Sancho II of Castile and León
Early-14th century miniature of Sancho II of Castile from the Compendio de crónicas de reyes del Antiguo Testamento, gentiles, cónsules y emperadores romanos, reyes godos y de los reinos de Castilla, Aragón, Navarra y Portugal. Located at Biblioteca Nacional de España.
|King of Castile|
|King of León|
|Coronation||12 January 1072 (León)|
|King of Galicia|
6 October 1072 (aged 33–36)|
|Burial||San Salvador de Oña|
|Father||Ferdinand I of León and Castile|
|Mother||Sancha of León|
When the kingdom was divided following Ferdinand's death in 1065, Sancho succeeded his father as King of Castile, while Sancho's younger brother Alfonso become King of León and his youngest brother García became King of the reestablished Kingdom of Galicia (partitioned from León). Each of the brothers was also assigned a sphere of influence among the Taifa states.
Expansion and defeat
In 1068, Sancho defeated his cousins Sancho IV of Navarre and Sancho of Aragon in the War of the Three Sanchos. This expanded his Kingdom of Castile with the reconquered land of Bureba, Alta Rioja, and Álava, which his father had given to Sancho IV's father, García, for his support in defeating Bermudo III of León.
In 1068, Alfonso invaded the Taifa of Badajoz, a client state of brother Garcia's Kingdom of Galicia. Sancho, concerned that Alfonso had intentions on conquering his brothers, defeated Alfonso at the Battle of Llantada, reinstating the status quo.
Sancho would develop his own appetite for his youngest brother's kingdom. Teaming up with Alfonso in 1071, Sancho marched across León to conquer García's northern lands at the time that Alfonso was in the southern part of the Galician realm issuing charters. García fled to exile in Taifa of Seville, while his older brothers partitioned the Kingdom of Galacia between them.
Sancho soon turned on Alfonso. In 1072, with the aid of his alférez El Cid, he defeated Alfonso at the Battle of Golpejera, who fled into exile in the Taifa of Toledo. Sancho was crowned King of León on 12 January 1072, simultaneously holding all three crowns that Ferdinand had distributed to his sons only six years earlier.
Toro, the city of Sancho's sister Elvira, fell easily in 1072. But in a siege of sister Urraca's better-defended city of Zamora, Sancho was stalled. A Zamoran noble, Vellido Adolfo (also known as Bellido Dolfos), entered Sancho's camp pretending to be a deserter, seeking a private conference with Sancho to tell him the weaknesses in the Zamoran defence. Once before Sancho, Vellido assassinated him, using Sancho's own sword to impale him in the back. Vellido was chased back to Zamora by El Cid, but escaped into the town through a gateway since called Portillo del Traidor ("Gateway of the Traitor"). Sancho was succeeded in his kingdoms by the brother he had previously deposed, Alfonso. García, induced to return from exile, was imprisoned by Alfonso for life, leaving Alfonso in uncontested control of the reunited territories of their father, later taking on their father's title "Emperor of all Spain".
Sancho was buried in San Salvador de Oña.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sancho II of León and Castile.|
- Medieval Iberia: An Encyclopedia: An Encyclopedia, ed. E. Michael Gerli, Routledge, 2003.
- Milo Kearney and Manuel Medrano, Medieval Culture and the Mexican American Borderlands, Texas A&M University Press, 2001.
- Bernard F. Reilly, 1988. The Kingdom of León-Castilla under King Alfonso VI, 1065–1109. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Bernard F. Reilly, The Contest of Christian and Muslim Spain, 1031-1157, Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 1995.
Sancho II of Castile and LeónBorn: circa 1036/38 Died: 7 October 1072
|King of Castile
| Succeeded by|
|King of León|
|King of Galicia and Portugal|
(jointly with Alfonso VI)