García Sánchez III of Pamplona

García Sánchez III, sometimes García III, IV, V, or VI (also García of Nájera, from Spanish: García el de Nájera, November 1016 – 1 September 1054),[1] was king of Navarre from 1035 to 1054.

Born in November 1016, he was the eldest legitimate son and heir of Sancho III the Great, and he succeeded his father to the crown of Navarre, becoming feudal overlord over two of his brothers: Ramiro, who was given lands that would serve as the basis for the kingdom of Aragón; and Gonzalo, who received the counties of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza. Likewise, he had some claim to suzerainty over his brother Ferdinand, who under their father had served as Count of Castile, nominally subject to the Kingdom of León but brought under the personal control of Sancho III.

In 1037, Ferdinand requested García's aid against his brother-in-law, Bermudo III of León, at the Battle of Tamarón near Pisuerga. The two brothers defeated Bermudo, who died in battle, the final king of the male line of Peter of Cantabria, and Ferdinand succeeded in León.[2]

By aiding Ferdinand, García received his brother's favour and, in a repartition of Castile, he expanded Navarre to the Bay of Santander, incorporating the entire Basque Country.

Soon he was confronted by his brother Ramiro at Tafalla (1043) and defeated him, but this victory resulted in the effective independence of Ramiro.

García was one of the Christian kings to profit greatly from the weakened taifa kingdoms that arose through the disintegration of central control by the Caliphate of Córdoba. In 1045, he conquered Calahorra.

Relations eventually soured with Ferdinand and war broke out between the fraternal kingdoms, García dying in the Battle of Atapuerca, 15 September 1054.[3]

His nickname comes from his foundation of the monastery of Santa María la Real of Najera.


He was married, in 1038, to Stephanie, daughter either of Bernard-Roger, Count of Bigorre[4] or his brother-in-law Ramon Borrell, Count of Barcelona (her dowry was the Cameros), and they produced eight children (four sons, four daughters):

He also had illegitimate issue:

After García's death, Queen Stephanie is said to have remarried to Roger de Tosny, a Norman adventurer, although this marriage is not documented and seems unlikely since she does not mention such marriage when she executed her will in 1066, naming all her children and making several donations to the monastery founded by her late husband the king. Stephanie may have been a widow at the time of her marriage to García. The Chronica Naierensis tells of the marriage of an illegitimate son of García (presumed to be Sancho) to his stepsister, a daughter of Stephanie by a former husband.



  1. He died at the Battle of Atapuerca. Europäische Stammtafeln: II #56, III.1 #145; Moriarty, Plantagenet Ancestry of King Edward III and Queen Philippa of Hainault, p80, 109
  2. Bernard F. Reilly, The Contest of Christian and Muslim Spain 1031–1157, (Blackwell Publishers Inc., 1995), 27.
  3. Joseph F. O'Callaghan, A History of Medieval Spain, (Cornell University Press, 1975), 195.
  4. Salazar y Acha agrees with the opinion of Languedoc historians who held that she was the daughter of Bernard-Roger, Count of Bigorre and his wife Gersenda, explaining Stephanie's presence in Barcelona as a lady in the court of her maternal aunt Ermesinde of Carcassonne married to Ramon Borrell, count of Barcelona.
  5. Her alleged marriage to Guy II de Maçón has been contested. Her last appearance is at the Monastery of Santa María la Real of Najera on 14 May 1077, as Maior, Garsiae regis filia, making a donation post obitum of some houses in Nájera and properties in Villela, Atayo and Janua.
  6. Appears for the last time on 27 May 1085 at the Monastery of Santa María la Real of Najera confirming a donation made by her brother Ramiro.


Preceded by
Sancho III
King of Navarre
Succeeded by
Sancho IV
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