King Pedro II of Aragon. Afterwards, he commanded a combined army of the Christian kingdoms, and defeated the almoravids at the big battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212), and thereby broke Almohad power in Spain.

See the battles of Alarcos and Las Navas de Tolosa.

Enrique (Henry) I Alfónsez (1214-1217)

King of Castile & Toledo. He reigned during his chilhood, under tutelage of his sister, Berenguela. He died by an accident.

Berenguela (Berengaria) Alfónsez "la Grande "(1217)

Queen of Castile & Toledo. Queen (consort) of Leon. Her nickname means "the Great". Daughter of Alfonso VIII, she governed the country during the reign of her brother Enrique. At his dead, she let the kingdom to her son, Fernando III, and coreigned with him.

Deffinitive union of Castile & León - Burgundy dinasty

St. Fernando III Alfónsez (1217-1252)

King of Castile, León, Toledo, Extremadura, Galicia, Seville, Jaén & Cordoba. He united deffinitively the kingdoms of Castile and León, conquered the lands of Lower Andalusia (cities of Jaen, Cordoba and Seville), submitted the kingdom of Murcia to his son Alfonso, and the kingdom of Granada became his vassal.

Alfonso X "el Sabio" (1252-1284)

King of Castile, León, Toledo, Galicia, Seville, Jaén, Cordoba, Murcia & the Algarves. Kings of the Romans. His nickname means "the learned" or "the Wise". A poet and author himself, Alfonso sponsored many poets and writers; at his time, Moorish culture made inroads into Europe in part because Alfonso encouraged Moorish scholars to study and teach. He also compiled a new legal code, the "Siete Partidas", and, at 1252, Alfonso directed that a set of planetary tables be assembled; they came to be known as the Alphonsine Tables. It's thought that he also founded the University of Valladolid (which hadn't the title of "University" until the reign of Alfonso XI), but some authors date this founding in the reign of Alfonso VIII.

Sancho IV Alfónsez "el Bravo" (1284-1295)

King of Castile, León, Toledo, Galicia, Seville, Jaén, Cordoba, Murcia and the Algarves. His nickname means "the Brave". Second son of Alfonso X, he fought against his nephew, Alfonso "de la Cerda" (legitimate heir, according to the "Siete Partidas", but not according to theancestral habits of Castile), for the throne. Despite these political troubles he succeeded in defeating an invasion of Andalusia by the king of Fez (1290), and conquered the city of Tarifa.

Fernando IV Sánchez "el Emplazado" (1295-1312)

King of Castile, León, Toledo, Galicia, Seville, Jaén, Cordoba, Murcia and the Algarves. He heired his kingdom when he was a child, and, being his legitimacy questioned, survived his minority through the tact and bravery of his mother, María de Molina, who acted as regent. Later, he had to fight, unsuccesfully, against the pretensions of the nobility, and was also in charge of the dissolution of the Templar Order in Castile. He reconquered the city of Gibraltar. His nickname means "the Summoned", because of the legend, that said he was summoned to a God's trial, and died because this reason.

Alfonso XI Fernández "el Justiciero" (1312-1350)

King of Castile, León, Toledo, Galicia, Seville, Jaén, Cordoba, Murcia and the Algarves. Lord of Molina. His nickname means "the Just" or "the avenging". Although he strongly believed in the prerogatives of royalty, Alfonso courted the lower classes and tried to limit the power of the nobility. He defeated at the battle of Salado (1340) the last serious North-African invasion (Merinids), and reconquered the city of Algeciras. But he also lost Gibraltar. Alfonso XI promulgated important administrative and legal reforms in the ordinances of Alcalá de Henares in 1348 and, during his reign, pope Clemente VI gave the schools existing at Valladolid the rank of "General Studies" (equivalent to "University").

Pedro (Peter) I Alfónsez "el Cruel" (1350-1366 & 1367-1369)

King of Castile, León, Toledo, Galicia, Seville, Jaén, Cordoba, Algeciras, Murcia and the Algarves. Lord of Molina. He was killed by his half-brother, Enrique. In the Monk's Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer described Peter's death:

"O noble, o worthy Petro, glorie of Spayne,
whom fortune heeld so hy in magestee,
Wel oughten men thy piteous death complayne!"

Trastámara dinasty

Enrique II de Trastámara "el de las Mercedes" o "el Fratricida" (1366-1367 & 1369-1379)

King of Castile, León, Toledo, Galicia, Seville, Jaén, Cordoba, Algeciras, Murcia and the Algarves. Lord of Molina. Illegitimate son of Alfonso XI, he fought and killed his half-brother, Pedro I, helped by french troops commanded by Bertrand DuGesclin (his brother was helped by the english Black Prince). Afterwards, he had to fight during all his reign against the pretenders of the throne(kings of Portugal, Aragon and Navarre, the Duke of Lancaster and the count of Cambridge). Known as "of the gifts" because of the privileges who gave to the noblemen who supported him, or "the fratricide" because of the slaying of his brother. He is the first king of the Trastámara dinasty.

See the battle of Najera.

Juan (John) I (1379-1390)

King of Castile, León, Toledo, Galicia, Seville, Jaén, Cordoba, Algeciras, Murcia and the Algarves. Lord of Molina. Claimed for the title of king of Portugal. He was defeated by Portugueses at the battle of Aljubarrota. He also fought against the Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt, who claimed the throne for his wife (Constanza de Castilla, daughter of Pedro I). At 1388, they accorded the son of Juan (future Enrique III) would marry the daughter of the Duke (Katherine of Lancaster). They received the title of "princes of Asturias", which is still the title of the heirs of the Spanish Crown.

Enrique III "el doliente" (1390-1406)

King of Castile, León, Toledo, Galicia, Seville, Jaén, Cordoba, Algeciras, Murcia and the Algarves. Lord of Biscay & Molina. During his childhood there took place the massacres of Jews of 1391. Though unable to take the field because of illness (his name means "the sufferer"), he jealously preserved royal power through the royal council, the Audiencia (supreme court), and the corregidores (magistrates). Enrique took back crown lands lost to the nobility, in 1393, with the support of his towns. He sent emissaries to the court of Timur (Tamerlane), the central Asian emperor and ruler of Persia. During his reign, Castile started the conquest of the Canary Islands.

Juan II (1406-1454)

King of Castile, León, Toledo, Galicia, Seville, Jaén, Cordoba, Algeciras, Murcia and the Algarves. Lord of Biscay & Molina. Juan enjoyed reading philosophy and Latin. Under his sponsorship, Spanish literature appeared for the first time. He was the patron of poets Villena, the marquis of Santillana (Iñigo López de Mendoza), and Juan de Mena. He was also an accomplished lutist. During most of his reign, the country was ruled by his constable Alvaro de Luna, but, in 1453, the Queen persuaded him to arrest Luna and have him publicly executed at Valladolid--an event which seems to have led to the king's death, of remorse, a year later. Like his ancestors of the Trastamara dinasty, he supported the French side at the Hundred Years War (at 1419, the Castilian fleet defeated the English one at La Rochelle).

Enrique IV "el Impotente" (1454-1474)

King of Castile, León, Toledo, Galicia, Seville, Jaén, Cordoba, Gibraltar, Algeciras, Murcia and the Algarves. Lord of Biscay & Molina. During much of Enrique's reign, he quarrelled with his nobility about who would succeed him. The nobility wanted Enrique's half-brothers, Isabel or Alfonso, to inherit the throne, as the last one eventually did. Enrique had backed his daughter Juana "la Beltraneja", but the nobility did not believe her paternity (the nickname of Enrique means "the Impotent" and the origin of the nickname of Juana is because the nobility believed she was daughter of Beltrán de la Cueva, favourit of the king). He reconquered the city of Gibraltar.

Isabel I "la Católica" (1474-1504)

Queen of Castile, León, Aragon, Sicily, Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, Majorca, Seville, Sardinia, Cordoba, Corsica, Murcia, Jaén, the Algarves, Algeciras, and Gibraltar; countess of Barcelona; lady of Biscay and Molina; duchess of Athens and Neopatras; countess of Roussillon and Cerdagne; marchioness of Oristano and Gociano. To reign, she fought against the supporters of her niece, Juana. She finished the Reconquest, funded the discovery of America and, with her marriage with Fernando II of Aragon, united Spain.

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