Spain History – The First Christian States Part 6

Then the situation cleared up completely between the second half of the twelfth century and the first of the thirteenth. Undoubtedly, in this period there was a new territorial division. On the death of Alfonso I of Aragon (1134), Navarre did not want Ramiro II as sovereign and, having returned independent, it gave itself to García Ramírez (1134-50) nephew of Sancho IV, who was succeeded by his son Sancho VI and Sabio (1150-94) and his nephew ex filio Sancho VII el Fuerte(1194-1234). Alfonso VII of Castile and León in 1157 left his dominions divided between his sons, giving Castile to Sancho III (1157-58), who was succeeded by Alfonso VIII (1158-1214), Henry I (1214-17) and his sister Berenguela, second wife of Alfonso IX of Leon, and Leon to Ferdinand II (1157-88) who was succeeded by Alfonso IX (1188-1230). Finally, taking advantage of the civil struggles that broke out at the time of Urraca and in which he had a notable part, the county of Portugal, located between the Miño and the Duero, which Alfonso VI of León and Castile had already made great strides towards independence. given to his daughter Teresa, married to Henry of Lorraine, and whom their son Affonso Henriques (1128-85) had transformed into a kingdom after winning the Muslims at Ourique (1139); now with Sancho I (1185-1211) and with Alfonso II (1211-1223) the state independence had its definitive confirmation. However, an event of great importance in the history of Spain, with the marriage between Petronila of Aragon and Ramón Berenguer IV of Barcelona in 1137 (date of the marriage promise and abdication of Ramiro II) the Catalan-Aragonese monarchy actually originated; to which, later, during the reigns of Alfonso II (1162-96), Pedro II (1196-1213) and James Iel Conquistador (1213-76), the counties of Roussillon (1172), of Pallás (1198), of Urgel (1230) passed. And then the two crowns of León and Castile joined again, and forever, on the head of Ferdinand III el Santo (1217-52), son of Berenguela of Castile and Alfonso IX of León. Who became king of Castile in 1217 for the abdication of his mother in his favor and after having won the opposition of his father, still aspiring to the throne and in his attempts to conquer aided by a part of the nobility, which was definitively won in 1219; and in 1230, on the death of Alfonso IX, he also received the crown of León, through the renunciation of the heirs designated by the monarch.

According to, as for the war of reconquest, in the early days the Christian advance towards the South was made slower by the offensive of the Almohads and then by the wars that broke out between the various Catholic states and within some of them, and in which they took part. even the Africans. In fact, even the great feat of Almeria carried out by Alfonso VII with the help of troops from Aragon, Catalonia, Urgel, commanded by Ramón Berenguer IV, García Ramírez and the Count of Urgel Ermengol VI el de did not have lasting results. Castella, and with the help of Pisan and Genoese ships: the city was conquered and sacked (1147), but after a few years it fell into the power of the Almohads (1158). Thus, the great conquests made by Portugal during the reign of Affonso Henriques, who had taken possession of Santarem, of Lisbon (1147), of Alcácer (1158), of Évora, of Beja (1159) and had crushed the power of the Muslims of Badajoz, were mostly lost during the government of Sancho I. Alfonso VII of León and Castile had to limit himself to making continuous incursions into Andalusia, very daring, but almost completely ineffective: Cordova, which he occupied twice, returned to the domain of the Almohads; against the latter useless were his agreements with some kingdoms of Taifas; and in vain he besieged Jaén (1151) and Guadix (1152). During the short reign of Sancho III of Castile there was only the opposition in Calatrava to the Muslim attacks by some Cistercian monks, thus starting the military order of Calatrava. And when Alfonso VIII of Castile, having come of age, was able to take over the government of the state and put an end to the civil wars that broke out in the kingdom during his minority, if he managed to conquer Cuenca with the Aragonese rescue (1177), moreover, left to himself by Alfonso IX of León and by Sancho VI of Navarre who had promised him help, and launched an attack too lightly, he was beaten at Alarcos (18 June 1195) and saw Toledo and Cuenca besieged by the Almohads. The reconquest made notable progress only in the eastern regions. Here he conquered Tortosa (1148); then yes he took possession of Lérida (1149), of Fraga, of Mequinenza again, finally of the castle of Ciurana (1153), whose conquest ensured him the dominion of the Sierra de Prades and freed all future Catalonia from Muslim domination. And his son Alfonso II moved against the kingdom of Valencia: he besieged the capital (1171), conquered Rueda, took Teruel, which became the bulwark of Christian resistance against the Muslims of Valencia, reached Guadalaviar and Alfambra, gave to the future Aragon its borders. However, in the first decade of the century. XII to Don Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, archbishop of Toledo, was able to put Christian principles in agreement; the crusade was banned; and on July 16, 1212 at Las Navas de Tolosa the Almohads were defeated by the Spanish and Portuguese troops commanded by their kings – those of León and Portugal were missing – and aided by foreign contingents who had intervened under the orders of French bishops and princes. Then the war of reconquest was resumed with renewed enthusiasm; and since the state of the Almohads had split up and could profit from the internal strife of the kingdoms that had arisen on its ruins, and furthermore in 1230 the two kingdoms of León and Castile were again subjected to a single ruler, and Navarre he moved away from Spanish political life and generally the wars between the other three peninsular states stopped, the results obtained were of enormous importance. Sancho II of Portugal (1223-48) took up what was lost and pushed forward; and his successor Alfonso III (1248-78) occupied the Algarve and gave the ocean as the southern border to his own monarchy.

Spain History - The First Christian States Part 6